Guest Post: Plus Size, Over 40, and Personal Style- Tips and Real Talk

Marie’s Note: A few of you ladies on the better side of 40 have asked me about finding places to shop and tips specifically for you! So what I have done is reached out to a friend, Kristin from Fashion.Style.Beauty. who knows about being on the better side of 40, Fashion, and being a curvy woman! Please read on, as I have asked her to weigh in on shopping! 

Plus Size Tips for those over 40

Shopping is my favorite indoor sport (well, one of them anyway, the one that doesn’t require me to do mess up my hair), so when Marie Denee asked me to give some of my favorite tips on shopping for your age, I was delighted to be asked. At 41, I know a thing or two about how to build a wardrobe for curves as well as who and where to cheat when it comes to slipping a trend or two in there.

See, here’s the thing about dressing your age and staying on trend: you know there’s a way to do it, but once you’ve seen it done wrong it strikes fear in your heart. We’ve all been there when it comes to look like we know what’s happening without “trying too hard.”

Gals, the assumption of age is that by a certain point in life, you know what looks good on your body and you develop a certain style. As you age, the world assumes that you know what you’re doing, which means pieces that are SUPER trendy make you look like you’re still experimenting, or that you somehow don’t know that you should be old enough to know better.

I don’t love the phrase “dressing your age,” because it makes it sound like you have go boring and old. What I think works better is “dressing your best,” which is a wardrobe of brilliant, sexy and well-made items, with a nod to the trends now and then that says, “Oh, I SEE YOU, trend. I acknowledge what’s on point. Let me show you how I ROCK THIS. BAM!” and then you leave them wanting more. See how that works?

Let me break down my favorite stores to both give you the wardrobe you need to make them sweat you all the time, then a couple of sneaky places where you can get some on-trend items on the sly:

Wardrobe Building Hall of Fame Department Store: Nordstrom– Gals, I love me some Nordstrom and when I find myself in a city where this department store exists, I RUN – I don’t walk – to this store. The shoppers at Nordstrom buy for a variety of body types and there are a plethora of options. Nordstrom is where I recommend buying work suiting and separates, lingerie (“the good bras”), denim and shoes. Get yourself a Nordstrom shoe person and love up on them until the money runs out. Outside of your mama and your significant other, there should be two Nordstrom sales people on your speed dial list: someone who works in a clothing section and a BFF in the shoe department.

Wardrobe Splurge: Saks Fifth Avenue – Peeps, you can throw a whole bunch of things together on the cheap, but your coat, your handbag and your shoes ALWAYS have to be the best you can afford (and meticulously maintained, might I add.) Saks has a great selection of these items in a wide variety of sizes. Also, we’re in the season where a gal needs a good cocktail dress. Girls, Saks’ Salon Z is where it’s at when it comes to these purchases.

Lingerie Online Thrill: Bare Necessities – Ladies, if you are not familiar with Freya, Fantasie and Elomi, allow me to introduce you to them now. Bras for us better-endowed gals are available in plenty on this site. Just know your bra size and shop until you drop. By the way, when they put things on sale, they don’t play. They’re amazing.


Now let’s talk about some cheap trend thrill places that you can pop into for accessories and on-trend items every once in a while…

Forever 21 – Peeps, I have knockoff merchandise, but the jewelry in Forever 21 can be hard to beat sometimes when it comes to stacked bangles and things that are having their moment. I would steer clear of everything but the jewelry, scarves, belts and sunglasses, but feel free to go candy store Wild Kingdom wild up in here when it comes to jewelry that looks amazing mixed in with finer pieces.

Topshop – Topshop accessories are some of my favorite trend items ever. The clothes aren’t curve friendly AT ALL in my experience, but get thee to the accessories racks and have a ball. You can check out their knits as well – always cute sweaters in this joint.

American Eagle – HA! YES, girls, YES. Honestly, for hair accessories, jewelry, scarves and undies (I have a neon bra from this joint that MADE a look over the summer,) you can’t beat it. Also check their selection of trendy knits. LOVE.

American Apparel – Allow me to direct you to the most magical item on earth: the Sheer Jersey Short Sleeve Deep V-Neck T-Shirt. It’s not at all sheer (why they named it that, I don’t know), but this is a sexy V-neck that will make you look like a million dollars and is cut in under the armpits so it’s fitted in all the right places. It’s men’s sizing, so just know that a Medium fits a size 10-12 woman and work your way up from there.

K-Mart – I am MADLY in love with tights from their Attention line; they’re hard to kill. Also, check out the denim from the Sofia Vergara collection. She knows a thing or two about curves and the pieces are on trend and pretty darn cute for the price point.

Also, if you want to cheat, you can pop into your local department store (shout out to Dillard’s in my beloved Southeastern US) and shop the juniors department for casual clothes (denim, tees, long-sleeved cotton tops, tennis shoes) and belts. The belts in the juniors section are always on-trend and a fraction of the price of the adult version. Just stay away from anything that has screen printing or graphics on it and if you buy denim, go as dark as possible to make them look expensive and flattering. No acid wash, no studs, no pocket embellishment. That’s an express ticket to Frumpytown.

Those are my tips to dressing your age and where I love to shop. I’d love to hear from you. Any questions on building a wardrobe? Got any concerns about a certain trend and how to rock it? Let’s hear it, gals.


You can learn more about Kristin. read her latest musings, and follow her along over on her blog, Fashion.Style.Beauty.



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    • says

      Have you shopped Nordstrom Rack though? There are quite a few deals to be had there! Also, Ideeli, Beyond the Rack, and Hautelook provide those same designers at sample sale deals!

      • aDawn217 says

        I never go in those places because I just assume they won’t have my size. I did go into Lord and Taylor Outlet last week, but the things left there were…passable.

      • Rebecca says

        My experience has been that Nordstrom Rack very rarely has any plus-sized items in stock.  Maybe up to an 18 in some lines, but hardly ever anything larger.  However, you are correct in noting that the flash-sale sites often carry plus sized lines and are worth monitoring.  Also, even if you end up getting lower-priced clothing, a nice bag and shoes can dress them up quite a bit.  

  1. socamom says

    Whenever I take my teenage cousin to Forever 21, I sneak in some bracelets for myself… they have some really nice accessories in there! :)

  2. Rebecca says

    This is the entire reason I started my blog. We all know about Nordstrom’s and Saks (and Macy’s and Dillards, etc), but there are a TON of great adult-friendly lines that carry plus size. What about J.Jill? Coldwater Creek? Soft Surroundings? Land’s End or LLBean or Eddie Bauer? All are more reasonably priced and grown-up friendly (without being the tents). Actually the first 3 carry the same items in straight and plus. I’m sorry, but this seems like such a limited perspective on what a 40+ curvy woman would want. There are a lot more items out there at all price points.

    I would also point out that it is more about how you put it together than where you bought it. I buy from Asos and Simply Be all the time, but put it together differently than a 20-year-old might. Again, that’s why I started the blog. A 40+ woman has a different lifestyle and different concerns than many 20 year olds. Our wardrobe AND our style can reflect that and still look amazing.

    One last comment; the Nordstrom’s Rack’s near me never carry plus-sized stuff. It makes me NUTS. We all know they have a lovely section at their store.

    • says

      I am late replying, but I woul dlove to know more about your blog, I will check it out and you mention one of the best comments EVER- HOW YOU PUT IT TOGETHER! 

      Thank you so much for your words and I look forward to checking you out and hearing more from yoU! 

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