When it comes to shopping for your plus size body we know that it can be quite challenging, and, depending on where you live, can be almost impossible. Ten years ago there were very few plus size designers and even fewer who were actually designing clothes that made you feel confident, stylish, and sexy. Since then, there have been a number of plus size designers (like Monif C , who designed the above dress) and brands that have emerged.

So TBF put together ten great plus size fashion and shopping tips to help you up your style quotient.

Ten Plus Size Fashion Tips

1. Get a Tailor
Seriously, having a tailor can be life changing. It’s rare for plus size women to get a perfect fit with clothes off the rack. This is when a tailor comes in handy. Have you ever bought a blazer in your correct size but it won’t button and the next size up is entirely too big? A tailor would be able to take in some of the fabric from the bigger size and make that blazer look like it was specifically designed with your body in mind. The same goes for pants and jeans.

2. Don’t underestimate non-plus size stores

Silk Trench Shirt

(source: Ann Taylor. Both Pieces come in size 18)

You would be surprised at how many stores that don’t carry plus sizes actually have styles that will work for a plus size body. Ann Taylor and Loft actually carry sizes up to an 18 and size 16 petite. Gap carries style up to XXL and 20 at their online store. The cuts are surprisingly generous too. Loft and Ann Taylor even have pants specifically for curvier body types. Even Banana Republic carries a size 16 and we swear by the Jackson Fit which is more for the curvy girl. Fast fashion stores like H&M offer over-sized cuts in tops and dresses and they carry a size 16 in some items in their US stores.

3. Try Things On
You never know how something will look unless you try it on. It’s easy to just look at something and say it’s not going to work for your body. How can you honestly know that if you haven’t tried it on?

4. Know Your Measurements

Online shopping can be a bit of a hassle because every brand cuts differently. Sometimes you don’t have enough to buy two sizes to see which one works the best. That’s when a sizing chart comes in handy. You should purchase a measuring tape and measure your waist, hips, thighs, and chest then match your measurements up against the company’s sizing chart. This will help you determine if you need to go a size up or down.

5. Know the difference between junior and women’s plus sizes

Studded Jacket

(Faux Leather Moto Jacket, $47.80 at forever21.com)

The trendier plus size brands typically size for junior plus sizes. So, don’t go thinking you’re crazy when you are on average a 1X-14/16 and find yourself squeezing into a 3X-22/24. Junior sizes are often sized with odd and even numbers. For example, some (not all) junior plus size brands size from 13/14, 15/16 and plus size women’s brands size at 14/16, 18/20. Junior sizes are cut for who else, teens. While plus size women who fall in the woman’s plus category can fit junior sizes it’s always best to check sizing charts to make sure you’re getting the right fit.

7. Keep a tube of Chub Rub Handy

To be honest, you don’t have to be plus size to experience chaffing from your inner thighs rubbing together aka chub rub. It’s mostly experienced during the spring and summer seasons when we wear our cute little skirts and dresses with bare legs. To combat chub rub we found that chaffing creams like Monistat’s chaffing relief powder gel help to eliminate chaffing. If you can, stock up on it. It should be in every plus size girl’s fashion survival kit.

8. Utilize Magazines for Inspiration

Vogue Cover

Don’t know what to do with those stack of Vogue’s sitting on top of your coffee table? Here’s an idea. Cut out the pictures with outfits that have peaked your interest and make a collage of them known in the fashion industry as an inspiration board. On those days when you feel like you have nothing to wear refer back to that collage. We find that Lucky magazine always has a number of outfits to draw inspiration from.

9. Forget the rules
When it comes to fashion and shopping for your plus size body, you have to forget the old outdated fashion rules. Yes, plus size women can wear horizontal stripes. Yes , plus size women can wear bright colors beyond a scarf. Yes, plus size women can wear shorts. It’s all about finding the right cut and style for your body.

10. Don’t wait to lose weight to look great
At the end of the day, whether your are happy with your body or trying to lose weight, you owe it to yourself to look and be your best no matter your size. Having great style has nothing to do with your size. It’s all about knowing your body and knowing what works for it. You don’t have to wait to lose those extra 10 pounds to wear a sexy dress.

Need a Little More Inspiration? Then Check This Out

#everyBODYisflawless from gabifresh on Vimeo.

Want More Plus Size Fashion Tips? Check Out TBF’s Plus Size Shopping Guide