Plus Size Business Casual How to Dress Professionally and Confidently


In today’s society, the fashion industry has made great strides in promoting body positivity and inclusivity. However, when it comes to workwear, plus size individuals often struggle to find appropriate and stylish options. This is especially true for business casual attire, which can be a tricky dress code to navigate. But fear not, as we have compiled a comprehensive guide on how to rock plus size business casual with confidence and style.

Understanding Business Casual (and Its Evolution)

Plus Size Business Casual How to Dress Professionally and Confidently

Before we dive into the specifics of dressing professionally in a plus size, it’s essential to understand what exactly constitutes as “business casual.” This term has evolved over the years, and its interpretation may vary depending on the company or industry you work in. In general, business casual is a more relaxed version of traditional business wear but still maintains a level of professionalism.

The History of Business Casual

The concept of business casual originated in the 1970s when some companies began to relax their strict dress codes in response to the changing societal norms and the rise of the tech industry. In the 1980s, the term was officially coined, and it became a popular dress code in various industries. Today, many companies have adopted business casual as their standard dress code, allowing employees to express their individuality while maintaining a professional appearance.

What Does Business Casual Mean for Plus Size Individuals?

When it comes to business casual for plus size individuals, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, always remember that fit is key. Ill-fitting clothing can make you look sloppy and unprofessional, no matter your size. Second, use accessories to elevate your outfit, such as statement jewelry or a sleek belt. And finally, don’t shy away from color and patterns. While black may seem like the go-to option for a professional look, adding pops of color and patterns can make your outfit more interesting and reflect your personality.

Building Your Plus Size Business Casual Wardrobe

Plus Size Business Casual How to Dress Professionally and Confidently

Now that we have a general understanding of business casual let’s dive into how to build the perfect wardrobe for plus size individuals. We’ve broken it down into two categories: tops and bottoms.


For tops, opt for structured blouses or button-up shirts in breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen. These styles are universally flattering and provide a polished look. Avoid anything too tight or revealing and instead aim for a comfortable yet professional fit.

Top Styles to Consider:

  • Wrap Blouse: The wrap style is perfect for plus size individuals as it accentuates the waist and creates an hourglass silhouette.
  • Peplum Top: This style flares out at the waist, creating a feminine and flattering look.
  • Button-Up Shirt: A classic button-up shirt with a tailored fit will always be a staple in any professional wardrobe.
  • Tunic Top: For a more relaxed and flowy option, tunic tops are a great choice. They provide coverage and comfort while still looking professional.


When it comes to bottoms, the key is finding the right fit and length. Avoid anything too tight or too short, as it may come across as unprofessional. Instead, opt for well-tailored pants or skirts in versatile colors such as black, navy, or gray.

Bottom Styles to Consider:

  • Ponte Pants: These pants are made from a stretchy, knit fabric that provides comfort and a flattering fit for plus size individuals.
  • Wide-Leg Trousers: These pants have a wider leg opening, creating a sophisticated and chic look.
  • A-Line Skirt: A-line skirts are flattering for all body types and can easily be dressed up or down.
  • Midi Skirt: This hemline falls between the knee and ankle, providing coverage while still looking stylish.

Accessorizing Your Outfit

Accessories are a great way to add personality to your business casual outfit. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Statement Jewelry: A bold necklace or pair of earrings can elevate a simple outfit and make a statement.
  • Belts: Adding a belt to a blouse or dress can accentuate the waist and create a more tailored look.
  • Structured Handbags: Opt for a structured handbag instead of a slouchy one for a polished appearance.
  • Scarves: Scarves are a versatile accessory that can be worn in various ways and add a pop of color or pattern to your outfit.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Dressing Business Casual

Now that we have covered the do’s let’s discuss the don’ts of dressing business casual as a plus size individual. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

  • Wearing Too Tight Clothing: As mentioned earlier, fit is crucial when it comes to dressing professionally. Avoid anything that is too tight, as it can come across as unprofessional.
  • Revealing Too Much Skin: While business casual allows for more relaxed dressing, it’s important to maintain a level of modesty. Avoid low-cut tops or short skirts.
  • Not Paying Attention to Fabric Quality: Cheap or sheer fabrics can make even the most well-tailored outfit appear cheap. Invest in high-quality fabrics such as cotton, silk, or wool for a professional look.
  • Neglecting Grooming: It’s essential to pay attention to grooming details such as neat hair, clean nails, and ironed clothing. These small details can make a big impact on your overall appearance.

Plus Size Business Casual Inspiration

Sometimes, seeing how others style their plus size business casual outfits can provide inspiration for our own wardrobes. Here are some of our favorite looks:

Look 1: Chic and Professional

  • Top: A tailored, long-sleeve button-up shirt in a neutral color such as white or black.
  • Bottom: High-waisted dress pants with a wide-leg silhouette.
  • Accessories: A statement belt, structured handbag, and simple jewelry.
  • Shoes: Pointed-toe pumps.

Look 2: Sophisticated and Flattering

  • Top: A peplum blouse in a bold color or pattern.
  • Bottom: A pencil skirt in a complementary color.
  • Accessories: A statement necklace, structured handbag, and simple earrings.
  • Shoes: Strappy heels in a coordinating color.

Look 3: Relaxed and Comfortable

  • Top: A flowy tunic top in a fun print.
  • Bottom: Ponte pants in a dark color.
  • Accessories: A colorful scarf, statement ring, and tote bag.
  • Shoes: Comfortable flats or loafers.

FAQs about Plus Size Business Casual

Plus Size Business Casual How to Dress Professionally and Confidently

Q: Can I wear jeans to a business casual work environment?

A: This depends on the company and industry you work in. Some companies may allow it, while others may consider it too casual for the workplace. If you do choose to wear jeans, make sure they are dark wash and free from rips or excessive distressing.

Q: Are there any colors or patterns I should avoid when dressing business casual?

A: As a plus size individual, you should feel confident in wearing any color or pattern that you love. However, if you’re unsure, stick to classic neutrals and subtle patterns such as stripes or polka dots.

Q: Is it appropriate to wear open-toed shoes to a business casual workplace?

A: Again, this depends on the company and industry. Some may allow open-toed shoes, while others may consider them too casual. If you do choose to wear sandals or peep-toe shoes, make sure they are in good condition and not too revealing.

Q: Can I wear leggings as pants to a business casual workplace?

A: Leggings can be tricky to pull off in a professional setting, especially for plus size individuals. If you do choose to wear leggings, make sure they are thick and opaque, and pair them with a longer top or tunic for coverage.

Q: How can I dress for a business casual event after work without having to change my entire outfit?

A: A simple way to transition from work to an after-work event is by changing your top. Swap your structured button-up for a more relaxed blouse or statement top, and add some accessories for a touch of glam.

In Conclusion

Dressing in plus size business casual can be challenging, but it should never hold you back from feeling confident and stylish in the workplace. By following these tips and incorporating your personal style, you can rock any business casual work environment with ease and professionalism. Remember that fit is key, and don’t be afraid to experiment with colors and patterns. With the right wardrobe, you’ll feel empowered to conquer any professional setting with grace and confidence.

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