On the plus side: 5 tips for finding your first plus-size winter coat

Zipping yourself into a coat may not seem like a game changer on the daily mood scale, but trust us on this one: fit is everything. Plus-size coats today consist of on-point designs that flatter every curve, as well as seemingly limitless trendy details which will leave you looking more put together than regular sized coats ever did. Just follow these simple tips to help you purchase a plus-size winter coat or vest that will fit your body perfectly.

Step 1: Find a regular coat or vest that you love and try it on. Is it bunching up in all the wrong places? Now try it on in a plus-size. Notice the extra room across the shoulders and hips. Same style, better fit. Although logic leads us to believe that XL and 1X are practically interchangeable sizing labels, in reality plus-size coats and plus-size vests are made with better overall proportions. And that can make a major difference in how your body looks in winter apparel.

Step 2: Do not sacrifice style! If you had a love affair with fashion when you were a size 8, that flame should still burn brightly now that you are an 18W. Your body changed. Meanwhile, guess what...the trends changed, too. If you look at it that way, you and fashion have simply grown and changed together over the course of time. Look for plus-size winter coats designed to flatter your shape, like a beautiful fit and flare silhouette or a shorter parka that shows off your legs. The answer is out there.

Step 3: Keep a running list of what is working for you and what isn’t. For example, when you are dressed in cold weather layering tops, do regular coats seem to squeeze your upper arms a bit too tightly? Are your arms allowed only limited range of motion? Does the material feel tight across your shoulders, back, or chest? No one wants a fit like that. Plus-size winter coats and vests are designed with deeper arm holes, more room across the shoulders and more proportioned waists to fit you just right no matter what top you are wearing or what movements you’ll be doing.

Step 4: Speak up and be heard. Retailers of plus-size apparel want your input. They are designing plus-size apparel specifically to fit your body, not the other way around. If a design change would allow a plus-size winter coat or vest to work better for you, chances are you represent a significant portion of women wishing for the same change.

Step 5: Know your measurements. Bust, waist, hip, vertical line, horizontal body shape: consider those the ABCs of defining your figure. Most of us have some experience measuring the fullest portion of our bust, natural waist, and hip with a measuring tape or yarn. Vertical line and horizontal body shape may be new terms for you though. Are your legs short or long when compared to your upper body? Are you short waisted or long waisted? Know the answers to those questions and you’ve established the vertical line of your silhouette. When asked for your horizontal body shape, you are basically being asked to describe your figure: hourglass, inverted triangle, or rectangle. These measurements will be important as you choose a plus size coat or vest, because plus doesn’t always mean “curvy”. Plus is tall, short, athletic, thick, big boned, and a million body types in between. No matter how you refer to your plus-size body, know your measurements and you’ll get the fit that flatters it.

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