7 Plus-Size Fashion Month Outfits To Inspire Your Spring Look

For those of us who work in fashion, fashion month is our Super Bowl (even when the actual Super Bowl happens at the same time as New York Fashion Week). A big work conference/industry reunion/party, whether in Copenhagen or Paris, it’s the time to see and be seen. So the looks for fashion week are important, to say the least. For many of my straight-size colleagues, the biggest issue is choice: With ample availability of samples to loan and brand gifting in their size, I’ve had friends tell me they have trouble narrowing down their options. But as a woman who wears a size 18/20, my issue is just the opposite, with few fashion-forward plus-size looks readily available for the biannual event.

A lot of samples are available in, well, sample sizes only. In many cases, there’s also no gifting for me, as many brands that show at NYFW stop at a size 10/12. And given the lack of brick-and-mortar shopping options for extended sizing, I can’t just pop into any store to shop last minute either. It takes a lot of planning (almost everything I wore had to be ordered online in advance) and creativity to wrangle a full week of spring looks that feel true to my style and elevated enough for the occasion.

While the level of organizing it takes for plus-size fashion week attendees to piece together cool, stylish looks cannot be understated, the joy of showing up and showing out as someone in a body type that was traditionally excluded is an incredibly rewarding feeling. Ahead, seven plus-size fashion week looks. Even if you’re not attending fashion shows for a living, let this guide inspire your next spring outfit.

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Spring Plus-Size Outfit Inspo: Date Night

As someone who has been going to New York Fashion Week for over a decade, I can confirm that the start date begins earlier every season. Though the first official day of NYFW wasn’t until Friday, I started going to fashion shows on Wednesday, so this was my unofficial kickoff look.

For Adore Me’s lingerie show, I decided to lean into the boudoir vibe with a lacy cutout dress. To keep it from being overly literal, I layered it under a sheer rose-hued mesh top from NYC designer Tamara Malas (one of my few successful clothing loans of the season). I amped up the warmth of the color palette with a rich orange bag, red patent boots with a sculptural heel, and a lush purple faux fur from the depths of my closet. This look was an absolute compliment magnet, with strangers stopping me on the street to tell me how much they loved my outfit.

Spring Plus-Size Outfit Inspo: Work Event

For the IMG kick-off event of New York Fashion Week — “Fashioning a More Size Inclusive NYFW” panel, co-created by elle.com beauty director Danielle James and myself — I had to bring a look. I was going to be on stage, after all, and alongside plus-fashion industry changemakers like supermodel Ashley Graham, stylist and editor Gabriella Kareefa-Johnson, and director of IMG Models Mina White. Needless to say, the self-imposed sartorial pressure was on! 

I ended up taking color palette inspiration from this blue tweed slingback. The multi-tonal blue got me thinking about mixing denim, and I combined a sleek dark denim corset top and straight-leg jean set from Warp + Weft with an oversized light wash denim trench coat from up-and-coming plus size designer Jordie McFarquhar’s label, On 24th by Jordie. I loved being able to highlight the design of a young plus-size designer at the panel, and I also just loved the design itself: The thoughtful details — like oversized grommets, the sharp slits to the waist, and a raw-edged pleated hem — set this apart from some of the more simple denim trenches on the market. I completed the look with my small Telfar in metallic cobalt blue.

Spring Plus-Size Outfit Inspo: Casual Look

I decided to go for a more low-key look for the official Day 1 of NYFW, which kicked off with the excellent New York Men’s Day shows. I started with a reconstructed ribbed tank from Brooklyn designer Sam Finger (who had one of my favorite size-diverse presentations of Fashion Week last season). I added a pair of wide-leg satin cargo pants. The fit on these is excellent, though a smidge too long for my 5’4” frame. I solved that by adding my beloved platform sneakers, which also added a bit of athleisure flavor to the outfit.

I’d originally planned to wear a full-length pink-to-purple ombre faux fur with this look, but the unseasonably warm February weather had other plans. I ended up going with a deep red faux leather trench from actress Ashley Park’s Rent the Runway collaboration instead, and finished the look with a vibrant purple leather Celine bag from NYC’s Designer Revival.

Spring Plus-Size Outfit Inspo: Coquette Fashion 

I love taking inspiration from the shows I’m attending for outfit ideas, and the playful, absurdist aesthetic of designer Olivia Cheng’s Dauphinette was in mind while styling my look for another busy day at Fashion Week. A baby pink patent Mary Jane heel was the catalyst — it instantly evoked the surprisingly durable doll-fashion trend that continues to be a presence. And the moment I saw this puppy print dress from size-inclusive favorite Selkie, it felt like the perfect thing for a delightfully weird doll fashion moment. 

The puff skirt on this dress is quite mini, so I found a pair of lavender opaque tights for a little added coverage. With frilly white socks and a mini baguette bag, the look was complete (and thank goodness this was another uncharacteristically warm day because I could not figure out a single coat to wear with this voluminous dress!).

Spring Plus-Size Outfit Inspo: Red All Over

Fashion week is the perfect time to go for it when it comes to looks that might be a little more daring, and nothing fits the bill more than the no-pants trend. This isn’t the first time I’ve worn this controversial fad, but it was certainly the most impactful, thanks to the head-to-toe — and on-trend — red color palette

When I saw this boxy red satin blazer from Baacal designer Cynthia Vincent, I knew this had to be my no-pants moment this season. I initially wanted to wear it with an embellished pair of tap pants a la Miu Miu’s wave-making $5600 beaded panties. But while there were plenty of mass-market options for straight sizes, I couldn’t find a single pair that was even remotely similar in plus. So I used a Chromat swimsuit for bottom coverage instead, and kept the blazer buttoned up all day. With a sheer red top underneath and red-framed eyeglasses, the only missing piece was the perfect pair of red tights. It’s hard to find a sheer-to-waist version (aka no control top), but, once I got this pair following a reader recommendation, I did a little happy dance because I was able to make my outfit vision a reality. 

Spring Plus-Size Outfit Inspo: Comfortable Neutrals

This look was all about the fringed faux leather jacket featuring two horse heads. This has been on my wishlist for years, so when it finally came back in stock last year, I snapped it up immediately. 

For NYFW, I paired it with a slinky jersey set from from plus-owned label Gia IRL. The lived experience of model founder Gia Sinatra is evident in the impeccable fit of this seamed flowy maxi skirt. Whereas most jersey skirts in this style tend to cling to bellies and flare weirdly below thick thighs, this one just skims and flows beautifully. I also love that it is available in sizes up to 30. I finished the look with white croc-embossed combat boots, white cat-eye shades, and a Tom Ford-era YSL bag to pull out the neutral tones of the skirt set.

Spring Plus-Size Outfit Inspo: Floral Appliqués & Jeans

For my last day of shows, I wanted to go for a romantic look from one of my favorite designers Samantha Pleet. This 3D rose-embellished bodysuit could have made for an excellent no-pants look, but it seemed like NYC finally remembered it was February because the morning started with a blizzard. Tights were not going to cut it in those conditions. In the end, I decided to go for a hard-meets-soft look. I loved the contrast of the delicate silk satin rose bag and rosette hair bow with slouchy low-slung jeans and combat boots. I topped it all off with a chunky vintage leather jacket (one of my prize thrifting finds: I got it for $20 at Philly AIDS Thrift!). 

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