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Can Plus Size Women Wear Prints? 5 Tips for Plus Size Chicks

Can fat women wear prints?

by Tina Boomerina (Christina Gregoire)

Printed clothing won’t make you look fat. Being fat will make you look fat. Actually, the right print on the right outfit will often make a plus-sized woman look better… if not thinner… than the same outfit in plain-Jane black.

Prints are very good at keeping people from noticing your body’s little flaws, like bulges of fat and saggy boobs. Kids and dogs work much the same way, but they’re harder to wear.

Can Plus Size Women Wear Printed Pants?

Read about prints for plus size women - boomerinas.com

Can Fat Women Wear Printed Pants?

Ummmmmm… let me ask my psychiatrist if he thinks fat women should wear printed trousers. Be right back…

Okay. Dr. Johnson says that fat girls should not wear printed pants… unless they are super confident and they like to have fun. (No. I don’t go to a psychiatrist. That’s the name of my mother’s psychiatrist. I’m next in line to inherit him.)

I’m trying to make a joke. Don’t you think it’s kinda weird that fashion “experts” on websites – people who’ve never met you – like to tell you what to wear? I think it’s weird. They don’t know if you’re a size 14 or a size 22.

Why do they insist on telling you that you will look good if you wear a _______ (fill in the blank) and you will look like _______ if you wear a _______?

Will the Right Clothes Make You Look Skinnier?

No. Prints and patterns won’t make you look skinny, but plain black stretchy fabrics will often show every bulge and bump on your body. Is that better?

The perfect print on the perfect dress (or top or pants or skirt) is a little like fat-camouflage, because the right mix will make the eye bounce around, rather than dwell upon your worst area. It doesn’t ALWAYS work, but it works often enough that I think it’s worth a try.

Plus Size Outfits for Women

If you’re reading this, you’re probably overweight. And, I’m sure I’m supposed to tell you to diet and exercise… but this is the real world. You are what you are. I am what I am. I was skinny for most of my life. Now, I’m a plus size.

Bite me.

Prints and Patterns are Fun

For ages and ages, overweight women were told to avoid wearing prints. And, women over 40 were told to avoid wearing prints and/or bright colors. Well, there’s only so much black we can wear. Life is not a funeral.

What Prints Look Good on Plus Size Women?

What kind of prints should you wear if you’re chubby? Well, there’s no easy answer for that. You need to play with different types of prints.

Here are a few things to consider when you’re looking at an outfit online or when you’re trying on an outfit at home:

1. Size of Prints: Some people say not to wear small prints. Some people say not to wear large prints. I say the right size of pattern depends on the colors and the contrast in the pattern. More importantly, you should avoid any print that looks little-girlish. I know that unicorns are big right now, but save those baby-bedroom prints and peace-sign-smiley-faces for your Rainbow Brite granddaughter. Okay?

2. Allover Patterns or Placement Patterns: Does the pattern blend into one big whirl or can you see areas of background? If you can see background, make sure the placement of the pattern is flattering to your shape. And, if the pattern is near your face, make sure the background color is flattering to your complexion.

3. Geometric or Floral Print Outfits: Some clothes are stiff and look better with geometric, stylized prints. Other clothes have more movement and look better with softer, more romantic prints. Most of the time, you can figure out what kind of print will look good on you by determining if you look better in structured clothes or flowing clothes.

Read about plus size print clothing

Plus Size Outfits - Prints

4. Bright Prints or Subtle Prints: Should you wear bright prints or subtle prints? It depends on your mood. And, it depends on where you are. I would not recommend wearing a black-and-gray print dress if you’re in Hawaii. But, if you’re having tea with the queen, you might want to tone it down a bit… unless you’re in Hawaii.

Most plus size women would be afraid to try the yellow-orange print dress in the main photo. I think it’s cute… and it’s one hell of a lot cuter than a pair of shorts on a big butt.

5. Printed Top, Printed Bottom, Printed All Over: Sometimes, a little bit of print goes a long way… but other times, prints look better when they cover an entire outfit… like with a maxi dress. If you’re top heavy, you can wear a plain top and printed pants to balance out your body. If you’re bottom heavy, you may want to wear your prints on top. Those are not rules… just guidelines… suggestions that may help you if your outfit doesn’t seem to be working. (I’ve seen pear shapes who look amazing in printed pants.)

Summer Outfits, Winter Outfits?

Even if you’re as fat as Mama Cass, you can play with prints whenever you want… even in the dead of winter or in the dark of night. C’mon. It’s your body. You get to choose what you wear. Just use a small modicum of taste.

Plus size women should not be afraid to experiment with prints. It doesn’t matter how big you are. If you’ve got it, you’ve got it.

More Articles for Plus Size Women:

Boho Chic Gypsy Style Skirts & Dresses in Plus Sizes


How to Look Thinner: A Critique of 12 Tips Article


Swimsuits for Plus Size Apple & Pear & Hourglass Body Types


Cruise Wear for Plus Sizes - Formal Nights


plus size dresses in prints

Main Photo - Can Chubby Women Wear Prints?

Photo Credits: Prshots.com.

  • Main Photo: La  Redoute, Asos.
  • Can Fat Women Wear Printed Pants:  Asos.
  • Plus Size Outfits: Alice & You, LaRedoute, Asos Curve, Pink Clove.

What do you think of this article? Leave a comment at the bottom of the page or give us a Google Plus. ps Don't give me a hard time for using the word "fat" in the title. I am fat.

Tina Boomerina (AKA Christina Gregoire) is a Baby Boomer born at the end of 1952. Her mission is to make the internet a kinder and gentler place for Baby Boomer women around the world. Tina's specialty is fashion for women over 50.

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  1. kay kerns

    Well, yes. Try it on and look hard at yourself in a mirror (a 3-way mirror if you're in a store). Make sure the print doesn't look comical (like targets on your boobs or something). Life is not a funeral haha good one.

  2. mairin

    Love your site and all the great tips for 50+ women. It is very disappointing to see that all your model are younger... it would be so much better if the clothes were worn by women in the age group you are writing for.

  3. Tina-Boomerina


    It's disappointing to me that I can't find any free photos of older fashion models. I try to find pictures of women who don't look too old, but I use photos that are acceptable to use if I give photo credits. I don't steal photos like other bloggers do.

    I have considered putting round, yellow smiley faces on all the models. I could visually chop off their heads, but I don't like that either. Well, sometimes, I chop off their heads, Marie-Antoinette style on Pinterest, but I don't usually do that on my own site.

    I get so many comments about the 16-year-old models that I've written a whole article on the subject: http://boomerinas.com/2013/10/21/why-use-young-swimsuit-models-for-baby-boomer-articles/

    If you want to volunteer and send a few photos of yourself, I'll use them instead.

    Tina Boomerina

    • Terri

      I REALLY want that leopard dress..where can I find it? I'm 62, but "hip"...and fortunately still have good legs...I think that dress and boots will be perfect for a holiday luncheon I have to go to. Any ideas? Great site!

      • Tina-Boomerina


        I REALLY wish I could help, but the dress is from 2014 when I wrote this article. It would look great on you, I'm sure. It was from asos.com, but I'm sure they won't have it anymore.

        Everyone wants that dress. Maybe some enterprising young designer will copy it.


  4. Nancy Kleinschmit

    The pictures you have showing suggested outfits show larger, but very young, women. That does not help us envision what the styles would look like on us.

  5. Chelsea

    What website did you get that chettah dress? I'm in love. I need it for vegas.

  6. Jenny

    Where can I buy the printed maxi dress in the featured picture?

  7. Lisa

    Where are the featured outfits such as the black and white loose tank and the flowered rayon pants from?

  8. Happyhelga

    I've just discovered your website; thanks for the laughs along with the sage, down to earth advice. In South Africa, plus size fashions for women over 40 are firmly in the "granny/farmer's wife/ housecoat"category, and it's so inspiring to see what can be done when one can wrestle a flabby body that just won't obey into colourful, printy, fabulous clothes.

    • Tina-Boomerina

      Happy Helga,

      Wow, I would think you would have all kinds of cool fabrics (like the third & fifth dresses) that could be made into great plus-sized dutch wax kinds of dresses. Maybe no one actually wears those in South Africa. They should. I would. Maybe only indigenous peoples wear those prints?

      Anyway, thank God for the internet. We have terrible plus sizes where I live, so I order things from all over the world. Hope you can too. I know that some countries are difficult to ship to. Not sure about yours.

      You might look at Australian websites and see if they ship to South Africa.


      • Happyhelga

        Hi Tina

        In South Africa, Nigerian pastor's wives wear dutch wax print dresses! We do have amazing prints here (especially a type called shweshwe), and we actually have a designer called Maya Prass who is a real woman herself, and designs the most flattering clothes FOR ALL AGES in the most fabulous prints. Thanks for the tips about buying from overseas - our customs, however, whacks on a large import duty, which kind of sucks the fun out of buying from overseas. I don't know if Maya Prass ships overseas, but check her out.

        • Tina-Boomerina


          I really want to learn more about dutch wax prints. Once upon I was a painter, so I love color more than anything (except people and my kids)... you know what I mean. I will check out Maya Prass when I have time. Thank you so much.

          I hope we see more dutch wax prints made into clothing for Europe and the US and OZ and everywhere. It's so beautiful and vibrant.


  9. Amanda Gia

    Excellent advice, but I think it applies to all women no matter the size. Some patterns are best left hanging on the rack...period :) I believe the fit is essential no matter the pattern. This article is a great resource for those venturing into being fashion forward. I also appreciate the sentiment int he comments that there are difficulties in finding fun prints in plus...the internet has helped and we're here to help too... Scaled~uP Apparel has trendy looks at affordable prices. Check us out! Animal print blouses will be in stock in the morning 8/20/2015! Embrace your curves and live your life...with patterns or without!!

  10. Feecrochette

    These beautiful women are NOT fat! Just slightly curvy. I can't imagine how women with more curves must feel when they read this.

  11. Kailey

    It'd be super great if your site posted links to where to get these dresses! Super frustrating!

  12. Flor

    Good morning:
    Please, I like yours dresses but I dont know who I buy ?

  13. Janine Helligar

    Is this a trick question?! I hope so!