Retro Essentials: Plus Size Pinup

One of the things I really love about the pinup community is that it celebrates beauty in far more forms than most mainstream communities do. Despite not shopping plus sized clothes myself, I think it’s important to show some of the amazing clothes made in those sizes. It’s also my firm belief that the various retro styles are a lot more versatile when it comes to dressing for your body shape (a point I’ve brought up in several of my style posts) and one of the styles that actually produces some really beautiful and flattering clothes for plus sized members of the community. The plus size section of a lot of regular style stores tends to look rather depressing, bleak, and shapeless. Let’s try to do better than that.

As usual, I’m aiming to include a range of prices, styles, and dress codes.

For those of you looking to start a discussion about weight/health/anything like that – please go somewhere else.
My firm belief is that no one will become healthier by being shamed or bullied by others, nor that someone who is currently plus sized should have to wear unflattering clothes as some sort of “punishment”. This series on my blog is about offering a pathway into the retro styles for anyone who is interested. Abuse will not be tolerated.

Most of the examples listed below are from Modcloth. Why? Because their plus sized dress section has more than 600 items in it. It’s also a site that I recommend quite often in my regular posts.
Here’s a few brands/stores that do more targeted rockabilly/retro clothing but that I didn’t select specific examples from: Domino Dollhouse, WildKitty Clothing, Emerald Swamp, and Stars and Swallows.

Everyday dresses
Let’s start by having a look at what Modcloth has to offer. One of the most flattering types of garments ever made is the wrap dress and it works especially well for people with an hourglass figure. Modcloth has this wonderful long sleeved cranberry coloured dress in sizes xs to 4x and it retails for approx 80 USD. This polkadot number is a dress I imagine would look really good on people with a more rectangular body shape and it goes up to 3x, retails for 70 USD. Also going up to 3x is this grey v-neck that I’ve probably linked to before. V-necks are great for people with larger busts as it prevents you from looking matronly, the flowy skirt also means that it looks good on most kinds of hips. It retails for 55 USD and is a great option for casual days. Going a bit more towards the 1960’s is this white and orange dress that would look great on rectangular bodies and looks to be perfect for really hot summer days. It retails for 45 USD and with the right accessories it can definitely be styled into a solid pinup appropriate option than it appears to be at first glance.

Everyday tops
I get it, not everyone wants to wear dresses everyday. So let’s have a look at some other casual options.
Once again, let’s start with Modcloth. Going up to XXL is this wonderful white polkadot off the shoulder shirt that can be worn with anything from jeans to a cute skirt. It’s currently on sale with 50% off and the original price is 30 USD. Also on sale for 25 AUD is this navy themed button up that would look great on rectangular shapes or for ladies with smaller busts. If you prefer longer shirts, this tunic in a gorgeous dark green colour might be a good option at 30USD and ranging from s-4x. Prefer something with a cute print on it? Try this white tank top with a fabulous llama on it, retailing for 25USD and going up to 4X. If combined with leggings, jeans, or even a maxi skirt, this baggy mint tunic can be worn all year around. 40USD and S-4X.

Everyday Bottoms
Modcloth: Dark denim jeans exclusively in plus sizes (1x-3x) for 60 USD, wear them with a plaid shirt for the country/western feel or combine with a cute t-shirt and red lips for a great casual outfit.
This is an example of a type of skirt that exists in endless reincarnations at Modcloth, a high waisted skirt that ends above the knee. This one comes in crimson, goes up to 3X and costs you 35USD. They have very similar skirts that go below the knee as well, so if you’re a fan of fitted waists and loose hems, Modcloth is a great source.
Maxi skirts can easily look boring and prudish, but this black one with lace panels is a good way to spice things up a bit. It comes in sizes S-XXL but not all sizes are available right now (seems it will be restocked), sells for 40USD. If you like leggings, I suggest this high-waisted pair for 20 bucks and in s-4x.
Sadly, Target seems to be very limited when it comes to attractive retro style plus sized clothes. But for casual wear, they at least have these jeggings in 16-26 for 35 AUD.
Work & Business

Modcloth – first out is a high necked yellow blouse with ruffled details, perfect for a business environment where you can still bring out a bit of colour. Goes up to 4x and sells for 45 USD, please note that it comes in at least one other colour too. I’m a big fan of cardigans and this structured one with a timeless pattern is a perfect option for work. It goes up to 4X and seems to be tailored for women with smaller busts, retails for 50 USD. If styled well, this striped t-shirt can most certainly be turned into a comfortable work shirt. It sells for 35USD and goes up to 4X.
Want to bring in some classic pinup prints while still keeping it work appropriate? For 55USD and in sizes xs-4x, you can find this wonderful light blue skirt with roses and birds. I keep raving about pencil skirts and this one has some lovely discrete nautical details, 60USD and going up to 3x. Want to channel your inner Christina Hendricks? Go for this dress in dark green and combine it with a blazer or classy cardigan. It costs 180USD and goes up to 4X.

City Chic has some more contemporary options, like this pink shirt for 30 AUD or this polkadot t-shirt for 50AUD. Both of these items can be combined with more formal bottoms to be made office appropriate or more casual items to be worn on your days off. This gorgeous satin black skirt of theirs can be worn either for work purposes or more formal events, retailing for 120 AUD.

Night out
This figure fit dress in red and black goes up to XXL and will set you back 70 USD. This gold dress just screams New Year’s Eve and come in the impressive size range 0-24, it’s on the expensive side for 170USD but it will make you look like a million bucks.
One of the most pure Rockabilly dresses on modcloth is this black and white swing-style dress for 80USD and in XS-4X.

If combined with a badass top, this lace tube skirt from City Chic can make you look like an absolute bombshell for 80AUD.

Formal
Knee length and with sleeves, this stunning and timeless white & black floral dress will work at almost any occasion where you can get away with wearing a dress that doesn’t reach the floor. It goes up to 4X and costs 90USD. Also for 90USD but fit for occasions when you do need a full length dress is this elegant purple number with delicate lace. Feeling less Christina Hendricks and more Marilyn Monroe? Try this piece in white silk for 115USD and in sizes XS-4X. This Hell Bunny dress with an adorable floral pattern brings a lovely 50’s feel, retails for 83AUD, and goes up to 4X.

Swimwear
Finding nice swimwear is a challenge for anyone, finding swimwear that also manages to be both plus size and retro was an even greater challenge. Still, there are some really elegant options out there.
This one piece in a gorgeous emerald halter neck is available in sizes 16-26 and costs 90USD. It’s pricey but I’ve work a similar one in black and it’s very comfortable and flattering.
From Atomic Cherry’s website, we’ll find a series of separates that includes this navy polka dot bikini top that goes up to 2x and sells for 60 AUD. They obviously also do matching bottoms as well, like these high-waisted ones in black for 60AUD and sizes XS-2XL.. In regards to one-pieces, they have this sailor themed swimsuit with buttons for 130 (currently on sale for <100) that goes up to 2X.

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