Plus Size Corporate Work Wear

Posted by Jen Anderson on

Plus Size Corporate Work Wear

A few years after the dot com crash, I found myself working at the most corporate environment I'd ever been in. It wasn't as strict as some financial firms where they only allow gray or dark blue suits and if you show up in a brown suit they'll send you home to change. But it was close.

Some women wore suits, but (and I know I'm preaching to the choir here) plus size suits at stores where they'll let you buy different sizes for the jacket and skirt cost a freaking fortune. I'm talking 4x what my manager was paying for suits. They were not paying me enough for that. So I played it fast and loose with the definition of "business separates"and wore long sleeved tees with pants or skirts. I was never sent home, but I did have to abandon all hope of ever getting promoted. And my clothes were still uncomfortable.

woman wearing a lemon tweed outfit

And that's why every time I look at Vikki Vi Classics, I want to scream, "where have you been all my life?" Vikki Vi Pull On Pants, Cardigans and Blazers would've made my time as a corporate drone much more pleasant.

There's a reason why Vikki Vi has a dedicated fan base. They're as comfortable as pajamas while looking polished enough for any office. And their versatility means that they can be dressed up for fancy events and dressed down for casual time.

Either you have a closet full of Vikki Vi Classics, or you're wondering if you've just found the answers to all your workwear problems. If you're in the first group, please leave your pro tips in the comments. For the newbies, let's talk about putting together some corporate work outfits.

Your employer's level of formality directly impacts how many pieces of clothing you need and how you'll shop.

And now for my completely unscientific scale of corporate formality.

Hardcore Corporate: There's a chance you'll be sent home if your clothes are too different from everyone else's. Your colleagues only wear suits in neutral colors. You should stock up on Pants, Skirts, and Jackets in neutrals. We always have Black and Navy and sometimes have various shades of brown and gray. Have fun with your Sleeveless Shells since they'll be the only pop of color in your outfit. You'll want to own at least 7-10 shells so you don't get bored.

woman wearing a minidot print kimono jacket

Medium Corporate: You probably wouldn't be sent home, but you might be stopped by a random VP if your outfit was too radical. You can get away with suits in colors - whee! Use your judgement when selecting colors since some companies in this category will object to hot pink and others wouldn't. Stock up on neutrals and colors, and don't forget to get some Shells in neutral shades to go with your colorful pieces. You'll want to own at least 10-15 sets of pants/skirts, jackets, and shells because your outfits will be memorable and it would be weird to wear red every week, or even every other week. Also, some colors may be too dark for summer or too light for winter.

You can probably get away with prints as long as you keep the company's vibe in mind. Remember, prints include tweeds, houndstooth, and pinstripe. If your colleagues wear these prints in wool suits, you can too.

Kinda Corporate: You could wear Black Pants with a Green Jacket and no one would blink. You can mix and match like crazy. Buy whichever colors speak to you and make sure to have some neutral Shells because they'll go with anything. You need at least 5-10 sets of pants/skirts, jacket, and shell because with mixing and matching you can create so many combinations that you can go a month without repeating a combo. You've got a lot of leeway with prints, so have some fun. I mean, not too much fun. Kinda Corporate is still Kinda Serious. But a lot of the prints we carry are office-friendly.

woman wearing a lemon tweed print t shirt style dress

Day to Night

No matter how corporate your employer is, you're going to find yourself having to go somewhere after work that's not your couch. A t-shirt style dress and blazer should be acceptable in any office - especially if they match. After hours, you can take off the blazer and the dress' flutter sleeves help transform your look into something more evening-appropriate.

Pace Yourself 

A good work wardrobe takes time to build. We release new colors and prints each month, so keep checking. Regularly adding a piece or two keeps your wardrobe interesting.

Check out our other posts about working while plus size.


Lynn Averett expressed my greatest desire—a “blue” red color. I keep wishing for this one. I would also like a true hot pink and a medium grey.

Since I discovered Vicki Vi, I always have something appropriate and comfortable for any occasion. I always get compliments on what I wear. I’ve never felt so relaxed about how I look. If I’m wearing Vicki Vi there’s nothing to worry about!

—Virginia willis,

Several surgeries, including one where I nearly died from gangrene, have left me with painful and tender adhesions in my abdomen. I can barely tolerate the elastic on underwear and so have an entire wardrobe of dresses. (no pants) Being plus sized, I love what I call my “sausage casing”dresses –in a growing collection of colors. Along with the matching jackets all Vikki Vi. I have probably 150 scarves, divided into seasons somewhat like the Japanese do with their kimonos. I have a handful of beautiful art print jackets, but for the most part I have HUNDREDS of combinations available to me by mixing and matching with these beautiful flattering clothing. It holds you in, and yet sets you free. LOVE this line. Am addicted. Wish you would produce a true, cool red line. I have the other red, but am hoping one day to get a “blue”red for my collection. With my Alegria shoes, I know I rock a unique look. At 60 years of age, and wearing size 2x, i know I get more than my fair share of compliments. Keep it up Vikki Vi.

—Lynn averett,

I agree with Pat’s 10/01/18 comment. I am retired now and when I worked, I only wore Vikki Vi. I had what I called my basic (uniform) look of black pants and black shell which I wore with a same material Vikki Vi jacket in black or jewel tones, only, with colorful scarfs and jewelry, everyday. I worked in Kinda Corporate environment and frequently attended Hard Core to Medium Core meetings and business events. I always felt very comfortable and professional with the outfits that I put together exclusively wearing my Vikki Vi wardrobe. I received many compliments on my outfits and have always been so grateful that I found Plus by Design and Vikki Vi when it first went online. I continue to wear my basic Vikki Vi uniform look to this day and it has served me well both personally and professionally for over 20 years. I am grateful to Danielle Malconian for expanding the Vikki Vi line over the years.


I agree with Pat. I travel A LOT and usually only bring one or two outfits, with a couple of different shells and scarfs and jewelry. I discovered Vikki Vi about 20 years ago and never travel with anything else. Vikki Vi garments always look polished and conservative in dark colors…so appropriate for corporate business attire.

—Rosemary coates,

Don’t forget that even if you are restricted to black, navy, and possibly brown, you can still mix it up by wearing a kimono jacket one day, a classic blazer another, perhaps a swing jacket on the third. You can also mix it up by wearing bold (or semi-bold) jewelry one day and a colorful scarf another. Take a tip from the men who only own 2-3 suits. Changing your tie (in this case, scarf) keeps it from looking like exactly the same suit! Even if you are restricted to less vibrant colors, you can wear any color scarf with black and, especially if you tie it differently, it will present variety.


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