Selecting Plus Size Accessories

Posted by Jen Anderson on

Selecting Plus Size Accessories

Considering how many scarves I own that are comically small on me at my current size, you'd think there would be loads of information out there about plus size accessories. Not so much. I dove into my collection of style books to find some useful info among all the nonsense about camouflage. 

As always, wear what you want. Accessories broadcast our personality even more than our clothes. You gotta do you. But we've all tried on a bracelet and couldn't figure out why it was so uncomfortable, or looked...weird.

plus size workwearProportion

Bold, chunky jewelry looks great on plus size women. Big lady, big necklace - makes perfect sense. Except...some of us have a delicate bone structure that's overwhelmed by large pieces. And because nothing is ever easy, your body may have both strong bones and delicate ones (for lack of better terms).

For example, I have short, stubby fingers so I wear big, bold rings. But I look and feel uncomfortable in a cuff bracelet. So I look better in thin bracelets. (I do own several big bracelets and wear them sometimes, but at least now I understand why I keep picking them up and putting them right back down.) My point is that you gravitate to certain styles for a reason. Sometimes that's just not your bracelet.

plus size workwearNecklaces

Some necklaces come with built-in extenders, but you can also buy some to make sure all your necklaces are the right length for you. Pearl necklaces have a unique clasp, so I make my grandmother's pearls long enough for me by using a pearl bracelet as an extender. If it's in the budget, take pearls to a jeweler to have them restrung into a long enough strand.

Measure your favorite necklaces so you know which lengths to shop for. The standard diagrams showing where various length necklaces end on a woman's body don't apply to plus size women, and no one seems to have come up with a plus-specific version.

plus size workwearHandbags

I love a structured tote and that size works well with my figure. But for special occasions, I'll use a tiny clutch. When it comes to purses, plus size women have the most options. Larger bags can look way too big on thinner ladies.

Strap length is really important. If you're pear shaped, you want straps short enough that the bottom of the bag rests on top of your hip. That way you can hold it close to your body instead of bumping into things.

One thing I love about purses is that they can be hacked. Not enough pockets? Get an organizer insert. Straps too long, too short, or wearing out? Get thee to a shoe repair shop. That includes cross-body bags which tend not to fit across our bodies because of a too-short strap.

plus size workwearScarves

Long and thin is the way to go. Smaller scarves look great tied to your handbag. Or try tying one on your wrist like a bracelet. I know in my soul that there is such a thing as a square scarf big enough for plus size women, but I haven't been able to track down exact dimensions - and they're probably different for women who wear a 1x and a 4x. Play around in a department store to see what works for you.

Glasses and Sunglasses

I've always had a big head, so I need larger than average frames. You may be in the same boat. Metal frames have some bend to them, which is why drug store reading glasses fit just about everyone.  Plastic? Not so much. Many websites will let you filter frames by size, so shopping is fairly easy.


Just don't skimp on fit, OK? If you have wide feet, buy shoes that come in wide widths. Yes, even sandals - your tootsies should be completely supported by them. I know the selection of wide width shoes is limited, but you're going to end up not wearing shoes that don't fit properly, so they're a waste of money. 

You make the rules

Not the sunglass industry, not your local shoe store - you. Don't try to get your body to work with the latest accessories. Find accessories that work with you.

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Check out our other posts about plus size style.


Roaman’s has a wonderful selection of wide and wide-wide adorable shoes and sandals. I only recently found them and am so excited to share this with everyone. As a wide-wide woman I had to put up with the same very small selection of shoes but now I can wear cute ones, sexy ones, oh just all of them and at reasonable prices!


As a male of the species, it would be fair to say that compared to my past wives or girlfriends, I am somewhat fashion challenged! But I can spot a great essay on the topic (like this one) a mile away. If it is visual impact you seek, good accessories are very important. I know from hard-won experience that there is no point gifting your plus-size lass a beautiful necklace if it is too short for her!

—Bill fabrey,

You nailed it, Jen. Over so many, many years and so many bad purchases of accessories i now know that longer necklaces, chunky cuff bracelets and only silk scarves that lay softly and flat work for me. I no longer waste my hard earned money on fads and stuff that is pretty but doesnt work for me. You have such great, practical advice. Thank you for your awesome blogs.

—Rosemary ,

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