When we're looking for versatile plus size clothing, we tend to look at a specific garment and ponder where we could wear it and what we could wear it with. It's an extension of shopping for a specific event (which you should never have to do because you own so much versatile clothing). But if we take a moment to think about what qualities make a piece versatile in the first place, shopping can be a lot quicker and easier.
One of the reasons that black is so popular is that it goes with everything. Well, almost everything - a navy blue print goes better with navy than black for example. But you know what I mean. Having a good variety of neutral shades in your wardrobe makes all of your clothes more versatile.
It's obvious that you can wear Olive Green or gray or brown with a lot of other colors. But can a purple top be versatile? When you have pieces in a variety of neutral shades, you can look at a purple top and list all the other clothes you can pair it with. If versatility means "it goes with at least 3 other things in your wardrobe," then all sorts of bright colors can be versatile.
Don't forget about prints. If a print includes most of your favorite colors, it probably goes with a lot of pieces in your wardrobe. And a neutral print can be worn just like a solid neutral.
Some fabrics like fleece and sweatshirt material are distinctly sporty, so they're not versatile. They can't really be dressed up. Dressy fabrics like satin can't easily be dressed down.
But some fabrics can be easily dressed up or down. For example, I own quite a few jersey t-shirt style dresses. I can pair them with sneakers or casual sandals to run errands, or I can wear fancy shoes or sandals to eat out.
Context is everything. You wouldn't wear a tank top to a corporate office. Not on its own. But under a jacket, it makes perfect sense. Yet that doesn't mean a specific tank/sleeveless shell has to be only workwear. Crop pants, a shell, and a jacket make a lovely summer suit. At the end of the day, you can simply remove the jacket and you have the perfect outfit for sitting outside. Or pair the tank with a skirt for sightseeing on vacation.
It Has To Be You
It doesn't matter how much a garment mixes and matches with other pieces if you never wear it. The pieces that rarely make it out of your closet tend to be not really your style, or not really your silhouette. A dress isn't doing you any good if it's too snug across your hips, or if it's in a print that's just not you.
I've talked about dressing for your body shape until I'm cerulean in the face, so I won't get into it too much here. As for style, prints and styles are extremely subjective. Versatility should always take a back seat to your personal look.
Versatility Is Easier Than It Looks
So many of us don't shop mindfully and end up with non-versatile clothing. Which means that if you do, you'll quickly become the most stylish person you know. Simply branching out from black to other neutral colors can elevate your look, and let you get a lot more use out of your clothes.