I Tested 5 Popular Fashion Aesthetics to See If They're Plus-Size Friendly


Welcome to I Tried It Month, where we'll be publishing a new fashion, beauty, or wellness article every day that features a first-person account of shaking up an old habit, pushing beyond a comfort zone, or simply trying something new. Follow along for 31 days of storytelling, including everything from trying new beauty treatments to copying the most risqué runway looks of the season.

With a handful of plus size–friendly options emerging, those on the outside looking may believe that it's easier than ever to get dressed for plus-size people. In some ways, they might be correct, as yes, technically, there are a bit more brands that carry some level of extended-size options. But for larger-bodied personal style enthusiasts, the gap is still gaping and many other problems (lack of in-person retail shopping, increased price points for extended-size goods, etc.) persist. With these issues in mind, plus fashion folks are still and will continue to get dressed and experiment with fashion.

As a fashion editor who also happens to be plus-sized, I wanted to try out dressing in some of these trending fashion aesthetics we see growing in popularity on the internet, Tiktok, and Instagram by the day. How difficult is it to embrace my inner ballerina? What would Wednesday Addams wear if she was plus-sized? These are questions I sought to answer as I dug through the online retail world (and my closet) in search of the right pieces to bring these aesthetics to life.

Ahead check out the culmination of that journey as I test out just how possible it is to get dressed in five popular fashion aesthetics as a plus-size person.


Light Academia
(Image credit: Chichi Offor )

Wearing: Pilcro Layered Sweater ($148)ASOS Design Wide Fit Melon Chunky Loafers ($42); Big Bud Press Trousers Tan ($110)

This aesthetic consists of pieces you might imagine someone who is a lover of all things literature, art, and history might frequent. Perhaps you're channeling a quirky professor or a cute poetry-loving boy in a coffee shop. Whatever way you decide to interpret it this aesthetic tends to lean on combining lighter-colored separates you might see in an academic setting (as opposed to its dark academia counterpart). 

This one wasn't too difficult to tackle. As long as you have trousers or other bottoms in warm neutrals like browns, creams, or grays, you can test out pairing them with a combination of layered button-down tops, sweaters/sweatshirts, vests, and blazers. There is a pretty solid variety of these sorts of separates available on the internet, and this look does include pieces most people own too. I do think loafers are a perfect shoe to tie together the vibes of the light academia aesthetic. I will note that I used a pair of loafers I own from ASOS that are wide foot–friendly. It isn't the easiest task to find stylish wide-width shoes online. 

Shop Light Academia:


(Image credit: Chichi Offor )

Wearing: Standards & Practices Cowl Neck Satin Slipdress ($88); Jeffrey Campbell Dancerina Ballet Flat ($135); Eloquii Turtleneck Sweater Sleeve Scarf


To bring this ballet-inspired aesthetic to life, I felt it important to include an element of the quintessential pale pink and must-have ballet flats. I know that shrug-like pieces are often added to a dancer's look, so I found these turtleneck sweater sleeves from Eloquii to top it all off. Finding ballet flats in a variety of sizes is relatively easy. I did have trouble finding a short wrap skirt that really felt right for this look, so I pivoted to focus on including the right colors rather than finding the exact clothing pieces a ballerina might wear.

Shop Balletcore:


(Image credit: Chichi Offor )

Wearing: Nary Resort Rohnea Linen Shirring Turtleneck in Black ($249); ASOS Design Curve Denim Cargo Midi Skirt In Washed Black ($49); ASOS Design Wide Fit Catch Mid Heel Sock Knee Boots In Black ($80)

Goth-inspired looks have been trending since the release of the Netflix hit Wednesday, but fashion people especially in larger cities like NYC have been wearing all-black looks for quite some time now. That being said, I wanted to wear pieces with more details that made an outfit feel more extravagant and romantic than the way I perceive some true goth enthusiasts to dress. I personally wanted to go for a more femme, romantic look, so I paired this luxe billowy, tiered-sleeved top from newbie brand Nary Resort with a black denim skirt and striking boots platform-heeled boots. 

I do really feel like even more so than the clothes themselves accessorizing with layers of silver jewelry can make all the difference in bringing to the gothcore aesthetic. I also find it's a bit easier to dress in this style than some of the other aesthetics just because of the sheer availability of plus-size black clothing. 

Shop Gothcore:


(Image credit: Chichi Offor)

Wearing: ASOS Design Curve Structured Mini Dress with 70's Ring Waist Detail in Fuschia ($95); Sojos Retro Vintage Narrow Cat Eye Sunglasses ($14); Thrifted white booties 

Ahead of the live-action Barbie movie release, the fashion set has been embracing loud Barbie-pink clothing. This was probably the most difficult aesthetic for me to nail. If you pair the very specific nature of this style with the already slim plus-size retail pickings, it was definitely harder to throw together than I initially imagined it'd be.

I think if I approached Barbiecore with a wider lens including a range of hyper-feminine colors and looks, it would probably make it a bit easier to tackle. But I do feel like the (slightly too large) dress I landed on screams Barbie, especially paired with bright-white retro sunglasses and boots.

Shop Barbiecore:


(Image credit: Chichi Offor )

Wearing: The Somerset Collection By Anthropologie Maxi Skirt ($130); Seychelles Lock and Key Mary Jane Heels ($149); Free People Nightingale Cardi ($108); Old Navy button-down

The cottage-core aesthetic channels how someone who lived in a rural farm-side flowery cottage might dress. While it sounds dreamy, it is a bit unrealistic, but that's part of the charm. Chunky cardigans, ruffle details, tiered flowing dresses, and skirts are what immediately come to mind when I think of this aesthetic. 

I decided to lean on some pieces already existing in my closet such as my Free People cardigan and Old Navy button-down with romantic details (sadly, it's sold out). I paired these with a long-tiered skirt from Anthropologie and chunky taupe clog-like Mary Janes to tie it all together. I believe cottage-core vibes can easily be replicated since it's been popular for much of the last five years. Luckily, there's been some time for existing cottage-core-friendly brands to catch up with extended-sizing options. 

Shop Cottagecore:

Next: Fashion People Have Spoken: 4 Simple Trends They're Wearing The Most This Year

Associate Shopping Editor
Chinazor "Chichi" Offor is a Georgia-born, Los Angeles–based associate editor and model who has recently relocated from Brooklyn, New York, and joined Who What Wear's West Coast offices. For WWW, she utilizes her love of personal style to dish out shopping advice to the masses.After graduating from the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism, Chichi moved to Brooklyn and began hustling to make it in the NYC media world. Before landing at WWW, she spent some time at Vice Media Group, where she helped revolutionize Refinery29's plus-size and inclusive fashion coverage and even co-hosted a summer styling series. Prior to R29, she supported Bustle Digital Group's commerce team and freelanced for various publications.Chichi is a multi-passionate, pop culture–obsessed television and music lover who enjoys a good concert and a yummy meal just as much as she loves analyzing cultural trends and throwing together a solid outfit. After work, you can probably find her bopping around the best L.A. restaurants talking about her latest ADHD-fueled hyper-fixation (e.g., Jesse McCartney's underrated career, TikTok black hole discoveries, and theories on the emo-rock music revival).