One Look, Two Sizes

The chief creative officer of Talbots deconstructs the very best looks of the season, whether you wear a size 4 or a size 14.

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Plus Proof

Used to be that plus-size clothes were nothing but big, shapeless styles in a limited color palette. Today’s landscape offers on-trend selections galore, and über-retailer Talbots is a leader in the $30 billion-a-year plus-size business. Talented Talbots exec Michael Smaldone demonstrates that certain styles will ­flatter all.




 

Photo by: Chris Fanning

Talbots Chief

Michael Smaldone, the company’s chief creative officer, says size is irrelevant to good styling; rather, what’s key are quality fabrics, flattering prints
and clever accessorizing. Here, armed with a rack of clothes and two models, he shows us his favorite “any size” looks.

Photo by: Chris Fanning

Look 1

Get the skirt’s fit right (no pulling across the front) and choose prints wisely: This large-scale floral—a big spring trend—is more flattering on curvy figures than an equally trendy geometric design.

 

Top: Strenesse Gabriele Strehle cashmere top, $360; Pamela Robbins, 914-472-4033

 

Skirt: Talbots cotton skirt, $99; talbots.com

 

Pumps: Talbots patent leather pumps, $149; talbots.com

 

Necklace: Talbots 12k gold–plated metal necklace, $99; talbots.com

Photo by: Chris Fanning

Look 1, Take 2

Top: L.L.Bean signature cotton cashmere blend top, $75; llbeansignature.com

 

Skirt: Talbots cotton skirt, $99; talbots.com

 

Pumps: patent leather pumps, $149; talbots.com

 

Necklace: 12k gold–plated metal necklace, $99; talbots.com

Photo by: Chris Fanning

The Classic Wrap

A universally flattering style that’s crazy for curves. Smaldone’s advice? “It’s an easy dress to ­accessorize. ­Anything from chunky necklaces or beads to layers of chains will work, and longer pieces will create a slimming ­vertical line.”

 

 

 


 

Photo by: Chris Fanning

Look 2

 

The wrap is tailored but sexy and equally perfect for work and weekends. Smaldone says the styling flatters all “because the cross over design follows and accentuates the curves of the body.” The bright coral hue is a key color for spring and looks great paired with neutral accessories.

 

 

Dress: Diane von Furstenberg silk blend dress, $265; 646-486-4800 

 

Necklae: Talbots Lucite necklace, $69; talbots.com

 

Earrings: Crislu 18k gold and cubic zirconia earrings, $143; crislu.com

 

Shoes: Rebecca Taylor embossed snakeskin sandals, $325; rebeccataylor.com

Photo by: Chris Fanning

Look 2, Take 2

Most people think of strappy sandals for evening, but, Smaldone says, “when done in a heavier heel, they add instant chic to daywear.”

 


Dress: Diane von Furstenberg silk blend dress, $265; 646-486-4800

 

Necklace: Talbots Lucite necklace, $69; talbots.com

 

Earrings: Crislu 18k gold and cubic zirconia earrings, $143; crislu.com

 

Shoes: Rebecca Taylor embossed snakeskin sandals, $325; rebeccataylor.com

 


 

Photo by: Chris Fanning

Pleats & Stripes

Success is in the details: Keep lines narrow and uniform; control the skirt’s volume. A lighter-weight denim makes this skirt less bulky, in a style that’s feminine but not frou­frou. For maximum slimming, says Smaldone, “pleats should lie flat over the abdomen and release gently over legs.”


 

Photo by: Chris Fanning

Look 3

“A pop of color is always fun,” Smaldone says. A bright shoe becomes a bold accent, not a focal point.

 

Top: Old Navy cotton top, $15; oldnavy​.com for stores 

 

Skirt: Talbots cotton denim skirt, $89; talbots.com

 

Pumps: Vince Camuto patent leather pumps, $89; vincecamuto.com

 

Earrings: Jennifer Miller jewelry faux coral and turquoise earrings, $95; jennifermillerjewelry.com

 

Ring: Kenneth Jay Lane resin ring, $108; Bloomingdale’s, 800-555-7467

Photo by: Chris Fanning

Look 3, Take 2

“Thin, even lines are the most slimming,” notes Smaldone. The open neckline shows off the collarbone, a pretty look for most women. Keep accessories to a minimum to avoid busyness.

 

  1. Top: Tommy Bahama cotton top, $58; tommybahama.com

 

Skirt: Talbots cotton denim skirt, $89; talbots.com

 

Pumps: vince camuto patent leather pumps, $89; vincecamuto.com

 

Earrings: Jennifer Miller Jewelry faux coral and turquoise earrings, $95; jennifermillerjewelry.com

 

Ring: Kenneth Jay Lane resin ring, $108; Bloomingdale’s, 800-555-7467


Get ready for spring's biggest trends by reading our fashion forecast, modeled by the always gorgeous Lana Ogilvie.

 

Photo by: Chris Fanning
First Published February 9, 2011

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