Thursday, August 21, 2014

Princely and Plus Size: My Tips for Finding Boystyle and Dandy Fashion on a Larger Scale


Sometimes, I just want to wear pants.

I know that sounds a little weird, given how much time I spend talking about skirts, but I really do want to wear pants sometimes. Whether I want to look like a French aristocrat or want to channel the Goblin King, there are some days when I really just want to wear pants but maintain my frilliness.

Those days, I turn to boystyle or dandy looks. However, for some reason, I don’t see much for mentions of dandy or ouji fashion for plus sized women. There is a ton of Lolita or aristocrat information, but not for those of us who want to wear pants (or, in my case, those of us who occasionally want to wear pants).

So I’m writing a post of my own. Obviously, a lot of this information will be useful for girls who aren't plus size; the focus is on larger sizes because the information is harder to find.

Shorts and Knickerbockers
Because of custom sizing, Fanplusfriend (or a local seamstress) is going to be your best friend here if you’re not the crafty sort, thanks to their custom sizing options. However, that can get a bit spendy for my taste, so I’m obliged to offer DIY alternatives.

If you are looking for knickerbockers or pumpkin pants and can’t find a pair, handmade is one option. Here’s one free pattern you could use as a base. You could also adapt a men’s costume pattern like this one, or you can modify this sort of bloomers pattern for ruffly shorts. Sometimes, you’ll even find patterns like this or this or this, which include perfect knickerbockers.

Another option that I like, though, is to take a pair of secondhand pants (or pants of your own where the hem has gone out) and shorten them. Then use the remaining fabric to add a ruffle or a cuff. This is a tutorial that may help you.

Skinny Pants
I did not, of course, say skinny jeans. But skinny pants in velvet, sateen, or a jacquard? Yes. Wearing skinny pants is something that a lot of plus sized people are told not to do – I know I have issues with showing off my rather sizable thighs. However, they really do look nice with an aristocrat or dandy look, especially when tucked into Victorian-style boots. If you've ever seen Technotropism's awesome looks featuring long pants and leggings, this is how to get something along those lines

Go for pants with a high waist to keep with a historical line. The closer you can get to your waist, the better. Most plus size collections or brands, including Torrid and Lane Bryant, will carry some form of skinny pant in a nice fabric.

I’ve found a few beautiful ruffled tops floating around in secondhand shops and online that I adore. This is, of course, a fair bit cheaper than any other option, but it requires you to periodically check Etsy, Ebay, and whatever other secondhand sources you use.

You can also work with plainer blouses and jazz them up with a jabot.Just make sure the fabrics look nice together and that your jabot either matches or contrasts enough that it is clear the contrast is done intentionally.

And, as with most of this, you can always order from Fanplusfriend or commission a seamstress to make you a perfectly princely top.

Vests and Jackets
For a longer piece of outerwear, take a look at this vest and this rather piratey jacket (both are available from other places online as well). They are long, pair as nicely with skirts as they do with pants, and are available in enough sizes

Other vests will work, too, but make sure they both fit nicely and are a dressier style. I'm very curvy, and I have found that the best vests for my shape are the XL vests from Maurice's (though since I've lost some weight I'll probably have to move to a large size instead). I can't tell you where you will find a vest that works for you, because vests tend to be one of the hardest items to fit properly. Just keep looking and find something that suits your frame.

If you find something that's just a bit too plain, which will be the case with many a jacket, don't be afraid to add detail. A touch of ruffle peeking out of the cuff of a jacket can do wonders. Stitching some lace trim to a vest or coat can add the right amount of detail. As for accessories, rosettes or sashes can add a touch of the princely to your outfit.

The real challenge of pursuing this fashion as a plus size person is the lack of availability. As with a lot of styles, you have to get creative. I hope this has helped someone out there know where to start.


  1. Although I'm not plus sized, all of this information was helpful for me, just as you said it would be. Even though I love Lolita fashion, I love a good Ouji style outfit just as much. I really hope to wear a Ouji co-ord someday. Have you done so before?

    Also, I've nominated you for the liebster blog award. You can see the post here: Liebster Blog Award Post

    1. Yes, I've worn a few Ouji coords. Unfortunately, I wore them all pre-camera-tripod so I didn't get pictures, and I've been losing weight so some of the pieces don't fit properly anymore. At I've got a "floordinate" picture of one of the outfits I put together.