Good basics form the foundation of every women's wardrobe. As a personal stylist, I am never surprised when I edit wardrobes to discover that many women do not have good basics in their wardrobes. Especially basic tops! These key pieces are versatile; they help make it easier to build outfits effortlessly and create multiple outfit combinations. In my experience of working with curvy women, I feel they struggle with finding good basics that cater to a bigger bust or concealing their tummy. In this post, I have included my suggestions of the best tops for these pain points. I will also be discussing a few of the main basics that many of us tend to wear i.e leggings, jeans, t-shirts, jackets, and cardigans. All the key basic items that we can throw on quickly to make easy-to-wear outfits.
Firstly, I always advise my clients to buy the very best quality they can as they will most certainly last you a good few years. Although, white t-shirts never stay white that long so, I personally wouldn't spend lots of money on a white t-shirt. This is the one basic item that will need to be regularly updated. Also, when buying basic tops focus on key neutrals i.e. navy, white, black, grey as these neutral colours will practically mix and match with lots of items in your existing wardrobe. Sometimes, you may want to seasonal update your wardrobe with a basic top that adds a pop of colour to your outfits. It's a great way to create a statement when layering under clothes.
The high street shops were never great for catering for us curvy women but over the recent years that has all changed. There are so many options out there now. You just need to know where to look. I am also conscious about people's budgets here so, in this blog, I have tried to select a good mix of highstreet basics at reasonable price points.
NOTE: To shop any of the items below please click on the image to be directed to the shop.
BASIC TOPS FOR A BIG BUST
A scoop or V-neck basic top is the best option for bigger busts. Why? The v neckline gives the illusion of an elongated torso. A scoop neckline breaks up that area drawing the eye to the face. However, I work with many women who want to dress modestly so a V neck isn't an option especially if they are culturally inclined to cover up. There is a clever trick around this; You can wear a higher neck basic top but then add a delicate necklace that will create the V neckline which also helps draw the eye down.
Riverisland does a great range of basics from size 14-28.
One of my favourite high street stores for budget and quality is Marks and Spencer. I find their V-neck basic T-shirts sit higher on the chest perfectly covering the cleavage and the length of the sleeve is just right. A lot of my clients will vouch for the M&S basics since I have introduced them in their wardrobes. The quality is good weight 100% cotton and most importantly it is sustainably sourced. Note: These sell out fast so it's best to stock up early before they sell out in spring.
The M&S cotton T-shirt comes in colours Navy, Black and White. Sizes range from 6-24. Click photo to be directed to the shop site.
Brands to KNOW
Online niche brand Fairlie curved designs clothes specifically for bigger busted women. Their basic collection includes Vest tops, T-shirts in higher scoop, and v neck styles. They also have dresses and much more!
Uniqlo is a real favourite of mine, their basic tops have a brilliant heat technology in their garments that helps regulate your body temperature. If you are someone that may sweat a lot then it is worth trying their T-shirts. These items also wash really well.
Good American offers quality basics from T-shirts and jeans that are great for women with curves.
Next has a good small "Fuller bust range" of basics that are worth trying.
Yours Clothing is a winner for many of my plus-size styling clients. They do budget-friendly T-shirts/tops that hang well on a curvy frame and come up a bit longer if you like to wear them loose.
Hobbs does the best scoop neck quality tops. They are double-lined so, avoid any lines showing from your bras. My clients also say they are super comfortable to wear dressed up or down. Pair with smart trousers or pleated skirts.
See below for a selection of basic tops.
Good American basic T-shirt. Click on the photo to buy.
Your basic tops don't all have to be plain. Riverisland is currently selling a great range of cut-out basic tops that can be dressed up for a night out or dressed casually in jeans and trainers for relaxed vibes.
I love this basic wrap detail top that creates interest to a simple look.
Uniqlo's thermal tops are perfect for winter as they will keep you super warm. They come in a variety of colours and styles. The sizes vary from XS- XXXL. Click the photo to visit the store.
Basic tops to conceal a tummy
Concealing a tummy can often be a problem area for many of my clients. When shopping for basics look for tops with a slight A-line.
These soft jersey tees from HM are a good option. Don't be afraid to tuck in your tops as this will give you some shaping and cleverly highlight your waist.
Basic EVERYDAY tOPS
Marks and Spencer HEATGEN™ thermal polo neck long sleeve tops are so versatile to wear as a base layer. The outfit ideas with this item are endless. Wear under a jumpsuit, summer dresses, cardigans, and gilets to maximize wear from the pieces you already own in your wardrobe. Here are two ideas for layering a printed and plain polo neck top with a simple black shirt dress from Next.
A printed polo neck will add a new dimension to your outfit. Mixing with other colours through accessories also adds interest.
Layering a polo neck under a dress can totally elevate the whole look as well as keeping you warm in the colder months.
A classic Breton is one of my go-to basic tops to wear casually with jeans.
Boden is another great place for quality wardrobe basics that will last. They cater from sizes from 6-22
The cute detailing on this jumper looks lovely. Layer under a sleeveless dress or simply wear with jeans.
How to style your basic tops
Basic's are simple items that can practically be worn with a number of simple items such as trousers, jeans, and skirts. As mentioned above don't be afraid to tuck in your tops. The below image is a great example of a half-tuck T-shirt.
Here is some outfit inspiration on how you can style up your basics. I have tried my best to find mid/plus size curvy women to give you a good idea of how these outfits will look on a curvy frame.
BRAs & Vests
Statistics show that 80% of women do not wear the correct sized bra. It is fundamental to get this basic item in your wardrobe right as it will determine how well your clothes look on your frame. Especially if you are big-busted.
For virtual bra fitting, I recommend Bravissiomo, Elomi, and Fantasie Lingerie. I regularly get my bras fitted from Fantasie Lingerie who offer excellent service. If you are going in-store then I recommend John Lewis or Rigby and Peller for their quality and service.
I love the fusion range from Fantasie Lingerie. This bra gives me a great comfort fit all day long.
John Lewis Chantelle day to night T-shirt bra.
Conturve's wire-free bras are perfect to wear lounging at home.
Good stretch fit vests are versatile layering items that also help smooth out your curves so that your clothes fit so much better on top. This vest is one size from John Lewis and has great reviews.
This comfy cotton double-layered front vest is another great option from Boden. Layer under cardigans or blazers for an easy effortless look.
Throw on and go JEANS
Now, this is probably a subject that deserves its own blog post so, I will keep this short and sweet. Jeans are the one item that many women struggle to get right. It's a basic item that most of us throw on every day. So, buy the best quality jeans you can. A straight leg, high waist, and 100% cotton denim are great for us curvy girls. Although I know many women do love a bit of stretch as they find them more comfortable. They are great if you tend to fluctuate in weight. I certainly do! So, I suggest opting for good premium pair of jeans that have a great memory. This means a stretch fabric that springs back to its original form after wear. I love brands Good American for good stretch jeans, Frame and Agolde are also great premium ones to try. On the high street, I love Topshop, Riverisland, and Marks and Spencer if you are on a budget.
Here are a few suggestions for jeans that I have found for you.
Good American straight jeans. Click on the above photo to shop.
Levis ribcage jeans have great reviews. Click photo to go to the site.
M&S magic shaping jeans have been great for many of my clients on a budget
Here's some casual outfit inspiration via Pinterest on how to wear jeans.
Throw on Cardigans
A cardigan is a great basic to throw on with a simple outfit of T-shirt and jeans. Perfect to cleverly hide your tummy or thighs if you are feeling conscious. The current UK climate is nippy so these basics will come in so handy.
This longline cardigan from Hm is great to throw over a dress or T-shirt and jeans.
A short boxy cardigan is great for helping to balance out a bottom-heavy frame. This HM knit is a great option. Click on the photo to go to the store.
A versatile jacket
My key basic jacket would be an everyday Shacket ( Shirt- jacket) or blazer. These easy outer layers can simply help smarten up any simple outfit. A good tailored blazer will give a curvy frame structure and create a slimming effect. This was such a game-changer for one of my recent plus-size clients. See below my suggestions from the high street.
This Monki Shacket is a great neutral style that will practically go over any casual outfit.
A classic single-breasted blazer is a great basic item for any wardrobe. Stick to neutral colours as they can work with many other items in your wardrobe.
You may want to opt for a slightly relaxed blazer. I really like the affordable
options at HM
Now comfortable leggings are one of my wardrobe basics. Whether you wear them to lounge in at home, style up for the school run, or dress up for a night out there is no denying they are super versatile for any look. If you are bottom-heavy and don't want to attract attention to your thighs then avoid wearing shiny coated leggings as this will only draw attention to this area. Or alternatively, you can wear them with a long-line shirt or jumper and add chunky boots to balance out your frame. I recommend brands, Lulu Lemon, Sweaty Betty, Spanx, and Commando leggings.
I love these Gap high shine leggings for a casual fit. The shine just gives an edge to a relaxed casual outfit.
These faux leggings from Mint Velvet have been a hit with some of my clients.
Sweaty Betty's all-day leggings are a great option if you live in your leggings.
Here's some outfit inspiration via Pinterest on how you can wear leggings
WIDE LEG PANTS
Ok, there's one more basic item that I couldn't leave out. If you want to transition out of your loungewear to something new then a good basic wide-leg jersey trouser is a great piece to own. It also helps give balance to curvy hips.
This relaxed style of trousers is super comfortable and looks stylish for any smart casual look. Throw on a casual jacket and chunky trainers and you are ready to go.
These trousers from a sustainable brand are a good suggestion. Enter STYLFILE15 at checkout to get 15% off
A side stripe wide leg pant also looks cool dressed down with other capsule wardrobe staples.