1. Go for maximum simplicity. Trims are fine, but at the bottom of a jacket or skirt they truncate the body.

2. Don't try to play fashion roles. It's hard enough for a size 10 not to look foolish dressed as a dandy.

3. Hiding behind hair or scarves rarely works. Use clothes as a plain canvas and opt for a few good accessories.

4. A tailored look is very flattering on bigger women but doesn't have to mean rigid suits - try adding crisp elements to an outfit, such as starched cuffs and cufflinks.

5. Fabrics and cut are paramount: go for softness and clothes that drape.

6. Buying a size too small never fools anyone.

7. Loose tunics over pyjama trousers in good fabrics are a luxurous alternative to suits.

8. Scale things up: buttons should be large, so should collars, bags and patterns.

9. An elongated line is the most desirable, and most effectively achieved with fluid, long, tapered shapes.


Aquarius, 39-41 Wellington Road, Ashton-on-Ribble, Preston; 0772 728069 (16 to 36). Will send parcels of clothes on approval.

Ken Smith, 6 Charlotte Place, London W1; 071-631 3341 (16 to 30). Will make your size to order. Also wedding dresses.

Valerie Dee, 9 Shirehall Plain, Holt, Norfolk; 0263 713545 (12 to 36). Excellent service and advice.

Women At Large, 2 Spon Street, Coventry; 0203 550300 (16 to 30). Labels include Oliver James, Givenchy, Mondi. Also swimwear.

Pandora Plus, 16 Church Street, Brighton; 0273 27240 (16 to 30).

Harringtons, 129 The Broadway, Mill Hill, London NW7; 081-959 2312 (16 to 30). Evening and daywear.

Vivace, 2 Bridge Street, Richmond, Surrey; 081-948 7840 (16 to 22). Younger designer ranges include Givenchy, Janina Schreck, Breckonridge tailored suits.

Versace Collections at The Italian Centre, 162 Ingram Street, Glasgow; 041-552 6510 (18 to 28).

Wardrobe, 3 Grosvenor Street, London W1; 17 Chiltern Street, W1; 071-629 7044 (12 to 18-plus). Stocks classics from Marina Rinaldi and Erreuno.

1647, 69 Gloucester Avenue, London NW1, 071-483 0733; 212 Chalk Farm Road, NW1 (16 to 47).

Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge, London SW1, Donna Karan goes up to 16 (and she cuts big), Louis Feraud (up to 20); Jean Muir, MaxMara and Betty Jackson (up to 18).


J D Williams has six width fittings; ring 0800 262717 for mail order catalogue.

Russell & Bromley goes up to size nine. It also does generously wide fittings.


Outrageous Fortune, at Bradleys, 83-85 Knightsbridge, London SW1; Ebony, 3 West Row, Stockton on Tees; Discreet Affair, 24 Crown Street, Brentwood, Essex. Inquiries 081-508 6655 (up to bra size 44F).


Vogue uses larger sizes, increasingly up to size 24. Burda caters very well for the top heavy, rather than the pear-shaped, up to size 34.


Wolford, up to 52in hip; Christian Dior up to 52in hip; at department stores.


Ambrose Wilson, 0800 262717 (12 to 30).

Jean Geerard, 0274 568234 (14 to 30).

Pretty Big, the 16-plus magazine, is available on subscription, pounds 10 for four issues; 0629 824949.