Career tops and blouses come in a variety of
sleeve lengths, cuts, and fabrics all year.
Crisp tailored styles, soft jersey knits, and
flowing chiffons all make good work choices.
Natural fibers such as
linen and cotton are becoming
progressively more available in larger sizes. Necklines are often higher than on other top
Modern classic styles
are common choices in this category, although
more creative office environments can leave room
for trendier styles. Price
points range from budget conscious to
While color palettes are frequently conservative in work and career wear,
blouses are an opportunity to spice up the look
of an outfit. Even tailored,
classic black pants
can be brightened up and updated with the right
colored or patterned blouse. Because tops are often
visual impact can be more subtle than a bold
color or patterned blouse worn alone.
Use shirts and blouses to express your personal style,
along with accessories such as bags, shoes, and
With a majority of women in
America working outside the home, it's not
surprising that work clothes are some of the
most in demand styles in all sizes and price
Luxury Labels and Designers
Working women who can spend on upscale, designer
labels will find the largest depth of inventory
in the major department stores, many of which
only offer women's sizes on-line.
Neiman Marcus regularly carries the hard-to-find
heavy gauge, luxury knit label Misook popular
with executives who travel, along with similarly
simple silhouetted Eileen Fisher in natural
luxury fibers. Marina Rinaldi and
Lafayette 148 are both premium, luxury labels
favored by upscale, full-figured women with
generous budgets. Rounding out their
offerings are other unusual labels including
Carolyn Rose which is more appropriate for
creative office environments with its relaxed
sophistication, and Joan Vass. Sizing here is
available up to 24W.
Nordstrom carries an especially good selection
of upscale designer labels for smaller plus
women in the 12 to 16 size range out in their
main selling section. Look for classic to
contemporary designs from Akris Punto, St. John,
and Armani Collezioni appealing to busy, well
heeled and fashionable executives.
Bloomingdale's, in addition to several of the
labels already mentioned, adds looks from
contemporary designers such as Melissa Masse and
Anna Scholz in size 14 to 24W.
Furthermore, they tend to stock some of the more
luxurious, upscale parts of the Lauren Ralph
Lauren, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, and DKNYC
lines in plus-size.
Moderate Priced Designer
Plus-Size Career Tops Shopping Options
Those on tighter budgets who still want some of
the labels already mentioned will find previous
seasons lines available at
Last Call and
Off Fifth at significant discounts.
Dillard's and Macy's both offer more moderately
priced career collections worth shopping.
Dillard's tends to be slightly more conservative
with an especially good selection from Lauren
Ralph Lauren, ZoZo Woman, and Canadian label
Peter Naygard in size 14 to 24W.
has several in house labels well worth shopping
for contemporary to trendy career women, in
addition to regularly stocking designers such as
Michael Kors and Calvin Klein.
& Taylor also carries these, in addition brands
such as Jessica Simpson, Albert Nipon
and Chelsea and Theodore.
Upscale shoppers will also appreciate the fine
quality of work appropriate blouses at
which works in fine fabrics, including genuine
silk. All of their clothing is available
to size 18, with selected styles extended up to
women's size 24W. Slightly less pricy is
the modern classic career and sportswear label
Jones New York which carries a good selection of
shells, blouses, and button down shirts that
work well with tailored suits and separates in
size 0 to 24W. Contemporary designer
Kane is similarly priced with tops and blouses
that are better worn as separates in less formal
offices is size S to 3X.
Those who wear smaller plus will find
contemporary work separates available on-line in
size 0 to 18 at well known retailer
Gap offers on-line sizing to XXL
(22). Both offer modern contemporary tops
in quality fabrics and details that coordinate
well with both more casual work outfits and
blazers and suits. Newcomer
Eloquii is plus exclusive in size
14 to 24W, with a body conscious, trendy vibe
appealing to urban working professional women.
plus specialty retailer
Lane Bryant has been
upping their style game in recent years,
especially for contemporary career wear. A
combination of designer collaborations and a
special, more upscale in house label, 6th & Lane, has
greatly expanded their stylish working options
in size 14 to 28W. Many styles are
available exclusively on-line or only at a
handful of retail outlets in more urban centers.
Their sister retailer,
Catherine's, expands work
appropriate options further from size XL to 5X,
with petite plus styles available.
Contemporary indie designers specializing in
plus sizes tend to focus on career dresses, but
also carry work appropriate tops in more fashion
forward styles. Two of the best known are
Kiyonna, both of which offer options
in size 12 to 32W. Younger, trendier women
who like a little vintage modern vibe to their
work clothing will find cute tops at
ModCloth in size 0 to 30.
Small production runs of each style mean popular
looks will sell out quickly here, so grab what
you like while it's still in stock.
Catalogs with Work Appropriate
Plus-Size Tops and Blouses
In addition to being one of the best spots for
solid, classic menswear prints, and contemporary
prints in cotton broadcloth shirts,
Lands End has a growing
collection of more contemporary blouses and tops
that are excellent work options. Sizing
here is among the most extensive with average,
petite, and tall proportions available in size 2
Willow Ridge Catalog
brings together the plus-size options from an
entire catalog group including
Blair, Norm Thompson, Winter
Styles range from classic to contemporary, some
in easy care synthetics, and others in natural
fibers such as silk, cotton, and linen.
Prices are moderate with sizing ranging from 2
to 28W, and petite sizes up to 20P.
Monroe and Main
offers contemporary to trendy styles, some with
a more feminine or vintage edge, in both knit
and woven styles. Everything they carry is
available in their full size range for S to 3X.
Chadwick's of Boston
is more classic, offering tailored tops that
work well coordinated with jackets and
cardigans, in addition to worn alone.
Misses, petite, and tall sizes are available to
size 16/18, while women's sizes extend offering
to size 24W. Also budget to moderately
is mainly a resource for small plus women with
size XL equaling a size 16/18. A small
women's collection extends sizes further to size
24W. Styles here are trendy to
contemporary in easy care synthetics.
is more classic with natural fibers such as
cotton and linen frequently available.
Styles are appropriate for contemporary and more
casual offices with most shirts and blouses
available in their full size range of S o 3X.
Value Priced Career Tops
Those on tighter budgets will find a number of
JC Penney and
the best of the department stores for career
style tops larger
sizes. JC Penney carries the classic
Liz Claiborne designer diffusion line in
sizes up to 5X, along with some other labels
such as Worthington which are particularly good
for work style clothing. Looks range from
modern classic to more trend conscious.
Kohls has the lower priced CHAPS
diffusion line from Ralph Lauren bringing
contemporary modern classic American style into
tighter budgets in size 14 to 24W.
has a trendy, urban style that offers more body
conscious, yet still work appropriate looks in
size 12 to 26W. Meanwhile,
Avenue offers a much deeper
inventory on-line than in most retail locations,
with an extended selection of tunics and blouses
that are appropriate in modern, contemporary
offices with a work casual vibe. Many
styles are available in their full size range of
14 to 32W, with frequent sales and coupons
available directly from their website bringing
price points down into most budgets.
Asos, the trendy British retailer
taking the plus blogging community by storm,
carries Fast Fashion at a wide variety of price
points. Youthful, yet many still work
appropriate, styles inspired by high end runways
are the norm here in size 14 to 24W.
Mall chain retailer
New York & Co
specializes in on-trend, contemporary work
pieces at budget friendly prices. Home to the
Eva Mendes celebrity capsule collection, looks
are both stylish and affordable. Sizing is
0 to 18.
designer capsule collections often provide
another stylish, budget friendly option for
working women who like to look their very best.
Most collaborations are available up to size
16/18 with a few extending sizes up to 3X.
offers their plus collection (Size 1X to 4X)
only on-line, while their main misses selection
available both in stores and on the internet is
available up to XXL. A good spot for
core basics that layer well with other looks,
they can also sometimes carry both knit and
woven top styles with a contemporary office
appeal at value driven price points.
Along with dresses for which they are best
has an extensive on-line inventory of career
tops at budget friendly prices. Styles can
be either knit tunics or woven shirts, with a
few dressier blouse and layering shell options
also available. Some are more tailored and
suited to wearing with blazers or cardigans,
while other are more appropriately worn alone
for more casual working environments. Sizes
range from 0 to 24W, with petites available up
Christopher and Banks
is similarly priced with a
classic to contemporary appeal, and natural
fibers such as cotton and linen often part of
the mix. Most styles in the women's
department are available up to 24W, with
selected looks extended up to 32W. Petite
sizes here are 2 to 16P.