I'm a Plus-Size Fashion Expert, and These Are the Best Summer Co-Ords

You wake up, you’re running late, and you need to look put together quickly. I would advise in these moments that you reach for a co-ord. This is the quickest way to create an instant outfit in two easy steps. From pyjama suits to crochet twin sets, there’s something about pairing up matching pieces that just looks chic and considered.

The flexible fit possibilities of co-ords make them perfect for plus-size bodies. Weight distribution differs for everyone, but as we grow, these differences get bigger. You might find that your weight is held predominantly in your bum or your stomach, or maybe you have a bigger bust or broad back. However your body is proportioned, the fact that a co-ord is split into two but gives you one whole look is perfect. You can easily buy a bigger-size top and smaller trousers or vice versa to fit you perfectly.

Recently, I’ve also spotted more brands creating co-ords in the same print across different fabrics. This offers even more options for comfort and fit. One prime example is a current Collusion set that has trousers made from a stretchy pleated jersey and the matching shirt made in a cotton poplin. Both are in the same orange floral so match perfectly, but the fact the trousers are in a jersey means they’re super comfortable. Then the shirt in cotton poplin should keep cool, as it’s made from natural fibres. The best of both worlds!

The Plus Size Co-Ords I'm Loving This Summer: Sara Brown

Photo:

@sarabrowndesign for Who What Wear UK

Sara wears a Collusion top (£16) and skirt (£25).

I’m thankful that over the last few years, some incredible co-ords have been designed for the plus-size world. One brand that has really homed in on this is Wray, the New York–based fine art–inspired clothing line that has been championing co-ord sets for a while now. It's become known for its fabulous colours, prints and size inclusivity. I especially love its checkerboard lounge sets. Whilst they’re U.S.-based, you can order to the UK from its site, and it's now offering free international shipping if you spend over a certain amount. If you wanted to try out Wray pieces before buying, I would suggest loaning a piece through Hurr, which currently has a great selection from sizes XS to 5XL.

Collusion on ASOS, which I mentioned previously, is another brand I return to time and again for co-ords. I’m really drawn in by its unisex, easy, oversized options, but its more fitted styles are fabulous, too. It currently has quite a few fun plus-size options for summer, taking its matching prints into accessories, so you can really go in on that matchy-matchy look. Like Collusion, Monki is great at repeating a print in lots of styles, allowing for countless matching possibilities. This gives you the chance to build your own co-ord that really works for your style and your body. Since it started doing most of its styles up to a size XXL (equivalent to a UK 24), I’ve been excited to shop there.

The Plus Size Co-Ords I'm Loving This Summer: Sara Brown

Photo:

@sarabrowndesign for Who What Wear UK

I love the juicy hue of this shorts-and-shirt co-ord. 

More recently, I’ve been lusting after the ombré satin shirt-dress-and-trouser combos from NorBlack NorWhite. The colours are so rich and luxurious, and I imagine myself living in those comfy 'fits day in, day out. The brand also creates the most joyful shorts-and-shirt co-ords out of colourful fabric that is hand tie-dyed in Delhi. Its pieces are made to order, so although this means you will have to wait around a month till your piece arrives, you also have the option of making a few size alterations if you need a different fit for your body.

A new brand to enter the plus-size shopping universe recently is The Hippie Shake. The ’70s-inspired UK brand has expanded its sizes up to a 24 in a good range of its retro styles. I love its embroidered-waistcoat-and-jeans combo and its corduroy floral jacket-and-skirt co-ord. Both would be great for the UK summer but would also look fabulous styled up with more layers in autumn and winter.   

If you have a slightly higher budget, I would recommend Olivia Rubin’s knitwear co-ords. I have a few sets now, and they are the most-worn items in my wardrobe, hands down. I will wear them dressed down for a lazy Sunday morning on the sofa but also out for dinner with heels. Comfort and colourful joy all rolled into one.

The Plus Size Co-Ords I'm Loving This Summer: Sara Brown

Photo:

@sarabrowndesign for Who What Wear UK

Look for brands that do various pieces in the same print to build your own dream co-ord. 

denim or twill co-ord can keep you going all year round, and we all love a double-denim moment, don’t we, Britney and Justin? Honestly, though, I love it! It's a classic look that can make you think of Western trends, '70s waistcoats and flares, or even 1950s workwear. If you're trying to find a plus-size version of these, I would suggest looking to Simply Be for colourful denim, Good American for your classic indigo denim and Lucy & Yak for organic cotton co-ords up to size 32. 

Whilst the co-ord still reigns king in my styling book, I thought I would share with you a few of my current favourites. I hope there’s a set that takes your fancy.

1. NEON ROSE CO-ORD 

The Plus Size Co-Ords I'm Loving This Summer: Sara Brown

Photo:

@sarabrowndesign for Who What Wear UK

This set is just pure summer! With its zesty colour palette, its covering of flowers and its soft towelling fabric, it is just calling out to be taken to the beach.

Shop the set:

This set is sure to brighten up any day. 

The towelling texture is perfect for throwing over swimwear. 

2. MONKI CO-ORD

The Plus Size Co-Ords I'm Loving This Summer: Sara Brown

Photo:

@sarabrowndesign for Who What Wear UK

The comfiest co-ord around. Plissé pleats are a favourite of mine. I just love the drape and the movement they give to an outfit. This texture combined with a chock-a-block floral… Monki really is onto a winner. I’m wearing the XXL as a size UK 24, and I would say that because these items have so much stretch, I would still give them a try if you’re more of a size 26 or 28 too.

Shop the set:

I've added the floral shirt on top to make the most of layering textures. 

These will also look great with a staple white tee. 

3. COLLUSION CO-ORD 

The Plus Size Co-Ords I'm Loving This Summer: Sara Brown

Photo:

@sarabrowndesign for Who What Wear UK

For hot, humid days, I really think this Collusion co-ord will be your friend. It's 100% cotton and breathable. Plus, the skirt is loose and easy to layer with anti-chafing “chub rub” shorts, which are nearly as essential as the air we breathe for a plus-size gal in the heat. The little shirred crop top can stretch over bigger boobs easily, and it’s so nice to feel a cooling breeze on your arms and neck. I remind myself, as a fat person, I deserve to have my arms out just as much as anyone else.

Shop the set:

Just add sandals, and you're ready to go. 

SHOP MORE CO-ORDS

This can be worn as a shirt dress, but I personally love it paired with voluminous trousers. 

The soft satin and super-wide-leg style mean extra comfort and ease. 

Take a classic denim jacket further with this bold-green tone and matching shorts to come. 

The mom fit is really flattering, and these are a great length to avoid hot-weather chafing. 

This is definitely a bit of me. 

Whether you wear this co-ord together or separate, it's sure to be a summer favourite. 

Celebrate every curve with this cut-out style. 

I love the added texture of the ruffled collar. 

A great midi (like this one) is a staple wardrobe piece that can mix and match for plenty of stylish looks. 

Shirt-and-short co-ords are big right now, and I can see why. 

These boxer-style shorts are perfect for sunny days, with an elastic waistband that will adjust to you all day long. 

Go the whole way, and get the matching baker hat. 

Made with upcycled denim, this shacket is the perfect light layer for bright days. 

Every wardrobe relies on a great pair of jeans. 

This plissé fabric adds a luxurious texture that's airy for hot days. 

Also, the green is really calling to me. 

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