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Fall 2021 Family Photo Dresses for Plus-Size Mamas

Guest post by Lauren Johnson. Lauren is a plus-size mama raising two boys and working as a writer and editor in Fresno, California. 

Check out the plus size blog posts from 2020 here and 2022 here.

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Hey plus-size mamas, I’m back for another round of fall family photo outfit inspiration. New year, same anxieties about picking out a great look for my family’s photo session with Maddie. So let’s get into it.

First off, if you’re reading this post you’re already winning. The best advice I ever got for planning family photo outfits is to start with my own wardrobe first, then build around that. So if you’re struggling with styling your family for photos this year, use this post as a jumping-off point to zero in on your ideal outfit. You’ll be ready to add on kid and partner styles from there.

Also, it’s probably helpful for you to know what I look for when I’m shopping for my own fall family photo look. I typically style myself in a casual-ish dress because my husband and kids are comfortable in button-downs and jeans, so it fits the vibe. Here are my criteria:

  • Fall colors, fabrics, or flavor in a solid or small print

  • Comfortable styles in fits I know work well for my apple shape (wrap dresses, V-necks, empire waists, fabrics that aren’t too clingy, and above-the-knee but not too short)

  • Moderate price point and/or something I’ll wear a lot going forward that’s worth the investment

With those factors in mind, here are the 2021 dresses I would seriously consider purchasing (or actually did purchase) for my fall family photo session with Maddie in Fresno.

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Amazon tiered dress  ($27, sizes S–XXL)

I actually found this dress after seeing it on another mama from one of Maddie’s photo sessions. I love the V-neck, empire waist, and tiered bottom. It comes in a ton of great fall colors. Be aware that the print version of this dress is a different fabric and fit than the solid version. Size up for the print version. This dress is not size inclusive and only goes up to an XXL, which is a huge bummer. However, Target has a very similar dress only available in a deep red but in sizes 1X–4X.

One loved babe polka dot V-neck wrap dress ($64, sizes 1X–3X)

The butterscotch color and polka dots on this dress are adorable, and I love the cut and style. I also like that the fabric on this dress looks more substantial, which adds fall flavor and usually ends up being more flattering on me. I’d style this one with booties or clogs and put my kids in deeper colors to round out the color palette since this dress is more muted.

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Eloquii Wrap dress with obi belt ($100, sizes 14–28)

This is a beautiful, classic silhouette with a fun twist. The kind of dress I wouldn’t hesitate to wear over and over again for work or date night. I love the green-ish myrtle color for fall family photos and appreciate that sizes 14–28 are currently in stock. I can’t tell you how many cute dresses I found that had literally one size 16 dress in stock. Lame.

 Target V-neck long-sleeved button-up dress ($30, sizes 1X–4X)

Target, you’ve done it again! This is my dream fall dress. Flowy but not too baggy, cute sleeve details, a V-neck that’s flattering but not too low, and long sleeves to feel fall-ish with a knee-length skirt. Wow. I ordered it in several colors. This brand tends to run large, so I’d recommend sizing down.

One loved babe Ginny dress with adorable back detail ($62, 1X- 3X)

I can see this dress being very sweet with clogs or trending badass with combat boots. Lots of ways to style this one and what I love is that it’s the kind of dress I normally see in straight sizes and lament that it doesn’t come in a size that would work for me. I like that the colors are neutral enough that I could style the family in light colors along with me or add more depth with some darker shades like maroon or navy to give an even more autumnal vibe.

Those are my top five fall family photo dress picks for 2021, but if you’re searching for something really unique, the Foundry boutique in Clovis stocks a small collection of plus-size dresses in store only. And if you’re interested in resale, there’s an amazing Instagram shop called Cake that resells adorable, mint-condition plus size clothing. They’re not local but they do ship and are just starting to share fall outfits for sale.

Now that you have some inspiration for your own outfit, it’s time to book your family photos! Maddie’s sessions are fun, stress-free, and always deliver gorgeous images you’ll love to display in your home or use for your annual holiday card. She’s available to help you every step of the way, from planning outfits (I literally send her links and photos throughout the process as I’m figuring out what my family will wear and she is incredibly helpful) to making sure even your wildest child takes a great photo. It’s always crazy to look back even a year or two and see how much my kids have grown, so I treasure the photos we take with her every fall.

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