And so I did, devising her a handy shopping list packed with flattering and versatile pieces guaranteed to give her heavy winter wardrobe—and yours—a spring awakening.
Anything neutral. The runway scene-stealers this season were soft, lovely taupes and nudes. These shades are ideal for layering, which makes them exceedingly plus-size-friendly. My favorite for spring: Marina Rinaldi's biscuit-colored, military-inspired silk vest. The cinched waist hides a multitude of sins and looks ridiculously slimming with leggings.
A mouth-watering cardi. Here's the God's honest truth: A head-to-toe black ensemble screams, Don't look at me! A simple cardigan in a retina-popping shade of berry, persimmon, or lemon will magically revive a boring pair of slacks. My fave this season: Lane Bryant's soft-as-cashmere cotton cardi in watermelon. Wear it to death—I certainly will.
A full skirt. I know big girls are genetically hardwired to stay away from these figure-busters, but not all full skirts are created equal. Avoid looking like a patio umbrella by finding one whose minimal pleating lies flat on the tummy—pleats should fall around or below your lady parts. The navy tie-dye cotton number I found at Anne Klein looks simultaneously demure and funky. Pair it with chunky sandals—a must if you're on the shorter side like me.
Silky pajama top. Before you diss pajamas as this season's harem pants, hear me out: They look great untucked, which means they are really flattering on top-heavy gals (provided you're wearing a good bra!). I've fallen hard for a long, billowy silk crewneck in a peachy taupe, also from Marina Rinaldi. It's as easy to wear with jeans as it is with a pencil skirt, and is on track to earning my wardrobe MVP title this season.
Brown accessories. Give your heavy black handbag a rest this spring and invest in a brown leather carryall instead. It wears well with everything from jeans and a trench to a meeting-with-clients navy suit. I especially like brown bags with gold hardware, which always look classy.
Have you started spring shopping yet? Tell me what you're planning to buy at marieclaire.com/ashley. See you there!