There was a brief period where it seemed like colorblock was the new plus size design standby: if a cut didn’t necessarily flatter, the overall look could be manipulated (somewhat) with strategic colorblocking, and voila’! Stylish plus.
I’ve noticed that since then, the definition of “colorblock” has gone a bit far afield. Color “block” is now appearing in shapes other than “block” and sometimes it looks suspiciously like an attempt to sneak in wide stripes – a look I personally avoid, but that I’m unwilling to say should absolutely be ruled out for plus sizes. Just as there are plus women who have smaller breast sizes, there are plus size women who can pull off horizontal striping. Plus fashionistas are nothing if not wildly diverse. Apparently interpretations of color block are equally diverse.
This dress from Igigi is what I would consider the closest to “traditional” (old school?) color blocking. It has set elements of the outfit in set, distinctive colors, and this leads the eye in a specific way.
This look, from Black Cat Plus, is labeled as a color-block because of the wide striping on the colors and on the waistline. I’ve seen – and worn – this look before. It works well on my figure, but I wouldn’t necessarily label it color block. To me color blocking is a distinctive part of the garment structure, and the black banding is certainly a visual element but is more of a clothing detail rather than a structural element. Another designer could change the wide band out for something else, like lace, or a cravat ruffle (please don’t do that second one) and the basic structure of the garment would still be the same.
This top by Kiyonna does something similar, along the same vein as the dress from Black Cat. Again, the blocking could easily be taken out without really changing the structure of the garment.
And this top, from Liz Claiborne, labeled for “color blocking.” That’s not color blocking, it’s a stripe – in the only universally unflattering color.