Q&yourA: Finding professional clothes for larger mom going back into workforce

Toni writes:

"I’mworking on a new degree and will be back into the workforce in May 2012. During the time that I’ve been a SAHM, I’ve become pretty severely physically disabled and as a consequence, I’ve gained a fair amount of weight. I’m already worried about being able to find an employer once I get through school (you can’t miss my disability – it limits my range of movement quite significantly), but a story in this week’s NY Times Magazine reinforced my concern about being able to find appropriate professional clothes. I’m doing my best to bring my weight back down (I was always fairly athletic, so being overweight to this degree is a change for me), but chances are I’ll still be plus-sized when I re-enter the professional workforce. I’m really discouraged about my prospects for finding decent-looking professional clothing. I don’t mind shopping online – in fact, I love it – but having to pay to return clothes that don’t fit is frustrating, especially when I don’t have the option to go to the store and try on the clothing before purchasing something.

I may be fat, but I don’t want to look frumpy too. If you or any of your contributors know of good places (aside from Lane Bryant) to find nice plus-size professional clothes, I’d appreciate any and all suggestions."

This is a great question. I know you're not the only woman who needs to look professional above a size 16.

You'll have an easier time if you're going into an industry in which you can look competent and presentable (slacks/skirt and top, dresses) instead of one that requires that you wear suits every day, from a cost standpoint. (Everyone who telecommutes, stop cackling smugly in your yoga pants.) But if readers have ideas of good places to shop for both these levels of formality, that will help.

Who's got the hook-up for Toni?