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Big Arm Muscles: The Clothing Challenge

For many plus size women finding tops, shirts and blouses that fit around the arm muscle is challenging.  Some women do carry weight on their arms.  Arm muscle measurements can vary from a circumference of 17″ to  27″ (and more).  It that not a challenge?  Fashion designers are not interested in focusing on fit at the arm muscle.  Are you kidding me?  Their priority is boobs, waist and buttocks.  Make a dress that works the girl.

Then there are clothing suppliers online that think opening a hole in a bed sheet with some details is fashion.  It is not a solution for anyone.

Arm muscle room does not me enlarge the arm hole.  Larger women do not grow wider arm holes, so the cut is the same.  The point is at the center where the arm muscle would be made can be wider.  Therefore butterfly sleeves can be a good choice.  The fabric floats across the arm gentle.  Most of the time it is not a tight fit.  In fact, butter fly sleeves can add drama.

Cap sleeves?  A choice.  Yes, if you are ok with showing your arms.  Most women after 40 tend to lose their battle with gravity.  Things are not so elastic.  In fact, a cap sleeve vs a sleeveless tank will take the eye off the arm muscle.  But, it is important the fabric at the sleeve is solid and not busy.

Another choice can be a wide flare sleeve that ends with the sleeve open at the bottom seam.  Here a cotton with some spandex will help with fit or a rayon with lycra will add comfort, too.

Often women with larger arm muscles will wear a tunic separate, light jacket, shawl or shrug over their top.  This really makes an outfit more interesting and dramatic.  It brings texture and change.

It’s hard to tell from online photos if a top has sleeves that will fit you.  It is best to call customer service.  If that does not help then  read the reviews.

The 5-minute Pick: What is Precious?

Here is a challenge!  If you only had 5 minutes to evacuate your home and all your loved ones (family, friends and pets) were already safe what would you take?  I used to think of this question often over the years.  As a kid, I picked my Barbie dolls; then as a teen it was pictures of my BF.  During my college years it was my passport, bank book and jeans!  (I wanted to travel the world, which I eventually did.)  Now as a mother of a 3 year old son all of that has changed.  I first would take my parents wedding toasting cup.  It was used by the bride and groom during the 19th century to toast each other.  It presented to my mother at their 22nd Wedding Anniversary by my father.  I loved the sentimentality my father took to purchase this gift for her.  Now I have used up a minute because it is front and center in our living room.

The next minute I would use collecting as many framed photos of my wedding, husband’s college graduation day, the first 12 months of my son and me with my parents and siblings.  I do not have any of these images on a laptop or in a cloud.  However, after writing this maybe I better!

So now I am down to 3 minutes which would give me time to grap my laptop and iphone.  I have lots of music on both and images of things I love or thought I do!  I also has addresses and recipes.  However I could get these off my dropbox.

With 2 minutes to go I would head for the closet!  I have been collecting plus size tops for over a decade.  My search for cotton and jersey shirts with a 3x fit has been quite challenging.  Most women’s plus size clothing stores tend not to cut past a 1x or 2x.  I have read size charts for a 3x but it does not really fit my size.  So, I would grab as many tops, shirts and blouses as possible.

Beyond that I would head out the door as fast as I could run!

Remember to Look Down! Shoes Are People, Too!

When is comes to finishing a fashion or outfit look do not forget to look down!  Why?  Your feet are just as important as your clothes.  Just because you bought the most awesome top, shirt or blouse does not mean your finished.  Complete you look with a coordinating pair of shoes.  When it comes to plus size clothing finding the right garment can be challenging.  My fashion tip here is to buy your clothes first.  Try the dress or top on for fit.  Next wash it! If your new garment still fits to your liking then keep it.  Add it to your clothing collection, BUT now go out and find a pair of shoes that will match.

Online shopping for clothing and accessories is almost mandatory from a fashion point of view.  We are all so busy so just give yourself a break and search the internet.  To help you out here I recently found some great shoes on  The artisans and various sellers offer a wide range of shoes.  If you look through their categories you will find bridal to casual shoes.  In fact you can have a custom order made to match your clothes!  That is pretty awesome, yes!

At 2dye4designs by Ginger she offers flat cotton shoes.  They are made with love and sunshine!  If you message her on she is willing to work with your color selection.  You can use a rainbow color from your top or just pick a couple of colors to make something that is uniquely yours.  By working with an artisan to create a style matching your taste is just he best way to go.  Even better the price is affordable for a custom shoe and they are made in the USA.  A bit of a tip here:  if you can coordinate several tops, shirts or blouses in one custom shoe order you will be saving a lot.  In addition, you don’t have to go through the headache of searching the right shoe when you are in a hurry.

Best of luck and let me know if you find any interesting custom made shoes online!

Punch Colors: Interesting Combinations with Clothing

Recently I have been browsing through my google plus communities and notices that women are finding some interesting color accessories (earrings, shoes, necklaces and handbags) to punch up their clothing outfits.  Have you noticed it too?

Ok this is what I have seen.  Let me write it in a list of my color observations.

1. black and white with a punch of red

2. khaki and gold with a punch of gold

3. navy and pink with a punch of coral

Professional Plus Size Clothing

Yes I know these descriptions of color combinations are not fashion surprises, but the dramatic choices for the punch colors are interesting.

Two blog sites and fashion observers are Curvy Girl Chic and Toya’s Tales.  I have been following both of these blog spots for close to a year.  CGC is all about plus size clothing for women.  The blogger does focus on big size women under 35s and that’s ok, right?  Sure I can’t wear those looks anymore but it is fascinating to see what other women find fashionable.

Comfortable Plus Size ClothingToya Tales does a lot of blogging about fashion and art.  I love her perspective because it comes from the aesthetic position rather than the functionality – if it looks great wear it!

Recently CGC put together a navy and pink horizontal strip dress together with a coral leather shoe.  Furthermore she added a khaki handbag with gold handles.  The dress was probably a women’s plus size 16 or 18.  Her clothes looked amazing!  Who would of though navy-pink-coral color combination. But it worked.  She walked outside of the box and forced us to look at fashion through another eye.

Now on the other hand, last week Toya’s Tales did a blog spot on Aztec design.  I am truly not a huge fan of Aztec motifs, however she inspired me.  Toya found a pair of studded earrings with a color combination of black, white and red.  She then paired them up with a black and white top and pant outfit.  She finished with entire look with red pumps with a heel to kill!

Have you put together some interesting color combinations with your basic outfit and accessories?  I would love to hear from you.

All Sized Up: Some thoughts on Fit

The sizing industry for women’s plus size clothing has all of us confused.  It seems each plus size clothing store online has their own size chart.  Why? It’s because when our government first began standardization for women’s sizing it was based on men’s military uniforms.  The pattern makers just adjusted the chest area.  Then in the early part of the 20th Century mail order catalogs offered standard sizes.  The measurements were based on paid volunteers from low income families.  These women were not standard sizes but smaller in frame and lighter in mass, as compared to the average woman at the time.

It was after WWII, as the fashion houses were establishing themselves in Paris and New York another set of measurements were established.  Again the larger sized women was ignored and the slimmer ladies won the charts.  Too bad because this would have been a good time to start a true fit for women.  Plus size women would have had a history and sizing could have become standardized for the larger size apparel.

Lane Bryant did conduct a sizing survey in the latter part of the 1980’s.  It attempted to capture women across USA.  Can you imaging trucking across from New York to LA with a measuring tape?  The reasoning for their size chart was not shared with the public officially.  They introduced fit and started to cut and sew.  However, it did not take in account all women from all walks of life and weight.  But then one company cannot be everything.  Therefore, other women’s plus size clothing online stores have surfaced in between their gaps.  Making it Big tends to highlight super size up to 6x.  In addition, to that they sell tops with sleeves for women with very wide arm muscles.  Generous Fashions’ back shoulder measurement takes into account that some women are a bit thicker at that location.  They did a study that a good percentage of larger women need more room there to stretch and move.  Then there is Big On Batik who exploded on the plus size clothing scene prior to 2006 with big dresses that added extra stretch at the hips.  They realized women are often between sizes and need the give and take.

What it all comes down to is this.  You have to read each companies size chart.  Do not guess or do some wishful thinking.  It will bleed your pocket book.  Know your measurements or at least your chest, hip and the length you prefer to wear.  Then compare notes and purchase.

Have you found any particular online store that has your fit?

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