Casual Clothing for Women

Finding Sleeves to Flatter Every Figure

Note: This article was originally posted as a Guest Post at Sixty & Me.

Finding the perfect plus size top isn’t easy. You have to deal with the shoddy selection in local stores. Or compare styles and prices across dozens of online retailers. Either way, it takes some time and patience.

Part of the problem is that we are not all created equal. Every woman has her own unique, curvy shape to be proud of. So you need to find the top that fits your figure and accentuates your personal style.

Are you choosing sleeves that flatter your look? Not sure?

Consider how these different sleeve types can make – or break – your outfit.

Long Sleeves


Easy and classic. Long sleeves extend all the way down to your wrist. They’re great for cooler weather in the fall and winter. You can also use them to create a slimming effect and disguise larger arms.

Long sleeves can be formal and elegant. They easy to dress up with chic accessories. A simple long sleeve plus size top can also work well as a base layer during the cooler months.

Short Sleeves


Another basic, classic style. Short sleeves usually reach to about half way between the shoulder and elbow.

There are many variations on this style. For example, a short puffed sleeve is short in length but gathered at the top and bottom.

Short sleeve plus size tops make for a casual look. They are perfect for warmer weather, offering simple style and a comfortable fit.

Butterfly Sleeves


This unique short sleeve style comes from the typical dress of the Philippines. The sleeves are usually about 4 – 5 inches long. They start at the shoulder and get wider towards the bottom. This gives them an open, airy look that is both flattering and comfortable.

Bell Sleeves


This popular style is gathered at the shoulder but open at the cuff. That means the sleeves just barely skim the upper arm. This enhances your look without being clingy.

The open cuff doesn’t add too much volume to your outfit either. So you get a cool, open sleeve that’s also flattering and gorgeous. Keep in mind that this cooler look is also on the casual side of the fashion spectrum.

3/4 Length Sleeves


Another popular choice is the 3/4 length sleeve. It’s great for plus size tops because it offers good arm coverage with a shorter, cooler length.

Plus Size Tops with 3/4 Sleeves
3/4 Sleeves are comfortable and versatile.

The 3/4 length is perfect for fall and spring when you want something a bit warmer. They offer more coverage than short sleeves without adding too much bulk.

Not quite as heavy or formal, 3/4 sleeve tops are extremely versatile. They should be a part of every woman’s wardrobe.

Kimono Sleeves


This unique sleeve style is reminiscent of the Japanese kimono. It’s wide and loose. As to length, it can fall anywhere from your elbow to your wrist – or even longer in some cases.

Kimono sleeve separates are great for using over base layers. They are usually designed with open fronts. That offers you a long, vertical line that is slimming and flattering.

Plus Size Tops with Kimono Sleeves
Kimono sleeves are open, stylish, and comfortable.

Just be sure that the wide sleeves don’t swallow your look. Keep your outfit balanced. Choose accessories that play off your kimono sleeves to accentuate the unique, flowing look.

How to Choose the Best Style for You


Fashion is all about expressing your own personal style. Mature women are not chasing the latest trends. They’re embracing their beauty and celebrating it with classic, flattering style choices.

This should be true for plus size women as well. But do you find that you tend toward long sleeves? Is it because you don’t want to show off your arms?

You shouldn’t be pressured to dress in a way that makes you uncomfortable. If long sleeves are your preference, fantastic. But don’t let yourself be forced to not wear styles you love.

Embrace your beauty and your own sense of style and fashion. Don’t be afraid to try out new sleeve styles and lengths.

Long sleeves are great, just don’t limit your wardrobe to exclusively long sleeve tops. Instead, experiment with your wardrobe. Incorporate fun, fresh styles that create a statement. You’ll enjoy the results.

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Stephen, Your Designer

“There is an amazing feeling of artistic accomplishment when all the parts come together into one harmonious aesthetic. It's a connection with who you are and the elements you choose to express yourself visually. This is what making clothing is all about for me. It's like when a songwriter hears his first written notes from a voice or a baker who has practiced a recipe and nails it or a figure skater who exceeds her own expectations. I express my sense of art in clothing. I see things in color, shape and texture. I react to the touch of silk on my skin and my eyes are aware of how color combinations make me feel. My goal is to bring all of these intuitive notions to garments that are sized for larger women. If I can accomplish this then I have reached my goal.” – Stephen

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