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Summer Family

Plus Size Summer Style: Cool Clothes and Sleeveless!

Plus Size Style from Ulla Popken: Classic Cotton TankLook out ladies. It’s time for plus size summer style. Warm weather is here … the time of year that a lot of curvy women hate. No more hiding behind baggy clothing. This is the season of bareness – bare necks, bare legs and, the scariest of all, bare arms. But don’t panic. Here are a few tips to build your summer style (and stay cool!) without spending a lot of money.

Plus Size Summer Style Tips

Here are a few thoughts to get you through any summer style fashion crisis you may be feeling:

  • Buy a new white tee and white pants. Even if you decided not to buy any new summer clothes, the ketchup and mustard stains in last year’s white tee and pants will never come out. Just toss ’em. You don’t need to spend a lot to replace them. Check out JustMySize, Target, Woman Within and JCPenneys for great prices.
  • Simplify. Remove from your closet all the clothes and shoes that you don’t (or can’t!) wear. Give them to the local women’s shelter. Stop squeezing your fluffy arms into those skinny sleeves! Also, only keep what you really love to wear – give away anything you didn’t wear at least 20 times last year.
  • Give up trying to dress to look thinner. Instead, concentrate on feeling great, showing your individual style and staying cool … even if it means sleeveless tops and dresses!
  • Buy basics. If you are going to buy this season, spend most of your money on basic colors and styles. Then you can splurge on one or two trendy styles and colors. Look to JustMySize, Junonia and Ulla Popken for 100% cotton and rayon shirts, twill skirts and pants.
  • Jump into summer with joy. Buy yourself a girlie-girl treat. Get a haircut. Buy a new pink lipstick. Get a pedicure. Buy a fun sun hat. Learn to ride a bike. Take your kids (or grandkids!) to a theme park or to the pool or shore.

Enjoy this great new season. Get out there with your family and friends. Remember: Your personal style is what you do and how you do it — not just what you wear.

Need more info on plus size clothing? Check out GrandStyle’s recent plus size clothing posts.

Hot Weather 911: Cool Summer Plus Size Dressing

When the thermometer hits the 80s, 90s and 100s of summer, we face the summer plus size dressing “Cover Up Question” … What’s the least I can wear to stay cool and still be covered up?

10 Tips for Summer Plus Size Dressing

Before you punish yourself with another “overdressed” summer, let’s consider a few thoughts of how to dress cool and not be self-conscious when leaving the house!

1. No matter how soft and fluffy our bodies are, we all have body parts that look terrific. If you’ve been busy concentrating on your challenges, you may have ignored your assets! Your job is to figure out where those assets are … and consider getting them uncovered; because, the less we cover, the cooler we will be.

For example, some of us soft, voluptuous ladies have:

  • Great boobs or nice necks that would look terrific in a new wider neck top.
  • Great shoulders or a great back and can wear a strapless or halter style (with a shawl if our arms are keeping you from leaving the front door!).
  • Great legs which are crying out for a shorter, flippy skirt.
  • Beautiful hands or beautiful feet and should be wearing sandals.

Check out the summer sales and add a few items to enhance your summer wardrobe.

2. You don’t have to be a size 8 woman to go out with bare arms and legs, shorts or long loose skirts. Wear them around home for a few days to get comfortable. Still too self-conscious? Then, wear a cotton shawl or shrug, wear your shorts a little looser and a little longer. Remember: You won’t look thinner if you cover up–you’ll just look hot!

3. Make friends with cotton gauze fabric. There is nothing like loose-fitting cotton gauze to keep you cool. Breezy gauze big shirts cover up big arms and tummies. Knee-length gauze shorts drape over our voluptuous thighs. Floaty dresses are just the ticket when you are looking for quick, easy dressing.

4. Avoid synthetics for summer plus size clothes. Our wonderful big hot bodies get even hotter in polyester. It’s like wrapping us in plastic wrap. Instead, look for cotton, linen, rayon and silk fabrics. Do yourself a favor and donate any polyester clothes from your closet.

5. Avoid layers. Layers are great in the winter because they provide warming insulation. But in the hot weather they can easily add 10 degrees to our misery. Avoiding layers doesn’t mean we can’t wear two garments at once. It means that if you wear layers, only wear one set of sleeves – such as a sleeveless tank under a big shirt or a sleeveless blouse under a jacket with sleeves.

6. Avoid the sausage look. If you can’t stick your hand between the garment and your skin, the garment is TOO TIGHT! Too tight garments never look good; but, in the summer they are also down right uncomfortable. Drop off that garment at the thrift shop for a woman who will look terrific in it!

And, don’t forget to wear bigger shoes. Nothing will make you feel hotter than shoes or sandals that are too tight on your hot, swollen feet. Try a wider width for summer or look for ties, bands and straps which you can adjust during the day as your feet start to swell.

7. Put away the heavy blue jeans until fall. Try a pair of the new mid-calf length cotton pants. They are a great alternative to shorts or long pants. Sources: JustMySize, Catherines and Ulla Popken.

8. Don’t give up on a swimsuit. This is no time to avoid the fun times at the pool or the shore with your kids or grandkids just because you won’t wear a swimsuit. Take a tip from our big Tahitian sisters and wear a comfortable swimsuit cover-up such as a pareo – a big square of cloth – around your hips. Sources for swimwear: JustMySize, Avenue and SwimsuitsforAll.

9. Summer-size your jewelry. Put away the big heavy pins and necklaces that drag you down in the heat. Instead, wear lighter weight jewelry. Do you just love a certain pendant; but, the chain is too heavy for soft summer fabrics? Consider stringing the pendant on a silk cord from your fabric store.

10. Sandals are not a license for untended feet. Ladies … ladies … ladies. Get (or give yourself) a pedicure before you show America your feet. Just because the thermometer reads 90 degrees you don’t need to throw on your flip flops and share your rough heals, long toenails and hairy toes with all of us. Use a little cream, a pumice stone after the shower, a nail clipper followed by an emery board and a little sassy toe nail polish.

Can’t bend long enough to reach ’em? Then sit on the edge of bed, pull one leg up as you turn in that direction, lay your bent leg down on the bed and work on one foot at a time. That’s all it takes to keep the sandal police away from your door!

Converting International Clothing Sizes to US Sizes

Understanding international clothing sizes and shopping has become significantly easier. Gone are the days when you had to travel to a foreign country in order to purchase a fashion item. It was a great way to remember your trip; but, it was tough to know what international clothing size to buy or have sewn or knit for you unless you tried it on.

Now you don’t have to get on a plane to shop internationally. A little web surfing and you can find all the fashion shopping opportunities you’ll ever need. Progress…not so fast. Now you still have the challenge of knowing what size to buy.

How to Convert from International to US Sizing

Luckily it is relatively easy to convert from international sizing to U.S. sizing. Here are a few guidelines:

Women’s Dresses and Suits

  • For US size, subtract 2 from UK size.
  • For US size, subtract 30 from European size.
  • (UK 28 = US 26 = Euro 56)

Men’s Suits and Coats

  • UK and US sizes are the same.
  • For US size, subtract 10 from European size.
  • (UK 56 = US 56 = Euro 66)

Men’s Shirts and Socks

  • UK and US sizes are the same.

Women’s Shoes


Men’s Shoes


Copyright 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 by Stef Jones ([email protected])
Permission is granted to copy and redistribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial, educational use only, provided that this copyright notice is not removed or altered. No portion of this work may be sold, either by itself or as part of a larger work, without the express written permission of the author. This restriction covers all publication media, including electronic media.