Fashion Advice: Jackets for Those of Us with Big Upper Arms

Dear Budget Fashionista: I have a question regarding shopping for jackets. I always have a hard time finding blazers/jackets that fit because my upper arms are disproportionately larger than the rest of my body.  Any suggestions on what type of jackets I should buy?

Answer: Look for jackets with a Dolman Sleeve or Kimono sleeve. These sleeves tend to be fuller than the sleeve on your standard jacket/blazer (think flared gaucho pants, but on your arms, not legs).  Also look for jackets with a bit of stretch (no more than 5% spandex/lycra content), which will give a little more in the sleeve. If all else fails, try a jacket in a bigger size and get it tailored to fit your torso.


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Catherine Brock

As a Southern California transplant now living in the Midwest, Catherine has turned layering into an art form and accepted that UGGs actually do have a place in the stylish lady's wardrobe. She's been featured in Woman's World Magazine,, Refinery29, and has made appearances on ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis, KCAL9 Los Angeles, Fox19 Cincinnati, WGN TV Chicago and WCPO TV Cincinnati.

Blog Comments

i find sleeves like those only make big arms look even bigger, unless it’s say, a silk kimono blouse that’s light and airy and drapes nicely. i like your suggestion about buying a bigger size and tailoring the torso to fit.

budget babe.. it really depends on your personal preference.. i think buying a bigger size and tailoring it to be the better option, but some people do not like th idea of buying a bigger size…

The larger sleeves can work out great, especially if you define your waist with a belt (i wish they would have put a belt on the model in the picture above..)

I agree, wide arms on jacket, sometimes wide legs on pants only make you look bigger.  I just wish there was clothes for normal women out there…I have the hardest time….if they are plus size the armholes are huge, i’m bigger but I’m not so big that I need huge arm holes…

For me, the wide sleeves make me look wide all over due to a large bust. I think this is also due to the fact that these garments tend to be cut widely in the bodice. I really like your suggestion about getting them tailored, as well as the belt suggestion. You are right – if they had added a belt to the picture above it would have made a huge difference!

i too have bit upper arms. i am also big everywhere else but its funny that my old coats still fit my arms and i can still get them on yet i cant get the new ones on

i agree with you. The latest fashions out there are being cut smaller and smaller. I always thought it had something to do with the Asian or Indonesian versions of sizing. Those folks tend to be slight and willowy, where we Americans are much heavier and stockier. I have Chaus and Jones New York clothing (coats and jackets) that are 20 yrs old and still fit in a size 2X. Today I just tried on a 4X in a London Fog and it was slightly tight in the waist and the arms. What gives? It doesnt matter how much you spend either.


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