Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sleeve Shopping

I am 5'14" tall woman (or a 6'2" guy) and have long arms. I have trouble buying male clothes that have long enough sleeves and buying female clothes with long enough sleeves is even harder!

One workaround is that I tend to buy clothing that is not long-sleeved. Three-quarter sleeve, short sleeve, and sleeveless sleeves are my girlfriends.

Luckily, I have thin arms (for a guy) and do not need sleeves to hide anything. I just have to make sure to remove all the hair and to tan evenly.

But I cannot avoid long sleeves completely. Outerwear for cool and cold weather demand long sleeves and I have to shop long and hard to find what I need.

Size-wise, I am on the borderline of the Misses sizes and Plus sizes. I have found that when shopping for outerwear, I have more success with the smallest Plus sizes than the largest Misses sizes. Plus size outerwear is often larger in the sleeve as well as larger in the body of the outerwear. So, size 14W in outerwear often works for me.

Once in awhile, I luck out. For example, over the years, I had success at Fashion Bug. I have bought dresses and a coat off the rack in Misses size that had adequate sleeve length. But sadly, Fashion Bug is going out of business.

Besides Fashion Bug, I have been successful shopping at at JCPenney, Dress Barn, Torrid, and Macy's. More often at JCPenney and Dress Barn, less often at Torrid and Macy's.

Alterations are sometimes an option. I bought my favorite coat, a three-quarter-length lynx fake fur online from Lane Bryant. It was a beautiful coat and a perfect fit except for the sleeve length, which was way too short. Wearing gloves did not camouflage the problem and I reluctantly prepared to ship it back to Mr. Bryant for a refund.

Before I did so, I noticed that the fake fur did not end at the end of the sleeve. Instead, the fur was folded over into the lining of the sleeve approximately four inches.

I wondered if a tailor or seamstress could do anything with it, so I took my coat to a local seamstress. For $20, she lengthened the sleeves with the fake fur lining and the sleeve length was perfect.

I much prefer to go shopping en femme so that I can try on clothes and get the full effect --- not only to see what fits, but also how the stuff looks on a lady and not a guy --- I assure you that it makes a big difference.

I take the maximum number of items to the dressing room and go at it. I have never had an issue en femme using the women's dressing rooms to try on clothes. It is the only way to go, although I have also tried on clothes in boy mode when that was the only choice I had. I refuse to buy something in boy mode, take it home to try it on and then have to return it --- that is the way I used to shop and that got old real fast.

Shopping online is worse, although I have to admit that making returns is easier these days than in the past. Nowadays, some of the online stores cover the cost of shipping returns, but you still have to deal with packaging up the returns, not to mention dealing with the disappointment of ordering something "to die for" that does not fit or looks like it died when you tried it on!


  1. Short sleeves also gets me mad. I buy tall clothes and it is like they only make the torso longer and not the sleeves... Grrr!

  2. Hi Stana...sounds familiar....keep shopping girl...I won't stop either....

  3. Stana,
    Add me to the list. While "My Arms are Too Short to Box with God" they are too long to fit properly in wrist length ladies clothing. In my case I think it is a combination of the longer arms and the fact that my bigger, broader shoulders take up too much room at the top.

  4. This is exactly why I learned to sew! Alterations are no problem so long as they're simple ones.

  5. Nice coat. I like it! You're lucky there was extra fabric for the extension. I'm working on learning to sew, too. But, it'll be a while before I can tackle a project like that!