Dress For Your Body Type: What is a flattering fit for large arms

Let’s help this reader discover tops that flatter fuller arms

Large arms

Q: I have large upper arms and would like to know what kind, type, and style of shirt or blouse to wear that is flattering or draws the eye away from my full arms.

With warm weather coming, I can’t hide under sweaters anymore. I am 43, and not really overweight, small chested, but my arms are big. Thanks. (Colorado Springs, CO)

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A:Guns vs girth, the upper arm dilemma! Whether your arms are large from bursting muscles, a little extra weight, not perfectly toned, or simply your basic body type finding the right style tops to flatter your figure can be irksome. The most elegant and flattering clothing fit has a lot to do with your total body shape rather than a specific area that you feel self-conscious about. Think of your overall figure as a gorgeous sum of its parts and make the most of what you’ve got!

You need to respect the strength of your arms with structured styles that compliment them rather than underwhelming them. Fuller arms stay proportionally in balance with your figure with blouses that are not very delicate and frilly, but more clean, chic, and sophisticated, like a short-sleeved shirtdress rather than puffed sleeves. Your short sleeve length should end at the most flattering part of your upper arm, be it above or below the bicep but never right in the middle of your largest arm muscle.

When you chose to cover-up, long sleeve tops, jackets, or coats should never pull or yank on your arm but graze over it. If the cut of a particular piece of clothing runs small, you may want to go a size up and take in the body of the garment for a better fit. The more your top pulls, the more disproportionate your arms will appear.

When your arms are full, yet toned and you want to show them off in sleeveless tops— think Michelle Obama style for strutting some mean guns— your armhole should spotlight the best part of your shoulderline. The cut should not be too bare like the new open-sleeve armholes started by Alexander Wang and not too covered like a cap sleeve, but a nice sleeveless which touches the part of your shoulder that connects to your arm to create less emphasis to your upper arm.

The neckline of your top will help to draw the eye way from your arms, but more important, create the visual illusion of a more in proportion figure. Look for V-necks and open shirts that create a more vertical line rather than boat necks or large square necks that create the illusion of a fuller upper body. A few thin layered pieces like a lightweight cardigan over a thin sweater will also camouflage larger arms. A sharper collared topper, like a trench coat, will be more flattering than a boxy jacket with a Peter Pan collar and cropped sleeves. Think long, lean, and clean in terms of silhouettes and you will look gorgeous!