Dressing well at any age or size 36



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Our population is expanding, not just in numbers but in size. This poses a challenge for the clothing industry.

Up to size 26 there are a variety of stores catering to your needs. After that the choices dwindle.

Once you are over that size you are, by most companies, classed as no market – you become an invisible customer. Even the shop assistants avoid eye contact or become very busy in the stockroom. They know they have nothing to offer, and often they are judgemental, or even rude. One friend of mine was told by a shop assistant: larger ladies than you squeeze into our clothes.

We all have the need to look and feel good about ourselves, especially when we are no longer able to fit into the regular plus size clothing. Here are some tips I’ve learnt over my years operating my own plus sized women’s clothing business.

  • The most flattering styles for these sizes are the longer line tops that are cunningly designed to cover up certain problem areas, thus not exposing you to the scrutiny of every critic in the world.
  • Do you need an outfit for the office? A classic straight skirt or smart dress pants worn with a bright top have you stand taller.
  • For maximum impact combine skirts and pants in basic colours with a top in the same colour or white, dressed up with a brightly coloured jacket according to season.
  • Wear a camisole either under or, as is the fashion now, over your top. Wrap a snuggle wrap around you. Wear jeans with them or smart dress pants, depending on the occasion.
  • The fashion currently mixes leggings with longer line tops/tunics for comfortable styles that will have you wanting more of them. Leggings also work well if you decide to go to the gym. These are suitable for everyday wear; they can only be beaten in winter by a warm and comfortable fleecy tracksuit or a leisure suit that makes you feel good about yourself.
  • Underneath, wear comfortable briefs in larger sizes, as well as bike shorts – especially useful under skirts to avoid chafing.
  • You can look stylish and fashionable in clothing designed to last the distance, not just a few weeks. The big trick is to mix and match your garments creating many different styles with just a few items. You have a right to be here, to be well dressed and to be treated as a valuable human being.

Fulfil your desire and stand tall.


Tell us, do you find it difficult to purchase clothes that fit or look stylish? What’s your favourite clothing store? 

Ruth Schuettke

I'm Ruth Schuettke, owner and co-director of The Big Time Clothing Co. The business started way back in 1996 and has been supplying larger ladies with sizes not available in the regular plus size market ever since. All garments are produced in Australia. www.bigtimeclothing.com.au

  1. If you are over size 26 maybe try doing something about it.

    4 REPLY
    • I wasn’t trying to be nasty but it has to be hard not to be able to buy clothes. It’s not easy to lose weight @ as some people have stated clothes sizes have changed but if you are in a size bigger than 26 you must have some medical problems as i get into trouble with my doctor @ i’m 14 to 16.

    • I agree with you, Dawn. Being that size is not good for your health. Unless there is some health problem which is causing you to be that size, you should really do something about it. Start by watching what you eat. Go and see a dietitian. Some gentle exercise to start with, like going to the pool and doing some walking.

  2. Good point Dawn Steinberger More than likely anyone at that size is experiencing some major health & mobility probs especially if yr ova 60

  3. What judgemental people the first 3 commenters are. And definately not white tops! And larger sizes in nice styles are always available on ebay for a reasonable price.

  4. Sadly so will heart disease, unless you have a medical condition there’s no excuse for being this big. If you’re an emotional eater, get yourself sorted !!!!

  5. And here we go with the fat haters again.
    Get off your high horses. You may be slim and think you are beautiful but your nasty comments make you ugly. And I’ve seen plenty of people whi think they look great because they are slim and have expensive clothes; but in actual fact they look like a Christmas present wrapped badly in the financial times.

    2 REPLY
    • To the fat haters. Just think that if it weren’t for we fatties, no one would realise how good you look.
      Sadly, though, even if you think that you look good on the outside, but are ugly on the inside, you’re just ugly!

  6. Sadly, clothing sizes are getting smaller,still same size as always however instead of 14-16,now in some stores have to go into 18-20…so its not always the fault of the shopper…..also look beyond the size of the person,its whats inside that counts…

    2 REPLY
  7. It is not the size of the people, its the darn makers of clothing. I am a size 14-16, in general, but a bra size 18, now with these new ‘coffee cup-armoury’ type cupped bras, I am now a magic size 22? As I have lost a few kilos in the past few years, (no not on a diet) I cant fathom it! Myself, and I guess other women, can not wear these new style bras, and am finding it harder and harder to find the other style in sizes to fit with wide straps. Many women, with hormone problems at menopause age, have fluctuating body size, and it has nothing to do with pushing plates away at the table, but when the fashion houses dont lable the sizes correctly then shopping for clothing is very frustrating. Not all of us want to shop on line, as you never know what you will be getting. Myself, like many, prefer to try clothes on before purchasing.

    1 REPLY
    • Yes uniform sizing …we need it, fed up with 18 that is about a 12 or a 14 ….. something is wrong with the sizing lately… and agree about bras, but noticed Best and less do some that look OK?

  8. The clothing industry pose a problem for us consumers. The clothes are getting smaller. I used to be a size 16 but now I have to get anything from an 18 up unless it is something from TS or Autograph where they use good quality material and I am a size small or at the most medium. Mind you I only buy when there is a sale because their sales are incredible.

  9. I am not 26 yet!! and hope I can wind back the size I am before Spring, but I am not entirely agreeing with a camisole over the top of another garment, and question the leggings, although I wear them…. suppose it depends how much leg you show? I do agree with wearing matching pants and jacket and a bright top, looser tops work, long cardigans are my comfort garment right now, picked up 3 or 4 in sales, we all need to be mindful about what we eat, and try to cut back, but I do feel for women who go and experience bad treatment in any shop! I have had that and its unpleasant. For instance asking if they had anything above 16 size, and being looked at like I just crawled out of a sewer…as she dismissed me with ‘No they don’t make them that big’….

    1 REPLY
  10. I buy my undies from The Big Time Clothing Co., they are the only brand I wear and the most comfy I have ever worn. Also the only time I get to buy size Medium! Thoroughly recommend them. Their clothing is great too.

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