blouse doesn't do up



See that picture above? That was me, yesterday, trying to find something to wear for tomorrow’s Blogon conference. As you can see, it wasn’t the most successful trip. This blouse was a size 20 so that I could try and fit the girls in, but as you can see, it’s baggy around the waist and hips and doesn’t come anywhere near to fitting across the chest.


I don’t think I’ve successfully worn a blouse since 1976.


I don’t necessarily think it’s just a big girl/woman with big ‘girls’ issue … the fashion industry hasn’t quite grasped the fact that the blouse doesn’t just not fit me, it doesn’t fit 99% of the female population. Because you see, we are actually woman-shaped. A shock I know. We are not straight up and down like boys, most of us go in and out at various points and some of us just happen to have larger assets than others. That certainly doesn’t mean that we don’t want to wear beautiful clothes that fit us. I mean, it’s not much to ask is it? A shirt that fits.


I’ve always had big boobs, as did my late mum. She had a breast reduction operation on the NHS when she was the age I am now and it’s only now that I totally understand why she did it. They’re a pain. Literally. But I don’t think I’m as brave as my Mum was.


Shopping as a larger woman is rarely fun – you can see what it’s like trying to find something in a ‘regular’ shop. I am generally relegated to plus size shops that, in my opinion, still haven’t got it quite right as far as finding a balance between what’s on trend and providing clothes that suit us. Maybe it’s me and this Bermuda Triangle of fashion (and everything else) I find myself in, aged 44. Not quite belonging in any one demographic – too old to want to wear anything uber-trendy, but not old enough to want to shop in the Classic range of M&S.


Don’t get me wrong, things are better than they ever have been but as you may have seen from the recent backlash after the C4 show ‘Plus Size Wars’, a lot of people don’t think we, as larger people, deserve to have nice clothes. Isn’t that right Jamelia? But I can tell you this, from my POV anyway, I DO deserve nice clothes … nice everything, but it’s not particularly easy to find them.


I buy most of my clothes online and, as a recent haul from Boohoo Plus will confirm, it’s really pot-luck as to whether anything will either fit or look good on or, God forbid, both! I bought ten items, kept two, and one of those was a rucksack handbag. At Check-out, I use the coupons I find at With the savings I get, it adds more fun to my shopping experience.


I would imagine some people reading this might think I should stop moaning and just lose weight, and in an ideal world they’re right. In an ideal world I’d be a size 10 with a face and ass like Beyoncé. But we don’t live in an ideal world do we? My fitness has slipped since living with Dad – my bike is locked away until I get to my new house and we’re eating out more than we should, so yes, I could and should be fitter … but I think that’s a separate to my size. I can be big AND fit, the two aren’t mutually exclusive.


I’m not sure where I’m going with this other than to have a little moan and to say I wish I enjoyed shopping as much as I did when I was a younger, slimmer woman. I’m glad that at least society is talking about the issue of plus size women and fashion because there was a time when all we had on offer were checked shirts and tunic tops with bows on the back.


It’s going in the right direction, so that makes me happy, but I’d love to hear your stories of shopping for plus size fashion. Do you find it as hard as me?




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Published by Kate Sutton

Writer, Mother, Dater.

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  1. I have exactly the same problem with most nice looking tops. I have to buy a large size to fit the puppies in and then I am swamped around the waist! Shame I can’t wear a hoodie all year round or maybe a tent 🙂

    1. I’m glad I’m not alone! It sometimes feels like I’m the only one with this issue. I know Pepperberry are good at addressing this issue but they’re quite expensive.

  2. Feeling this. In fact I am fairly sure the ample busom is the reason I grasped middle-agedness prematurely: the excuse to battle with finding things that were trendy (see, even my vocab is vintage) and well-proportioned. I used to rage at Boden- when I could finally afford to shop at the aspirational brand, I could find nothing to fit across the boobage.

    Supermarkets are my friend- and my budget’s friend- these days. I can cry in the privacy of my own home when things don’t fit.

  3. I’ve always had the opposite problem when it comes to boobs. I find dresses, and tops, can fit everywhere else but will be massive on my chest because they expect me to be bigger.

  4. I’m a 14 on top (swimmers shoulders) and a 10/12 on the bottom. I tried on a dozen dresses last week in the same shop. They ranged from size 10 to size 16. I could not figure that out. Hence nothing fit me at all. Manufacturers need to get their heads together and sort this problem out.

  5. I was a late bloomer (the ladies didn’t arrived till I was 19) so spent years dreaming of having big boobs! Now I have them I want them reduced. I have to wear so many sports bras when exercising that I can hardly breath! I feel your pain sister x

    1. I used to like running – I trained for the 5k Race for Life for months, but never really ran after that, mainly because it’s just too painful. I like to think I’d be an Olympian athlete were it not for the boobs! 🙂 x

  6. Yes, yes and yes. If you go to the big boob shops, the blouses cost £350 and are something even grannies would shun. I’ve just resigned myself to be blouseless and only purchase dresses that are stretchy.

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