Baring My Arms

Baring My Arms | Lane Bryant Tiered Maxi Dress | Designing From My Closet | Plus & Inbetweenie Fashion Blog

I am not exactly sure where I first got told that I needed to cover my arms, but I specifically remember older family members telling that it was a must.  It made me feel ashamed of this part of my body and it added yet another list of garments that I could never wear.  Even if I could, it was a requirement to find a cardigan, jacket, or shrug to cover this unsightly part of my body.  Even then, I hated the way it looked because not all sleeveless items look good with a layer because it would cover the details I loved.  I remember wedding dress shopping and feeling like I was being so taboo by wearing an arm baring dress.  It made me so self conscience and it was all because I let other womens insecurities be passed onto me.

Recently I was scrolling through some lovely comments on a plus size retailers Facebook post featuring some other beautiful plus size bloggers.  One jarring comment stood out as a women exclaimed why in the world they were making sleeveless items claiming that no one wants to see flabby arms and that now she has to go find a shrug to make these items work for her.  I realized at that moment how she was projecting her own issues onto anyone else who would listen and how she was unknowingly putting down these lovely ladies in the picture.  While I understand and appreciate that every woman is on her own journey of self love and self acceptance, it frustrates me that some decide that if they have an issue with their body, so should every other woman.

Today I am not here to tell you that you need to show your arms, I am here to share my personal experience about how I made the decision to no longer be bound by this rule that was given to me as a young woman.  Every woman has the right to make the decisions about what she wears and it is her choice to feel good about it.

Baring My Arms | Lane Bryant Tiered Maxi Dress | Designing From My Closet | Plus & Inbetweenie Fashion Blog

Several years ago I lived in Kansas where the summers are hot and humid.  For quite some time I suffered as I put on an extra layer just to cover my arms.  Then when I was out in the middle of nowhere, I would peel it off my body for some much needed relief.  I even remember my husband questioning me about it because he thought it was so strange that I had to cover up.  After a while, I finally decided I could not do it any more and so I ventured out into public with my arms out.  At first I was so nervous and self conscience.  This part of my body was exposed for everyone to see!

And then it happened, no one cared.  No one even said anything.  If anything, I would get compliments on the outfit I was wearing, and it was sleeveless!  The more time went on and the more I wore sleeveless items, the less I thought about it.  Now it is not even something I think about.  So when I saw this gorgeous blue maxi dress with a bold print, I knew it was meant to be in my closet.  The fact that it had no sleeves was not an issue.  It has a beautiful neckline with a halter style and ruffles.  All I needed to do was to use a clip on my regular bra to convert it into a racer back style so my straps would not show.

Baring My Arms | Lane Bryant Tiered Maxi Dress | Designing From My Closet | Plus & Inbetweenie Fashion BlogBaring My Arms | Lane Bryant Tiered Maxi Dress | Designing From My Closet | Plus & Inbetweenie Fashion Blog

I felt like I floated around when I wore this dress and I was so comfortable.  These fun fringe sandals set off the tropical vibe so well too.  A simple gold necklace frames out the neckline nicely.  And I must admit, I feel that this handbag is a big too “heavy” feeling and will be sporting my ivory macrame fringe tote the next time I wear this dress.  I am so thrilled I took the plunge to ween myself into baring my arms.  It has opened up my world and has built up my confidence.  While I still enjoy wearing cardigans and jackets with some sleeveless items, it is now a style choice rather than a covering up thing.

Baring My Arms | Lane Bryant Tiered Maxi Dress | Designing From My Closet | Plus & Inbetweenie Fashion BlogBaring My Arms | Lane Bryant Tiered Maxi Dress | Designing From My Closet | Plus & Inbetweenie Fashion BlogBaring My Arms | Lane Bryant Tiered Maxi Dress | Designing From My Closet | Plus & Inbetweenie Fashion Blog

Outfit Details

Remix FeatureRemix Feature_ Lane Bryant Maxi DressSueded Fringe T-Strap Sandals  |  Iris Petal Necklace  |  Coach Handbag

And because the dress I got from Lane Bryant is already sold out, here are some other beautiful blue printed maxi dresses that have the same feeling.

Blue Print Maxi DressesAvenue Paisley Knot Front Maxi Dress  |  Calvin Klein Plus Size Sleeveless Printed Maxi Dress  |  Plus Size Chaps Printed Empire Maxi Dress  |  City Chic ‘Copacabana’ Print Maxi Dress

Do you have a body part that you have been told you should cover because of others insecurities?  Are you still working on it?  If you have gotten over something like this, I would love to hear your story too!

Today’s Postivity Note

Take the risk.

 Be Blessed!


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  1. Good for you Janeane—we all have stories like this. Mine was, as a child my step dad used to tease me about how my skin was like a road map (super pale) which made me want to tan (of course, it was the 80’s so that was the thing to do)—now I wished I’d embraced my whiteness earlier so I wouldn’t be dealing with skin cancer—but live and learn!
    The color of this dress is spectacular!!

    1. Wow Jodie, this is truly powerful. It is such a message to not listen to negative comments about our looks/personality. I wish you all the best in your cancer journey and I admire you for talking about it.


  2. Oh Janeane, we are sisters in spirit for sure. I was told I inherited my Nana’s arms (heavy) and as I’ve gotten older, it seems arms aren’t the only things I’ve inherited from her as I look like her all over! Heavy her, heavy me. However, she wore lots of sleeveless dresses (pictures prove that) and I thought she was beautiful and stylish. So, how I got it in my head to keep my own heavy arms covered, I couldn’t tell you. But I cover them all the time. In fact, I truly dread summer’s heat and letting my arms show. I know now, from reading so many blogs, that I’m not the only one who fears the sleeveless. But thanks to you and those other bloggers, I’m going to try to be bold and just go for it- tanks and dresses, here I come! Thank you for helping to put those old fashion fears to rest and encouraging us all to be proud and fearless! And you definitely do look great in that dress!

    1. Oh Donna, I read this and a tear came to my eye. This topic is so sensitive and personal that I always wish I could grant confidence to every woman I meet (both in person and online). And I cannot emphasize enough how uncomfortable I felt for the first several times I did show my arms. I am so happy that I pushed through that fear because this beautiful dress would have never been an option for me. I am so thrilled you are ready in your personal journey to take this step of confidence!


  3. What a beautiful dress and you look fabulous in it! Thanks for sharing your passed down insecurities and how you are overcoming them. For me I guess it would be my legs. I have very bad varicose veins….those I inherited from my mom and dad. I need to do something about them for my own health, but I feel like I need to hide them, so people aren’t pointing and saying, “Ewww! Gross!” or “Don’t those hurt?” And I think you are right, most people won’t even notice. If we are stylin’ they’ll just be seeing how great we look and won’t be focused on one thing we think is a flaw. Thanks for sharing! – Amy

    1. It is so funny how we notice our own flaws so much than how others view us. We sometimes put microscopes on those places when we look in the mirror. You bring up such a wonderful point about how “we are stylin'” and that “they’ll just be seeing how great we look”. I think that is so true!


  4. This is an awesome and much needed post! I applaud you for speaking out. I grew up with that same mind set. My mother constantly covered her own arms and criticized them. Then I spent years in a very legalistic church where showing your arms was considered downright sinful! About 4 years ago I started through some mental and emotional changes where I really came to terms with my size…including my arms…and the shrugs and sweaters went by the wayside. Then last year a new set off circumstances came into my life and I had weight loss surgery. Now, my arms were thin, but there is loose skin there, as well as other places, I can do nothing about, short of surgery…which isn’t an option. At first I found myself wanting to hide those arms once again. I was embarrassed. But, then I realized that loose skin was a symbol of how far I’d come, how hard I’ve worked, how far God’s brought me. Now I’m proud of my arms. I OWN them and show them off without shame!

    1. Thank you for sharing your story Rhona! We have so many similarities. And I love that you talk about them being a symbol of accomplishments, your work, and God’s work. This is so inspiring to me!


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