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OOTDx2: Rolling Long Sleeves Adds Structure to Outfits + DIY Paper Beads

With fall officially starting on Saturday in the northern hemisphere, I expect to see more long-sleeved shirts come out of people's wardrobes in the coming weeks as part of the transition away from strict summer wear. But with warm weather still common in much of the US (and elsewhere) for a while yet, rolling up the sleeves on those long-sleeved shirts is a practical option. I also find it helpful for showing off my bracelet stacks...and I remember that my mom rolled up her sleeves to keep them dry when doing dishes.

It also can be a great personal style choice. In my last Style Imitating Art post, I wore a long-sleeved check shirt with the sleeves rolled up and one hem tucked under, saying that "I like how a rolled sleeve and/or a 'lazy' kind of tuck creates a relaxed, lived-in vibe in an outfit."

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 9/11/23

Realizing that I have a serious penchant for sleeve rolling, I did a bit of searching on other benefits for this styling technique and found this terrific post by Angie Cox at You Look Fab that hits on something I have understood intuitively but never articulated: "showcasing bare skin creates structure." Like Angie, I like to wear "fluid and fluidly tailored" outfits rather than "tight, form-fitting, body-encasing" outfits that "restrict movement." This puts my outfits a bit on the low side when it comes to structure. Rolling up the sleeves of a shirt so that the forearm is exposed is a very easy way to boost the structure quotient of my looks. Check out Angie's post as she discusses how various forms of sleeve rolling/scrunching, shirt tucking, collar popping, and pant cuffing add structure to outfits.

I think I started rolling up my sleeves as a matter of course after so many times of putting on an outfit, thinking it looked off in some way, rolling up the sleeves, then saying "oh, that looks better." With this recent outfit of the day, I decided to show you an example of how that plays out. First is the outfit with the long sleeves of the linen shirt (worn as a jacket) left long. It doesn't look too bad, actually, because I am wearing a knee-length fitted skirt so you can tell I have a body with a shape.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD: 9/6/23 - Long Sleeves

Here's what it looks like if we focus on the upper part of the outfit. Not terrible, but a bit baggy and shapeless, I think...and definitely not the best if I imagine it with full-length wide leg pants or a maxi skirt.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

The version with the sleeves rolled is only subtly different but I think it does improve the outfit by adding some structure to the top half of the look.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD: 9/6/23 - Rolled Sleeves

The difference that bit of structure makes is more apparent when we focus on the upper half of the outfit.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

Here's a side by side comparison. I won't make any ridiculous "I look like I've lost 10 pounds!!!" kind of comments on this (and encourage you to refrain as well), but the bare forearm does prove that I'm not a blob underneath the loose shirt, and most of us are flattered by having a demonstrably human form rather than potentially that of a gelatinous monster.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD: 9/6/23 - Sleeve Comparison

Moving on to the other aspects of this's one of my "looks like a dress but is actually a tank top and skirt" inner columns of color. I actually wore the same tank, skirt, shirt-jacket, and ballet flats a couple months ago with a teal ombré scarf in this post. For this look, I added a very simple gold layered necklace consisting of a short large curb chain and a longer tassel on thin chain.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

One thing I like a lot about this shirt is that it has such a variety of tones in the blue, blue-green, and green categories that it's easy to wear with many different variations of these colors.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

I wore my hair-matching gold sparkly headband and a pair of my world's easiest DIY hoop earrings with dark aqua glass pearls and gold-tone spacers on a pre-made earring hoop from Amazon.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

My daily bracelet stack is shockingly lacking in paper beads! I had recently made the top and bottom teal bead bracelets from a bag of large Preciosa 2/0 seed beads (about 6mm in diameter) in a teal AB color and wanted to let them shine (literally, in this case, because the AB/aurora borealis finish to the glass gives them a wonderful shimmer). I rounded out the stack with some other DIY glass bead bracelets in black and teal. Why black? Not sure, but I think having a couple bracelets in a dark neutral color worked well.

DIY glass bracelets

My second OOTD shows that the sleeve rolling technique also works with a blazer. The inner lining of this black polka dot blazer is also black, so it creates such a low contrast cuff/roll that you almost can't see it at a normal distance. But I like to roll jacket sleeves with a contrasting lining, too; it just gives it a different look. My black skirt is the only "maxi" skirt left in my closet, and it's not a true full-length maxi, as you can see. It's actually a high-low hem skirt, but I never have worn it that way; I just turn it sideways so that it's asymmetric across my legs instead (being the "boss of my clothes," as Jodie would say!). The exposed forearm and leg both add some welcome structure to this outfit.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD: 9/8/23

I enjoy finding ways to wear both a scarf and a necklace in the same outfit, and this is a great way to do it with a blazer that has a traditional collar. I took the thin silky square butterfly motif scarf and folded it on the bias (0:36 video), then laid it underneath the collar (method #2 in this post on wearing scarves without tying them). Is the polka dots + butterflies a match made in print mix heaven or what? I love it. The bright silver chain of the necklace repeats the triangular shape of the jacket collar, and the black pendant of course ties back to the primary color of the outfit while the maroon T repeats the background color of the scarf. This came together even better than I'd imagined (isn't it nice when that happens?!).

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

I have a subtle third print in the mix with my grey and black leopard wedges, which I really like wearing with this skirt.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

My daily bracelet stack is built around a paper bead bracelet set I made that coordinates with this dark, moody floral scarf. I don't have a LOT of paper bead bracelet sets inspired by scarves, but I do have several. In this particular case, I have to admit that I approached the process backwards: I had a piece of paper that was screaming out to be made into beads, so I found a print piece in my closet that worked with the colors to be its "reverse inspiration." However it came about, I say that the bracelets and the scarf are marvelous together!

Design a paper bead bracelet set

And of course, as we see in this OOTD, I can usually find other items/outfits for the paper bead bracelet sets to go with. The dark red/maroon, black, white, and green colors in the bracelets worked very nicely with the butterfly scarf. I supplemented the two bracelets in the set with the black glass/silver cat charm, black and silver paper bead, black and white paper bead, and dark red bamboo coral bead bracelets for a really pleasing stack. (It's a good stack when it has two animal charms in it, you know?)

DIY paper bead bracelet set

This time I'm starting my page-to-bead examples with the bottom paper bead bracelet because in this image you can get a pretty good look at the paper that I used for both bracelets. It's a full-page image of a fascinating skull mural from an alumni magazine. For the bottom bracelet, I used the skull section of the page and cut 7 triangular strips to make bicone beads. I covered the white core of the paper along the sides with silver Sharpie. I loved the blurred effect of the color on the final beads.

DIY Paper Beads

For the top paper bead bracelet with the elephant charm, I cut strips from the other end of the page with the colorful blocks outlined in black. Aren't the strips wonderful to look at? I edged them in silver Sharpie as well. It's interesting how different the rolled beads are, considering I used the same page as for the other ones. Using a single page for two bracelets is definitely a way to make them coordinate easily into a set!

DIY paper beads
DIY Paper Beads Page to Bead Examples

When do your long-sleeved shirts come out of the closet? Do you ever roll your sleeves? What do you think of the "showcasing bare skin creates structure" idea? Is structure something that you consider when putting outfits together?

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