the big girl’s guide to keeping cool this summer;

First thing’s first: I wear what I like. Nothing in this post should be taken as any indication that I’m bothered by my flabby upper arms, or nervous about having my thunder thighs on display. On those rare occasions that a heatwave like the one we had the week before last rolls around, I’ll be damned if I’m covering my body beyond what is comfortable just because I take up more space in the world right now than I used to. Besides, my current favourite summertime clothing hacks are just as useful for those who like to keep their skin covered for modesty reasons as those keen to avoid chafing.

Wingz - Last Year's Girl
Wingz - Last Year's Girl

Wingz are a fashion accessory so simple, and so obvious, it took a woman to think of them. Inventor Michelle Ellis suffers from lipodema, a genetic condition which can cause swelling in the arms and legs. Her signature product was designed for those who for whatever reason would otherwise avoid sleeveless tops and dresses, and effectively add sleeves without the bulk or discomfort of another layer.

I was sent a pair of the super-slim 3/4-sleeve viscose Wingz* and I absolutely love them, particularly with my favourite Apricot dress which almost looks like a little pinafore when you add the white sleeves! I’ve worn this outfit two weekends in a row now – for last week’s “birthday brunch” and for cheeseburgers and cocktails with Charlotte, Hayley and Morag the other night – which is all the evidence you need that I utterly love it. They’re an odd little garment to get used to at first, but once you figure out that the stretchy part of the fabric is supposed to go under the bust and then follow the back strap of your bra you should be sorted. You can buy Wingz in enough colours and styles to completely update all the sleeveless outfits in your wardrobe, and say goodbye to sweaty cardigans and itchy shrugs forever.

Taking Shape - Last Year's Girl

Wingz - Lis and Hayley

Fashion blogging is LYF.

One of the first musicians I interviewed was righteous babe – and future fashion designer – Beth Ditto of Gossip, and it was she who taught me about wearing shorts with bare legs under skirts in the summer to prevent the dreaded “chub rub”. At a recent bloggers’ introduction to Australian plus size clothing brand Taking Shape, I picked up a pair of their Easy Breezy Shorts* which were designed for this very purpose, again without adding the extra layer or heating you up as much as a pair of cycling shorts would. The floaty style of much of Taking Shape’s clothing, designed for layering, means that not a lot of what they sell appeals to me (I’ve got one of those hourglass figures that needs the defined waists of my 1950s-style dresses or else I look like a potato in a sack) but the illicit thrill I get from picking up a small or XS size means I’ll definitely be back for a couple more pairs of these.

Bonnie Bling - Stoater necklace

There’s no excuse quite like hanging out with your favourite blogger babes for finally introducing your Kate Spade handbag to the world – frankly, Charlotte would never have forgiven me had I waited any longer. I’ve mentioned before that designer handbags were never really my, well, bag; but see if you ever find yourself in the shopping capital of the world dealing with the aftermath of having unexpectedly become the big sister of a dad and a 30-year-old in the space of 24 hours (I mean, sure, both events were expected, but I thought I’d have another month to prepare for the former and I didn’t expect to have been drinking when I got the news) you’d probably be tempted to make a ceremonial purchase too. It was an investment. Plus look how nicely it goes with this outfit.

Skinnydip x Zara Martin headphones - Last Year's Girl
Skinnydip x Zara Martin headphones

I didn’t actually get my hands on the finishing touch to this outfit until dinner time – the Skinnydip x Zara Martin kitty headphones I’ve been coveting for ages were a birthday present, because my Charlotte is the best Charlotte (sidebar: I once again made out like a bandit from my annual wishlist, never gonna stop doing them). Now, these may look like fashion-before-function, but on first use I’m impressed: they’re way more comfortable than the Skullcandy headphones I’ve been using at my desk up until now and the sound quality is excellent. Cat ears while I work is just an added bonus.

Dress: Apricot
Sleeves: Wingz*
Bag: Kate Spade
Shorts: Taking Shape*
Necklace: Bonnie Bling
Earrings: Forever 21
Headphones: Skinnydip
Shoes: Adidas

Photos by Charlotte; photobombing by Hayley.

What do you think of these summertime clothing hacks?

More Wingz: Web | Facebook | Twitter
More Taking Shape: Web | Facebook | Twitter



  1. Jenny
    June 20, 2016 / 2:20 pm

    I love love love your dress. And your bag. And those earphone. X

    • June 20, 2016 / 3:55 pm

      I’m sure if they were puppy ears they would be perfect! x

      • Jenny
        June 20, 2016 / 4:28 pm

        puppy ears are too floppy for earphones! I think I could, dare I say it, get on board with the cat ear headphones…X

  2. Siobhan
    June 21, 2016 / 9:09 am

    Love everything about this. I have been doing cropped leggings under dresses to deal with my own chub rub issues but those look way more comfortable and the whole Wingz things is frankly inspired – if nothing else it gets me more months of wear for my “why do I have all these sundresses I live in bloody Scotland” dresses.

  3. June 21, 2016 / 1:14 pm

    love this post! You look so cute and those headphones are super cool! I like the wingz with the dress and looks so versatile too.
    Katie x x

  4. Andini Ria
    June 30, 2016 / 9:36 am

    Such a cute outfit, love your dress! I’ve never tried wingz before but I always wear shorts underneath my dresses to prevent chub rub, will have to try Taking Shape out <3

    Andini xx | Adventures of an Anglophile

    • June 30, 2016 / 10:30 am

      Thank you! Sadly I think you’ve missed the boat with Taking Shape, it looks as though they’ve decided to pull out of the UK in the last couple of weeks. Bit of a weird time for them to reach out to bloggers, but hey ho. x

  5. July 8, 2016 / 5:05 am

    Those cat ear head phones are so freaking cute! I always wear shorts under my dresses. It definitely helps keep the thighs from rubbing together.

    • July 8, 2016 / 1:26 pm

      Has to be done! I love these ones because they’re substantial enough to do that, but not so thick that they’re hugely noticeable. Unless you’re in a short dress, of course…

      Thanks for commenting! x

      • July 8, 2016 / 1:30 pm

        Well I usually wear cotton ones I got from forever 21 or men’s boxer briefs. But if the wind picks up, someone is gonna see burger and fries men’s undies, hahahaha. Maybe I need to step up my game…