Fashion

A Big Girl and Her Cardigans…

March 5 2014 | CeCe Olisa

A few years ago I was sitting in church, when one of the deacons daughters climbed into the pew in front of me. I love talking to kids, so having a 10 minute conversation with a seven year old isn’t a big deal to me. We began chatting about school, her teacher and her friends; then she looked at me,

“I like your dress,” she said putting her hands underneath her chin.

“Oh, thank you” I smiled.

“You wear THOSE a lot,” she observed pointing at my cardigan sweater.

I paused (man, little people really pay attention to everything!)

“You’re right, I do! I actually have one in every color… kinda crazy, right?” I laughed. She laughed and then we went back to discussing her playground dramas.

I got home and peeked into my closet, there on the hangers was all the proof I needed. Clearly, I had a very intense cardigan sweater addiction passion.

Back when I refused to show my arms, cardigans were the answer to all of my sleeveless/strapless dress problems. I also felt like the draping of my cardigans hid my tummy and love handles well when I was wearing jeans. I found myself making regular shopping trips for $20 cardigans and my collection of colorful cardigans grew and grew overtime. Cardigans became a staple in my wardrobe. Cardigans became a comfort blanket in my closet, a piece of clothing that made me feel like the jiggly parts of my body were hidden.

cardigan

You can scoop up my polka dot dress here

I knew I had a cardigan addiction when I tried to throw a button down cardi over a freakum dress. (Girl, bye!)

I knew I had a cardigan addiction when I refused to take my cardi off while waiting for the train in the hot, humid subway station one summer. (*faints*)

I knew I had a cardigan addiction when I brought a cardi to wear over a strapless bridesmaids “in case it got cold” in the middle of July. (Um, no.)

Breaking my cardigan addiction meant I had to address the real reason I was wearing them constantly. I was wearing cardigans to hide my body and it was getting out of hand. Cardigans had gone from making me a little more comfortable, to dictating what I would/wouldn’t wear. They went from give me a confidence boost to holding me back. I had to take control of my own body image. Let’s be honest, all of the cardigans in the world would not change my size or weight. (read more on that in “You Can’t Hide the Fat“)

Slowly overtime I’ve put cardigans in their proper place in my wardrobe. I wear them a lot for work because its cold in my office and it helps me transition some of my more casual dresses into work wear. You’ll notice a lot of cardigans in my twerking Vlog below because I was hanging out in my work clothes, but on weekends and when I’m out at night, I have a “no cardis allowed” rule that keeps me from getting too dependent on my old comfort blanket.

I had to throw cardigans and shrugs out the window along with “black is slimming” and other nonsense that I convinced myself of. Maybe next month, I’ll try to do 30 days with no cardigans at all, just to be sure I’ve really kicked the habit.

Do you wear a lot of cardians or have a different kind of “fashion comfort blanket” that makes you feel like your trouble spots are hidden?

Oh, and check out this weeks PSP in NYC Vlog 🙂

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39 responses on “A Big Girl and Her Cardigans…

  1. Samantha Dorris Costanza

    I have to wear them because everything they make for plus size is sleeveless or strapless. I hate wearing layers but feel I have no choice as I will never show my upper arms.

    1. CeCe Olisa

      Yeah, I used to be like that too… then I realized that people aren’t really looking and the less I cared the more liberated I felt haha

  2. Samantha Dorris Costanza

    I have to wear them because everything they make for plus size is sleeveless or strapless. I hate wearing layers but feel I have no choice as I will never show my upper arms.

    1. CeCe Olisa

      Yeah, I used to be like that too… then I realized that people aren’t really looking and the less I cared the more liberated I felt haha

  3. Tiffany

    Hey, nothing wrong with having tons of cardi’s! I absolutely love them. I have batwings, so I don’t like to wear them out all the time. Besides, I like to have them to add a splash of color when I have my all black everything days. 🙂
    Tiffany @ http://www.uniquely-chic.com

  4. Tiffany

    Hey, nothing wrong with having tons of cardi’s! I absolutely love them. I have batwings, so I don’t like to wear them out all the time. Besides, I like to have them to add a splash of color when I have my all black everything days. 🙂
    Tiffany @ http://www.uniquely-chic.com

  5. JennieC

    Haha, very timely because I was just trying to figure out how to hustle some Summer cardis for super cheap for work. I go through them so fast, I swear. Also, do you know the name of that black Asos dress you held up? It looks like a maxi and is really cute! I struggle trying to find things on their website… Thanks, CeCe!

  6. JennieC

    Haha, very timely because I was just trying to figure out how to hustle some Summer cardis for super cheap for work. I go through them so fast, I swear. Also, do you know the name of that black Asos dress you held up? It looks like a maxi and is really cute! I struggle trying to find things on their website… Thanks, CeCe!

  7. Lucy Dorphin

    So I am now finally break the “black-is-slimming/wear only dark colors” attitude I had for YEARS, Because I love dark colors. I actually really like tank-tops and sleeveless things, but I have noticed that when I do wear cardigans (Mostly in winter, it’s too hot where I live to wear them outside of fall/winter), I always button them up because I feel like when they’re open they show all my fat? I am getting a lot better about loving my body, but I still have those negative-fat thoughts sometimes with certain clothes…

  8. Lucy Dorphin

    So I am now finally break the “black-is-slimming/wear only dark colors” attitude I had for YEARS, Because I love dark colors. I actually really like tank-tops and sleeveless things, but I have noticed that when I do wear cardigans (Mostly in winter, it’s too hot where I live to wear them outside of fall/winter), I always button them up because I feel like when they’re open they show all my fat? I am getting a lot better about loving my body, but I still have those negative-fat thoughts sometimes with certain clothes…

  9. BlueIris

    I love my cardi’s and can not part with them. Like everyone else here, I hate my arms, so I will never go sleeveless. Lane Bryant had some wonderful light weight short sleeve cardi’s last summer and I think I bought 6 different colors. When one of them wore out, I literally wanted to cry. I give you HUGE props for getting over your bare arm phobia, but I will never get there.

  10. BlueIris

    I love my cardi’s and can not part with them. Like everyone else here, I hate my arms, so I will never go sleeveless. Lane Bryant had some wonderful light weight short sleeve cardi’s last summer and I think I bought 6 different colors. When one of them wore out, I literally wanted to cry. I give you HUGE props for getting over your bare arm phobia, but I will never get there.

  11. Tanja

    I love cardigans! I got them in all shapes, sizes and colors. I’m always on the lookout for a thin, nice, black cardigan with 3/4 sleeves. Yup, there you go, black + cardigan combined is my ultimate comfort! lol
    Now, I do not think I’m the only one in this, because guess what….. I have been seeing quite a few maxi dresses with sleeves for this Spring. Not yet sure what to think of it, as some seem rather matronly, but I do like the effort they are making to listen to us. I’m going to try out a few, see if I like them, otherwise it’s back to the cardigans. Yay! 🙂

  12. Tanja

    I love cardigans! I got them in all shapes, sizes and colors. I’m always on the lookout for a thin, nice, black cardigan with 3/4 sleeves. Yup, there you go, black + cardigan combined is my ultimate comfort! lol
    Now, I do not think I’m the only one in this, because guess what….. I have been seeing quite a few maxi dresses with sleeves for this Spring. Not yet sure what to think of it, as some seem rather matronly, but I do like the effort they are making to listen to us. I’m going to try out a few, see if I like them, otherwise it’s back to the cardigans. Yay! 🙂

  13. Stefanie Loves

    I like Cardigans but not to cover up anything. I usually wear them in Fall/Winter to stay warm and sometimes I take one with my in summer in case it might get colder in the evening. I am not obsessed with sleeveless clothes but I don’t really care if I find something I like and it has no sleeves.

    http://stefanieloves.wordpress.com/

  14. Stefanie Loves

    I like Cardigans but not to cover up anything. I usually wear them in Fall/Winter to stay warm and sometimes I take one with my in summer in case it might get colder in the evening. I am not obsessed with sleeveless clothes but I don’t really care if I find something I like and it has no sleeves.

    http://stefanieloves.wordpress.com/

  15. Thickness Tees

    I think I might be one of the few plus size chicks that don’t rock cardigans…I like seeing them on other people…but I think they box me out….

  16. Thickness Tees

    I think I might be one of the few plus size chicks that don’t rock cardigans…I like seeing them on other people…but I think they box me out….

  17. Tikeetha Thomas

    Definitely for work, but less when it’s hot outside. I love cardigans. I hate my arms too, but I’m working them out.

  18. Tikeetha Thomas

    Definitely for work, but less when it’s hot outside. I love cardigans. I hate my arms too, but I’m working them out.

  19. Tashie

    In high school, I wore my black zip up hoodie with everything. Mind you, I live in
    Hawaii! I was so insecure with my arms that I didn’t care if it was 90 degrees,
    that hoodie was staying on. I got over that comfort, and “bared arms” for a
    while, but I must say I think I’ve now convinced myself that I NEED to wear
    cardigans. I’m probably the only one sporting them in the clubs too. But, I
    should take a break from them, other than utilizing them for work, and build my
    confidence back up. Thank you for your continuous inspiration!

  20. Tashie

    In high school, I wore my black zip up hoodie with everything. Mind you, I live in
    Hawaii! I was so insecure with my arms that I didn’t care if it was 90 degrees,
    that hoodie was staying on. I got over that comfort, and “bared arms” for a
    while, but I must say I think I’ve now convinced myself that I NEED to wear
    cardigans. I’m probably the only one sporting them in the clubs too. But, I
    should take a break from them, other than utilizing them for work, and build my
    confidence back up. Thank you for your continuous inspiration!

  21. April

    I like cardigans & used to use them (and denim jackets) to cover my big arms. Now, when it gets hot the last thing I’m thinking about is what my arms look like. These days, I do like to keep a variety of colors to wear with my summer maxi dresses, as they make these dresses more appropriate for work when the weather is warm. I’m a teacher and don’t feel comfortable wearing strapless, sleeveless, or spaghetti-strap styles in my classroom.

  22. April

    I like cardigans & used to use them (and denim jackets) to cover my big arms. Now, when it gets hot the last thing I’m thinking about is what my arms look like. These days, I do like to keep a variety of colors to wear with my summer maxi dresses, as they make these dresses more appropriate for work when the weather is warm. I’m a teacher and don’t feel comfortable wearing strapless, sleeveless, or spaghetti-strap styles in my classroom.

  23. LBoogie524

    Wowsa, this really spoke to me on another level. Fellow cardi addict/”fat arm” coverer here. I remember when I studied abroad in Europe 10 years ago in college, my friends making fun of my cardigan collection saying it took up half of my very limited amount of suitcase space and that I had a problem. And since, ne’er a formal celebration have I attended without some kind of shameful shawl to cover my arms. Even in the dead of summer in Texas where I live. I’ve even been known to rock a cardi on a 100-degree day at an outdoor music festival, or a sweaty club while dancing my heart out. While it began as a way to cover myself, it slowly over the years became a staple of my wardrobe allowing me to express my style as I sought out mix-matching or brightly-colored or ones with unique buttons and trims. In the past year or so I too have shed my cardigan skin as I’ve enterered a new realm of self-acceptance and felt the same feeling of liberation. I went to a music festival recently in a tank top sans sweater in June just like every other sane human woman. And I’ve even forced myself to be allowed in photos cardigan-free and not untagged them on Facebook! Just the other day I bought a new dress from Target and thought about how it didn’t “need” a cardigan and then I didn’t wear one with it. While I’ll never totally get over my body issues and be able to go shorts-free over a swim suit, freeing my arms of the captivity they were in has been a big step for me. I still love me a good cardigan as an accessory to an outfit, but I now refuse to use them solely as a “cover up!”

  24. Bola Hanson

    Yes I have a lot of back fat, no but and a lot of stomach. I have an apple shaped body. That is awkward to dress. I’m working on losing weight but I cant help but feel I have to wear them. in fact i don’t have many I wear the same black cardigan. I make sure to not buy sleeveless things but even in my regular tops with sleeves I wear a cardigan or some covering. Don’t why but it’s like i think the fat won’t be seen as much.

  25. Amelia

    What was most difficult about embracing my arms was friends and family members that would suggest I wear a shawl or some other cover-up. Like really girl? This flab ain’t bothering me, why does it bother you??

    I’ve been rocking my right to bare arms for a few years now. It’s so freeing

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