Plus-size golf clothing trends and tips

Ladies, don’t try to hide your curves anymore. Designers are making plus-size golf clothing to slim and slenderize — and we’ve got tips!

Image of plus-size woman golfer Laura Davies

One of the LPGA’s larger ladies, the great Laura Davies. (Courtesy of Keith Allison, Flickr)

IT’S THE RARE WOMAN who looks at a golf skort and shirt in the dressing room mirror and concludes, “This outfit makes me look too thin.” This article is for the rest of us. The woman whose waist mysteriously disappeared as middle age arrived. The woman who has always been big. And, especially, the woman who is finally trying to kick some bad habits with the exercise of golf.

All of these women share common ground with their smaller sisters, the women’s golf clothing designers have finally come to realize.

“We were always told that the larger women do not want prints,” said Kris Zajac, vice president of merchandising and design for EP Pro. “Well, of course they do. They want everything the smaller customer wants — they love color, and they want to be fashionable.”

EP Pro has long served up its golf fashions in sizes from zero to 22 and with a variety of lengths in every style short and skort. Sport Haley’s Bette and Court, which has increasingly been specializing in collections that transition to and from the golf course, began offering up to 2x and size 24 in the fall of 2012.

“Larger women want fashion and not basic,”said Sport Haley national sales manager Lisa Langas. “And that’s a challenge for them to find in golf shops. That customer tends to shop online rather than in the shops next to the 2s and 4s.”

The owner of the popular online destination Golf Essentials for Women, Donna Craig, noticed a change in trends for larger women at a recent PGA Expo. Along with lower prices in women’s clothes — yay! — Craig said she saw more 16s and 18s in the booths. “We all want to be a size 2,” she said. “But the average size in the United States is a 14. So if you’re only going to 12 — and I’ve seen some who stop there — you have missed the market.”

AND NOW, TIPS FOR WEARING PLUS-SIZE GOLF CLOTHING AND FOR LOOKING SLIMMER ON THE GOLF COURSE

  1. Wear clothes that fit you. Clothes that are too tight will show bulges, of course — but, clothes that are too big aren’t going to do you any favors either. The style of LPGA star Laura Davies represents a plus-size fashion don’t; the big-hitting big woman tries to conceal her bulk with vests that only make her look bulkier. Look instead at Angela Stanford, Lizette Salas, Christina Kim.
    “No matter what size you are, flatter your figure by owning your figure,” declared Karen Preston, co-owner of Lizzie Driver. Her partner, Lorrie Forgatch, nodded. “Don’t go boxy!” she decreed.

    “Any shirt cut like a box is going to add visual pounds,” said Lauren Demerling, co-owner of Catwalk Performance Artwear, which is making feminine, body-fitting clothes golf that slim. “Anything that lays against curves and gently skims the body reduces visual pounds. No pleats! And no oversize shirt — no matter what size you are.”

  2. Save the black shoes for slacks. “Ice skaters wear neutral colored skates to elongate the leg,” Demerling said. “If you wear black shoes with shorts, you are truncating your shape. White shoes are better.”
  3. Accentuate the positive. “It’s not about hiding but finding points you can accentuate,” said Lizzie Driver’s Preston. “You are not a box, you are a woman. It’s a lot about attitude.” Lizzie Driver shirts have a longer sleeve that tapers; a vest is nothing like what Davies would wear but has princess seaming in a soft, lightweight fabric.EP Pro’s Zajac holds up a white shirt with chevrons giving the illusion of a waistline. “Color blocking items can make them slimming,” Zajac said. “We engineer shirts so that the sides are black or a darker color.” She also suggests interesting details or jewelry at the neckline to draw the eye up.
  4. Choose shirts made to be worn over bottoms. A GottaGoGolf survey found that 90 percent of readers preferred to wear their shirts out. For many, that’s about comfort; for many, the tucked shirt adds too much bulk. Most collections today show tapered shirts with interesting trim and details at the bottom; the shirt-tail hem, which is curved to be slightly shorter at the sides, also is flattering to larger women, Zajac said. She also thinks skorts tend to be more slimming than shorts, which might explain why, for EP Pro, skorts have been selling better than shorts.
  5. Measure your enthusiasm for stripes. Stripes are a classic golf look, and the design experts insist that they are not a no-no for the larger woman. “I think if they’re small enough, stripes can look good on anyone,” Lizzie Driver’s Preston said. Zajac added: “I know a lot of people have issues. So we try to keep stripes small, and if they’re small, they’re flattering universally.” Small? An eighth of an inch, yes. A quarter inch, sure. A half inch, maybe. Bigger? Opt for a nice big floral print instead!

EDITOR’S NOTE: We’ve seen plus-size golf clothing from EP Pro, Sport Haley, Bette & Court, Nancy Lopez Golf, Cutter & Buck, Monterey Club. Please let us know if we should add to this list.

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  1. Betty Reynolds