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ABLE Clothing Review by a Middle-Aged Midsize Woman

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I have been hearing about ABLE Clothing for a long while. A U.S.-based sustainable fashion brand founded in 2010 that offers clothing in sizes XXS-3X, along with leather bags, and jewelry, ABLE is especially popular with Millennial influencers. But would it work for me, a middle-aged, short, soft, midsize woman? I decided to write an unfiltered ABLE Clothing review with you.

Who Is Doing This Review?

Hi, I'm Alison. I am 49, 5'3″ and usually wear a size 14, sometimes 16 especially in jackets and structured pants. I have a large bust, a round booty, strong full arms, and strong solid legs. If petite exists, I take it when it comes to pants and jackets and occasionally dresses, but otherwise I do better with regular to have room for my soft curves.

I have tried ABLE Clothing for over two years. I wanted to try a range of their offerings and give them time to be truly worn and laundered to share a helpful review. While ABLE offered some of these items for free, I always chose which items I wanted and did not receive additional help for choosing size or style.

Able Clothing Review

I have tried a range of items from ABLE Clothing. Some were gifts from the brand, some I purchased with my own money. The items I have tried personally are:

ABLE Clothing Tanks and Tees

After seeing a lot of influencers wearing ABLE Clothing, especially midsize and plus size influencers, I thought of the brand when seeing a new white tank. I purchased one and kept it. A year later, ABLE reached out and let me pick an outfit of my choice and one of the pieces I picked was a t-shirt.

Lise Ribbed Tank Review

I purchased the Lise Ribbed Tank in white, and based on the size chart, ordered a size XL. While I still own this tank, it did not make the grade for what I found to be one of the best white tank tops for women.

able lise tank review
I paired with crisp white pants to show how this tank is not truly white

This tank is opaque, does have a nice higher neckline that won't show cleavage, has a classic rib, isn't skintight, and fits well under the arms. But it is NOT white. It is the color of something that is unbleached; some may call it ivory or winter white. Also as a 5'3″ person, I found the Lise tank to run very short. If I tucked it in and raised my arms, it would often untuck.

able lise tank review
Nice fit under the arms, no bra showing, but note the length on me and I am 5'3″.

The Lise Ribbed Tank is a great tank for those who like a higher neckline without the cutout shoulders that are so popular right now. Opaque, a nice weight (not heavy but not flimsy), will cover up any bra, but doesn't look frumpy. It has held up to several washings and tumbles in the dryer. Best on shorter torsos as I am 5'3″ and as you see in the photos, it's not terribly long.

Every Day Tee Review

As mentioned, ABLE offered to send me an outfit and one of the pieces I picked was the Everyday Tee in white. Again I chose XL. I want to create a resource of great white t-shirts for women that come in a broad range of sizes and thought this may be a good addition.

Alison of Wardrobe Oxygen wearing the ABLE classic tee, pulling the neck to the side to show her bra strap and how the bra doesn't show through the slub fabric

Yet again, the “white” top I received was not white. It is off-white and next to white it looks dingy. But with other colors and denim, it looks crisp. The description states it is 100% cotton slub jersey, and you can see the slub effect more in person. Often slub tees are slightly sheer, but this t-shirt is a nice weight and you couldn't see my bra through it.

The ABLE Everyday Tee washed well; I chose to line dry because like the tank, it does run a bit short and I didn't want it any shorter as I like tucking it in. The XL was a relaxed fit on me; I think I could have sized down to L and it would have still fit comfortably in the bust and shoulders with a trimmer look.

ABLE Clothing Leather Bags

I had heard so much about ABLE leather bags, I decided to order one and see what all the fuss was about. I liked the look of the Mamuye Classic Tote which was very on trend at the time; I chose the Cognac color which felt like a nice choice for spring through fall and would go with both brown and black leather shoes and accessories.

ABLE Mamuye Classic Tote

The ABLE Mamuye Classic Tote is an unlined tote with an interior pocket. The interior pocket is very simple, essentially a rectangle sewn on three sides. The unlined interior is rough and I found shed a lot the first few times I wore it. It took me a bit to understand why I looked to have sawdust on my clothes until I realized it was from this tote.

Able leather totebag held by Alison at Wardrobe Oxygen

However, a year later, I like this bag a lot and use it regularly when I need to carry a lot and look a bit more polished but not professional/formal. The straps are very sturdy (and don't shed) and fit over my shoulder easily even if I'm wearing a jacket or have the bag very full. The pocket has softened with use and is more functional. The leather is thick yet soft. It does get scratched/weathered easily but I like that effect, at least on the cognac color.

Able leather totebag held by Alison at Wardrobe Oxygen

This bag isn't anything revolutionary, and it won't stop folks on the street asking where you got it. It's not really structured so while it can fit your laptop, your water bottle, your lunch, and your purse it's going to lose its shape and can feel heavy on the shoulder. If I didn't own it, I'd have other bags to use in its place, but maybe I'm not the right customer for it.

ABLE Clothing Sweaters

This is a category of ABLE Clothing I know the least about. I ordered one sweater in early 2023 and haven't tried any since. But here's my experience:

Claudette Fisherman Sweater

Since high school, one of my wardrobe staples has been an ivory/cream colored cotton cableknit sweater. I love them for throwing on with denim shorts on a cooler summer evening, pairing with jeans and boots in fall, layering over a button-down or turtleneck in winter, and styling with chinos in spring. So I just had to try the ABLE Claudette fisherman sweater and see if it was a worthy addition to my closet. I ordered it in XL.

ABLE cableknit sweater review
Not awful, but not awesome. I didn't like how the varied stitching seemed to emphasize my bust and shoulders

The Claudette is made from 55% BCI Cotton, 25% Recycled Polyester, 20% Recycled Nylon. It has a flat neckband that matches the cuffs and hem. It's not as heavy as my cotton fisherman from L.L.Bean, but it doesn't feel flimsy. The reason I returned it is because the style of the shoulders/arms fit super weird on me.

Alison wearing the ABLE Claudette fisherman sweater showing how it emphasizes her bust and shoulders
It's a very straight design which I felt emphasized my bust and shoulders in a way that I didn't enjoy.

This sweater felt like it was a size S pattern graded up to XL. The cut made my shoulders look large and rounded, it was snug on my biceps, yet the body was very roomy. I also felt it emphasized my bust more than my other cableknit sweaters. Many readers and followers on Instagram shared they love this sweater, but I don't think it's a good fit for those of us with fuller shoulders, busts, and arms.

ABLE Clothing Denim

ABLE is best known for its denim jackets and jeans. As someone who is shorter and softer, I couldn't relate to many of the reviews by Millenial influencers and wanted to try for myself.

Chelsie Classic High Rise Straight Jeans

When looking at ABLE jeans, most of them had inseams far longer than I could carry off, even with heels. Other than the Clarissa skinny jean and the Holly kick flare, all the styles were 32″ or longer. The Chelsie was supposed to be a slightly cropped jean with an unfinished edge, so I figured they'd be regular length on me and if too long, I could DIY a shorter inseam. Not sure how ABLE jeans fit, I went with the size chart and ordered them in 33.

Alison of Wardrobe Oxygen in a black and white striped Breton tee from Universal Standard and ABLE Chessie straight jeans
The jeans a half hour after putting on when I got to the mall

The jeans seemed to fit well right out of the bag. I liked the weight of the denim, and the wash looked cool. With 1% Elastane, they had a hint of stretch while still looking like rigid cotton denim. However, the jeans continued to stretch with each sit and step, seeming to elongate the rise as well as bagging at the knees, rear, and stretching out the waist.

Alison of Wardrobe Oxygen in a black and white striped Breton tee from Universal Standard and ABLE Chessie straight jeans
If these jeans came in petite I think I would have been a fan.

The Chelsie jeans stretched out so much, by time I got home at the end of the day, I had a saggy diaper butt and I could almost take them off without unbuttoning. Maybe I would have liked them better if I sized down. I also clearly needed a petite version to fit properly in the rise. If ABLE came out with Petites, I'd try their jeans again.

The Merly Jacket

My first-ever purchase from ABLE Clothing was the Merly Jacket. Seeing so many rave reviews online and desiring a distressed denim jacket that wasn't stiff and boxy, I felt this could be perfect for me. I have a friend who owns it and seeing it IRL on her sealed the deal. The next day I ordered it in Original Wash, size XL. And I returned it the following day.

Alison of Wardrobe Oxygen wearing the ABLE Merly jacket showing how it is too tight on her shoulders and arms

Like the Claudette sweater, the Merly Jacket did absolutely no favors for my shoulders, arms, and bust. I looked like a big person in a little jacket, though the jacket fit from armpit down. It was soft and stretchy and the distressing was super chic looking but the fit felt extremely Juniors.

able merly jacket review
This buckling made me feel like the jacket wasn't made for curves, even with the lightweight stretch fabric.

I kept trying to make it work. What if I roll the sleeves, what if I pop the collar, what if I wear it with only a tank underneath. But denim jackets are supposed to be that effortless layering piece and this one was anything but effortless or cute on me.

Alison in the ABLE Bailey denim jacket with a white tank and white linen wide leg trousers
Wearing the ABLE Bailey Classic jacket in XL. Tank is Athleta (old), pants are Madewell (14P), earrings are vintage, silver “A” pin was made by my Great Aunt for my mom.

The Bailey Classic Jacket

ABLE offered to send me a piece of denim last year, and I went with the Bailey Classic Jacket. The description said it was a more relaxed fit than the Merly and I hoped that meant there would be some room for my shoulders and upper arms. Again, I went with an XL and got the Light Blue Wash.

Alison in the ABLE Bailey denim jacket with a white tank and white linen wide leg trousers
Look mom, no squished upper arms!

The Bailey Jacket fits much better. I like that it's much lighter weight than any of my other denim jackets, but still has a super cool wash and finish. It is not stretchy, but since it's lighter weight, it does have some give that helps the jacket mold to your body. I have not washed this yet; I don't plan to unless it gets dirty or stinky or goes on a plane with me.

Alison in the ABLE Bailey denim jacket with a white tank and white linen wide leg trousers
You'd never think this is a lightweight stretchy denim with this cool vintage wash!

My teenager says this jacket looks good on me and has even borrowed it from me. While it's relaxed it looks pretty classic on me and looks good with dresses, jeans, and pants in a range of lengths and silhouettes. The Bailey Jacket would be good for travel as it's so lightweight you could tie it around your waist or stuff it into a bag.

ABLE Clothing Linen

This year, ABLE reached out and offered to send me an outfit. I was curious about ABLE's linen so I ordered the linen blazer and matching shorts in Green. This is the outfit I reference above; I ordered the Everyday Tee to go under the blazer for a complete outfit. You can see me in this outfit in this Instagram Reel video.

able linen review by wardrobe oxygen
Blazer is XL, shorts are 14, t-shirt XL, belt is a vintage scarf folded on the diagonal and tied in back. Shoes are Birkenstock.

Heather Linen Blazer

I ordered the Heather Linen Blazer in size XL. I usually benefit from a petite-cut blazer, but for more relaxed styles, I can do regular and just push up the sleeves. Made from 55% linen and 45% cotton, this blazer is a really texture that is soft but not prone to extreme wrinkling. The jacket is fully lined in a lightweight soft cotton the same exact color as the exterior. Well made, nice pockets, this is a good blazer.

Alison of Wardrobe Oxygen in a green linen blazer and matching dress shorts from the sustainable fashion vbrand ABLE

However, the blazer is snug on my upper arms. This is nothing new; I often experience this from brands like J. Crew and Madewell. This is the only negative I have for the Heather Linen blazer, and one that won't be an issue for all bodies.

able linen blazer cuff with one button
The blazer cuff has one button, so you can cuff or roll, and if you need them shortened you can just have that portion removed. The entire blazer is lined.

This color is super pretty, it would look nice with denim and chambray, with white, with navy, with gray, and with khaki/tan colors. It could look more professional with a silky shell or crisp button-front shirt, or look casual over a tee. And the color and texture of the Heather Blazer perfectly matches the shorts.

Esme Linen Shorts

Same exact fabric and color as the Heather Linen Blazer, this made a gorgeous set right out of the bag. Not lined, but these shorts had the right weight to look polished, not wrinkle a bunch, and remain opaque. If shorts can look professional, these are it but they'd also be nice with a simple tee or tank. I ordered a size 14 in the Esme Linen Shorts since reviews said they ran large. I haven't worn a 12 in years… but I wish I ordered a 12 in these shorts.

able linen shorts back view
You can see the elasticized back and how my scarf is essentially holding the shorts up.

With an elastic back, these shorts are hella roomy. I didn't wear a scarf as a belt just for style; it was keeping the shorts from hanging off my hips. I plan to take them to the tailor because I think other than that, the shorts are pretty perfect. The subtle pleats don't emphasize my belly, the shorts are comfortable in the waist, seat, and I like the length.

Alison wearing a white t-shirt tucked into loose green linen shorts
Great style, great fabric, just need to size down.

I like the Esme Linen Shorts a lot. If they came in black I'd buy them (though a size smaller). I think the pleats, the length, and the volume make them look more polished than traditional linen shorts. These would be great with a linen shirt or tank, and come early fall would be great with a Breton top or beach sweater and leather flats or sneakers.

Alison of Wardrobe Oxygen, a midsize over 40 blogger, reviews the ABLE linen blazer and shorts styled with a white t-shirt and Birkenstock sandals

Final Thoughts on Able Clothing

My experiences in general have been positive, though sizing can be a bit inconsistent. I feel confident recommending ABLE's tees and tanks and the new linen collection. The leather is thick and soft, and makes me curious about their other bags. If ABLE came out with petites in jeans, they would have me try them again, though in a more relaxed style (wide-leg petites and talls, please!).

I am only one person, so my review may not be the same as others. Have you tried ABLE Clothing? What are your thoughts? Do you have a favorite piece or have a different experience from what I did? Do share in the comments so you can help a fellow Wardrobe Oxygen reader make an accurate purchase or steer clear of a certain garment.

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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11 Comments

  1. I’ve been curious about ABLE too, and another influencer I used to follow (middle aged mid sized mom from the midwest) favors this brand. I love the leather bag and also the linen jacket & shorts. I’m always on the hunt for a white(ish) tee so I may give that a try. Thanks as always for your honesty and the time you put into these reviews!

  2. Too bad about the white fisherman’s cable knit sweater! I’ve been looking for some good ones, ever since I accidentally got bleach (I was in a restaurant bathroom and learned up against the counter to wash my hands. There was yellow line across my stomach later, as someone has apparently cleaned the counter with bleach but didn’t bother to rinse it or wipe it off later! An outright tragedy!) on a favorite green Gap fisherman’s sweater that hung on me the right way.
    I’m actually intrigued by all the off-/less bright/ivory-ish white tops, as bright/crisp white doesn’t look good on me. Nevertheless, Able should be naming/describing the colors correctly. I really don’t understand it when online retailers don’t present their wares correctly or with enough gallery photos or detail the lengths (sleeve, body, etc.) — they’re just creating more opportunities for returns and wasting their own resources.

    1. BTW, the only thing I’ve bought from Able has been a gold vermeil Eclipse ring and a gold-filled nameplate pendant necklace. I liked the necklace but the ring was too cheap-looking even for a very low-priced item.

  3. Thanks for your reviews, I ALWAYS read them as they are very honest! I appreciate that!
    I really like the way the jeans looked on you…in the beginning. I thought they were flattering.

  4. Your experience is very similar to mine- some pieces not as great as others, or just not quite right, but none terrible. I do really love my jean jacket from there!

  5. Could you please share where you got the crisp white pants that you used to compare colors with the tank top? They are very cute!

  6. I’ve tried a few things and found I had a similar experience with fit. Sometimes tight and loose in the same garment and no consistency to know that a L or XL will fit similarly across style. With exchange rate and shipping to Canada, returns aren’t easy, so can be a costly mistake. Having said that, their Meryl jacket is sooo nice, albeit the fit a bit tight on hips to do up. I’ve had luck with the button ups and dresses and some sweaters (the Dawn cardigan this year was fab!) I actually prefer off white, so that works great for me, but agree it should be label as such. I’ll still continue to buy as when it works, it’s glorious!

  7. You hit on one of my current pet peeves — items described as being white, but which are ivory or “natural” or off-white or even beige. This annoyance extends to patterned fabrics, esp those that are called blue and white or green and white. The item arrives, the pattern is beautiful, but the white is beige or ivory. I love a “color + white” print, but this year’s efforts to find one were a big fail.

  8. I have this same leather bag. I’ve had it for 5(ish) years. It’s worn well. When not using it, I keep it stuffed with tissue to hold its shape.

    It’s been used for schlepping a laptop, binder and 35 cell phones; multiple weekend getaways, and is a nice personal item for flights.

    I don’t baby it. In fact, it could use some leather conditioner. It’s scratched and has a beautiful patina that I love.

  9. Thanks for this honest review. A few years ago, I ordered a bunch of winter items. I wanted to like it so much better than I did. Everything was missing the extra detail to make it fit better. I sent everything back except for one sweater. It’s held up fine but I’ve hesitated to order again.

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