Style Advice & Blog

Single sleeve silliness; a daft trend?

We do bang on about dresses and how much we love them, which we do.

We also try not to be bossy or proscriptive, as we believe that looking fabulous over 50 is all about styling and how we wear clothes, rather than about being told what not to wear or the age on our birth certificate.

That said, occasionally a ‘trend’ appears which creates a real dilemma for the over-50 fashionist, em, us.

One such trend is the single sleeve dress (or the single sleeve top).


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The single sleeve piece has, unsurprisingly, one sleeve, leaving one arm totally bare. That kind of one-shoulder dress (or top) was, in old fashion-parlance, a cold-shoulder, although in current fashion-parlance ‘cold-shoulder’ means something different. Do keep up at the back…

The new-style cold shoulder arrived in 2015. It has holes cut out on both shoulders and it has two sleeves, making it far more arm-friendly as it allows us to show off our shoulders yet still cover our arms. Likewise, the off-the-shoulder or bardot neckline is equally fabulous for older arms and shoulders as it, too, lets us show off our shoulders while keeping our arms covered.


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The current cold shoulder is significantly different from the earlier incarnation of the cold shoulder of the 1980s, with which many of us are familiar. That cold-shoulder featured a diagonal neckline revealing one bare shoulder and, usually, two bare arms. That cold shoulder was a fave of the Princess of Wales and of us, especially Jan, who only recently passed on to one of her daughters a cold-shoulder top she had loved for several decades but realised she would never again wear…

If you are happy to bare arms, the original style cold shoulder appears occasionally on gorgeous evening gowns. If you are not happy to bare your arms, you could wear one under a jacket or with a pashmina.

But it seems to us that the dress or top with a single sleeve is a trend that is both hard to wear and pretty daft, too. Again, obvs, you could add a jacket or a pashmina, but if you are never planning to remove the jacket or shawl to show off your arms (or, more accurately, to show off one arm), you would be hiding the key feature!


The stupidity of the single sleeve is, we think, why this trend hasn’t caught fire, while the current take on a cold shoulder has…. What do you think?


So what do you think?

© SoSensational 2019

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