…whether ‘tis nobler to venture out to an event with naked arms and suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous discomfort or to cover arms against a sea of embarrassment…
Forgive the outbreak of faux Shakespeare but sleeves are at the heart of a big fashion discussion right now and Hamlet’s soliloquy with its reference to ‘arms’ (albeit a different kind) seemed appropriate.
A bit further on there’s a line about the “natural shocks that flesh is heir to” and that seemed appropriate, too, as we all seem a bit shocked by what happens to our arms after a certain age despite tennis, Pilates and the gym. Or perhaps it’s just us!
Anyway, sleeves are very much A Thing right now, especially the ‘statement’ sleeve (known variously as the flute sleeve, the bell sleeve and the trumpet sleeve). And everyone is wearing them – not just women over 50.
The ‘statement’ sleeve originated with – or was certainly given its moment – by the clever London-based designer Roksanda, with last winter’s Margot dress. This was so popular that she repeated it in a new colour for the spring/summer season and did a jumpsuit and a jacket with statement sleeves. And it’s back, with a new twist for A/W17.
Since then, most fashion brands have come out with some version of a statement-sleeve dress (or a statement-sleeve blouse, top or jacket) making it simple for us all to cover our arms with sleeves that don’t look like an afterthought.
Roksanda may have been the designer who put sleeves into the spotlight but others were thinking about them at the same time, notably former Breakfast TV fashion editor, Lesley Ebbetts with her WithSleeves collection for QVC.
People frequently ask why we have dresses (and tops) on SoSensational without sleeves. The answer is that there are lots of factors that play into our decision to have dresses with and without sleeves…
Cyndy and Jan are both over 60, and both of us prefer to cover our arms. We are very happy that the ‘statement’ sleeve is a continuing trend for A/W. But Cyndy and Jan both bared their arms when they were in their 50s and Cyndy continued on until her mid-60s.
As mother-of-the-bride twice in 2005 when her two daughters married within six months, Jan wore a strapless gown on both occasions. (Cyndy also wore strapless for her daughter’s wedding, but Cyndy was then in her late 40s, so that doesn’t count!)
There are lots of famous 50-somethings, including Michele Obama and Salma Hayek, who are happy to show off their arms and some 60-somethings, including Anna Wintour, who are also happy to put their arms on display. And we probably all know women in their 20s, 30s and 40s who hate to show their arms, so we think it is partly about age and partly about how we feel about our arms.
If you are someone who likes to cover up, do keep in mind that an oversized scarf draped around the shoulders is a very fashion-forward look right now. And also remember Anna Wintour’s favourite trick of wearing your jacket round your shoulders. Though that involves a lot of careful balancing when you have to shake hands while holding on to a plate or a glass…
Do you like to cover your arms? Tell us your thoughts below…
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