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A Call to Arms

What is it with dress designers and sleeves or rather their lack of them?  Do the fashion colleges  not do a unit on sleeves and their importance to the slightly more mature woman? Has Michael Gove removed them from the curriculm in place of  Latin and Greek?

On several occasions lately I have been browsing a range of dress emporiums – from designer to budget in search of suitable wear for the coming season. I also have an eye out for the fact that I need an evening dress for a couple of black tie events in the offing. There is a plethora of new stock available  with no shortage of what one of my friends husbands refers to as  ‘bonny frocks’ , however, in most cases there is a complete shortage of fabric from the arm hole to wrist area.

If you have the patience and  hunt hard,   you can unearth ranges offering coverage of this area, however. they appear to be fashioned from polyester sofa covers or curtains a la Sound of Music.

I have had this conversation with friends,  we agree, it’s not that our arms are totally abhorrent, and yes we probably could  bring them to a more toned state if we were prepared to spend hours in the gym or putting baked bean tins to good use as weights on  daily basis. It’s just that with age, the arm area does tend to become less attractive, and while we can get away with it in the sunshine on holiday, in the depths of winter or the office somehow it doesn’t quite cut it.

We can, and do wear jackets, cardigans etc – but when things heat up a bit – you  then need to choose whether to swelter or reveal.

Evening wear is an even bigger sleeveless zone,  unless you are the divine Helen Mirren who has got this pretty much under control, though even she resorts to shawls and shrugs at times- but we don’t all have her budget. Why should we purchase a fabulous frock only to then hunt high and low for a shrug – usually made from a lace curtain or a bit of  nylon not designed to complement the main garment.  I for one, however am not prepared to  either purchase or wear Mary Portas Armery – though if I get  really desperate I suppose I could stick a pair of stocking on my upper limbs.

We can go the pashmina route – that’s Ok till you are  sitting  a table having your meal trying to keep the fringes out of  your cheese souffle or lamb jus, whilst on the dance floor it transforms seamlessly into a weapon of mass destruction capable of leaving scars worthy of a medieval torture chamber on any one  unfortunate enough to come within 2  feet of you.

So a plea to anyone with influence out there – just try to get teh designers to put a bit of something up there – there’s a whole market of women who love clothes with a limited choice at the moment. Surely it’s not too much to ask for a bit of choice – otherwise there could be a lot of us this spring looking like cushion covers and singing Doh a Deer…in my case very badly…


About anneinmid

Ageing optimist still trying to make sense of life. New to blogging.

8 responses »

  1. A similar grouse of mine is the high elastic content of socks which make ankles look like Pansy Potter’s legs (that is if you are old enough to remember Pensy Potter) when you take them off. If the legs are going to be exposed in skirts etc within about 4 hours of wearing socks, the effect is not good.

    I will soon have to find a dress/whatever for my son’s wedding in June. I suppose I will have the same problem.

    • Oh yes totally agree and hate the way they cut your circulation off and do remember PP! Good luck on the wedding outfit hunt – tho there are some wonderful outfits around

  2. It’s not just er…the more mature woman who requires coverage either. I’m by no means small but even my tinier friends are not enthusiastic at the idea of their upper arms waving in peoples faces and require a little coverage to retain decorum. Shrugs, you are right, are not the most fitting solution because they come in two colours (black, or that wine colour) and if you don’t want a black dress cos everyone wears them then you’re going to struggle.

    Even workwear in M & S struggles with this – every single dress is pinafore style it seems.

    • Yes it’s really hard this year – cardigans and jackets good for work but you need to keep them on! good to know its not just me – thought i may be swamped with people telling me where there’s loadsofclothes with sleeves… though that could be a good thing!

  3. Great post – and at the ripe old age of 35 I hate my arms, partly because of the wobble and partly because of the keratosis pilaris I have on them. I have found a fashion blog called That’s Not My Age really great at finding dresses with sleeves. She does a regular post about this subject. Worth a look!

    • Thanks I will check it out – had lots of responses agreeing. We are looking at setting up a FBook page where we can post pics etc of places and designs we spot – will let you know if we get it sorted!

  4. I have bingo wings so sleeves is a must. I did read recently that Asos have added a “sleeves” section do you can look at sleeved only items, if that’s any help?


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