Fashion & Beauty

Sleeves: The New Erogenous Zone

EVER SINCE Michelle Obama bared her arms at her husband’s first address to Congress in 2009 (in February, no less), the quest for toned triceps and biceps has been the holy grail at gyms across the country and a sine qua non for wearing sleeveless sheaths a la the former first lady.

To be expected, though, the fashion pendulum has shifted. Note: Melania Trump‘s Roksanda Ilincic’s Margot white dress with bell sleeves and nipped-in waist that she wore to the GOP convention last summer.  Along with oversize coats and sweaters, leg-o-mutton, puffed-shoulder, trumpet, balloon and extra-long sleeves with cascading ruffles starred on fall 2016 runways. And the voluminous trend in tops is showing no signs of deflating this spring.

Proof positive that the trend has, er, legs, is that’s hard to walk by a women’s clothing store window that is not displaying a mannequin in a billowy blouse or an off-the-shoulder-style shirt. The latter seems to me the equivalent of wearing a strapless bra and always having that sinking feeling that it’s slipping. The former can not only camouflage less-than-firm flesh but also flatter. Plus you don’t have to spend hours lifting weights to wear half- or three-quarter sleeve blouses that flutter gracefully over the upper arms. Covering the arms with long floating sleeves is elegant and forgiving. Keep in mind that stand-out sleeves need to be balanced with an unfussy silhouette,  be it slim pants, pencil skirt or sheath. And think toned-down colors and prints.

Exercise caution when eating in some of the more exaggerated and elongated shirts with ruffles and flounces. Don’t dunk a donut in your coffee, and instead of a bowl of soup stick to a burger.

Flattering, feminine sleeves are available across a wide range of price points from Marni and Sonia Rykiel to Madewell and Zara. See our picks above.

—Janet Kelly
Janet Kelly  most recently wrote about new styles and ways to buy bras.

Photo on front: From left to right, MSGM striped blouse, Roksanda crepe dress and Nehera wool blouse. 

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