Call to Arms

Call to Arms

The end of the summer is always a bit of a relief, if you ask me. Autumn wardrobes are built around one sartorial staple that is hard to argue with: sleeves.

Toned arms are a beautiful sight, worthy of display in tank tops, strappy vests or sleeveless gowns. But if you’re not uber-sporty, under 30, genetically blessed or a celebrity, you may feel that these garment choices are not for you. The simple fact is that many women in their prime feel uncomfortable baring their arms.

Unfortunately, our skin is affected by gravity and the passage of time, and the upper arms are particularly prone to what is more or less affectionately known as ‘bingo wings’, ‘old lady arms’ or ‘nana flaps’! And you’d have to do an awful lot of press-ups and tricep dips to make any real difference to what nature has predestined for you.

Luckily, there’s no need to hit the doldrums and hide in baggy jumpers once the summer is over. Rejoice at the wealth of wardrobe options autumn brings!

Shirts and blouses, jersey tops, knitwear, dresses – sleeves not only provide warmth, they can do wonders for silhouetting your arms to best elongating effect, provided you stay away from skin-tight or big puffy sleeves, which are both wholly unflattering. Short cap sleeves are a no-no too, especially if you’re well-endowed up top. It’s all about balancing out the upper and lower body. Rocket science it is not.

Longer sleeves are best, I find, and you could even look for floating cuffs or fluted sleeves to balance out a bulkier upper arm. For an elegant evening look, try sheer fabrics such as lace or chiffon. These materials provide just enough coverage to disguise underarm fat but still give the illusion of sexy bare arms.

My personal favourite and a definite wardrobe staple are 3/4 length sleeves. Why? Easy. They finish at the slimmest part of the arm and show off the least flabby area: the wrist.

Obviously, you can also experiment with jackets and cardies, shrugs, pashminas and other cover-up options. Or try layering: a basic long- sleeved tee may just work under a sleeveless tunic or dress – bringing your style bang up to date in the process.

Finally, if all else fails, cheat! A funky chunky bangle, statement earrings or gorgeous necklace can draw the eye away from the problem area, while accessories can add colour and sparkle to your outfit and lift your overall appearance, which is always a good thing.

By Nicole Tata

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