What I Wore: The Right to NOT Bare Arms

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Wardrobe Oxygen in a Gabby Skye floral fit and flare dress via Gwynnie Bee with a Baublebar necklace and Nine West pumpsdress | bag | shoes | necklace

Wardrobe Oxygen in a Gabby Skye floral fit and flare dress via Gwynnie Bee with a Baublebar necklace and Nine West pumps Wardrobe Oxygen in a Gabby Skye floral fit and flare dress via Gwynnie Bee with a Baublebar necklace and Nine West pumpsDress: Gabby Skye via Gwynnie Bee (14W) | Shoes: Nine West | Necklace: Baublebar (sold out; similar) | Bag: Received in a Dia & Co box

Wardrobe Oxygen in a Gabby Skye floral fit and flare dress via Gwynnie Bee with a Baublebar necklace and Nine West pumps
I used to just preach let your arms show; don't get heat stroke because you're self conscious!

I was so young… so naive…

I didn't realize by this age you have so few f*cks left to give you won't wear things that don't make you feel good.  At this age you don't want to waste your precious time and energy on trying to feel badass in a sleeveless dress.

That same energy can be put towards helping others, towards being more of a badass in categories that matter, towards loving ourselves, truly important causes.

That we, and this life are so much bigger and so much better than a stupid sleeveless dress.

gabby skye floral dress

This post is dedicated to Linda (who recently commented about this topic), and all the other readers who love the look of a fit and flare dress like I wore Monday, but want the sleeves.  You deserve the sleeves if you want them, you deserve to feel and look great on YOUR TERMS.  This dress I got in my latest Gwynnie Bee bag has the same flattering shape as Monday's fit and flare dress, even pockets (woo!) like Monday's dress, but with a sleeve at a flattering and versatile length.


Looking for a similar dress to link in this post, I was SHOCKED by how few fit and flare dresses were available with sleeves.  Even Gabby Skye, that made this dress, has similar dresses at department stores without sleeves.  So the carousel above is a collection of sleeved fit and flare and a-line dresses I found on the web at a variety of pricepoints.  Hover over the images to find the online retailer and pricepoint, but know the price doesn't always show any sale or promotion going on.  My personal favorites are this one from Karl Lagerfeld Paris (goes up to 16 and is under $150), this dress from eShakti (you can choose the length of your sleeve, goes up to 6X, completely customizable and under $60) and this one from Ellos (sizes 10-28 and under $50).

Alison Gary of Wardrobe Oxygen at the Gwynnie Bee Flatiron Pop Up Shop May 19 2017But this is why I love Gwynnie Bee.  Not only do they have sizes 10-32, but they regularly choose silhouettes and features women want.  Sleeves, pockets, fit and flare silhouettes, styles that hit or cover the knee, fabrics that give and move with you.  Use this link to try Gwynnie Bee out free for one month.  And NYC folks, I hope to see you at Gwynnie Bee's Flatiron store Friday the 19th!

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. I hate that I have to buy dresses with no sleeves AND then also wear a sweater over top to work in the summer. I don’t always want to layer. Finding cute summer dresses with sleeves is like looking for a needle in a haystack. I don’t want to show my arms and I don’t always want to wear a jean jacket or a sweater over my dresses either!

  2. You look gorgeous! The dress looks as if it were custom-made for you and your accessories and perfect grooming make the whole look “you.” I also appreciate your willingness to be flexible and to applaud both rocking sleeveless dresses and wearing flattering sleeves.

  3. Te ves bellísima! Me encantó el vestido con mangas. Se ve genial. Eres todo una inspiración.

  4. Um, your waist looks itty bitty in this dress! While I agree that we shouldn’t feel compelled to strive for traditional figure flattery, I think we also need to allow ourselves to admit that traditional figure flattery is something we do sometimes want, too. And in this dress? You’ve got it, in spades!

  5. Looking good! And great article theme, I have a tattoo on my shoulder that I placed there because I didn’t want to show it at work, so the all sleeveless trend annoys me. Cardis tend to annoy me as in here in Sacramento i really don’t need a second layer.

  6. You look awesome in this dress! I don’t understand the difference between 14 and 14W. I remember amazon accidentally sent me a pair of NYDJ jeans in a 14W and the size difference to the 14s I eventually got was huge. ?

  7. Amen to this post! My upper arms have always been large and a bit out of proportion with the rest of me. I went through a decade (my fifties) where I would not wear sleeveless at all, but that was so limiting.
    Yes, it is difficult to find attractive w/sleeves but I have slipped into a new phase of *whatever* and am happier for it. Living in Maine it is not uncommon to need a little cardi to slip on anyway! Thanks for this article!

  8. BLESS YOU! I have been on a frustrating hunt to find an appropriate dress WITH SLEEVES for a 6pm June vineyard wedding in your neck of the woods (Stevensville, MD). This is IT! I also loved the red dress you wore earlier in the week, but I simply cannot go sleeveless. Visualize flabby, crepey, dimpled batwings and those are my upper arms (thanks to mom, grandma, and great-grandma). I was able to find one store online that carried the dress in non-plus sizes, and I ordered two sizes to ensure one would fit. Thank you again, and I must say you have been absolutely KILLING your looks lately! Bravo! You are my favorite blogger because we aspiring readers can see ourselves successfully incorporating your looks into our lives. Most of us are not 5’10” blondes with no boobs or hips and mile long legs (as much as I’d love to spend a weekend being one).

  9. One of my readers and I were just discussing this exact topic, Allie. Because my mom had layered a shirt under her sleeveless maxi for that reason!!
    I did read an article on the reason that there aren’t more dresses with sleeves. Basically it’s cost and another fit point that could be off! And I get that, for the manufacturers!! But half the time I’m always cold–even in the summer because of the a/c–so I appreciate sleeves too!

    1. They’d rather sell you a silly little sweater to wear over it. Beyond arms you’d like to keep covered, if you work in an air conditioned space you’re likely to need the coverage to be comfortable.

      1. Exactly, Ginger!! I find in the summer, any place I go I need some coverage because the A/C is so cold! And as much as I like my cardigans, it’s nice not to have to worry about them sometimes!!

    1. Debbie, I bet you already ARE a badass! A badass cares about others but knows she’s best for all when she first cares for herself. She wears what makes her feel good. She doesn’t feel certain things are off limits due to size, age, or gender. She speaks her mind and knows her mind, thoughts, and opinions are valuable. She is visible, she is present. Badass can wear a biker jacket or a ballgown, scrubs or sweats. The badassery shines through and is far better an accessory than any statement necklace or It Bag. <3

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