Friday, July 1, 2011

Go Sleeveless!

Its summertime...and it’s hot and humid. So when it comes to clothing, light and airy makes us feel cooler when the heat is on.

However, when women think of going sleeveless…most panic at the thought of exposing their upper arms! Well, I’ve got good news for you…you’re not alone. According to a recent Dove deodorant survey only 8% of women feel confident enough to do so!

So, how can you go sleeveless if your arms are large, untoned and keep wiggling when you wave? Or perhaps you have the opposite problem and feel your arms are too skinny to expose? How DO you wear sleeveless styles when your upper arms aren't anything close to Jillian Michaels?

Yes, she's got some impressive 'guns'!
But, so what if you're not fit like Jillian Michaels! 
Who says you HAVE to be??? Huh?

Me, MissusSmartyPants is here to say anyone can go sleeveless--if they want! You may not like your upper arms, but then there are other parts of your body you are probably critical of as well. Many women complain about their bottoms, thighs and tummies too. In fact, there are lots of other “parts” that we can get down right depressed about. However, the truth is very few women really have “perfect” bodies. It is better to learn self-acceptance and a few style techniques to help your body appear more in proportion—including your upper arms.

STOP waiting for your arms to be miraculously toned and in shape. There is only so much you can do anyways. Heredity has played a part in your natural tendency for heavy upper arms, muscular arms or skinny arms. It is much better to work with what you have and it’s a far cooler alternative too. So just go with it ladies.

Yes, we can eat less and workout more, but in reality we need to work with what we've got!

With the heat on, our best plan is to make our arms look as good as we can. First, we need a more self-accepting attitude, plus we’ll use some clever diversionary tactics as well. It’s time to focus on what we can change, instead of what we wish we could change…

1. Look for sleeveless shirts and tops that emphasize the neckline, collarbones and/or show off a hint of cleavage. Look for deep V-necks (layering in contrasting colors is good too), beaded detailing, bright colored trim, etc. This draws the eye AWAY from your arms and to other prettier parts of your body.

(Photo: Chadwicks)

2. Tie loosely at the neckline a coordinating cardigan or lightweight shirt over a sleeveless tee. This will cover the tops of the upper arms and “frame” your face. This is particularly a good idea for those with smaller to average upper bodies.

3. Another equally effective diversionary tactic includes the use of jewelry. Wear an eye-catching necklace, or pull your hair back and wear some fantastic dangle earrings. Bring the attention to your neck and face—thus away from your arms.

(Photo: Chadwicks)
4. If you have heavy upper arms, avoid cap sleeves or any shirt that cuts across the heaviest part. You’re better sleeveless than a shirt that hits at the fullest part.

5. Keep your shirt in proportion to help minimize heavy upper arms. This is the best way to “shrink” the appearance of heavy arms, pick a sleeveless tank, tee or shirt with thicker shoulder straps. A thicker strap helps balance a thicker upper body and arm. (Avoid thin spaghetti straps)

6. Give your arms some “glowing” color. Try a gradual tanning product to darken your skin a bit. Darker colors minimize, so naturally you will feel a bit more confident if your arms look “tan”.

7. If you are concerned about overly muscular arms and broad shoulders appearing too masculine—choose a sleeveless feminine top. A halter top or dress “softens” your angled silhouette. A halter style is “A” shaped and in an opposite shaped so it minimizes a muscular upper body.

8. If you feel your arms are two skinny sticks, wear sleeveless shirts with thicker straps. Something more substantial makes a thinner body appear thicker. Do not wear spaghetti straps because they emphasize how skinny your arms and upper body are.

8. If you do choose to wear sleeves, look for styles that “skim” over your arms. A thin gauzy ¾ sleeve is best for heavy arms.. Avoid baggy sleeves or sleeves that are too tight—both will draw attention to your arms and make them appear thicker.

(Photo: Nordstrom)

9. Less is more when it comes to sleeves. If you think a bit of coverage is better—think again! Having sleeves that cover the tops of heavy arms can actually add to their thickness and bring attention there.

10. Shirts that come close to the neck, but expose the outer shoulders often work magic for the upper arms. This style brings attention to the curve of the shoulders and not so much attention to the upper arms. Look for collared button-down sleeveless shirts to show your shoulders off.

Even though is may seem counter-productive to show your arms; it is often a better way to go. When you try too hard to “cover up” a part of your body you think needs “hiding”—you end up bringing more attention to it.

Showing off your legs in a stylish dress is likely to get more attention than your upper arms...
 (photo: Nordstrom)
Use diversionary tactics (show off great legs, etc.) when wearing sleeveless styles and get the attention elsewhere so you will be cool and look stylish too!

Here’s to a stylish and cooler summer.

Love, Your Fashion Stylist Leslie MSP


  1. I also find the lines of wearing sleeveless tops create a taller and slimer appearance. I used this trick a lot when I was overweight, but now after losing nearly 90 pounds I look too tall (I'm 6' tall) and slim! So now when I wear sleeveless tops I also wear stacked bracelets on my long skinny arms to give my arms more visual weight.

    I also cover my shoulders with a lightweight scarf when wearing sleeveless tops in cold buildings like my doctor's office. The scarf trick also works for situations where I feel more comfortable with my shoulders covered. I wear the lightweight scaf around my neck outdoors where it's unbearable hot and then just spread out the scarf to cover my shoulders before walking into the cooler building.


  2. Nice and informative post related to summer! its time to beat the heat so wear high quality fabric sleeveless t shirts thats keeps you comfortable and gives soothing effect for longer time period!

  3. I'm all for some tank top arms! Thanks - I can't wait to try this workout. And thanks for linking up to the Be.
    workout wear

  4. Thanks so much for this. I am 3 weeks post BMX and feel great - no complications and little pain. I just found some Patagonia strappy women tank tops with a shelf bra, but it has pockets - the openings are too small to stuff a fixed shape breast form in, but I stuffed some of the polyester fluff that came from a post-surgical "B" cup form into the pocket. It looks great as a sports bra - fairly flat, but I think I could wear it on its own with nary a glance. It just looks like I'm relatively small breasted and wearing a sports bra. Plus the fluff is really light and easy to wash if it gets sweaty. I like that the top is 100% cotton.


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