Sleeve Length

Let's talk sleeves. Never did I think I would say that but sleeve length and width can have a serious effect on your look. I know it sounds ridiculous but bear with me. Sleeves matter for ladies with big busts!

There is a lot of both positive and negative aspects to the humble sleeve. Like may aspects of fashion, sleeves are all about width and length. On this page I look at length. If you want a quick idea of how much of an effect it can have - look at the picture to the right.

Sleeve Length Variations

A sleeve length can vary substantially. The usual selection is long, short, mid length or sleeveless. To summarise it;

  • short sleeves require thought
  • long requires no thought
  • sleeveless requires care
  • three quarter length is often ideal
  • half length - is usually good too

That said I do not cover it in that order


Three Quarter Length Sleeves

So like a child with a choice of Christmas presents, let us start with the best - the three quarter length. Generally the best place for sleeves to end is just below the elbow; sometimes referred to as three quarter length sleeves.

Why? Because it is smoke and mirrors. You want to show your thinnest features and the thinnest part of your arm is your wrist. More specifically that area of forearm below your elbow, tapering down to your wrist. This is possibly the most positive issue regarding sleeve span.

Sleeve Length matters 1
Sleeve Length matters 2

How come? Because it tricks the mind; the mind's eye only sees that slim flesh and thinks logically that the rest of the arm must be similarly thin. It is the same principle as skirts above the knee making a certain type of leg look chunky, whereas that same leg can look shapely with a hem below the knee.

You would expect the very style conscious Svetlana Medvedev (in orange) and Susannah Constantine, the British presenter of What Not To Wear, to know the value of a three quarter length sleeve.

No three quarter length shirts? A wonderful cheat to acquire the right sleeve length is to (neatly) roll up a normal length sleeve to achieve the desirable ¾ span, but we wary of doing that with jackets, you might end up looking like a throw-back to the Eighties.

Half Length Sleeves

The close cousin is the half length sleeve. This usually stops just above your elbow. Not quite as good as three quarter span, but a decent alternative.

Another reason three quarters and half length sleeves work well for big busted women is that the end is nowhere near your bust. Clear as mud? It will become clearer in the next section.

Short Sleeves

These may or may not suit you, you will know best, as it primarily depends on your arms. But that is not the main issue. The main consideration is your bust. You do not want a sleeve length that stops horizontally in line with your bust.

Why? Because the eye will spot the discrepancy between flesh and cloth and hone in on it, in a flash it will register there are two arms with the same feature and join a line across. That line runs across your bust. I thought it only fair to demonstrate this myself.

The mind’s eye does this whole computation in milli-seconds. Can you see how your eye is drawn down to, and across, the bustline. Compare that to the photos above and below where your eye comes down (away from the bust). Clever eh!

The result is attention to your bust, something we are looking to avoid. This is one of the principal negatives that can apply without careful consideration of your sleeve length.

Good Short Sleeve Lengths

Because this whole site is about being aware of drawing unnecessary attention to your bust; you need the sleeve to end either above, or below the bust. Hence short requires care.

Do not get me wrong. Short sleeves do not need to be dismissed. They just require a little thought. In the photo of American news anchor woman Julie Donaldson (on the left) the eye is drawn up away from the bustline.

A cap, bolero or offset sleeve (see photo on right) lines can also work well. Particularly if you have firm or toned upper arms. Note how your eye is caught by her arms and goes up and down, not across.

Sleeveless

That leads me neatly into sleeveless. It is generally a good look. There are two main considerations here. Your arms and shoulders. It is a particularly good look if you have well toned arms but can work well for almost everyone.

If you are concerned you have overly fleshy arms, you may wish to keep them covered. Exposing an expanse of wobbly upper arm flesh is the opposite of the slim wrists argument above. It can make you look boxy or worse, fat.

Another danger of the sleeveless look is that your bra can often be seen through the side. Just another little issue to watch out for.

With a sleeveless look, the eye sees bare flesh and will immediately hone in on that. It is a long vertical 'stripe' so the eye goes up and down. That is generally good because we want to avoid the eye moving horizontally.

Long Sleeves

A long sleeve, or regular, is the standard default length on a shirt. There is no hard and fast rule about ideal length but it is generally considered that with your arm hanging loose, the cuff should rest somewhere between your wrist bone and the base of your thumb.

Does this have any bearing on big busts? Nope. It is just a general rule of thumb (oops). Probably the more important issue on long sleeves is actually sleeve width - see below.

If you liked this article, you may also enjoy:

Understanding the effect sleeve width can have, for good or bad

The benefits of defining a waistline are under-valued.

Otherwise click here for other styling features related to curvy clothing.

Alternatively head back to the home page, clothes for big busts.


Did you like this page, did you learn something, maybe it reinforced you own views? I want to give as much (hopefully helpful) advice to the busty sisterhood as I can.

Please remember, we are all different. You may like to wear certain clothes and styles which I am suggesting that you should not. That is your absolute right. Do what makes you feel good. This site undeniably goes for the more modest approach because I feel all busty ladies already know how to be more racy if they wish.

It would really help me improve the site profile if you would click the Facebook 'Like' button. Pretty please! Susan

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Sleeve length matters

Clearly a big boobed lady but note the place where her sleeve length stops - parallel to the bust. This emphasises her boobs and is an issue you should be acutely aware of.


Where does a general keep his armies?

Up his sleevies!



Once again you will see that our forebears knew all the tricks when it came to fashion. Here our model demonstrates the three quarter sleeve length.

The Sainted Christina shows an example of how a short sleeve length can work. As does Indian actress Ayeesha Takia below.

You may tell him that it does not matter, but it does. Length matters!

Courtesy of Punch Magazine (1895)

"A true leader always keeps an element of surprise up his sleeve, which others cannot grasp but which keeps his public excited and breathless."


Charles de Gaulle


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