Sleeve Lengths: The Long, Short and 3/4 of It

Sleeve Lengths: The Long, Short and 3/4 of It

Quick—how many types of sleeve lengths can you name? If you can only come up with “short” and “long,” it’s time to update your slee-vocuabulary. Worn as layering shirts, shell tops or on their own, you can play around with different sleeve lengths to expand your wardrobe options.

Walk into many stores today, especially stores that specialize in modest clothing, and it’s like the Baskin Robbins of sleeve lengths. So many choices!

Let’s take a look, starting with the shortest and working our way down the arm.


    1. Sleeveless. This is your classic spaghetti strap shirt. Not overly modest, but it can work beautifully as a layering shirt, like underneath a V-neck sweater. Spice up your sleeveless shirt collection with the addition of a Bolero SleeveOn® mini shrug. The bolero is a comfortable, light accessory to cover those arms and shoulders without sacrificing style. A long tank top is also a perfect addition to your sleeveless wardrobe and looks great under a shrug or cardigan.


    1. Cap sleeve. Ahhh, cap sleeve shirts bring me back to my youth. Those cute little shirts with fluttery sleeves that j-u-u-u-st cover the shoulder! But cap sleeves don’t jive with a more modest wardrobe. For modest fashionistias, try wearing your cap sleeve shirt as a shell top under a jacket. Or, whip out your oh-so-fashionable-and-functional bolero to cover up your arms while letting your shirt sparkle.


    1. Short. The classic length, usually ending right below your shoulder. But no reason to write them off because you like something covering your arm. A classic short-sleeve shirt can have infinite uses: It can play shell top to a jacket, or layering shirt over a long sleeve shirt (play around with different colors and shades if you’re feeling bold.) With a short sleeve shirt, the bolero can function as an over-the-shirt jacket, or an under-the-shirt layering shirt. In the summer, when you want as few layers as possible, Sleevies® come to your rescue. A pair of Sleevies® under your short sleeve shirt creates a modest sleeve length.


    1. Right above the elbow. Eureka! My personal favorite, especially for summer. It covers the arm between the shoulder and elbow, but stops right above the elbow. A modest look that lets you stay cool.


    1. ¾ length. Different stores and different manufacturers have differing ideas about what makes a shirt “3/4 length,” so you definitely want to try it before you buy it. A shirt of this length could end anywhere from right below the elbow to right above the wrist. Go for the below the elbow length if you want the right fit. Modest and so super-easy, 3/4 length shirts are a must-have for your shirt wardrobe.


  1. Long. The other classic length, which comes down to your wrist. (Tall shoppers beware: Make sure the sleeve covers your wrist. I have had one too many occurrences of buying a long sleeve shirt without trying it on and seeing that it ends just above my wrist, a fashion no-no.) A fitted long sleeve top coordinates with any skirt and is an easy, modest fashion choice.

What are your favorite sleeve lengths? Do you prefer the ease of a simple long or 3/4-length sleeve, or do you love to layer?

Summer Layering Clothing – Tips for Staying Cool

Summer Layering Clothing – Tips for Staying Cool

A while ago I wrote about how I love wearing my clothing layered to stay warm and stylish in the winter. But now, as I’m slowly changing over my closet from winter to summer clothing, I’m beginning to remember that much of my summer clothing has short sleeves or a low-cut top, styles that are designed to balance well with the summer heat, but that leave me feeling rather exposed. In summers past I used to pair a trusty black (or white) cardigan with nearly every shirt…but I’ve realized over time that I’m covering up my colorful wardrobe and that none of my summer clothing is getting the attention it deserves.

Before and After Sleevies

Before and After Sleevies

Fortunately, I’ve found multiple solutions that I think will enhance my summer wardrobe in ways that I never thought possible. The layering clothes that I’m most excited about are Sleevies®. At first glance, Sleevies remind me of legwarmers for my arms, but without the bulkiness or bunchy style of those ’80s staples. Instead, Sleevies are made from cotton and Lycra, so they cover your arm without sliding down or making you too hot. With Sleevies, I’ve been able to resurrect several short-sleeved shirts from my wardrobe, and I’ve even purchased a few more because I know that I can wear them without covering them up or overheating with a full long-sleeved shirt underneath.

Another great item I’ve found which enables me to wear my clothing layered in the summer is a cropped ¾ sleeve layering tee, which as its name suggests, makes it look like I’m wearing a full shirt underneath an outfit, when really, I’m only wearing the top of a shirt. There are 3 major benefits of this type of layering clothing. Firstly, I can cover my arms and my chest modestly and stylishly without having to add a full extra shirt on a hot summer day. Secondly, (and I hope you don’t mind me being a bit personal), is that wearing a cropped shirt often allows me to get two uses out of my top shirt before needing to wash it. Finally, wearing a cropped shirt prevents the bulk that often results when I wear 2 full shirts, so that I can look stylish without looking like I’ve gained 5 pounds.

I know that these fantastic finds will make it possible for me to enjoy the look of layered clothing all summer and to purchase clothing that I would otherwise never consider because of its lack of modesty. I truly love being able to shop in ‘regular’ stores while knowing that I can gently adjust my clothing to become more modest, without compromising on style. In fact, if you ask me, wearing my clothing layered just gives me even more of an opportunity to express myself!

Pin It on Pinterest