March 18, 2009

What’s up Your (Wedding Gown) Sleeve?

Sleeves are back! OK, it’s not necessarily wedding fashion news that one shouts from the rooftops, but it’s true nonetheless. More and more high-fashion wedding dresses are going down the aisles and catwalks with a little something extra at the shoulder.

Here’s a quick rundown so you’ll know what to ask for:

Bell – Bell sleeves are a lot like the legs of bell-bottom pants. Only better than that sounds. There sleeve is fitted, with nice flare at the wrist.

Bishop – These sleeves are puffed at the forearm, especially the lower half, and usually have a broad cuff. Have these tailored carefully or done in very soft fabrics to keep your guests from thinking about Popeye.

Capelet – These will give you a nice princessy look – they fit fairly close until the elbow, then drop into an elegant flare.

Capped – Cap or capped sleeves are the shortest you can get – they’re just a short curve of fabric right at the shoulder. They’re a nice way to have bare arms but still have a touch of modesty.

Dolmen – These are good for a dramatic effect. They drop wide from the shoulder, giving you almost the same sweep as a cape. They’ll be fitted to the wrist to keep you from getting tangled.

Illusion – These long sleeves give you a lovely effect. They’re either made from a sheer fabric to give you the feel of being covered with the illusion of bare arms, or they’re encrusted with beads for a layer of sparkle.

Juliet – Have your balcony scene while walking down the aisle! This is a long, fitted sleeve with a puff of fabric at the shoulder.

Leg-of-Mutton – An unfortunate name for an attractive look. These sleeves are full from shoulder to elbow, then fitted from the elbow to the wrist.

Melon – Just like they sound – wide, round sleeves from the shoulder to the elbow.

Off-the-Shoulder – These are a terrific look that flatter most shapes. The upper shoulders are bare and the neckline is usually low, but the look is still demure. Off the-shoulder sleeves may be long or short.

Peek-a-Boo – Two sleeves in one! A fitted sleeve in an opaque fabric is contained by a fuller, sheer sleeve.

Petal – These are a bit longer than Capped sleeves, with graceful overlaps of fabric.

Pointed – These will also give you an elegant, royal look. Pointed sleeves are long and fitted, coming to a graceful points at the base of your hand.

Puff – These are cousins to Juliet sleeves. They’re just little bursts of fabric at the shoulder.

Tapered – Just like they sound, these are full at the shoulder, perhaps with pleats or gathers, and then they gradually narrow and are closely fitted at the wrist.

Enjoy your wedding dress search – and don’t be afraid to wear your heart on your sleeve!

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