Thursday, November 11, 2010

obsession : dolman sleeves

The other day I had the opportunity to visit Gap, so I went on the website like I always do when I go shopping (I hate wandering around, I always have to have a "purpose" before entering a store) and I happened across this sweater I had to have. Now normally, I have to have everything the first time I see it, then I get over it and realize I don't really need whatever dress or bracelet or shoe it was. But this time, I walk into Gap, find the sweater, try it on, and buy it. Why? It had dolman sleeves.

My love affair with this sleeve type started when I first got over my fear of wearing things that were tight to my waistline. I've always been skinny, yet in high school I always felt the need to wear very fitted things, as though I might one day walk in wearing a tshirt and everyone would forget where my waist was. Then about two years ago I started falling in love with leggings and realized you can't wear tight-all-over, so the looser-fit-on-top was introduced to me. But I still couldn't convince myself to do an all-encompassing loose fit, and this is where the dolman sleeved sweater becomes absolutely perfect.

Dolman sleeves are, in the roughest explanation, as though you stretch out your arm to be parallel to the floor and then draw a curve from your wrist to your waist. There is no shoulder seam, only a side seam that extends under the curve of the sleeve fullness to the cuff. The reason they are so perfect, and flattering in my opinion, is because the sleeve stays fitted to the wrist to about the mid-forearm, and then expands gracefully outwards in the midsection of the body, and then comes back in to fit at the lower waist or hips. When the arm is extended you can see this curve, yet when relaxed the fabric pools into itself and creates this elegant drape. The end result is utterly soft and feminine. (For clarification, you can have short dolman sleeves, too).

My sweater also had an exposed center-front and center-back seam, which I have always loved. It's just unusual to have a seam there, so it becomes so interesting when it is. And it is this ultra-rich shade of deep teal navy blue.

A new take on the structured dolman sleeve at MaxMara spring 2010

On the left, shorter dolman sleeves at Stærk and right, Rachel Roy, both spring 2011

Beautifully cowled sleeves at Jean Paul Gaultier fall 2010 couture (a fascinating show, I advise you to check it out - especially the detail shots)


  1. Lovely. I am a fan of Rachel Roy's.

    I am also now a follower of your blog! I didn't ever click it. Weird!

  2. Ooh, the Rachel Roy outfit is so flattering!


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