Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sleeve Shopping

I am a 5'14" tall woman (or a 6'2" guy) and have long arms. I have trouble buying male clothes that have long enough sleeves and buying female clothes with long enough sleeves is even harder!

One workaround is that I tend to buy clothing that is not long-sleeved. Three-quarter sleeve, short sleeve, and sleeveless sleeves are my girlfriends.

Luckily, I have thin arms (for a guy) and do not need sleeves to hide anything. I just have to make sure to remove all the hair and to tan evenly.

But I cannot avoid long sleeves completely. Outerwear for cool and cold weather demand long sleeves and I have to shop long and hard to find what I need.

Size-wise, I am on the borderline of the Misses sizes and Plus sizes. I have found that when shopping for outerwear, I have more success with the smallest Plus sizes than the largest Misses sizes. Plus size outerwear is often larger in the sleeve as well as larger in the body of the outerwear. So, size 14W in outerwear often works for me.

Once in awhile, I luck out. For example, over the years, I had success at Fashion Bug. I have bought dresses and a coat off the rack in Misses size that had adequate sleeve length. But sadly, Fashion Bug went out of business.

Besides Fashion Bug, I have been successful shopping at at JCPenney, Dress Barn, Torrid, and Macy's. More often at JCPenney and Dress Barn, less often at Torrid and Macy's.

Alterations are sometimes an option. I bought my favorite coat (see photo), a three-quarter-length lynx fake fur online from Lane Bryant. It was a beautiful coat and a perfect fit except for the sleeve length, which was way too short. Wearing gloves did not camouflage the problem and I reluctantly prepared to ship it back to Mr. Bryant for a refund.

Before I did so, I noticed that the fake fur did not end at the end of the sleeve. Instead, the fur was folded over into the lining of the sleeve approximately four inches.

I wondered if a tailor or seamstress could do anything with it, so I took my coat to a local seamstress. For $20, she lengthened the sleeves with the fake fur lining and the sleeve length was perfect.

(Caveat Emptor: This is a repurposed post from 2013.)

Source: Rent the Runway
Wearing Nanette Lepore.

Монро (Monroe)
Монро (Monroe), male womenswear model


  1. On more than one occasion, I've visited my favorite seamstress, for the same reason - making something feminine (which didn't fit quite right) fit more naturally. Now that I'm located across the Chesapeake Bay from her, it's tougher. But she still gets some business from me.


  2. Great topic Stana. Sleeve length is a major obstacle for a lot of us I imagine. I have trouble with sleeveless and short sleeves bbecause of my arms, mostly tan but they're veiny and fairly masculine. Down here in the dirty south we just have to make due with short sleeves in the summer but beginning about now, I start wearing more long sleeves. I've found that Tall sizes work well for me. The sleeves are adequate and there's a bit more room in the shoulders. JCPenney and Old Navy have always been there for me. I need to check Dress Barn out. Thank you.