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The Big Sleeve Style Saga: Why are we so obsessed?

As we all come to terms with our big sleeve style addiction, here’s some reasoning behind our inability to let go…

In British Vogue’s ‘The future of fashion’ doc, presenter and all-time fashion babe Alexa Chung forecasts big sleeves as the next big thing. That was a year ago, and now look where we are. Eating soup in public has become an impossibility, you can’t walk into Zara without being visually bombarded by swathes of dangling fabric from hangers and we are all walking around looking like futuristic Abba backing dancers. We can all learn two things from Chung’s impressively accurate prediction. A) She has too many acquaintances at Vogue and B) you should trust every single word that comes out of her mouth.

Bell, flute, flare – whatever name you wish to call them by – big sleeves have become inescapable. The trend du jour. Usually noted on off the shoulder, cotton numbers in some variation of white, blue or striped, the high street seems to have developed an unhealthy obsession that I haven’t experienced since the ballerina pump effect of the mid-noughties (again, we have Chung to thank for that one). So why did we jump on this big sleeved bandwagon so willingly? After all, sleeves replicating the anatomy of elephant ears isn’t exactly the most practical of sartorial choices. Here’s the lowdown on why I believe followers of fashion (AKA foffers) have all fallen for the big sleeve hype.

1. For the drama

Oversized sleeves add tons of drama to your outfit. If you need to inject an air of confidence into your style for whatever reason, a draped sleeve is guaranteed to 100% execute. So swing your arms to and fro when you stride along the pavement and get some wind in those sleeves asap.

2. For the man repelling

Big sleeves are similar to big knickers in that they are in no way sexy. As Leandra Medine preaches: sometimes, you’ve got to use clothes as a way to showcase your current state of inherent singleness. In other words, you just really cannot be f*cked with the opposite sex right now.

3. But also, for the prettiness

I mean, I’ve got to admit it – they do look pretty. For days when you simply want to exude whimsical vibes, the big sleeve is your number one gal. Please note: you have to be in a certain head space, though. Throwing a big sleeve on willy-nilly could be detrimental to your relationship with this trend. You have to feel pretty to pull it off and, most importantly, enjoy wearing it.


The Zara Fluted Faves That Are Super Easy To Style


Left: Blue striped blouse, £25.99. Right: Black embroidered blouse, £29.99.

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