Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Lost Sleeves

My daughter has been to a few weddings lately and when she shows me her pictures (after the third wedding) I suddenly notice a disturbing trend: all of the dresses are strapless! What happened to sleeves? I'm a child of the 70's, don't get me wrong, I'm all for freedom of choice in what a bride wears. But I feel that sleeveless wedding dresses are inappropriate in church. Yes, it's true, I have turned into my MOTHER. Her dress, if I could find a picture of it (Dad, do you have one?) was very full and poufy and had cute little 1950's cap sleeves.
My dress had sleeves. But even a cursory look at the New York Times wedding pages shows the same sad story: the majority of the brides are wearing the bustier dress. It's as if a law was passed a few years ago and said all brides must now look as if they were attending the Oscars afterwards.
Then Tuesday morning the nice people at Nordstrom sent me an email and advised that they had new fall and winter party dresses in stock. So I looked, and 95% of the dresses were strapless or sleeveless! For Winter! I have nothing against sundresses. But strapless and sleeveless dresses for winter just seem wrong.
It was then that I realized that it was a Global Fashion Cabal at work. For some reason eliminating sleeves is part of their World Domination Conspiracy.
Join the Revolution! We have the right to Not Bare Arms!


goodworks1 said...

"We have the right to Not Bare Arms!"

ROFL! How clever! Thanks for this very interesting discussion!

Memory: My wedding dress was satin, with a high neck and long sleeves with points over the back of the hand...I wore my mother's dress. She was married in 1950, in a Mennonite church in Illinois!

Lydia said...

I got married in 2007, and it was almost impossible to find a non-strapless dress. There were a few halter options, but almost nothing with sleeves. (Going through an entire David's Bridal, we found one strapless dress with a sheer jacket and one with a t-shirt style top.)

It is vexing. said...

**True Confessions**

I was married in a church wearing a sleeveless dress(boat necked with a low back) in March. My two older friends who were co-coordinating the wedding wondered at my lack of sleeves.

I didn't want to be hot. Our wedding was in the evening, we would be indoors for the entire event and there was a live swing dance band at our reception.

I also have a lot of trouble finding flattering sleeve lengths. It's basically long or no for me.

If formal fabrics breathed better, maybe there would be a bigger market for sleeved formal wear. It's a thought.

Although I like your conspiracy theory better.

AuntieAllyn said...

I hear what you're saying . . . try and find an evening/formal dress that has ANY type of sleeves these days! They just don't exist! My mother's 1954 wedding dress had a very poufy skirt and long, sheer sleeves with a Peter Pan (I think that's what you call it) collar. If I ever get married (unlikely at this stage in my life), I think I'd be tempted to wear it!

Catherine said...

I'll second all the current/recent brides who note that it is virtually impossible to buy a dress of the racks that isn't a strapless bustier style. 99% of the inventory out there is variations on that theme! I ended up making my dress (albiet sleeveless, but logical for an August 1 wedding) because the ready-to-wear stuff leaves little to the creative's heart. see it on my blog!

Annette said...

Its really not a good idea to choose strapless and sleeveless dresses for winter. Nordstrom carries a nice selection of elegant and classic dresses in satin, chiffon and taffeta.

Christina said...

My issue with strapless dresses is that you really need a perfectly toned upper body to look good in them, and most real brides (non-models) don't... I think it's going to look very dated (very "turn of the 21st century") in the same way that those poofy, long sleeved, lacy, bejeweled dresses just scream 1980's.

Anonymous said...

My dress was sleeveless but it was 30+ Celsius when I got married :)
I had a veil that covered my shoulders and part of the chest, otherwise the dress would not be appropriate for the church. It is very common where I live to have a jacket or some other kind of a cover up if getting married in a church, the priest wouldn't even let you enter with bare shoulders.

Toby Wollin said...

As a MOB twice over the past two years, I can tell you that in terms of wedding dresses, no one is trying at all, in the least, to do any sort of dress that has sleeves. AS a matter of fact, even just finding one that has a substantial strap (like a Michelle Obama type sheath) is well nigh impossible. I offered to make my girls their wedding gowns. I made them all their formals in high school and college; it is not as if I can't bone a bodice with the best of them. But no..they wanted dresses like they saw in the bridal mags, so that is what they bought. Irritatingly uncreative and I don't think they 'do anything'(as my mom used to say) for most of the women who end up wearing them and for women who are 'gifted' in the bust area, they spend most of their time anxious about wardrobe misadventures. We will also not discuss the issue of plain and simply -- air conditioned spaces. These topless and sleeveless dresses just are cold. If the bride is going to end up having to wear a jacket or shrug or shawl anyway, why not have a dress with sleeves????