Ask Angie: Sweater sleeve shape

I have been enjoying watching your pins from all the fashion shows! Aside from the balloon sleeves that seem to be present all over the place, I did notice another shape that I am curious about.

For example, this top from Jil Sander's show.

The shoulder seam is a bit exaggerated and wide set, and the sleeve arm holes have very low bottoms. Is this A Thing or just a result of the super oversized trend running through everything?

I happened to have just bought a (expensive for me) sweater with this shape, though it is less exaggerated (tanish-cream with cream silk arms and inset stripes, very luxurious feeling!). But I'm waffling a bit on it because the sleeve shape is very different for me, and really the whole sweater feels almost laughably oversized although it doesn't seem to come across that way in the photos. I promise it's quite oversized! Would love to hear your thoughts about this! Thanks <3

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  • Kalli replied 6 years ago

    I wore this shape in the 80s... And uh I still have that item. :) I find it comfy and I love it, even wearing across the years even if it wasn't in style. They are sort of dolman sleeves, Angie wrote about it here:

  • Angie replied 6 years ago

    The sweater you just bought is very on trend! I love it on you! Not even all that oversized relatively speaking :).

    It's not the same as the one you pinned from my board because that's more structured with a welt - while yours is high-low and unwelted. Nevertheless - spot on. Go for it!

    That crazy oversized huge "cardboard" sleeve that is EVERYWHERE on the runways is fab but hard to wear. I don't know how retail is going to interpret it. Cuffed and bracelet length will be a good start.

  • Aida replied 6 years ago

    Kalli, I have dolman shaped sleeves and these aren't quite it :) The shoulder seam goes right to the edge of the shoulders, and then a wee bit past that. Then the sleeve is cut like a normal shape, except that the arm hole bottom drops down a couple inches so it's exaggerated as if stretched vertically; but the width and the sleeve structure is otherwise normal.

    Angie, thank you for the input! I think my eye just isn't fully adjusted to this shape, and yes I realize it's not as oversized in the Scope Of Fashion but it definitey feels like I'm swamped in fabric. Albeit very soft, cuddly fabric ;). I was just referring to the shoulder/arm portion of that Jil Sander sweater, but I don't think I could handle this "new" shape AND a heavy welted bottom. So I will happily keep the sweater and get my eyes adjusted! And yes, I have been wondering how retail will interpret that crazy balloon sleeve, too!

  • Angie replied 6 years ago

    Aida, I'm glad you're keeping it! It's a GREAT Seattle Spring and Summer piece. And it makes sense that you feel swamped in the style. It's so fab, though :)

  • Aida replied 6 years ago

    Yay I'm glad, I've been hemming an hawing a week now. So the sweater body is Acrylic, how is that for warmth? I had planned to get some wear through maybe late May/early June and then put it away until fall, but if the material breathes decently I could just keep on wearing it. I know the silk will work for all seasons :)

  • Angie replied 6 years ago

    Exactly! Sweet with shorts and booties for Summer.

  • Aida replied 6 years ago

    You've got me pegged Angie, that's just how I was picturing wearing it! Maybe with baggy leather shorts if I find a pair that I can afford :)

  • Diana replied 6 years ago

    Aida, this looks like a drop-shoulder sleeve to me. Basically the armhole seam is straight and not cut in at all, which results in a very boxy shape. It was indeed a very popular shape in the 80s, and is also found in certain types of traditional knitwear (like some fair-isle sweaters with intricate patterning that don't do well with shaping). A dolman on the other hand is made in one piece and has no armhole seam at all.

    Here is a good article about different types of sweater sleeves:

  • Aida replied 6 years ago

    Diana, yes that's it! It's fairly exaggerated feeling to me on the low armhole, but perhaps this is just normal for the type of sleeve. I will have to check what my other slouchy/oversized sweaters have at home because this one does feel very different to me.

  • deb replied 6 years ago

    I love these sleeve shapes!

  • replied 6 years ago

    Hey there Aida! Your nice shoulders are just the frame that sweater needs to look fab. You're looking so cool in that trend!

  • Janet replied 6 years ago

    I can handle the fuller sleeve in more drapey constructions, but those big stiff sleeves look so impractical and uncomfortable to me! Plus I imagine they only look right on the very slight-of-chest. Certainly not the year's most wearable trend! ;-)

    That sweater looks great on you, Aida! Love it.

  • Aida replied 6 years ago

    Thanks Deb, Claire, and Janet!

    Claire, I thought at first perhaps my shoulders were messing the silhouette up and I'd ordered a size too large! Then I went back to check the stock photo and saw that it was indeed fit correctly. I can't always tell with these here shoulders, hehe

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