Dresses that have sleeves and don’t need layering or topper pieces are about as desirable as clothing that have functional pockets. Sadly, finding stylish dresses with sleeves be as difficult as locating a needle in a haystack. Women ask me all the time why there aren’t more tops and dresses with sleeves out there and I only have theories as to why this is the case, not solid reasons.
My theories are that it takes less yardage to make sleeveless clothing and sewing clothing without sleeves is a lot less labor intensive. Less yardage and labor means less cost to the bottom line of garments produced, and in the days of fast fashion and cheap clothing it makes sense as to why the sleeves would be left off. But, again, these are only theories. It could just be that in an industry that caters to the young and toned, nobody really gives a crap that there is a huge population of women who don’t want to bare their arms. Don’t you just love getting older?
3/4 Sleeve Dresses for Stylish Arm Coverage
So while you could get to the gym regularly or put yourself on a constant search for the perfect topper for your dresses, I decided to make it easier for you by showcasing some 3/4 sleeve dresses. I chose this sleeve length, which is traditionally just above or right below the elbow, because it is such a flattering sleeve length for so many women. The longer, narrower sleeve optically slims the arms whereas a cap or shorter sleeves don’t. Take a look at the dresses I chose to style along with some additional dresses to consider at the end of this post.
3/4 sleeve dress #1
This sheath dress from Ted Baker is a style that can go from work to weekend. It’s perfect for a daytime event as well as the office. With 3/4 sleeves you don’t have to worry about a layering piece. Working with the feminine print, I added these blue suede pumps from Calvin Klein, a soft blue bag from Sole Society, rose quartz studs from Tous and a silver bangle from Kate Spade.
3/4 sleeve dress #2
What I like about this next 3/4 sleeve dress from L.K. Bennett, aside from the arm coverage, is the two color polka dot print. As I have blogged about before, you can treat these like solid colors and wear them with any other shades you want. I styled this dress with a pair of yellow sandals from Steve Madden, navy earrings from Tory Burch and a beige bag from Tory Burch.
3/4 sleeve dress #3
This last dress from Reiss is an easy structured knit style with 3/4 sleeves that makes it an easy, throw-on style that doesn’t compromise looking chic. I styled the dress with blush flats from Marc Fisher, double strand pendant from Lauren Ralph Lauren and burgundy tote from Sam Edelman.
Shop for 3/4 sleeve dresses
Shopping for 3/4 sleeve dresses? Check out these additional styles.
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I find Boden usually has some elbow or 3/4 sleeve dresses that are also knee length. With my body shape I prefer not to add extra layers as it just makes me look bulky and feel warm, at an age where I feel warm enough! But I do like my arms covered at least to the elbow. Great article!
Also that Ted Baker dress is gorgeous!!!
Thanks for the head’s up about Boden. The Ted Baker dress is gorgeous in person too. A client of mine just had it on.
I love the 3/4 sleeve; as I was assessing my spring and summer wardrobe, I realized that everything I have is cap sleeve or sleeveless…Definitely need to add 3/4 sleeve.
It’s such a flattering sleeve length! Happy shopping!
Love this! Dresses with sleeves are great for work in so many ways, including keeping away the air-conditioning chill !