By Marcie Everhart
The classic sleeveless sheath dress is such a flattering piece on everyone, all sizes, all ages, a closet staple. What’s not so flattering can be the exposed underarm for us over-fifty. But, we have a whole slew of shirts in the closet right now with fabulous sleeve treatments – bell, tie, split, tulip, puffed, mutton leg, etc. We can give the dress whatever sleeve we want it to have, by simply layering.
You get an additional layer of warmth to keep wearing summer’s dresses into the fall and coverage in an area where the majority of us would like to have it.
Let’s Pretend We’re the Dress Designer!
Do you love “Project Runway” and Tim Gunn like I do? Let’s make it work! You can approach this in a variety of ways.
Simple color-blocking. Put together a solid color top with a solid color sheath dress, in any color combinations.
Above we have cut-outs for both shoulders and toes to repeat a special feature, and color-blocking carried through to accessories.
Pattern-mixing. Experiment with stripes, geometrics, florals, polka dots, textures, connecting them with any similar color the pieces share in the pattern.
Enhancing similarities. Are the pieces different shades of blue? (Like navy, turquoise, and powder blue? This could look like paints mixed on an artist’s palette.) Do they both incorporate circle shapes somehow? (Polka dots, a curved neckline or large, round buttons? Bringing together 3-D objects like buttons or jewelry with the flat 2-D fabric featuring the same shapes looks clever.)
Do necklines play nicely together or fight for dominance in the space near your face? Sometimes two very different necklines can surprise by how interesting they are laid together. Turtlenecks and bow blouses are almost always going to work.
The Real-Real Behind the Scenes
I wore the navy and taupe to my college alumni board meeting where I knew our annual official photo would be taken — these things end up on Christmas cards for the board, for Christ’s sake! I was not gonna have any arm nonsense going on, lol, so I added the blouse under the sleeveless dress specifically to appear more polished in any photos going down.
A Little Background Music
I’m gonna make you’s a dress like you ain’t never had a dress made before… my way. ;^)
This post is more about you shopping your own closet and finding layers to extend your own sleeveless dresses into cooler weather. Or just encouraging you to experiment and have fun with the color, pattern, and textures of clothing you already own, enjoying the things you have.
In case you saw something you really dig, though…
The belted, navy and taupe sheath dress is Calvin Klein, and the navy silk blouse is Talbot’s. A focus of Calvin Klein is minimal sheath dresses.