Saturday 18 November 2017

Say it with sleeves

Fashion editor Bairbre Power handpicks dresses to match your wardrobe needs

Dress €230 Fee G.
Dress €230 Fee G.
Dress €79.95 and shoes €55.95 both Pamela Scott.
Betty Barclay €115
Tunic dress €69.99, trousers €69.95 Pamela Scott.
Victoria Beckham - Runway - Fall 2012 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week
Mary Katrantzou a/w 2012

Respected fashion commentator Hilary Alexander was in Dublin recently with Maxmara, and when I asked her about neglected elements in the fashion industry, she didn't hesitate for a moment: "Sleeves, dresses with sleeves."

She's right — dresses with sleeves have been elusive at the best of times, but, this season, the tide has turned.

It's as if designers have finally woken up to what women want, and the Paris and Milan catwalks were loaded with gems, from Dolce & Gabbana to Gucci, Dries Van Noten to Cacharel.

Diane Von Furstenberg is the undisputed queen of the wrap dress, and this season Pamela Scott has a very flattering sleeved wrap dress in a punchy autumnal-colour print.

You can accessorise it any number of ways.

The Irish chain, which has 39 stores countrywide, has a very comprehensive range of sleeved dresses, ranging from €69.99-€89.99, which you can dress up or down.

The tunic dress features a strong red/black print that reminds me of Mary Katrantzou, while the black-and-white houndstooth dress with soft half-sleeve has the draped quality of Moschino Cheap & Chic.

Victoria Beckham was criticised for opting for dropped waists, which are not good for girls with curves, but it's worth exploring her Victoria, Victoria Beckham range further because it has simple shirtwaist dresses with sleeves.

Mrs Beckham displayed her inventiveness with sleeves by taking the short sleeve and then adding a further buttoned cuff. The end product is a longer sleeve, but with a flash of flesh in between.

Irish brand Fee G has designed dresses with or without sleeves, including a midnight-blue dress. Dolce & Gabbana looked to this device of sheer sleeves on its Baroque masterpieces.

Often, just the suggestion of flesh is more subtle than a full-on display. And for those of you who find the perfect dress but with really short sleeves, look to gloves for the answer, as Bottega Veneta did on the catwalk.

Paula Rowan in the Westbury Mall, Dublin, has sensational long gloves from €189 upwards. The ones with zips are utterly divine.

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