Kimono sleeves! Do you like them? What do you call them? When I’m searching for patterns on Etsy I see them tagged as ‘grown-on’, ‘kimono’, ‘dolman’, and occasionally ‘bat-wing’ (although that’s more for this kind of 80s style monstrosity).
Kimono sleeve is the most common term you hear sewers use, although if you actually look at a kimono it’s not an accurate description, as they do have shoulder seams, just without any shaping. They are basically large rectangles joined on one side at the top (there’s a good diagram on wikipedia).
Check out this gorgeous petrol-green beauty from Phillip Lim. The huge belt loops! The boat-neck! I wish I could see how it’s been put together. (Do you ever wish that shops would show line drawings of clothes, the way sewing-patterns do? It would make online shopping a million times easier.)
Whatever they’re called, I love them. They combine slouchiness and elegance in that 50s house-dress way. They are the definitive ‘This old thing? I just threw it on’ dress.
I fell in love with these sleeves when I visited the Horrocks exhibition at the Museum of Fashion and Textiles last year. Nearly all the dresses in the exhibition had them, and their perfect for the signature bright Horrocks prints as there’s nothing to distract your eye at the shoulder-line.
Two of my favourites are below (although I wanted to take home every dress). The super-sweet wedding gown has a weirdly 70s vibe. The other dress has both a kimono sleeve and a halter-neck style band coming from the side-seams.
Too much goodness. Why don’t they make clothes like this any more?
Have a look at the flower print on this dress bodice – it looks almost pixellated.
There are millions of these on Etsy. I love this one with the giant buttons.
And this one with a separate bodice front
And this post is already too long but OH you have to see this polka-dot sheath with huge pockets and white gloves:
That hat looks suspiciously like Ms Blue Dress has just plonked a fruit bowl on her head. But the sleeves make even that look good! Is there anything they can’t do?