I went to a Laura Marling concert earlier this summer (above, she is marvellous, do listen to her) where Laura wore a fabulous white top with wide, romantic, eye-catching sleeves. As she played guitar, her sleeves added an extra dramatic flourish to her performance, rippling and shaking to the rhythm of her dark, folky melody.
I rather fell for these sleeves. I love a bit of gesticulation, I use my hands to talk and am always nearly knocking people out with my flapping. So, the idea of a sleeve that added a bit of additional drama to my waving hands sounded like something I could get behind. Not every day, obvs, but for the odd occasion where I needed to attract people’s attention, maybe at a presentation, or perhaps at a girls lunch where I need to compete very hard to be heard above a table full of chatty Leos (you know who you are…)
I’m quite excited to discover that Laura was a bit ahead of the sleeve-trend-curve with her stage outfit, because there are lots of Flute Sleeves (proper fashion-tech name for ’em) around this season.
There are some stupendously expensive versions available, which I am showing to you entirely for inspiration purposes, do not think I’m advising you to spend this type of money on clothes, you are just getting the idea of the vibe.
Above left is the Ellery Little Me flared cuff shirt (£920, since you asked), which is cleverly split at the cuff so the wide ruff falls over your wrists, thereby not getting in the way of things. The crepe top (£540) with flute sleeves shows how it can look for knits.
This one above at Hillier Bartley (an eye-watering £1600) is not technically a flute, but is hugely gathered at the exaggerated cuff, which makes it a statement sleeve. This has the same, hand-framing, romantic vibe and there’s no doubt a cuff might keep all that fabric under control. There are lots of high street brands doing big, gathered sleeves this season.
Over at more acceptably priced Finery there are some very well priced flute sleeves you could practice with, should you fancy it. I love the jersey Florence flute sleeved top (at £39.00, available Nov) and the quieter Ivydale jersey top (£29.00) for those who prefer things less oversized. The Lynmouth flute sleeve dress (bottom) is lovely, and selling swiftly at £59.00.
One of the reasons I quite like this sleeve is its age-friendly application. You could even argue that one needs a bit of age to sleeve-flourish with style.
Due to its wide hem, it also helps to slim down the top of the arm, so maybe it’s ideal for those of us who fret about this area? Just a thought.
Quite how they work under slender, long sleeve coats, or cope pressed up against a grubby bar drinking cocktails or indeed on the swiftly closing doors of the 209 bus, I’m not quite sure. Perhaps they are transitional sleeves, best worn now before the weather turns and we need to layer-up.
Whatever, the super-star sleeve is here. It might well be a good thing.