There’s a lot to be said (and enjoyed) about a spare, rigorously refined aesthetic; a Spartan approach to dressing goes hand in hand with the concept of a foundation wardrobe and the eschewing of frivolity. Whilst most important sartorial messages are communicated quietly – through cut, fabric and line – making a statement has a valid place too.
There’s something irresistibly indulgent and dramatic about an oversized sleeve – both of which are traits that are generally (if not frowned upon) discouraged, particularly if you’re a female who wishes to be taken “seriously”. Channelling the likes of the ever-inspiring Lord Byron and Diana Spencer, a deliciously grand sleeve amplifies even the subtlest of gestures, any decisive movement or point you wish to make is reinforced by the swathes of fabric around your arms and shoulders.
Although steeped in history and tradition, volume has been enjoying a gentle renaissance – with some of the more epic sleeves of note appearing in the recent Marni collection (pictured), which was a far cry from community Shakespeare and the fifth season of Seinfeld. With clothing moving relentlessly onwards, from wearable technology to the prevailing dominance of athletic wear and overt sex appeal (apparently not mutually exclusive anymore), there’s something appealingly naïve and romantic about an aesthetic that's so dated.
From a bishop’s sleeve to leg-of-mutton, proportionally they look best cinched in with a cuff, a decisive finish to what might otherwise be overly saccharine. With polyester too reminiscent of 60s game show hosts, crisp cottons and silks provide more class and body. At the heart of it, a big sleeve is FUN. I find the drama and impact of sweeping some outrageous sleeves around gives you instant confidence and presence. Relish the impracticality and avoid cooking and sharp objects.