Off the Cuff

When people ask me knowingly what I’ve got up my sleeve, I could reply -without exaggerating (much); a reasonably sized family home (semi-detached), 2 Labradors, a desultory whiff of ennui and 9 boxes of Crunchy Nut. And although that might not be *strictly* true (and anyway, they were only asking in a metaphorical sense, duh) it might as well be, such is the size of the sleeve trending at the moment.

I can really get on board with this trend because I love the idea of faintly impractical dressing. In fact, I love the idea of full-blown impracticality but it’s so rarely appropriate because it’s so, well, y’know.

But a whiff of silly I love.

And sleeves seem an innocuous, virtually pain-free way of getting a little excess in your life as opposed to, say, heels too high to walk like a human in. They are decadent and fabulous sure, but they make my knees hurt.

Ditto ridiculous earrings, my usual go-to for adding a little ‘Say whhhaaaa?’ to my appearance. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t have a bad word said against mahoosive danglers but dear GOD my ear-lobes. They scream for mercy even as I approach my jewellery box.

But sleeves- no body manipulation required. The only real enemy you have is the side-plate (I skirmished with a knob of butter and lost). You do have to re-train where your edges are, but other than that, happy days.

I love how any outfit, whether simple in its essence or already edging towards the craycray, gets well and truly re-invented by adding something so small. (Well I say small, I refer you back to what I can fit in them above.) But as they say, the devil is in the detail. And any cuff is inherently a detail. So, armed with these details (armed! Geddit?!) I find myself wading into the murky waters of the body-con dress.

Being far too body-con to wear body-con (at least since I edged out of the better end of my 20’s), I would have swept grandly past this tight black number and bee-lined for the wide-leg culottes had it not been for the sleeve detail which well and truly caught my eye.

Now I’m not saying I’m totally on board with every curve and swerve being quite so showcased in black polyester mix, but I bloody love those sleeves. And because of that, one of these days, I’ll drink a lot of gin and wear this to a party, and I’ll feel fantastic.

Shirts are also obvious purveyors of the funky sleeve. I’ve taken to wearing a men’s (slim-fitting) shirt with double cuffs that are rolled down. I do feel a touch of the Laurence-Llewelyn-Bowens coming on every time I pull them down, an instinctive reflex to start critiquing the soft furnishings etc but it’s a small price to pay.

Equally this frankly rapture-inducing silk shirt I picked up IN A CHARITY SHOP.

(I literally drown people in smugness when I tell them where I got it, IT’S FROM A CHARITY SHOP. AND IT’S REAL SILK.) Urgh I’m the worst. But in this shirt, I’m also the best. The best version of myself. The proportions are all right (as opposed to just alright), thanks to its obscene abundance of fabric. It makes my waist look small and my curves look curvy.

And everyone wants to know where it’s from- and if you can’t have a conversation starter up your sleeve, where can you have it?

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