For the past couple of decades, it’s been nearly impossible to walk into a bridal salon and find a gown with sleeves. No matter the season, no matter the preference of the bride, sleeves have been a dirty word in bridal couture for some fifteen to twenty years.
Cries went up for copies. And then the last Twilight film came out and Bella wore long sleeves, too. The knockoffs started hitting the markets nearly immediately.
So one popular royal bride and one pop culture fictional bride made headlines for wearing sleeves… and suddenly they’re starting to show up on the bridal couture runways again.
Oh strapless isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s still the thing seen most on the runways and on the racks from Kleinfeld to Besty’s Bridal in West Igotlost. Strapless shouldn’t go away completely, ever. I’m all about options. Some women look and feel their best in strapless and they ought to have that option, absolutely. I’m just glad the rest of the population is finally after all these years getting a chance to wear what looks and feels best on us.
There aren’t even a lot of designers showing sleeves yet.
Ramona Kaveza is the strongest proponent of sleeves. Her spring 2012 collection shows everything from strapless to long, lace sleeves. In fact, she’s got a couple off-the-shoulder gowns with long lace sleeves!
In addition to a couple strapless gowns with small boleros, Oscar de la Renta is showing one trumpet gown with long, lace sleeves.
Jim Hjelm’s collection features one gown with elbow-length lace sleeves.
As you can see, there aren’t a lot of sleeves yet. Those you can find are almost universally long, tight, and composed of lace. All the same, it’s the start of a trend whereby women who don’t want to expose their arms aren’t suddenly required to do so, brides will have one less reason to shiver in the cold when they marry in the winter, and more brides will be able to express themselves sartorially without being forced to look outside the realm of bridal salons.
Not everyone wants Kate Middleton’s sleeves any more than everyone wanted strapless all these years. But at least we’re seeing a choice now. And that, my friends, is all to the good!