I’ve received a question about a problem that, not surprisingly, even one of my most glamorous friends is faced with in her own upcoming nuptials.
I’m in a wedding this summer. I’m the only bridesmaid/maid/matron of honor and may buy any dress as long as it’s red. I’m a big girl, size 16ish and of a certain age ie. 36. My upper arms are not for public viewing and yet most of the dresses I see are sleeveless. I do have a small waist compared to the rest of my outline. What is a girl to do? I have started better eating and going to the club (I used to be a size 24) but I don’t want to apply too much pressure to myself. I’m thinking that I could be a size 14 or 12 by the summer. Ideas for an outfit that covers the arms and isn’t cut down to the waist?
The problem of the chubby upper arms is not unique. Even I, the Donatella (as the Manolo would say) am no stranger to the stubborn fat of the upper arms. Rare is the woman who, after a certain age or a certain weight, has perfectly slender arms.
First, I commend you for losing the weight you’ve already lost. There is no other way to get slender arms than losing weight, and the best way to do this is to exercise and eat less. (Manolo has already recommended this book, but here it is again. If you have to lose weight quickly, and are serious, it works.)
Second, I don’t think you should be afraid to bare your arms. Show off the new you. Continue on your program, get a little tan, and I’m sure you’ll look great.
Also, as you may have noticed, all the prettiest dresses this season are sleeveless, and this will be a summer wedding, so sleeves might look both out of place and out of style.
Here’s my best advice: find the prettiest red sleeveless bridesmaid’s dress you can, one that isn’t too billowy, but instead emphasizes your shapliness. Of course, although the bride has given you carte blanche, make sure she likes the dress before you pay for it, after all it’s her day.
You’re in luck. In the past couple of years, the best bridal designers have turned their attention to making beautiful dresses for bridesmaids. The Vera Wang bridesmaid dresses are gorgeous, and comparatively affordable, usually under $400. The same can be said for Amsale and Nicole Miller.
After having said all that, if you’re still self-conscious about your arms, get a silk wrap or a shrug. I always like the way a wrap looks; it can pull an outfit together and make you look polished, and they are in this year. Besides, if it’s a church wedding, it seems more respectful to me to cover your shoulders and bosom.
I’m of the old school. I like things to be somewhat formal for a church wedding. Save the breast-bearing for Vegas.
Finally, I can tell from your letter that you’ve got the right attitude. You’re preparing well in advance, and you’re not stressed out. Weddings should be fun, all mine were.