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Do You Always Wear Sleeves? Fashion Over 60 Community Question

By Margaret Manning May 17, 2016 Beauty

Fashion over 60 is a tricky business. On the one hand, by the time we reach our 60th birthdays, we have (mostly) learned to love and accept our bodies. We also don’t really care what other people think of us, even if we still enjoy fashion, makeup and style.

On the other hand, in my experience, women over 60 are realists. We don’t suddenly become blind, just because we reject anti-aging messages. When we look in the mirror, we know exactly what has changed about our bodies as we have aged. From flabby arms to the dreaded middle-age spread, each of us is a walking testament to the powers of gravity and time.

When it comes to fashion over 60, we face several decisions. One of the most obvious is whether to cover up our perceived trouble spots or continue to show them of.

To be clear, I’m not saying that being fashionable requires us to cover up. I’m simply saying that this is one of the style-related choices that all women over 60 make.

What Does the Sixty and Me Community Say About Sleeves?

The other day, one of our guest writers, the self-appointed Queen of Aging Disgracefully, Penelope Whiteley, posted a question along these lines to the conversations section of the website. Here’s what she said:

“I am currently ensconced in Florence, Italy and I’m trying to decide if I want to move here permanently or not. If I decide it isn’t right for me I shall go back to the U.K.

One of the things I have noticed about women in their 50s, 60s and 70s is that they are either super-stylish or not. The interesting thing about this, of course, is that the super-stylish always wear sleeves to cover the tops of their arms. The ‘not’ crowd just don’t bother.

This is fascinating for me because, as a designer, one of the major complaints I hear from women is that there are no half-way-reasonable clothes with sleeves! Personally, I won’t leave the house without lip gloss and sleeves.

Being honest, Florence, in all its glory, is not as chic for me as Milano or Roma. In addition, sleeves are as big a problem (or the lack of sleeves) as elsewhere.

Have the women who don’t wear sleeves got it right? Have they found that inner part of themselves that really doesn’t care if others dislike the tops of their arms? Is this part of their personal journey?

Sleeveless doesn’t work for me… what about you?

Victoria pointed out that “This is a tough issue. I could never be one of those women who doesn’t care about exposing her unattractive body parts. But, I don’t want to be self-hating either, or hold myself to impossible standards.

I look for clothes that are comfortable but also stylish and classy. That can be a challenge, but I think I succeed most of the time.

I am always on the alert to guard against developing an excessively negative self-perception, or an excessively positive one, about the appearance of my body. It was hard giving all of my miniskirts and crop tops away, but, I feel better when I don’t try those things on. Instead, I just put things on that make me look and feel good.”

Skywalkerpayne said, “This is a good discussion. When I look around the world, in different cultures, from Africa to Asia, older women’s arms are covered. Fortunately, I live in Alaska now, so it’s a pretty natural need.”

Fmguinta pointed out that sleeves are not just for looks, they also protect your skin from the sun. She said, “I never go sleeveless anymore. Unless you are very toned, sleeveless tops just makes you look matronly. Plus, I like to keep the sun off as much skin as possible!”

Another woman said, “I dress to please myself. There are certain things I no longer wear because they no longer look good to me – short shorts, short skirts and short sleeves. I look in the mirror and, if I look good, then it’s a go. I am not worried about what others may or may not like. That said, I have to like how I look!”

I’d love to hear what you think about this!

Do you go out of your way to wear sleeves? Or, are you comfortable going without sleeves, especially if the weather is warm? Why or why not? Please join the conversation.

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The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at

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