Monday, 5 July 2010

Undercover Arms

So, I've been meaning to get around to this mission for a while - but Friday Frocks has been a shameless attention seeker, and I've been dazzled by its frivolity.

Mission request? As you know I have tattoos on my upper arms, and as much as I love them I don't show them at work (professionalism and keeping work/private life separate). Looking for long or 3/4 sleeve tops and dresses in the summer tends to limit the choice so I sometime buy things that have shorter sleeves and wear cardigans. I hate buying them them so need some suggestions on cardis for covering up my tattoos in the summer and not leave me boiling.

We don't all have fabulous tattoos like Trudi, but many of us feel more comfortable covering up our upper arms. It seems especially true that ladies with big boobs have had the dubious twin blessing of hefty hams to match - but lots of us are sensitive about our 'bingo wings' - the untoned flesh that keeps waving long after we've stopped. It stands to reason then, that Trudi's quest for ink-concealment will come in handy for quite a few others of us.

The most common solution to the problem is an elbow-length cardigan, either cropped or very fitted.  The pink cardigan at the top of the page is versatile enough for day or evening, and won't look dated anytime soon, so it's probably worth the £50 price tag (it's by Phase Eight at House of Fraser - other colours are available here). The orange shrug above, (£49, John Lewis, also available in black) has a little more femininity in its design detail, with the puffed shoulder and gathering at the elbow - and this can make it easier if you are trying to disguise rounded arms. There are two problems with this style of cover-up (and for more in the same kind of mould, see here): firstly, they're quite expensive, and secondly, they're probably a bit much for a really hot day.

So we want pocket-friendly, heat-busting, arm-covering pieces. This white three-quarter sleeved bolero from M&S is a perfect summer cover-up. The colour is light-reflecting and summery, and it's 100% cotton so it will allow air circulation. It would also be ideal to protect yourself when you've had enough sun. Those flared cuffs will help to balance out heavier arms, and the fabric has a pretty, subtle, circular pattern. It's only £19.50 and will work with all kinds of looks.

Not everyone feels comfortable wearing white, but I've rarely met someone who doesn't look great in shades of turquoise. This bolero is also from M&S, also £19.50 and also 100% cotton (it's also another really weird picture with an uncomfortable-looking model - try to see past that). I'd say his bolero is less versatile - unlike the last one, it probably wouldn't be suitable for more casual occasions - but it is a lovely colour and those A line sleeves are going to be cool and flattering.

Lastly, this slouchy shrug is from ASOS. It comes in black, a warm pale beige, and a super-fashionable pale grey, and the loose cut is easy to wear in the heat.  Best of all it's reduced from £18 to £12. This is a less tailored look, but that doesn't mean it's only suitable for casual dressing.  Kept simple with a more tailored dress or skirt in a plain colour, it would look draped, elegant and classy.


  1. perfect perfect perfect - I'm ALWAYS on the lookout for this sort of thing - not only to cover up the bingo wings but also 'cos I burn too too easily. I've just bought the ASOS one. Sadly they've run out of size 18 so I had to go a size (or two!) smaller but it looks comfy and I'm on the way down again...;o)) Thanks so much.

  2. I thought I had commented this morning, but anyhoo. Thank you so much. Both the M&S ones and the ASOS in clack and Grey are on their way to me. Mwah.


Thanks for commenting - always nice to know I'm not talking to myself...