Sleeveless tops, shirts, blouses and dresses come in many styles. Even if you’re shy about revealing the top parts of your arms and the area under the arm, some of these styles will work for you. Sleeveless doesn’t necessarily mean strappy, sloppy and overly revealing. Instead of skimpy styles, opt for silhouettes in sturdy fabrics with good underarm coverage, a fuller shoulder line and a modest neckline. That’s what I call “covered-sleeveless” dressing. By paying attention to the details, anyone can go sleeveless.
Strappy and revealing sleeveless items are never appropriate in professional settings. End of story. The question is whether “covered sleeveless” items can be. I’m going to be bold and vote yay, but with conditions. You have to feel appropriate wearing covered sleeveless items and the company’s business dress code has to allow it.
Throughout my fashion career I have worn covered-sleeveless items and felt professional and appropriate. For example, I will wear a classic sleeveless, high-necked sheath dress in a professional setting no problem. I will also wear a pretty sleeveless blouse or shirt tucked into a pencil skirt. Granted, the fashion environment is not conservative and there aren’t any written or unwritten dress code rules about wearing sleeves.
Obviously, no sleeveless allowed in a business formal setting. But business casual is different in my book, especially if your work setting errs on the creative and casual side. Also, you have the option of wearing a jacket or cardigan over the sleeveless item when you attend meetings, which means that you can cover up when necessary and then remove the layer when you’re back at your desk.
Do you think covered sleeveless dressing is appropriate in business casual settings, or is it best to always have a sleeve? Do you currently go sleeveless in your work setting? Let’s hear it.