Fashion Tips – Choosing Formal Wear Sleeves

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 19,659
    Fashion Designer and Project Runway finalist Wendy Pepper explains the different type of sleeve treatments on formal dresses.

    Wendy Pepper

    If you start in the heart of Washington DC and take the bridge over the Potomac River into Virginia, you're well on your way to Wendy Pepper's working studio. The gallery is the culmination of a life's dedication to the pursuit and practice of the age old craft of Haute Couture.

    Born in Dayton Ohio, Wendy returned with her family to the Washington DC area at an early age. Growing up in the nation's capital afforded Wendy the unique opportunity to absorb the myriad cultural influences that Washington DC alone could provide. After earning an Anthropology degree in college, Wendy decided that she was interested in the role of fashion in today's culture and, by extension, the role it played in a modern world of increasingly mass communication. She taught herself to sew and draft patterns, and subsequently sought out apprenticeships with specialists in the fibre arts fields.

    Wendy was part of the cast of the BRAVO series "Project Runway" and was chosen as a finalist and showed her collection in Bryant Park during New York Fashion Week in February 2005. Her Gallery is open by appointment (540-687-8272), and her line is available exclusively at "Santangelo and Sandridge" (540-687-4775), also in Middleburg.

    Wendy Pepper: Hi, I am Wendy Pepper and I am here talking about buying formal wear for your body type and in this segment Marin has graciously appeared to show us one of the different type of sleeve treatments that I particularly like. I like sleeves that has details. I specially think that the hand is of course, one of the most expressive parts of the body and so I like to frame it whenever I can. So, I like to use specialized cuff details. This particular sleeve has a very long cuff, has sort of a Edwardian look and I have also done a little bit of embroidery and bead work.

    These are all treatments that you can look for when you are buying dresses that accentuate different parts of your body that you most want to draw attention to and thats the biggest thing to remember is, make sure the dress works for you and so if you were somebody who likes to draw attention to your wrists and your hands then you should look for a dress that has a beautiful cuff detail like this. I happen to think a very soft treatment around the shoulders. It's very nice for someone like Marin who is quite thin and angular and this softens up her whole look.

    Now, we are going to take a look at a different figure type and how sleeves can play an important role in complementing every different type of figure there is. Now, Pasha has a curvy figure and so we like to accentuate her neckline which is beautiful, we open it up. We take this right to the edge and the sleeve I prefer a three quarter length sleeve. It's not too heavy. It covers where she might feel self conscious but it's not too much. It doesnt add bulk to the upper body which is an important thing to remember with a sleeve. You have to be very careful that you keep it to the minimum, when you have a lot going on up there, with a lot of curves in a print we want to keep the sleeve minimal but still functional and she can wear some punchy jewellery on her wrist and then she is ready to go.

    We are here with Grace and we are further examining different sleeve applications for different body types and I have put Grace in one of my very favorite dresses. It is a navy blue satin cocktail dress that has very refined lines and very contained and again thats something that I think is appropriate for a petite figure. Restrained aspects to the dress dont over power that person even though we have seen Grace in different types of styles. This one in particular suits her arms because she has very well defined arms. They are very beautiful. They are not necessarily able to take a big heavy sleeve. So, we put a little cap sleeve on the top and what it does is, it's give her that protection so she is not wearing sleeveless dress, but it's not too much, it's not too heavy. It's still very youthful yet feminine and soft in its angular ways. So, we are kind of hitting a lot of marks there.

    So, in this segment, we have taken into account three different sleeve types that address three different types of arm shapes and lengths and it's important when you are buying a dress to remember that your particular proportions are the most important ones to consider with each purchase.