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Wedding Dresses with Long Sleeves--Hooray!

Updated on November 6, 2016

A Long, Fitted Sleeve Pattern

Long sleeve pattern
Long sleeve pattern | Source

Classic Elegance

I am extremely excited about a recent trend in wedding gowns. Long sleeves are back in style. Two of the most talked-about weddings of 2011, one real and one fictional, featured breathtaking gowns with long sleeves. After many seasons of strapless gowns and shameless cleavage, the demure bride is back. These modern, long-sleeved dresses are not old-fashioned; rather, they are timeless in their beauty. Unlike the brides of the eighties, with their voluminous sleeves to match their big hair, these brides won't look dated when their children or grandchildren look at their wedding portraits.

A covered-up dress style means no worries about the numerous "wardrobe malfunctions" that might occur with a strapless gown. A gown with sleeves is modest and elegant; demure, not flagrantly sexy. In a world of brides gone wild, Kate Middleton and Bella Swan show restraint: more natural hair, simple veils, and tasteful jewelry. Neither will be likely to look back at their wedding portraits in twenty years and be horrified at their poor taste.

Breaking Dawn, Part I Wedding Gown

Twilight fans awaited the appearance of Bella's wedding dress for years. When the Carolina Herrera creation was finally revealed in the fourth movie of The Twilight Saga, it proved to be worth the wait. Herrera worked with series author Stephenie Meyer to be sure the dress was true to the description recorded in the book. The satin dress was fitted close to the body with a skirt that opened at the hem "…like an inverted calla lily" (Meyer, 2008, p. 57) and had long, fitted sleeves. The front detailing is done only with seams; the lavish lace is reserved for the back of the gown.

Alfred Angelo is now selling a replica dressfor brides who admired this gown and have the toned physique to pull off a fitted sheath silhouette.

Kate Middleton's Wedding Gown

There was much speculation about how this thoroughly modern woman would dress for one of the most traditional events in Great Britain—a royal wedding. Her dress was elegant in the vintage style of Grace Kelly, yet it looked perfect for this twenty-first century woman. The lace bodice and long lace sleeves fit like a glove. This Sarah Burton design for Alexander McQueen featured a full skirt, but the use of pleats instead of gathers controlled the fullness. Rather than the miles-long train worn by the mother of the groom decades earlier, Kate chose a more modest train.

Whatever Kate Middleton wears, she exudes a quiet, classic charm and dignity—and style! Her wedding style was consistent with the classic, tasteful style she has displayed since the wedding.

Kate and Her Prince


Tips for Choosing a Wedding Dress with Sleeves

More coverage means more fitting. It is critically important to work with a consultant or dressmaker who will honestly steer you to the right size dress and stick with you while that dress is custom fit to your body. Don't think you can only wear these gowns if you are as tiny as Kate Middleton or Kristen Stewart; larger sizes are just as lovely, so long as the fit is perfect. Be especially mindful of the fit at the armholes, since you want to be able to move, dance, and hug while in your gown.

Sources: accessed January 26, 2012.

Meyer, S. (2008). Breaking Dawn. New York: Little, Brown & Co.

US Magazine accessed January 26, 2012.

What's Your Style?

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    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 5 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      I hope the long sleeves remain popular until all my daughters are married.

    • stephaniedas profile image

      Stephanie Das 5 years ago from Miami, US

      I love it! I've always preferred the older style wedding dresses from the 40s and 50s to the strapless ones with huge billowing skirts that came into style during my lifetime. I'm glad this trend is back, it is classy, elegant, and feminine.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 5 years ago

      Yep, long-sleeve wedding dresses have made a nice comeback. I think they're lovely and very practical for winter weddings. :)

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 5 years ago from London, UK

      Great Tips. Thanks. I love it when the sleeves are laced.

    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 5 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      As a dressmaker and designer, I like sleeves. Sure, they are a pain to fit properly at the armhole, but they are also a great opportunity to be creative: full sleeves, flutter sleeves, sheer sleeves, lace sleeves.....

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 5 years ago from USA

      I don't feel comfortable in sleeveless, so I am glad that long sleeves are back in style. And wonderful that long sleeves aren't limited to grandmotherly outfits.