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How to Wear a Dolman Sleeve No Matter What Your Shape and Height!

Dolman sleeves are showing no signs of going away in 2015, having begun their comeback back in around 2010. The modern dolman sleeve look is a far more wearable style than the scary shoulder padded dolman sleeve dress and blouse styles of the 80s, or the bulky dolmans many people wore in heavy knits in the 1970s.

Photo by sewyerown

If you are unfamiliar with what a dolman sleeve is, it is effectively a sleeve formed from the same fabric as the body part of the top or dress, which hangs loose under the arm giving an interesting silhouette. Some styles have the sleeve taper to a fitted sleeve around the forearm, whereas others leave the sleeve loose all the way down. Dolman sleeves can be found on dresses of all lengths, and on both casual and dressy tops.

If you would like to get in on the dolman sleeve trend but are not sure how to make this unusual shape work on your body, help is at hand. Here are some tips for choosing dolman sleeve pieces to suit your body type:

Plus Size

A dolman sleeve is flattering on bigger women because despite the extra fabric under the arm, it is structured in a way that slims the shoulders and is loose around the stomach. The sleeve itself can cover up flabby upper arms, which can also be appealing for larger women. If you are looking for a good dolman sleeve top to suit a plus size figure, choose one that does taper at the end of the sleeve as this will stop the baggy part under the arm from adding size. You may also look for a top that has a waistband, because this can add more structure and better cover the muffin top area.


If you are skinny or have a boyish frame, it may surprise you that the shoulders on a dolman top or dress, which can slim broad shoulders, can also add structure to thin ones! The looseness of the garment around the sleeves and body can hide a skinny frame and add some volume where the fabric drapes, and you can wear either the tapered or loose sleeve styles equally well. Dolman dresses look good on you because they make your upper body look bigger and more balanced, and if you choose horizontal stripes in a soft jersey material, you can get a visual effect that widens the body all the way down.


Petite women should choose dolman sleeve designs with tapered sleeves and waistbands to avoid being 'drowned' by the draping fabric that makes up the top. A casual dolman top with jeans can be a great way to add a pop of colour and an on trend style if you have a small frame, but dolman sleeve mini dresses can also look great on you if you avoid large printed designs.

There really is no body shape that should avoid the dolman, so get out there and make this trend work for you and your body!

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