For some girls, three-quarter sleeves can be a big problem. They’re almost full sleeves, but shy away from reaching your wrists by a few inches. Sometimes you can find the most amazing top, dress, sweater, or jacket, and you mistakenly think it’s full sleeves, only to later realise that it’s the dreaded three-quarter sleeve length!
The problem with three quarter sleeves is that, unlike sleeveless tops, they require you to only cover up a fraction of your arm. Instead of having a uniform colour on your whole arm, you are left to figure out how exactly to cover up one third of your arm while the other three quarters is covered up with another pattern or fabric.
Now that’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with three-quarter sleeves; some girls are okay with wearing them and that’s fine. This is just a guide for girls who prefer full-length sleeves.
Three quarter sleeves can be defined from anywhere below the elbow to just shy of an inch or two above the wrist. Here’s some tips on how to fix that one-quarter of exposed arm. Let’s start!
There’s a few ways to wear something under to cover up your arms: wearing sleeves or another shirt inside.
Wearing detachable sleeves is a great way to cover up your arms, especially in warmer months, when you don’t want to be adding too many layers underneath your outfit. They come in a variety of colours and can easily be slipped on underneath for immediate coverage.
The second option is to wear another shirt underneath. Depending on the kind of look you’re going for, you can add a long-sleeve t-shirt inside or even a formal, button-down cuffed sleeve shirt inside of a cardigan or sweater for a more professional look. The benefit of wearing a t-shirt inside, instead of sleeves, is that by opening a few buttons of your cardigan or shirt, you can create a more uniform outfit. So instead of having your sweater one colour, and then your sleeves another colour, and your pants a third colour, the little peek of the shirt under your top will help create a more cohesive look.
Regardless of which option you choose, it’s important to be mindful of the colour and fabric. It’s impossible to extend a printed sleeve with the same pattern of an extended sleeve (unless you’re into sewing!), so try to stick with a solid sleeve extender under a printed top. If your three-quarter sleeve top is a plain, solid colour, then your options are endless! You can easily pick the same sleeve to wear inside, a contrasting colour for a pop, or even a patterned sleeve. Just try to balance the colours in your outfit so that it doesn’t look mismatched.
This is probably the easiest option, as it requires very little thought as to colours and fabrics and patterns. Just pop on a cardigan or blazer, and you’re good to go! Blazers and cardigans more often come in full-sleeves and so they’re great as a quick covering up option.
Leave the buttons open to show the shirt you’ve got on underneath and go with a fabric that is thick enough that your arms aren’t visible under.
If you’re into sewing, then you can really get creative! If the shirt is really long, borrow a bit of fabric from the bottom of the shirt or dress to add length to the sleeves. Just be careful to be neat with your stitches so that the seam between the extension and the original sleeve doesn’t show.
If it’s a plain top that you love but which has slightly short sleeves, why not add a more permanent solution? Find another shirt or fabric you’re not using and cut it out as an extension to sew onto the three-quarter sleeves. This is a more permanent solution that will prevent you from having layer under or over the shirt, so that the three-quarter sleeves just turns into full-length sleeves. If you’re creative, you can pick a pattern or fabric that can look like it was part of the shirt all along! To create a more uniform look, you can also add that extra fabric to the bottom of the shirt so that the extension on the sleeves and the bottom of the shirt are the same. This is also a great technique to lengthen a shirt.
Or if the sleeves are just not working for you, just take them off! Like previously mentioned, it’s easier to layer under a sleeveless shirt because the whole sleeve gets to be one colour, instead of 2 colours and fabrics. Just be careful you stitch up the fabric after removing the sleeves.
Three-quarter sleeves can be a pain when you’re trying to cover up your whole arm because they’re such an awkward length. But use some of these tips to cover up and stay chic!
Hope this helped.