Monday, December 17, 2012

Is Something Up Her Sleeve?

While men's sleeves stripped down over the eighteenth century, women's remained in full bloom.


They were still elbow length --women were loath to surrender the hard-won forearm territory-- but now they had explosive bursts of ruffles and lace.

Sienna Miller as Francesca Bruni, Casanova (2005)

 Sophia Myles as Madame de Pompadour, Doctor Who (2006)

One of the most exuberant styles was the engageants -- two or three stiff frills of exquisite lace emerging from a dress sleeve that was already ruffled and garnished with fringe, bows, or silky braid.


Helena Bonham Carter as Elizabeth, Frankenstein (1994)

It wasn't until the 1780's that Marie Antoinette, renowned for her other excesses, rather surprisingly promoted the unadorned wrist and did away with the extravagant sleeves in favor of slim models like those worn by men.

 Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette, Marie Antoinette (2006)

Romola Garai as Barbara Spooner, Amazing Grace (2006)

Courtesy of Let There Be Clothes by Lynn Schnurnberger


  1. Such beautiful dresses! I wish we still wore clothes like that, LOL!

    1. Natalie - Me too! I'd love to wear one of these dresses.