How To Cover Flabby Arms

If there’s one part of the body that gals our age are sensitive about, it ‘s our arms. I’m all for women having the right to bare arms at any age, but I have received a lot of letters from readers who would just rather not have all that wiggle and jiggle going on in public.

O.K., fair enough. Then, what’s a good way to cover up without feeling too warm all the time or looking too old lady? (Remember showing some skin is youthful.)

1. Go For 3/4 Length Sleeves

3/4 length  sleeves are a  lifesaver.  They cover the flab on your upper arms and they also help flatter your figure. How? 3/4 length sleeves end at a very narrow part of your arm, highlighting your firm forearm and delicate wrist,  making you look slimmer.  (Aging celebrities wear this length a lot)

You can also wear a long sleeve sweater or shirt ( with or without shapewear) and just push or roll up the sleeves to get a similar look. Elbow length sleeves are also an option.

three quarter length sleeves



Do avoid sleeves that end at any point between the shoulder and elbow. No half sleeves, or cap sleeves which barely cover the shoulder. Also, stay clear of sleeves with ruffles. All that bulk will pump up your arms.

2. Try a Wide, Long Sleeve

Wide sleeves work really well too, so long as they are long enough  to cover the problem area. You can go with a  kimono sleeve, a long flutter sleeve  or a bell sleeve. There are a lot of ponchos out there with voluminous sleeves that are the perfect camouflage for saggy arms.

3. Enjoy Sheer Long Sleeves

If you prefer to wear long sleeves , try a sheer or lace sleeve so you don’t look so weighed down. These look especially lovely as the sleeve on a cocktail  or party dresses.

Of course, a wrap goes a long way too to cover your upper arms at night, and the nice thing is it won’t detract from the elegance of an evening dress.

how to cover flabby arms



4. Wear Dark Colored Sleeves

Darker, solid colors are more slimming that light. A navy top with navy sleeves is more slimming to the arms than a lighter/brighter, multicolored top.

5. Test Out These 2 Sleeveless Styles – They May Solve Your Problem!

Halter  style and off the shoulder dresses are sleeveless, so why would I suggest you wear one if you don’t want anyone looking at your arms? An off the shoulder or halter  can actually takes the emphasis off the upper arms by putting the foucs on the shoulders and neck. You may be surprised to see that you’ve worrying about your upper arms for nothing. Here’s a great example of  how a one shoulder dress can actually help hide flabby arms.

If all else fails, just throw on a cute jacket. A fitted jacket is a 40+ gal’s best friend when it comes to covering and shaping your mature figure.

The Straight and Narrow on Pencil Skirts

Dear Deborah,

I just went back to work after many years at home with my kids and I’m trying to figure out how to dress. I still have a pretty good body ( hourglass shape ) and I want to look businesslike, but feminine too.  Lately I’ve noticed a lot of  pleated skirts in fashion magazines, but I don’t really like them.  Are pencil skirts still in?  Thanks Jill

Deborah BolandHi Jill,

The pencil skirt is a classic style that never dates. I think it would be perfect for you because it will show off your curves but still look professional. Make sure you get a good fit. Your skirt should be wide enough across your hips that it doesn’t pull, but it should also be snug enough around your waist to look sleek.  ( You shouldn’t be able to get more than 1 or two fingers between your waist and the waistband)

If you have trouble with fit, find a skirt that fits your hips and take the skirt in at the waist, not the other way around.

Choose a pencil skirt in a quality fabric. The nice is, compared to years ago, most suits come in versatile year round fabrics. You really get a lot of wear out of them.

Neutrals colors like black, gray, camel, taupe, navy are most business-like, and a pencil skirt with a slight pattern or texture makes it modern and interesting.

Add a silky blouse or fitted top- nothing big and sloppy.  Remember the idea of a pencil skirt is to show off those curves so you don’t want anything bulky covering up your waist.

Blue Trend 1


It’s always good to have at least one jacket to go with your pencil skirt for those occasions when you want to show authority at work. A jacket will instantly elevate your credibility and status. A fitted matched jacket ( same color and material as your skirt) projects more authority than a coordinating jacket. Which one you choose depends on the environment you work in.

For example, if you worked in a serious corporate environment like law or finance you’d need to go with a matching jacket. If you worked in a  business casual environment like sales or communications, a  coordinating jacket would be fine and you could even go with a slightly more relaxed fit.  (A curvy gal may need to belt a relaxed fit)

Closed toe pumps look the most professional with a pencil skirt at work. Booties could work in a more relaxed or creative work environment.

Here are a few tips I’ve put together to help you look Fabulous in a pencil skirt. Jill, have a wonderful time back at work, and dress Fab Boss Lady!  Cheers, Deborah


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