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.

flabby arms

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.

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 focus 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.

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  1. Shelley Cavenaugh says:

    Might I suggest using models who are more age and size appropriate? It would be empowering to see happy, confident, imperfect women over 50.

  2. Novale Jones says:

    Hi there…have a question and your site and expertise came immediately to mind…if you could suggest or direct me to recent articles you’ve done I would appreciate it.. Needing suggestions for place or company for decent bras and shapewear…shapewear needed is a biker shorts style for under pencil skirts or a good hose company with same effect. In way of bras, I am a smaller gal and noticed things are def. changing at age 46 and need push up style possibly. I am looking for one that pushes more from the side as that seems to be where they are going…lol…any help would be amazing!..thanks ahead of time…I love your website!

  3. Love this post and your blog is just great overall, Deborah! Thanks for sharing your tips. :)

  4. Martha Madrid says:

    My problem area is my “Muffin top”. I need suggestions dressing stylish while hiding or distracting away from my tummy area.
    Thanks Debbie!

    Martha (50 yrs young)

  5. Corinne Garrett says:

    Practice the magician’s art of distraction. A lavish group of bangles/bracelets draws attention to wrists when paired with a sleeveless or halter top/dress. DItto for a statement necklace and earrings that draw focus to the neck and shoulders with a strapless gown.

    Strut the big bling with those special occasion outfits that are sheath dresses, sleeveless, strapless, and halter styles. And don’t forget that red lipstick: anything red grabs center-stage attention every time!!

    • Oh dear Corrine. Red lipstick? Really? This is 2015. You want to look current and modern. Red lipstick will only date you. Toss it!

  6. Another item to try is Sleevey Wonders. They are made to wear under sleeveless tops or dresses. They come in sheer, sheer lace, multiple colors, multiple styles. Here is the website Enjoy!

  7. It was nearly impossible to buy dresses with sleeves this summer. The winter collections are proving better.

    • Corinne Garrett says:

      All year ’round in Florida. We live in sleeveless and sandals every season.

      • Corrine, Deborah said it was impossible to find dresses with sleeves, not sleeveless. It is hard to find dresses with sleeves. I live in FL and over 40, like this article, I don’t wear sleeveless as those are mainly for younger ages. I cringe every time I see an over 40 wearing sleeveless, unless they have the toned arms of a fitness model (which I have yet to see).

  8. I have the perfect solution for flabby arms, try sleeves 2 go. It’s a detachable sleeve that snaps on to your bra strap. It offers just enough coverage for the upper arm area & is designed in a soft chiffon that mixes & matches with all types of fabric. Check out