December 5, 2012

Going Sleeveless

 When Dove approached me to promote the idea of "going sleeveless" this holiday season, I jumped at the opportunity, because I knew it would give me the chance to further explore one of my favorite topics: how and why we're conditioned to cover and disguise certain parts of our bodies. I'm a huge advocate for body diversity and self-love and empowerment, and have certainly struggled with my own insecurities with my body over time. I've gotten to a point where I feel like I've overcome my own internal battles and that I've reached a point where I am truly confident with myself. I wear sleeveless all the time! Or so, I thought. I started going through photos of myself, recent, old, from this past summer, from last summer -- and yes, I do wear sleeveless clothes -- but my upper arms rarely see the light of day. And honestly, I had no idea. At times I've felt so much pride for getting over the relentless self-critique and shame I used to engage in over having my arms on display, and yet, in every photo where I am, indeed, wearing a piece of sleeveless clothing, I've strategically layered my clothes -- even in the dead of summer -- to hide my arms.

I suppose I really do consider the act of going sleeveless to be a form of self-empowerment, one that even I, with all my self-awareness and active questioning of social codes engrained into fashion, have failed to achieve. It should not be considered an act of bravery to go outside baring ones upper arms, and yet - it is, especially if, like me, you've been told over, and over, and over, that your body is outside the ideal. We're all self-conscious about something, I suppose. I just didn't realize that, for me, my arms were part of it. If it's true that 83% of women believe the clothes they wear makes a statement about themselves -- then what message am I conveying when I refuse to go sleeveless? Do I appear self-conscious? Puritanical? I've been missing out an opportunity to communicate even more messages of power and confidence, and if you ask me - that's a shame.

With Dove in hand, I’m challenging myself to go sleeveless this season, when truthfully – I thought I’d be challenging my readers.  I made the switch over to Dove go sleeveless Soothing Chamomile Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant (this is what I’m using) a few weeks ago when I noticed that my previous deodorant (I won't name names!) was seriously drying me out – like grey, dull underarms drying-me-out.  Fortunately, Dove go sleeveless Soothing Chamomile Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant hydrates my skin with Dove 1/4 moisturizers plus Vitamins E and F to give me softer, smoother underarms - within a promised 5 days.  On top of the great moisturizing qualities, it’s also giving me 48 hours of protection against sweat and stink -- and as someone who used to use clinical anti-perspirants, that's majorly promising

Now that my underarms have had a bit of a makeover: holiday party? I'm taking you on, and I'll even leave my outerwear with coat check, this time. Business meetings? Let's do it. Yes, winter may not seem like the most ideal time to bare arms, but once I'm inside, and shed my outer layers, anything goes - so why not? In fact, while diving into this topic, I learned that more than half of women intend to go sleeveless during the holidays -- will you?  Visit to learn more about new Dove go sleeveless Soothing Chamomile Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant.

This post is part one of two of a series sponsored by Dove.


  1. I love going sleeveless. I don't mind my arms at all, in fact I think they are super small and thin on my body. Which is fine by me. Anyway this is a very pretty party dress!

  2. I love going sleeveless! its chic and comfortable and allows more room to play with layers!

    XO Sahra

  3. You have a beautiful body, but you should've put your arms down in the pictures. Don't get me wrong, I love what you're expressing, but you still seem a bit insecure.

  4. I totally appreciate that! Though, honestly, I'm not sure I would ever pose with both my arms down. it seems like a very awkward way to stand, to me - no matter what type of garment I'm wearing!

  5. Thanks for sharing your discovery about baring arms! Isn't it funny what we think, and how it compares to (usually unavailable) photographic 'evidence'? If I had a dime for every time a woman in my shop complained that she "couldn't" wear sleeveless, I'd own a major league baseball team. And I'd know just what to do with them . . . sorry, got distracted by a recurring fantasy of mine. Anyway, great post.

  6. You look incredible in these pictures! I love, love, love that dress...would you mind sharing where you got it?
    I would love to wear something like that to my bridal shower!



  7. I love this post and that second photo of you smiling Nikki is just so lovely. You look SO happy it made me smile :)

  8. i used to only wear long sleeved shirts, not even t-shirts. i never realised anyone else had the same issue with their arms, cause of course i only paid attention to the girls wearing sleeveless shirts, or even t-shirts, and always thinking their arms were someway better than mine. mine were always too big, too hairy, my skin not smooth enough, too pale... i still don't wear sleeveless dresses or shirts, but i wear short sleeves. maybe one day i'll feel comfortable to wear sleeveless. maybe i need to buy a really pretty sleeveless dress that i can't resist not wearing it. thank's for this post, it really inspires me <3.

    xx Stu

  9. I can't! My arms are huge. I wish I could... :(

  10. Thanks for this! My upper arms make me so self-conscious and I think I will try to be more accepting of them. I love everything else about my body, why not that part? Done and done.

  11. Plump arms used to be a womanly feature. Remember Scarlet O' Hara comparing her tiny 16" waist to her lovely plump arms?

    I think arms is one of the ways the media has failed to give us realistic body images. Women have weak upper bodies, that is the card genetics has dealt us women.

  12. This is such a great post! I still struggle with baring my upper arms (along with my legs), I guess because I think people will gawp at me in disgust or something. I am working on it, but it's not that easy...

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  14. My non-sleeveless habits are no more apparent than when my year-round farmer's tan is on display. Challenge accepted!

  15. I think a lot of women regardless of their size struggle with exposing their arms and particularly their shoulders. It could be cultural up bringing for some? Who know? I know I have always been concious of it until very recently. You look fabulous sleeveless in these pictures with your soft and beautiful skin. Glad you re overcoming the insecurities I am no doubt partially responsible for due to my own up bringing. You are an inspiration to many to have the courage to bring these issues up. Finally always great to know about new products.

  16. I have a little bit of issues with my arms, don't know why but i do not feel confident about them! especially not during winter. so this would be a challenge indeed. i think you look absolutely stunning (but you always do). and ps this is not about arms, but love the combination of the black and the 'nude' shoes, your feet are literally sparkling. stunning combination

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  18. I will go strapless, but not sleeveless. I have short shoulders, so sleeveless just looks weird. Also, I think sleeves are just so interesting! I make most of my own dresses, and adding a tulip petal sleeve, a flutter, or puff really adds something to the dress.

  19. Firstly, you are a total goddess and should wear whatever makes you feel wonderful (because you look fabulous in everything you own!). Secondly, I appear to have developed a shyness about my arms this past year, so thank you for the reminder to either lift some weights occasionally or to stop being so hung up on something like this and wear whatever I want!

    Briony xx

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  21. I love this post for so many reasons! I Too have had that struggle with sleevelessness for a long time, and have recently decided, more than anything to challenge my inner-self-consciousness and step out sans sleeves. The dove promotion made me think about this fact too! I don't realize how much other people's thoughts influenced my choice to wear a cardigan or a blazer (whilst feeling too hot) just to keep my arms from showing. Good on you girl for promoting self acceptance, self love and owning your skin. I will try my best to live up to your example.
    PS I just bought that same dress from F21+ and now I'm dying to wear looks fab!
    xx Erin (

  22. i love your looks and yor style !!! you are the inspiration for other girls !!!! tks

  23. My arms are definitely my number one body issue. I just for whatever reason feel more comfortable when they're covered but need to get over this. I love this post and you look great... plus, Dove products are my favorite! I've been a long time fan of their deodorant.

  24. I just LOVE this post. This is an area that I have had a lot of insecurity about and I appreciate your "putting it out there." you look beautiful! I have been planning what cardigans to wear with my holiday dresses and now I am going to attempt to be brave like you this holiday season. thank you!

  25. LOVE this! Awesome Pics! Cabana Nights

  26. I am thrilled to see that a style blogger has the same holiday dress as me. Snagged this dress awhile back. Seeing you wear it, makes me want holiday parties to get here soon!

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  28. Dove is pretty great, I must admit. However, the one change that gave me the underarms that I truly desired was switching from shaving to waxing. No matter what I used with a shaver, my skin always appeared irritated from shaving. I am a fat woman, so I imagine chaffing played a small role. However, now that I am getting my underarms waxed, I have enjoyed showing off my beautiful-- non-irritated-- armpits! Thus, if you are still having irritation problems even with wonderful products such as Dove, I strongly suggest you commit yourself to a waxing routine. I like to get them done at my local Benefit Cosmetics (which does full body waxing in addition to facial.) I will admit that my routine (or non-commitment to doing them myself) can be a total pain in the ass when I'm deciding to go sleeveless but realize I've neglected to get waxed, but I get through it. (I figure if Julia Roberts can show up to an award show with hair pits, I can do the same at a party/night club.) Before I started waxing them, I was pretty amazed by how sensitive (no pun intended) I was about the physical look of my irritated underarms. Now... I can proudly say: "I love my armpits!"

  29. I love this! I hate how the winter months bring this seemingly obligatory rule to cover up arms. I personally hate most dresses with sleeves! You look so cute with the sequins and green stole.


  30. Hello,

    First of I would like to say that I absolutely love your blog, you where one of the first plus size blogs I found that actually inspired me to love my body, so for that I thank you. Second I would like to ask you a couple of questions about the dress your wearing, Is it from forever 21+? if so did it irritate your skin? because I bought the same one and after wearing it for about 5 minutes on new years eve I immediately started to get a burning sensation on my under arms! so I was wondering if the same thing happen to you?


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