And suddenly I look up and we are half way through February. The new year, new me campaign has stalled slightly due to the snow: it’s hard to concentrate on eating plates of avocado when my toes and fingers are masquerading as icicles. That being said, I’ve lost maybe 5lbs, and exercise every morning in the unheated conservatory off my kitchen using my Pilates barrel and free weights: it’s amazing how quickly you warm up when you are huffing and puffing like a grampus. (I’d go to the gym opposite but it smells of stale sweat and man. In a wholly revolting, not clean way.)

There was a slight falling off the healthy wagon involving a chocolate eclair & a Chelsea bun this week: it never really occurs to me to eat sweet sticky food, but there they were, winking at me in Fitzbillies’s cabinet of desire (more to come later) and snip snap the deed was done. But there is nothing wrong with indulgence, so long as we don’t flagellate ourselves or label it as ‘naughty’: that’s bad thinking and just creates more problems.

My main problem right now is not to do with excessive Chelsea bun consumption, but  that my, erm, top half is as exuberant as ever, (in my wild imaginings my new regime would have shrunk it all) and I cannot find an evening dress for the BAFTAs on Sunday that is slim enough for my back and legs but large enough around the chest. WHY oh why do dress designers insist on churning on endless iterations of strapless gee-owns?

If I wear a strapless dress, I become so top heavy I look as though I’d topple over in a light breeze. That aside, if you are bosomy, wearing a strapless dress is akin to stapling a post it to your front saying, do, please, talk to my chest not my face.


And that’s quite apart from the remembered trauma of the Louis Vuitton Concours at Hurlingham some ten years ago, as my strapless (unboned) Martine Sitbon dress, unable to cope with the strain, slid down to my waist, to leave me standing in the middle of the dance floor in a black satin basque.

Equally splendid.

And, judging from the enraged response on my Twitter feed this morning when I bemoaned the lack of sleeves for women on evening dresses, I am not alone. Even if my new year, new me campaign succeeds,  I’m still going to want sleeves on my dresses.

PLEASE someone make a dress I can wear without flashing my assets.


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I’m sorry to be cruel, but I can’t help giggling at the dress slippage story – thank god for the basque!
Didn’t Mary Portas bring our some arm tights to be worn with strapless dresses? Not tried them so don’t have a clue what they are like.


PREACH! Even when I exercise and get my legs in good shape, the top half keeps me looking mahussive. Big fan of sixties style shift dresses with sheer sleeves (also, HATE when people say big bosoms should wear wrap dresses – it’s like individually packaging each breast! Oh, THERE they are…)


I agree–and will add that sleeves (in America) generally signal MOB dresses (or dowager dresses, however). A 3/4 sleeve, not satin, can be very flattering to all, concealing the upper arm while at the same time providing necessary support to a dress.

Good luck, and let us know what you find! xxx


How about a dress with a chiffon sleeve?
What’s your spend and I’ll find one for you



Have you seen this blog? It has a regular feature on dresses with sleeves:


I usually end up wanting to go somewhere and have some dresses made for me……


Amen! Why are sleeves so hard to find, I end up hiding under a wrap


Have you tried Leona Edminston – she is an australian designer, who cuts beautifully for women and she does a lot of sleeves. Magical work on curves. Her shop is in Westfield..Cheers (not being paid by her, just have three dresses which have seen me through some tricky and high pressure events!).


oooh those Fitzbililie’s buns. I did think I was safe as I have to walk a mile to get there, but now they supply my nearest cafe. Too bad.


How about Dolce & Gabbana? They showed some lovely lace numbers that had sleeves and did the whole “modest yet sexy Sicilian widow” thing of theirs very well. Plus, those boys appreciate bosoms. Granted, D&G dresses cost as much as a small car, but perhaps you could consider a loan option?

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