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Sydney's Closet Blog - Guide to Plus Size Wedding Gowns with Long Sleeves

Style Guide to Plus Size Wedding Gowns with Long Sleeves

Sydney's Closet Style Guide Blog to Plus Size Wedding Dresses with Sleeves

Is it just us, or does it appear to you that curvy brides have fallen hopelessly in love with bridal gowns for plus size with long sleeves. Actually, the timeless look never went out of style, says bridal designer Phyllis Brasch Librach

She knows firsthand that today’s brides adore going to great lengths to cover their bare arms in long sleeved curvy wedding dresses. Phyllis is the creative talent behind Michelle Bridal and Sydney’s Closet, two top wedding dress brands catering exclusively to curvy brides who fit plus sizes 14-40.  

Phyllis finds bridal gowns with long sleeves exude elegance and sophistication. But curvy brides are often hesitant to wear long-sleeved wedding dresses.

So Phyllis, with more than a decade of experience designing just curvy bridal gowns, created this Style Guide to answer the most common questions brides ask about gowns with long sleeves. Her hope is that curvy brides like you will gain the confidence to go down the aisle wearing a plus size bridal gown with long sleeves and never regret making that timeless fashion choice. 

Sydney's Closet and Michelle Bridal plus size wedding dresses with long puff sleeves

I am getting married in summer, can I wear a plus size gown with sleeves?

There’s no rule restricting when a curvy bride can - or can’t - plus size long sleeve wedding dresses. Feel free to throw out the notion that long sleeves are strictly for brides having weddings in the Fall or Winter weddings. You can be a cool, calm, collected curvy bride wearing a wedding dress with long sleeves at Spring or Summer nuptials, a destination beach wedding or anytime of year or any place.

The key is to pick a fabric like tulle or chiffon that’s breezy and lightweight. Skip velvet, satin and taffeta to avoid being hot and sticky, says plus size bridal designer Phyllis Brasch Librach offering this helpful fashion advice.

  • Eye-catching lace bell sleeves on a plus-sized gown make a perfect choice for a free-spirited summer wedding in the woods. 
  • Pick a dainty floral lace for a Spring garden wedding. Drizzle 3-D flowers on the long sleeve of a curvy bridal gown for a whimsical take on covering your arms.
  • Opt for a billowy Bishop long chiffon sleeve wedding dress in plus size  for a sunset beach wedding in the Summer. Add an elastic cuff to create fullness and watch the fabric float in the ocean breeze.
  • Select a fairy-tale tulle fabric for puffy long sleeves. Delicate, almost invisible, holes in the net  let air pour through keeping you cool on even the hottest summer days.

What style plus size bridal gown looks best with sleeves?

If you're a curvy bride with pinchable, chubby or heavy arms, the answer will make you very happy.  Almost every dress silhouette lends itself to adding long sleeves including a:

A floor-length bridal gown with at least a chapel length train works best if you opt to  completely cover your arms. That’s because the long sleeves help the eye balance the body’s proportion.  Add a puff to the sleeve and watch your curves get accentuated even more with the extra volume!

Sydney's Closet and Michelle Bridal plus size wedding dresses with long sleeves

How do I decide the best sleeve style for a plus- size wedding gown?

Your goal should be to pick a look that matches your fashion personality whether it’s simple, straight, taper, puff, fitted or full. The choice is strictly yours for what sleeve style to wear on your wedding day.

Remember, your sleeves should match the overall aesthetic of your bridal gown so they don’t look like they belong on another dress.  

  • Are you a minimalist bride? Go for a slim crepe dress with simple sleeves finished in an elastic cuff for a clean, contemporary look perfect for a tres chic urban wedding.
  • Show your guests your romantic side going down the aisle in a long puff sleeve wedding dress sewn in lace with sparkling sequins. Puff long sleeve plus size wedding dresses create a dreamy look on your wedding day in almost any fabric.
  • Wear a billowy long Bishop sleeve to create an oh-so feminine feeling vibe when you say “I Do”. Pump up the volume on your long Bishop sleeve wedding gown for a wow of a fashion statement.
  • Be the best dressed Boho bride wearing a bell that is sure to add a Vintage vibe to your wedding day look. 
  • Aiming to dazzle your guests as a glamorous bride going down the aisle in a show-stopping fancy gown? Then watch heads turn when you wear illusion long sleeves embellished with sequins, pearls, crystals or stones. Who says a bride can’t bring on the bling on her wedding day. Style tip: keep in mind that the more embellished the sleeves on your plus size gown, the more attention you bring to your arms.

Remember, you have lots of great choices so always keep in mind that it’s not just about finding a bridal gown with a long sleeve plus size. It’s about finding a sleeve that fits your figure type and feels comfortable enough to wear from the first photo to the last dance.  Your final choice should combine style, fit and flatter your arms from shoulder to wrist.

Sydney's Closet Style Tip: The more embelished the sleeves on your wedding dress, the more attention will draw to your arms.

I’m a curvy bride, can I wear a fitted long sleeve wedding dress?

The answer is yes! A fitted long sleeve on a wedding dress works for you as a powerful design detail that can shape, minimize or accentuate your arms when you go down the aisle. 

  • A sheer illusion long sleeve lets you show off those toned arms. Add lace appliques to match your gown for a details to further shape your arms
  • A voluminous Bishop long sleeve makes your arms look slimmer and longer in a very romantic way.
  • A light, airy lace long sleeve, in the same fabric as your gown, creates a seamless and oh-so flattering Vintage vibe on your wedding day  

The key to a tapered long sleeve is to get the right fit, especially at the bicep. If the sleeve is too tight it will reduce the movement of your arm and even your wrist.  

To avoid being miserably uncomfortable on your wedding day, bridal designer Phyllis Brasch Librach, creator of Michelle Bridal and Sydney’s Closet plus size wedding dresses, suggest taking her hug test before you say “Yes” to a plus-size bridal gown with long sleeves.

First, try on the gown with the long sleeves. Then reach your arms out to wrap them around a friend or relative. Check to see if the fitted sleeves tug at any place on your arms and across your upper back. 

You want to be sure you have the freedom to easily hug, handshake, toast, dance and throw your bouquet on your wedding day when your arms need to move at a moment’s notice.

Of course, long sleeves make a strong and individualized fashion statement. But they do double duty. They are the most practical - and did we mention pretty - way to totally hide any tan marks, blemishes, scars or tattoos on your arms on your wedding day.  

Sydney's Closet and Michelle Bridal plus size wedding dresses with long sleeves

What are the best fabrics for a long sleeved plus size bridal gown?

You want to take into account three important factors when you decide on a fabric for the sleeve of a plus size wedding dress:

  1. the season you will marry
  2. your wedding location 
  3. time of day you plan to tie the knot for the best

You must also decide if you want the sleeve to match the fabric on your gown or do you want to find a second, complimentary fabric.  It’s your personal choice based on the aesthetic for your dream gown.

You’ll find a fabulous selection of wedding fabrics ideal for any style long sleeve. For Spring or Summer weddings stick with the light fabrics: silk, tulle,organza, chiffon and net. For Winter and Fall weddings your choices open up to sleeves in velvet, crepe, satin, taffeta and even sequins if you are going to be a Bombshell glamorous bride. 

Remember, some fabrics, like tulle, are sheer, drawing attention to your arms. Others, like taffeta, are opaque providing you a fabric that completely disguises by making none of the skin visible. 

No matter which fabric you select, it is always best to  try to avoid lining the sleeves.  It’s a true sewing challenge to get the lining and the shell of the arm fabric to work together to create a flattering and comfy fit. And the lining bulks up the arm making it appear bigger and makes for a tough fit.

Phyllis Librach Quote - The timeless look of long sleeve wedding gowns never went out of style.

Going to Great Lengths to Cover Your Arms

Can’t make up your mind to go with long sleeves or go sleeveless or strapless?
Then detachable long sleeves offer you the versatility of having not one look on your wedding day but two. Snap the sleeves into the armhole of your gown for the ceremony. Easily remove them for the reception. Viola! You have a sleeveless dress for dining and dancing.

If you decide not to wear long sleeves, you still have options to cover your arms. Consider a gown in any of these fashionable styles: cap, short sleeve, elbow or  three-quarter. Overwhelmed by the choices? Check out our blog on sleeve length for friendly help.