17 Jun 2017

When The Classic Shirt Doesn’t Work, Ring The Bells

When The Classic White Shirt Isn't Right, Ring The Bells on vickiarcher.com


The classic style shirt, button down and slim fitting man style, is brilliant when it suits.

I understand the traditional white shirt is not a keeper for some. The “classic shirt” doesn’t suit us all and we need alternatives to adapt and work for us. Finding the right shape in a shirt can be difficult and when I find one I really think works it can feel like hitting the jackpot. I have long admired those women who wrap themselves languidly in a man’s shirt and slink about. A look I would love to emulate but a lack of height and a short body make it a tricky one to pull off.

The answer is to find a blouse that works for your body shape and wear it in a similar way. Some suit a blouse that doesn’t open down the front or one with a higher neck. The classic shirt, while a no-brainer if it is your friend is not the only answer to an elegant and easy put together look.

This is where the bell sleeve comes in.

The bell sleeve was made popular in the ’70’s and is having a great resurgence. The sleeve detail is dramatic and just enough to transport the very plain into something quite special. I love a bell sleeve, whether it is on a dress or a blouse. Roksanda made the Margot, which has gone on to be one of the most popular and photographed dresses. I believe deservingly so as it is a fabulously flattering and beautiful dress. This dress is another fun alternative at a fraction of the cost if you are tempted.

I have found the bell sleeve blouse to be an easy alternative over simple pants or a longer line skirt when a button down is not your favourite. Here are a couple of options to add to your wardrobe if your search for blouses is proving difficult. This bell sleeve blouse is a great length, fabric and price in a variety of colours. The white one is even on sale, conveniently.

Have a look at these bell sleeved beauties, they are a great addition to the wardrobe whether you are a “classic shirt” woman or not. xv

Ring The Bells

gibson bell sleeve in white  ||  gibson bell sleeve poplin  ||  catherine malandrino bell sleeve  ||  calson bell sleeve tee


if you like the margot but don’t want to invest so heavily, take a look at the ava bell sleeve dress

image, cher photographed by richard avedon

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Anita Rivera

Now this works for me; I have long, slender arms and the bells give my upper body more balance in contrast to my heftier BOTTOM HALF! Oh yes, ring the bells for ME!!!


Ha ha… There is nothing hefty about you Anita.. :)
But yes, we can all ring those bells… :)

Mimi Gregor

Oof! Even worse than the shirt, but for different reasons. It is not a look to be worn by women who actually are going to do things, like cooking (fire hazard), or doing any washing up (wet sleeves. Ew.) I’d find them annoying at best. I prefer a sleeve that skims over the arm, snug without being tight. I’ve noticed that so many sleeves these days are extra long in length, and tight enough to serve as a blood pressure cuff. I guess they are manufactured in a country where the women have atrophied biceps and orangutan arms.

Yes, I AM picky. This is why I have a minimalist wardrobe.

Recia Plunkett

I’m not sure how you get through a normal day in this shirt! It’s gorgeous in the photograph.

Beth Anderson

Are butterfly sleeves a different name or different style? I like the one that are swooshy starting from the top, or if starting from the elbows, go longer. I bought a blazer/jacket from Zara this spring which is black, no buttons (in fact doesn’t appear to be supposed to even meet in the middle) and it’s got fabulous butterfly sleeves but starting from the elbow. Lots of fabric. I haven’t worn it yet but it’s a black blazer, I will eventually.


So what do you think of the Ava for a mother of the groom dress for a November noon wedding?

I’m just starting to look.


I think it’s a fabulous style of dress and a very flattering form.. Is it ok to wear black? And how formal is the wedding? They would be my questions…


I do love a classic white shirt, however I have had a very difficult time finding one the right length. I’m 5’5′ and don’t have a particularly long or short torso, but they are either too short and hit high at the hip or way too long. I have even tried a petite, but they are too tight in the shoulders. Suggestions?


There is a shop called Anthropologie .. they are in malls in the US I think and definitely online . You can find gorgeous and not expensive clothes but white shirts , I know they have a great variety of..


Since my husband has gained a little weight I have absconded with discarded white shirts of his. The neck is much to big but the secret of that louche, sexy look is the shirt should like it belongs to one’s husband, boyfriend or lover! I roll the cuffs to just below elbow, a substantial necklace at the neck, straight black slacks with a killer heel or black leggings and flats, narrow ankle pants and a cute sandal. I can go anywhere! I find his shirts a tad less than opaque so a sexy white bra ( if that’s the occasion ) or a white cami if greater coverage is needed. I am by no means svelte and most fire hydrants tower over me but I love the look of the oversize men’s shirt. Not keen on the bell for all reasons listed out by Mimi. Ok for glamour photos but in real life…no. Oh yes I do shorten the shirt or risk looking like I am wearing a lab coat and do add tails to the hem. Easy. Or have a seamstress do it. Considering his castoff shirts are bespoke they are bargains for me!! I am waiting on the one with French cuffs to get tossed;)


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