An important part of the maximalism trend (read about our debate on maximalism vs minimalism) is to pay particular attention to playing with proportions. You can attribute its rise to Vetements, whose autumn/winter 2016 runways were populated with garments oversized in the extreme, from elongated hoodies that function more like dresses to dramatically exaggerated bombers with pendulous sleeves. Ill-fitting, grungy styling is nothing groundbreaking, but Vetements’ oversized collection brought a surprising new trend to the table: long sleeves. We’re not talking about the average, run-of-the-mill variety that end at the wrist. We’re talking sleeves of insane proportions, in both volume and length, that extend far beyond the arms, in some cases hitting the floor.
Vetements’ much-hyped designs certainly had a knock-on effect on luxury fashion – elongated sleeves featured prominently on the runways of Kenzo, Roberto Cavalli , Michael Kors, JW Anderson and more. This season, Cavalli gave his garments a ’70s-style flared treatment, constructing his sheer gypsy gowns with long fluted sleeves that exuded a very gothic, Woodstock vibe. Meanwhile, Kors took exposed cuffs to the next level with long shirt sleeves layered under cropped blazers.
It’s not just New York, Milan and Paris that are enamoured with oversized sleeves. South Korean celebrities, known for their love of streetwear, have also taken the ultra-long sleeve trend in their stride. G-Dragon (one of our favourite Statement Makers this year), the member of K-pop boy band Big Bang most renowned for his avant-garde style, was seen rocking all-black elongated sleeves in South Korean designer Juun J’s autumn campaign. CL of 2NE1 was similarly spotted wearing a white bomber with sheer, elongated sleeves – taking already OTT winterwear to another level.
Ultra-long sleeves aren’t known for their practicality, but set those concerns aside for a look that commands attention. The trick to wearing exaggerated silhouettes is balance. Pair oversized sleeves with slim trousers or a cropped skirt to play with proportions. Don’t be tempted to roll up the sleeves; wear them as their designers intended. The message from runways this season is clear: go big or go home.