Apr 27, 2011

Up Her Sleeve

So the Royal Wedding is bearing down on humble residents of Planet Earth with more relentless certainty than either death or taxes.

My patriotic British grandmother - known affectionately as "Queen Pat" in her hometown of Port Vila - arrives in town tomorrow, and has informed my parents (by means of some sort of decree, read out by a pageboy), that she will require full access to the HD widescreen television for the day. Properly chilled Moet & Chandon should also be within easy reach.

For me? Well, it's a nice thing for sure, and I wish Wills & Kate all the best, but I've been avoiding the majority of media about it because I don't want to turn into a hater.

I've realised there is only ONE thing that I want out of the Royal Wedding. ONE thing.


That's right, sleeves. On Kate Middleton's wedding gown.

That's all I want. I'll tell you why.

As always with a wedding, all anybody really cares about is "the dress". Oh yes, there's the cursory nod to pomp and pageantry, the smiles and oohs and ahhs about the vows, the cooing over the carriage - but really everyone's tuning in to see how several rolls of silk, taffeta, chiffon and lace will be fashioned around Kate's tiny, tiny body.

All the commentators have their own views on who the designer is, and what style she'll choose - but they all agree on one point: it will be a "defining fashion moment". That's right, what Kate wears will influence the wedding gown industry for years to come.

And what is the one thing that has dominated wedding gowns for at least the last decade?

No sleeves.

Basically, this look:

The groom is under here somewhere

Now BEFORE all the ladies who got married in this dress start shrieking at me that I'm bagging their decision - I'm NOT. I can totally understand WHY this look is popular; it's elegant yet modern, and flattering on most figures. I'm not very up on my designer knowledge, but I suspect its popularity grew from Vera Wang's influence - do a Google Image search of Vera Wang and you essentially get this times a thousand.

What I'm saying is that this dress is now so universal, it's almost a wedding uniform. Sometimes I'll flick past the bridal pages in the paper - and it's just ALL this look. It's becoming as common as bonbonniere and a creepy uncle at the reception.

And again - yes, yes, all brides are beautiful, and they all had their own individual twist on it, etc etc (I just know I'm going to cop abuse for this).

But I think it's time for change. And Kate is the perfect agent of change.

I got particularly excited when somebody tweeted me saying that apparently she HAS to wear sleeves when getting married in Westminster Abbey, out of modesty. I haven't been able to find any link confirming that, but still, if true, it means we're going to get SLEEVES!

Now I'm not talking about sleeves like this:

Them some big-ass sleeves
Princess Diana's Emmanuel puffball princess gown was very much of its time; and its time has really passed. I also appreciate that sleeves can go wrong:

Horribly, horribly wrong

But there must be some classy sleeve arrangements that could be orchestrated for Kate. I turn, again, to Google:

Ooh, saucy twist on the sweetheart neckline

I can has ... lace!

Sleeves that double as balloons for kids' parties!

I wanna be like Grace Kelly...


I've never been so happy to walk up an aisle

Tell you what though. Choosing a wedding gown must be bloody intimidating. All those styles, all those gowns? So many pretty dresses. The thing is, I LOVE looking at pretty dresses, and playing dress-ups. It's one of the major reasons I do theatre. I get to DO THAT SHIT ALL THE TIME. I find it sad that many women must look at their wedding day as their ONE SINGLE DAY to play dress-ups. It must put so much pressure on choosing the "right" dress.

See, I've got such a flighty attitude towards fashion. And I know that I could never get a tattoo, because I'd choose the design, then a few months later be sick of it. I wonder if brides ever look back at their dress and consider "What was I thinking?"

But is the underlying princess metaphor CLEAR enough?

So all the best, Kate Middleton. I hope that you will go on to be remembered for more substantial things than just your wedding dress, but considering we live in a superficial society obsessed with unattainable fairytales - at least show us sleeves can be stylish again.


  1. To be fair, Lady Di had to wear big puffy sleeves. It's a well held secret that the girl had shoulders like a linebacker. Imagine Popeye, but up high instead of at the forearms.

  2. sleeves are best for the photos too... unless you have a stunning figure i guess... but still... sleeves are good +1.

  3. I want to see a very, very, very long train - Diana style. Love that train. Nobody does trains anymore - I think they went out of fashion around the same time that the sleeveless dress started to boom.

  4. I agree...sleeves.

    No matter how slim one may be, unless she pumps iron for a living her arms will jiggle when throwing the bouquet.

    and that's all I have to say about that.

  5. Hehe.. you said Wang. That is all...

  6. Bon - trains! I didn't think of trains. There are rumours there will be a train. I'm hoping for an electric seven-carriage number.

    Clare - GOOD. EFFING. POINT. We've all got our own troubles with batwings - but hmmm. Camoflauge is good.

    The Wah - I *know*.

  7. Psh, even if I did ever get married (which I won't), I wouldn't want white. Maybe light green for something in the forest.

  8. I think she needs a sleeve tattoo, with a little garland of leaves and some gothic print that says 'honour and obey my ass. That's for you tosspots at the ABC, not your fracking princess.'

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