How to cover up your arms

How to cover up arms and still keep your cool

Nikki Parkinson Fashion, How to 48 Comments

It’s funny how I’ve acquired tuckshop arms yet the closest I have got to my children’s tuckshop is writing on the brown paper bags and counting out the correct change every Friday.

Well it’s not really all that funny. If I spent more time pumping my biceps over the years AND signing up for tuckshop duty, then I probably wouldn’t even have what Kath & Kim fondly call fadoobadahs.

But I do.

And I was reminded of this when baring my arms on our recent trip the US. Mr 7 thought that prodding the underside of my upper arm and watching it repeatedly ricochet back and forward was almost as much fun as riding California Screamin’ at Disneyland. He’s lucky I didn’t put him on that damn rollercoaster and leave him there … kidding. Sort of.

See, I am at one with my tuckshop arms.

They are safely tucked away during the winter months and I have a wardrobe filled with tuckshop arm camouflages to get me through the tran-seasonal months.

(By the time it’s too freaking hot to give a damn … I don’t … and if there’s a dance floor … and if there’s enough champagne … I’ll happily wave them in the air showing how much I just don’t care.)

This might be a bit presumptuous but maybe you like to cover up your upper arms too?

Even if it’s just to enable you to wear something a bit summery when the temperature hasn’t quite got the spring memo … owning one or two or more of these types of cover ups extends your wardrobe.

It also means you are adding another layer to your outfit – something that’s more tricky in the warmer months than winter. And whenever you add a layer to your outfit, in one swift move you are essentially lifting to the next level of style.

That’s got to be a good thing, right?

How to cover up arms

1. Jackets. I’ve already covered off on these here but I can’t stress enough how they make a difference to your wardrobe – tuckshop arms or no tuckshop arms. They turn casual into classy in one easy move. Roll up the sleeves for spring chic.

2. Cardis. Short-sleeved ones worn open or buttoned up are not just for nanas. They can turn a pretty dress into perfect.

3. Shrugs. These are clever little wardrobe pieces that essentially just sit over the arms, allowing you to keep your arms covered while still showing off a tank-style or strappy top or dress.

4. Kimonos. I love these – particularly if you can find silk ones. They are light and floaty and will work over a sleeveless top or dress even in summer.

5. Long-sleeved shirts. Look for silk or linen and wear with sleeves rolled up and just one or two buttons done up over a tank top or dress.

How to cover up your arms

15 shopping suggestions

Click on the gallery below and scroll through – these are all available now online. Just click on the caption for a link through to buy or have a closer look.

Did you seen any cover-ups that could work in your wardrobe? Are your arms your pride and joy or are you at one with your fadoobadahs like I am?

My hot tip? This is the exact time to buy lightweight cover-ups … once full summer hits you won’t find any in store.

Comments 48

  1. I adore blazers and also cardis that finish just below my elbow (I’m wearing one today belted over a dress). I don’t have a major issue with my arms, but I don’t love the tops of them – that’s why I always make sure they’re not squished up against me in photos!

  2. I am a sleeve girl all the way! I love the drama sleeves can add to a top, jacket or dress and they way they can work wonders in creating a bit more volume on my top half, thereby balancing out my lower half. Covering my arms is also becoming more desirable as the years march on…they are toned but have always been on the larger side, and these days are a little more lumpy that I would like. For that reason I especially love kimono and bell sleeves. I have had great wear from a few charlie brown wrap tops with interesting sleeves that I wear as cover-ups over sleeveless tops / dresses (e.g. a condom dress).

  3. Bought the Rip Curl Kimono top- Bam- it arrived within 18 hours of ordering it. Amazing delivery. Its gorgeous, in the Bluey / orangy colour way. Goes with everything in my wardrobe. Happy Days! Thanks now my Foodooboodahs are all covered up for a party on weekend.

  4. Millers has some nice floaty ones I call blouse jackets. They are light blouse material in the shape of jackets or blazers. I also got one that looks like a kimono in pink, white and black. They’re light, floaty and won’t crease. They have some nice blue ones at the moment.

  5. Thank you for this! I have always been self conscious about my arms. Even when I have weighed much less they have been proportionally out of sync with the rest of my body and a cause for anxiety. Time to do some shopping!

  6. Great post Nikki. I’m always on the lookout for nice cover-ups that aren’t too bulky/baggy (which pretty much defeats the purpose!) I’ve just bought a couple of these gorgeous boleros from Orientique – can’t wait for them to arrive 🙂 x

  7. Nikki – perfect timing on this post….it was only last night that I was thinking it time to start working on the arms. I prefer not to show my arms or legs which makes it tricky. I haven’t had my arms out in public since seeing a photo of myself as a bridesmaid standing side-on….I had no idea
    Shop assistants shriek when I tell them ‘oh but you are tiny’.
    Tiny yes. Cellulite yes.
    So thanks for the great post…my tricks for this when I have no choice but to expose my arms is I wear large bangles and carry a large tote….

  8. OOh excellent post, Nikki, thanks so much! I don’t want to subject the world to the sight of my fadoobadahs if I can help it, and my lovely collection of cardigans is just for that reason 🙂 In summer, I wear thin silk blouses that have 3/4 length sleeves, so it doesn’t matter how hot it is, I feel nice, cool and breezy and still nicely covered up 😉

  9. Thanks for these tips Nikki! I prefer to cover my upper arms as much as possible. They’re not that bad I suppose but I feel more comfortable and confident with them covered. I don’t cope well in summer though – I *really* feel the heat – so when it gets really humid and hot – I generally enter the ‘I dont care’ zone and set my upper arms free 😉

  10. I think I will end up with tuckshop lady arms- they are showing early signs now!
    I love a sleeve that hits just above your elbow but come summer I just dont care. It is too hot here in Perth to cover up so I just let them flap in breeze ( if there is any).

  11. Hi Nikki – great post! Sometimes I also put a scarf across my shoulders and then pull it behind my back and fasten it with either a knot, bow or jewel pin depending on the length. Really nice look with some of the cotton or linen ones especially for a summer evening.

  12. I have all of the above – shrugs, cardies, overshirts, a kimono, light 3/4 sleeve jackets – and good solid arms that often don’t fit into sleeves made for women with no muscles!
    Actually the main factor for me is not my arms themselves (I do like all the soft round bits and all the strong useful bits of my body), but keeping an arm tattoo out of the sun. Sun is not the friend of a good tattoo, and these are my eternal dogs, designed to look like celtic jewellery. On the same level, I don’t like too much sun – just enough to keep a morgue like pallor at bay 🙂

  13. I don’t mind my arms they are pretty toned ,But I still like a lightweight jacket when going out more formally I think it’s an age thing,a little sleeve or a jacket looks more polished,and yes I have taken your advice and bought 2 new lightweight jackets this year,an aqua Zara one and a really cheap but looks great on coral ponti one and I have a black one I have had for years and there is also a camel and kimono one hanging in the wardrobe as well.I do like to put a little cardi or vest over strappy maxi dresses now,it just looks nicer .Nikki I don’t think your arms look as bad as Mr Styling you thinks ,they look fine in pictures.I think a little cardi or jacket are great wardrobe staples especially for transeasonal weather.

      1. Well that’s ok then,My children think my elbows are too funny,very pointy and well….not very attractive,they laugh their heads off at them!!

  14. I need to get those little weights out and do some work on my upper arms- been very slack over winter! Love a little cardi or shrug, even a 3/4 sleeved shirt open with a cami looks great!

  15. I have been working my arms for years, but you can’t fight your genes. One look at my mother’s arms and I know that mine are pretty good in comparison- but I’ll never have the arms I want or even the ones I had in my 20’s (when I was covering them up because I thought they were too big!)

    Anyway, always love your suggestions to add to my options because I agree they just make you look like you’ve made a little more effort, just a bit more put together.

  16. I really loved this post as I love cardis and any ideas to cover my tuckshop lady arms. I just don’t feel comfortable exposing them these days. Age is one reason and no matter how often I work out nothing bounces back anymore lol. I really would love arms like Michelle Obama but that aint going to happen in my lifetime. So I am at one with the jiggly bits. I need to buy some new things now before summer comes and there is nothing available at all. Great ideas here, so thanks.

  17. As usual Nikki you have perfect timing! I have in the past week dragged out a long-forgotten shrug to make a strappy maxi dress work appropriate for a casual Friday; worn my chambray/denim shirt open with rolled sleeves over a singlet and skirt for a weekend catch up; and I have a daily obsession with my jackets/blazers (wearing a jade number from Jacqui E today!). In fact I’m off to – hopefully – add another one from Big W today as Woman by Morrissey has a grey ponti blazer that is the much needed addition to turn my grey ponti dress or grey ‘butt’ pants into a suit 🙂

  18. This is just sad. They are just arms, everyone has them, no one notices the “fat” but yourself. Do you see blokes covering up their arms? Get a grip ladies, go sleeveless and stop worrying about a bit of flab. Life is way too short.

    1. Deb I am having a bit of fun and paying out on myself. If I feel more confident and put together in an outfit with an extra layer then I’ll wear one, thank-you. For a lot of women it is a confidence boost, so please don’t undermine people’s feelings and tell them to get a grip.

          1. And I find I’m not going to feel confident if I don’t feel comfortable in what I’m wearing. Thankyou for this coverup post Nikki xx

  19. I used to worry about letting mine flap in the breeze for all the world to see, but I am less likely to care these days. Until I se a photo of them, and I am all like….. OH MY GOD! THanks for the tips Nikki! xx

  20. Tee Hee I have those arms too! Big guns I call them, lol. I never wear sleeveless tops , I just can’t do it- and there is the sun protection factor too for me. I always wear a 3/4 sleeve top underneath. Ts14+ make a hydrophilic one that is fantastic and in a variety of colours. I find them the best and they are not at all hot, wicking any moisture away quick smart. I also have great difficulty with lots of clothes having armholes that are too small- that is really annoying. Yep my guns are well camouflaged!

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