Well, my friends, Memorial weekend has come and gone and we all know what that means – the “unofficial” start of the Summer season! And with Summer comes the rising temperatures! With rising temperatures comes the dilemma that we women (and quite possibly a few men) have been dealing with since time unknown! To go sleeveless or not to go sleeveless?! That is the question!
Before I lost weight, I spent most of my Summers covering up my arms, much like my mother before me. Though in the year just before my surgery, I came to a great “self-acceptance” revelation and decided that everyone who looked at me knew I was overweight and hiding my arms away wasn’t fooling anybody! So, why was I torturing myself in the dog days’ heat?! Thus, I went out, bought the adorable sleeveless tops I’d been lusting after, and wore them proudly!
Then I had my surgery. Now I had these nice thin arms. But, with the thinness, the surgery and quick weight loss brought its own issues. Many of you probably have already heard about the loose skin that plagues people who’ve had weight loss surgery or have lost weight rapidly by some other means. Well, guess where one of my worst spots for loose skin happened to be? You got it – my upper arms. Granted, my loose skin issues are mild compared to some people who have lost hundreds of pounds, but they’re still my issues and I still have to deal with them.
However, the first year or so, I will admit, they did not bother me. I was proud of my arms – loose skin and all! I had worked hard for those arms! I was eating right, working out (still am!). And though the bottom of my arms had loose skin, there was some real definition on the top from my workouts. (still is!) So, I wore my sleeveless tops and dresses proudly! Nooooo problem.
Now it’s been almost three years since my surgery. I’m down 93 lbs. and kept that weight off and continue to stick to my regimen. But, for some reason in the last year or so I have become very self-conscious about my upper arms once again. (The other loose skin area that I’m super self-conscious about? My neck! Does anybody want to donate a face lift to a needy 51 yr. old?!)
Here’s the rub – because of my fibromyalgia, I am also incredibly temperature sensitive. When I’m cold I’m VERY cold and when I’m hot I’m VERY hot. Somehow I had to find a way to make peace with sleeveless tops and dresses. Thank goodness all it took was a bit of fashion knowledge and not a single sleeveless item had to go into the give-away pile!
It’s really just a matter of color and light – a concept we’ve all used to some extent for most of our lives. What woman hasn’t used the idea of wearing black to make herself appear smaller or thinner?! We all have at some point, I’d wager! That’s the same basic rule we’re going to use for our arms – but, kind of in reverse.
Our eyes are automatically drawn to light and bright colors before dark, and patterns before solids. They jump forward in our vision. Whereas dark colors recede. That’s where the idea of wearing black to look thinner comes from. Whatever body part you put the dark color on is going to recede from the observers vision and be less noticeable.
In this case we want something that’s unclothed to be less noticeable, so how do we go about that? We work with the item it’s closest to – your top – whether that be a shirt or a dress, whatever. In this post, for simplicity’s sake I’m going to work with shirts. Tank tops to be precise.
If I wear a dark tank top, as I’m doing in this photo – navy blue, actually – my torso is going to recede making the things around it and next to it, namely my pale, wobbly upper arms, come to the forefront. That’s exactly what we don’t want!
The eyes are drawn to pattern before dark. If, by chance, you have a dark top with a pattern on it that has some light influences, this will improve the situation. Still not the best case scenario, but definitely better.
So, what do we really want? We want something that will draw the eye to it before it goes to our arms – we want something lighter or brighter than our arms! Here I’ve used a bright white tank top! Even with as pale as my arms are, the brilliant white of the shirt is lighter yet and immediately draws your eye to it. The extra bonuses with this top is that it also adds texture (the lace) and interest (the cross-overs) which will additionally draw the observers’ eyes away from my arms!
If you’re still a little self-conscious, you can take this concept up yet another notch. Really give the observers something to draw their attention. Add some bright, light accessories! Here I’ve added some very bright, large yellow earrings and a necklace. When you look, immediately the eye is drawn to the jewelry, not to the arms.
You could, also, wear a white shirt with a bright/light pattern. Just make sure your pattern is small and not too closely packed together. If a pattern is placed too close together, it creates an optical illusion when the observer first sees you and it will be perceived as a solid. This will nullify it’s effects. Keep lots of the white space showing.
If you’re stuck in a situation where you HAVE to wear the navy tank (Heaven knows what that situation could be!) … make the best of it and bling it up the same way we did with the white top. Not perfect, but it WILL draw the attention toward your face and away from your arms.
Studies tell us that people make an assessment of you within the first seven seconds of seeing you. After that? They pretty much stop analyzing your appearance! You are the only one really obsessing over those little details – like the jiggly arms. If we can just draw their attention away for 7 seconds and allow them to see the bright, brilliant, fabulous us – the arms won’t even be an issue – for them or for US!
Until We Meet Again!