Popeye or Olive Oil?

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popeye     olive oil

We all have parts of our bodies that we do not like. If each of us were to stand in front of a mirror, we could pick out a few things we would love to change. As far as arms are concerned, there are only two types: Popeye or Olive Oil. People with Olive Oil arms have naturally slender arms. People with Popeye arms tend to have larger upper arms –musuclar or flabby- with or without defined wrists. If you have Olive Oil type arms, then you look good in every type of sleeve there is. If you are like me and have Popeye arms, then there are some sleeve lengths that work and do not work.

cap sleeves

What to Avoid

I hate my Popeye arms. The upper half of my arms are much larger than the lower half. There is no amount of arm workouts or push-ups that will change this. My large arms are exaggerated even more if I wear any of the following.

Cap Sleeves.

On my sister-in-law, a cap sleeve blouse looks great on her, and defines the silhouette of her Olive Oil type arms. If I were to wear the same top, the sleeves would cut off my arms at the largest section and over-exaggerate their size.



Going sleeveless may be fine for some. If you have Popeye arms, like mine, then steer clear of sleeveless tops.These tops will only bring attention the size of your arm.

Button closed sleeves.

Set aside the long sleeve version for just a minute. What I want to focus on are the short sleeved version. These short sleeve monstrosities are often found on button down shirts. They also happen to be cap sleeves. By buttoning the sleeve, us Popeye armed ladies, we section off our arms at their largest section by forcing them into something far too small for us.


What To Do.

After focusing on what not to do, it almost feels impossible that our Popeye arms will look good in anything. Do not despair. One of the rules of fashion is this: if you don’t like it, disguise it. For those of us not blessed with Olive Oil type arms, there are three things we can do to disguise our Popeye arms and trick others and ourselves into thinking we have Olive Oil arms.

Long Sleeves.

A long sleeve shirt or blouse will encase the largest part of our arms and smooth them out. The sleeve then travels down and ends right at the thinnest part of our arms, the wrist. This creates a seamless look along the entire length of the arm.

long sleeves

¾ Sleeves.

Anyone who follows my blog, heart sleeves, knows just how much I love ¾ length sleeve tops. There is a reason to my madness. A ¾ sleeve top encases the largest part of my arm and smooths it out, then it leads down to and ends near the thinnest part of my arm. It gives the illusion of a thinner arm without cutting off my arm length.

34 sleeves

Sleeves with structure.

I will be the first to admit that a short sleeve with structure will be difficult to find. If you do find a short sleeve with structure it will do wonders for your arms. First, look for sleeves with a tiny bit of padding, not too much- you don’t want to look like a line backer or from 1985- but you want just enough for the fabric to gather around and drop down. When this happens, the height and structure of the sleeve takes away from your arms. In the time it takes to put on a top your arms have gone from Popeye to Olive Oil.

Small Print.

A long sleeve or a ¾ Sleeve with small print will immediately thin out the arm. Where as a larger print in a long sleeve or ¾ sleeve will only detract from what a plain color or small print in either sleeve is intended to do for us.

sleeves with print

In an age of impossible perfection, weight loss plans, and an increase in insecurity, remember that you do not have to hide your worst features; you only have to disguise them. A proper disguise will instantly change how you look, and all you had to do was get dressed.

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Brittany Blackwill
I am an ESL Instructor by day and a fashion blogger by night. I love colored denim skirts, long skirts with twirl, and a strong cup of coffee. You can follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, or my blog.
Brittany Blackwill

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