I need a 3/4 sleeve dress fast
May 20, 2014 9:44 AM   Subscribe

I have a wedding to go to this weekend as a guest. I also just got released from the hospital and have crazy bruises in the crooks of both my arms, and would prefer not to show them off! This means I need a new dress with 3/4 sleeves! Can you help me find one?

I am a size 00 and would like to go to the mall and pick up a dress that looks age-appropriate - I am 31 - and fits. I also don't want to spend a really long time at the mall while I'm recovering. I thought Forever 21 would be a good bet, but the website reveals mostly cheap-looking dresses for a younger crowd, and very few of them with 3/4 sleeves.

I would really like to spend $60 or less. My shoes are gorgeous neutral flats and I also have a pretty necklace I planned to wear. I have in mind a shift with lace over it, perhaps, if it is a dark enough color. The wedding is outside in Upstate New York in the early afternoon this coming Sunday. I also need a dress for the rehearsal dinner, or possibly a nice shirt that I can wear with a skirt that I already own.

Most of my wardrobe is from J. Crew, for what it's worth, but I was there very recently and didn't see this kind of dress. Part of the problem is probably seasonal, I suspect. I leave too early to get anything online at this point, but I live in a major metropolitan area in the Southern US.
posted by sockermom to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (30 answers total)
Have you considered looking for a light cardigan or a jacket to go over one of your current dresses? That would work as well, and would probably be easier to find at this time of year.
posted by backwards compatible at 9:49 AM on May 20, 2014 [17 favorites]

Target allows you to search their website by sleeve length, and there are a lot of dresses there. Find some you like and check to see if your store has them!

posted by domo at 9:53 AM on May 20, 2014

It looks like the Gap has a floral shirtdress. There's this striped dress from Ann Taylor Loft. And I know this might sound crazy, but I think Target can be an awesome resource in searches like this. For realsies.

Edit: See! I'm not crazy for thinking Target is good for clothing hunts like this.
posted by shesbookish at 9:53 AM on May 20, 2014

I wear a wrap tied like this in similar situations.
posted by unknowncommand at 9:54 AM on May 20, 2014

Don't disregard the option of getting a LONG sleeve dress and pushing up/folding/hemming the cuffs to reach your desired length.

And agree with backwards compatible - you will probably find it a lot easier finding a 3/4 length bolero, shrug, or cardi than a dress.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 9:54 AM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

Ann Taylor lets you sort by sleeve length, and they say extra 40% off those prices?. The outlet stores (separate thing, not online that I saw) still have dresses in them and seem to work on current seasons, as opposed to a season ahead; worth a call to ask what they're stocking.
posted by Dashy at 10:00 AM on May 20, 2014

Personally I would wear whatever you already had planned and throw a cardigan over it.
posted by radioamy at 10:00 AM on May 20, 2014

Here's a pretty one from Nordstrom for $59. You could wear it for a lot of different occasions! It's at the major malls in Atlanta.

Here's a nice one for the rehearsal dinner. Again, a nice one for other things.

This one, also at Dillards, would be pretty for the wedding.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:01 AM on May 20, 2014

Dressbarn themselves does not go down that low, but the Easter dress I got from them was basically a sleeveless dress with a nice shrug that came with it. A jacket/blazer might also work and starts looking a bunch more grown-up.
posted by Sequence at 10:01 AM on May 20, 2014

Banana Republic Gemma wrap dress. This is the one wardrobe item I have multiples of. You can dress it up for a wedding or wear it to work. Full-price it's outside your budget, but you may find colors on sale at the store, and they always seem to be running a coupon.
posted by payoto at 10:01 AM on May 20, 2014 [6 favorites]

Also a bit outside-the-box, but some of my relatives use Dermablend concealer to hide varicose veins, and it covers beautifully-- non-smearing, opaque. Dermablend also makes a "tattoo primer" for heavier cover of really dark marks.

You probably wouldn't want to spend up for a full package of each, but someplace like Sephora or Ulta (maybe even the Macy's makeup counter) would likely be happy to give you little sample tubs for free.
posted by Bardolph at 10:02 AM on May 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

Banana Republic Gemma wrap dress.

A few, like this one, are already coming up for me with sale prices of under $60 and there's even an option to have a store close to you hold it for you (provided it's in stock, of course.) It's a great dress.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:07 AM on May 20, 2014

H+M has some 3/4 or long-sleeved dresses in that price range. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. It seems to be kind of a trend to have lace/chiffon sleeves?

I find H+M kind of exhausting in general. However, the times when I have asked for help finding specific items (most recently when I needed a shell for under a suit), their employees were very helpful. Maybe go in, and tell them exactly what you need and ask for help pulling that?
posted by amileighs at 10:08 AM on May 20, 2014

Slightly above your price range, but you might like Banana Republic's Gemma Wrap dress.
posted by vignettist at 10:09 AM on May 20, 2014

(Oops, didn't preview!)
posted by vignettist at 10:10 AM on May 20, 2014

Yes! Banana Republic has 40% off sales like constantly. It's a really practical dress.
posted by celtalitha at 10:20 AM on May 20, 2014

Zara has this cute dress for $40--the sleeves are just at the elbow, depending on how long your arms are, a little above or a little below--assuming there's a Zara in your town. TopShop (at Nordstrom, if there is not a TopShop near you) has a couple sleeved options at your price point, too (Only one was listed on the website, but there were others at my local Nordstrom's last week).
posted by crush-onastick at 10:22 AM on May 20, 2014

Old Navy has some cheap long-sleeved dresses. Some of them are quite cute, including a jersey wrap dress similar to the Banana Republic one mentioned above but much cheaper. I have two, and they are really nice and versatile.
posted by snorkmaiden at 11:26 AM on May 20, 2014

I would hit Macy's or Dillard's clearance, because a) you might get lucky and find an early spring dress with 3/4 length sleeves, and b) they have shrugs and cardigans if you don't.
posted by wintersweet at 11:39 AM on May 20, 2014

If previous dress + cardi feels too plain or boxy, try a belt over the cardi at the waist.

Stay home, and away from the germ filled masses. Take a nap and rest up.
posted by fontophilic at 12:44 PM on May 20, 2014

I would go the cardigan route. Besides if it is more cool or more warm you have the ability to adjust.
Dillard's didn't really carry 00 when I was that size. Ann taylor Loft petites were perfect for me though.
posted by AlexiaSky at 1:04 PM on May 20, 2014

Ooh yes, the Gemma wrap dress. The jersey is very lightweight and flattering, and it is so so packable. It is neither over- nor under-dressed for almost any occasion. I can confirm that this dress in almost any color would look stellar with neutral flats and a necklace.
posted by anonnymoose at 2:45 PM on May 20, 2014

To hem sleeves, tuck under and iron at the desired length, trim off excess, tuck cut edge under, iron some more. You can actually use a glue stick to hem it briefly, if you don't have a sewing machine.
posted by theora55 at 2:48 PM on May 20, 2014

Long gloves can look super elegant and would be an inexpensive way to wear a dress you already own.
posted by tenaciousmoon at 3:19 PM on May 20, 2014

You could try renting something, there are some inexpensive options with longer sleeves.
posted by ch1x0r at 4:41 PM on May 20, 2014

The Gemma dress is the best dress. They unfortunately only had one in the whole store that was my size, and it is black, but I think that is ok. If it isn't, someone here tell me!

I also looked at Anthropologie and they had a bunch of adorable 3/4 sleeve dresses on clearance, but none were as pretty and versatile as the Gemma dress.

My previous dress was really not cardigan-friendly at all - and even if it were, I am in the middle of moving, and pretty much everything I own that isn't something I wear every week is not accessible right now. May has been a very busy and stressful month. :)

Thanks, all. I know it might be a bit silly to travel so soon after a (albeit only overnight) hospital stay, and I may not end up going to this wedding - but a little black long-sleeved wrap dress is something that is great to have in my wardrobe. It's very classic.
posted by sockermom at 5:04 PM on May 20, 2014

<3 the Gemma Wrap! It's so elegant and sooooooo comfy. I wore a print version on my last long international flight when I knew I'd need to be presentable for 48 straight hours before a change of clothes, and it rocked. You'll wear this dress for years to come.
posted by SakuraK at 12:12 AM on May 21, 2014

Black dresses are technically not supposed to be worn at weddings (what with it being more of a funeral color and all), but it's not crazy-rude like wearing a white dress is, so you can use your judgment based on the people whose wedding you are attending (are they super traditional, and kind of judgmental? Are their families? Then I wouldn't do it. Are they relatively laid back and un-crazy? Then you're fine.) If you can add some pops of color somehow (shoes? scarf? broach? flower in your hair?) it would help.
posted by brainmouse at 9:42 AM on May 21, 2014

I wore a black silk dress much like the Gemma dress to a formal, fairly traditional wedding once because it was my only, last-minute option, and worried about whether people would think it was rude. I made sure to add metallic, festive accessories so I didn't look like a mourner, and decided to just suck it up. To my pleasant surprise, many other ladies had done the exact same thing--classic black dress plus accessories to lighten it up. No worries about offending. I say go with it.
posted by anonnymoose at 10:43 AM on May 21, 2014

Also editing to add: if the couple knows you well enough to know that you just have just gotten out of the hospital, I think they will probably be so touched that you traveled to join them on their happy day that it won't matter what color your dress is. But kudos to you for being so considerate.
posted by anonnymoose at 10:48 AM on May 21, 2014

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