Whether it’s a simple sundress or a dream wedding gown, many women love the romantic look of a strapless dress. Unfortunately, some women feel uncomfortable in strapless styles that expose their bare arms. While strapless gowns aren’t always flattering for women with heavier arms or loose skin, there are some tricks you can use to detract from your upper arms and shoulders — helping you to feel more beautiful.

Choose a dress with appropriate support and a flattering fit. The best way to detract attention from your arms is to start with a dazzling dress. The right dress will draw positive attention to your waistline, your bosom and your face. People’s eyes will naturally drift toward your attributes rather than your flaws. Avoid strapless dresses that squeeze around the armpits or bustline, as they will only make you look heavier.

Bring along a stole, capelet, shrug or bolero jacket to wear over your dress. Choose a light cover-up made from a luxurious material that complements your dress and covers only your shoulders and upper arms. Avoid heavy wraparound shawls or pashminas that conceal your dress entirely. Show off as much of your dress as possible by wearing a sheer shawl or shrug — one that shadows flabby arms without obscuring the details of your dress.

Wear your hair in a style that cascades over your shoulders. Unless your hair is unusually long, it will not cover your arms entirely. But long, loose locks will conceal parts of your shoulders and distract from heavier upper arms.

Hire a seamstress to add sleeves to your strapless dress. Short cap sleeves will cover your shoulders without changing the overall silhouette or feel of the dress. Alternately, sheer full-length sleeves will give you coverage without making the dress feel overly modest or matronly. For even fuller coverage, add three-quarter length bell sleeves, in the same fabric as the rest of the dress. Make sure the added sleeves are tailored properly and do not fit too tightly.


  • If you still feel uncomfortable, even after trying to conceal your arms, consider choosing a different dress. As much as you may love the strapless dress, if you feel self-conscious and cannot have a good time while wearing it, it may not be the right look for you.