Reader Question: One-Sleeve Dress

Dewi A. emailed me about a week ago. She is wearing hijab and has a prom in June, and she has no idea what to wear to the prom.

She plans to wear this one-sleeve long dress matched with a tight long sleeves tee, and asked me what's my thought about it.


Basically, this kind of dress was designed to highlight its asymmetrical design. Perhaps it was designed to add elegancy.. as if you carry a cape/shawl on one of your shoulders.

For a hijabi, this dress is rather difficult to be styled up in variety of styles to create many different looks. Because you can't add the usual bolero, cardigan, or jacket on to the dress to cover the bare arm, because it's almost impossible to do that with a wide-long-cloth of sleeve on the other arm.

The most possible way to go is the conventional way.. hehe... wearing a long-sleeves tee underneath. It has two advantages: cover the bare arm along without losing the real basic design of the dress.

In some hijab stores in Indonesia, they sell a 'long-sleeves CROPPED t-shirt'.. It's a t-shirt that only cover your shoulder and upper bosom with a pair of long sleeve. This t-shirt can be wore when you ONLY need the sleeves, without the t-shirt.. (I'm sorry if my explanation confusing you because I don't have a picture of it). And I think it's more comfort to wear than the usual sleeves extension, and it won't add a bulge on your outer dress. But the weakness is if the sleeve-less dress you wear over it doesn't have narrow arm-pit holes, your body still can peek out from the arm-pit holes because the cropped t-shirt has a very short torso.


One alternative that crossed my mind, that I think will be more elegant, is by adding a shawl to cover the bare arm. Drape a shawl over the bare arm, pin it on your shoulder, pull it up around your arm, and pin it near the elbow and on the wrist. Or, wear the shawl diagonally on your body, then tie the two ends on the other side of your waist, or use a belt to stick the shawl in place. Just be creative with the way you wrap the bare arm with a shawl!

If the shawl drapes loosely and widely around your bare arm, the weakness is the dress will be losing its unique asymmetrical look because now both sleeves look similar. But if your shawl is in different color with the dress, the asymmetrical sense of the dress still can be achieved..  

For a prom, I was thinking a classy, bohemian look with a long understated necklace, a flower-embroidery headscarf, a long-sleeves tee underneath or a silver glittery shawl over the bare arm, and a pair of sparkly heels..









Either you choose to wear a tee underneath or a shawl over the bare arm, you can wearing it in different colors with the dress, or even in glittery silver or gold to jazz up the look.

Do you have any tips for Dewi for styling up this dress? Or, do you prefer other dress to a prom, what kind of dress do you suggest for Dewi?




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