Blouses or shirts that flared out from the elbow. Not the best item to wear when meeting the boy/girlfriend’s parents for the first time and eating soup! And, if the wind was right behind you, you may take off.
Flared sleeves were big in the 70s. At first, the sleeves were a slight tapered bell shape that started from the elbow down, but as the decade progressed, the sleeves became ever wider, until the flare of the sleeve could be the width of a dinner plate. Typical 70s fashion. This decade is not known for its subtlety – that is one of the reasons why we love it so much. Of course, the flared sleeves became wider, fuller and more OTT. It was the 70s!
This fashion seemed to stem back to the days of the Shakespeare because the sleeves could give you an historic, troubadour look as if you were about to burst into song. It was a romantic image that appealed to the girls and the guys but there were practical problems in carrying this look off. The most difficult thing about these dinner plate sleeves was when you wanted to wear a jacket. You may remember that as you passed your arm though the jacket sleeve, the shirtsleeve would get caught up and travel back up the arm which of course was no good, as you need a good inch of the shirt to show below the jacket sleeve. I had to use my mums knitting needle 4 to push the things back into position, and I also had to try to keep my jacket on all night too, which spoilt the point of it all really.
For girls, flared sleeves could be easier to handle. Peasant style tops were in fashion and these, often made of cheesecloth usually had drawstrings at the wrist so you could get some control over your sleeves. They still dipped in your food of course and rolling your sleeves up before you started eating made you look like a workman getting down to business. Not a great sophisticated look for anyone!
The other problem with these wide flared sleeves was that they had a life of their own. You would be eating, and doing your very best not to let them slip into the food, but no matter how you tried a slight wind, or someone walking past would start the sleeves flapping. One look at the sleeves would tell you that the Tomato soup had been served.