Many 40+ women like to cover their upper arms.

So how do you cover your upper arms while still staying cool? We share lots of strategies and products on how to cover your upper arms in this article.

Do you even need to cover your upper arms?

Well, it depends…

As you age, you may find myself wanting to cover up more and more parts of your body.

You may prefer presenting yourself in the most flattering way possible and that implies covering up some parts, hiding loose skin, wrinkly parts, belly fat and so on.

It’s a personal choice and certainly not something you have to do. If you’re happy to show your arms, go for it!

There is no need to cover up at all and I personally believe that arms are beautiful, no more matter how discolored or wrinkly they may be, or if they have some loose skin.

How to cover your upper arms - Deborah wears a wrap top | 40plusstyle.com

Deborah @deborahgates_ above (read her style interview here) shows how you could cover your arms with loose-fitting sleeves.

Check out this wide sleeve top that you can wear with this similar pair of jeans and flats.

You may also like our article on how to hide your belly with the right clothes.

How to cover your arms

However, if you, like many women, prefer not to show your naked arms anymore but still want to stay cool in spring and summer, you will like my ideas on how to cover your upper arms.

Does that mean that from on you can only wear full length sleeves?

No, not at all.

That would not be comfortable in summer and a shorter sleeve is actually more flattering in most cases.

Fortunately, there are lots of other ways to cover your upper arms apart from just long sleeves.

Strategies for covering up your arms

To cover up your arms you can:

Wear something with sleeves, a no brainer

There is a lot of variation in sleeves though. In the length, the shape and the material.

The linen shirt (below) comes in a variety of colors and is easy to dress up or down. Plus, even though it has long arms, the linen material should keep you cool.

Massimo Dutti Linen Shirt  | 40plusstyle.com

Massimo Dutti Linen Shirt

How to cover your upper arms - Kimba wears a white shirt | 40plusstyle.com

Kimba @kimbalikes above chooses a lightweight shirt with her check pants.

Recreate her outfit with this similar blouse (another option here), pants and sandals.

Opt for light or sheer fabrics

If you go for full length sleeves you may want to try to look for certain fabrics like light material, (semi-)transparent and lace. All of these are relatively cool and airy. You hardly feel transparent material on your ams and it is often good enough to mislead the eye of people.

The Massimo Dutti top (below) is made from ramie which, like linen, is extremely absorbent and will stay comfortable on hot, humid days.

Massimo Dutti Ramie Shirt | 40plusstyle.com

Massimo Dutti Ramie Shirt

Look for ‘airy’ kind of sleeves

Choose sleeves that aren’t too tight as these will drape over your arms and ensure you stay cool. The Massimo Dutti linen top (below) will be a good choice for summer.

Massimo Dutti Wide Sleeves Linen Shirt | 40plusstyle.com

Massimo Dutti Wide Sleeves Linen Shirt

bell sleeve

The bell sleeve blouse, is a long sleeve that is fitted from shoulder to elbow and flared out at the bottom of the arms.

The print blouse below could be worn with your shorts, pants or jeans.

Reiss Laura Floral Bell Sleeve Blouse | 40plusstyle.com

Reiss Laura Floral Bell Sleeve Blouse

How to cover your upper arms - Melanie wears a flared sleeve top | 40plusstyle.com

Melanie @melanie.rae.miller above chooses a flared sleeve blouse with her jeans.

Get her look with this similar blouse, skinny jeans, pumps, handbag, earrings and belt.

puff sleeve

Puff sleeve tops are particularly on trend at the moment and can be ideal for covering up the top of your arms. Because the sleeves are voluminous, this can help to make your lower arms look slimmer. The puff sleeve top (below) has a square neck which tends to be a flattering look if you have a big bust.

Chaus Floral Smocked Puff Sleeve Cotton Top | 40plusstyle.com

Chaus Floral Smocked Puff Sleeve Cotton Top

flutter sleeve

The flutter sleeve top (below) would be a good option for summer or vacation. Women who have worn it say they got lots of compliments.

Vince Camuto Flutter Sleeve Tunic | 40plusstyle.com

Vince Camuto Flutter Sleeve Tunic

How to cover your upper arms while staying stylish and cool! | 40plusstyle.com

Above is another perfect example on how to cover your arms by Deborah @deborahgates_. She opts for a beautiful flutter sleeve top that would go with everything from skirts to jeans.

Get her look with this similar top, maxi skirt, sandals and earrings.

Split sleeve

A split sleeve style is a good choice to look out for, as it is cool and airy, while easily covering your upper arms. The chiffon top (below) comes in a wide choice of colors and has fantastic reviews from wearers who say it is flattering, doesn’t show your bra through, and is good to dress up or wear with your jeans.

Neineiwu Chiffon Top | 40plusstyle.com

Neineiwu Chiffon Top

batwing sleeve

The batwing sleeve top, a long or mid-length sleeve with a deep armhole, tapering towards the wrist or elbow. The top below is available is super airy and available in all kinds of colors and prints. Reviewers say they have this top in multiple colors.

Lock and Love Dolman Top | 40plusstyle.com

Lock and Love Dolman Top

How to cover your upper arms - Dayle wears a batwing top | 40plusstyle.com

Dayle @artfulcitystyle above (read her style interview here) shows how you could style a batwing top.

Recreate her outfit with this similar top (another option here), wide pants, booties and necklace.

butterfly sleeve

The butterfly sleeve top, a short sleeve that gets a lot wider from the shoulder onwards.

The blouse (below) should flatter most body shapes, particularly if you want to hide both your upper arms and your belly. It comes in a choice of colors, and reviewers say it feels nice to wear. Many say it fits a little on the large side so you may want to order a size down.

Anyally Print Blouse | 40plusstyle.com

Anyally Print Blouse

bishop sleeve

The bishop sleeve top, fuller at the bottom than the top and gathered at the wrist in a cuff.

The blouse below comes in neutral shades, and the square neckline is good for hourglass figures and fuller busts.

The Drop Square-Neck Top | 40plusstyle.com

The Drop Square-Neck Top

How to cover your upper arms while staying stylish and cool! | 40plusstyle.com

Jona @the50plusgirl above chooses a floral blouse with wide, cuffed sleeves.

Steal her look with this similar blouse (other options here and here), denim skirt, sneakers and sunglasses.

cold shoulder

The cold shoulder top, a sleeve that opens down the side or front to allow the arm to pass through. This has the advantage of showing off your shoulders, if this is a part of your body you like, while covering up your upper arms.

Chaus Print Cold Shoulder Knit Top | 40plusstyle.com

Chaus Print Cold Shoulder Knit Top

Lace

Because lace naturally has little holes in it, it can be a cool option to cover your arms. You could wear the lace blouse below with a camisole underneath.

Boden Fitted Lace Shirt | 40plusstyle.com

Boden Fitted Lace Shirt

off the shoulder

These tops are absolutely perfect for women who prefer to cover (part of their) upper arms yet still want to feel cool and sexy. Right now this is a HUGE trend so this is the time to stock up on these kinds of tops as they can sometimes be hard to find.

COS Smocked Off The Shoulder Top | 40plusstyle.com

COS Smocked Off The Shoulder Top

How to cover your upper arms - Eugenia wears an off-the-shoulder top | 40plusstyle.com

Eugenia @theeageofgrace (read her style interview here) pairs her off-the-shoulder top with her maxi skirt.

Get her look with this similar off the shoulder top (another option here), skirt, sandals and bag.

Wear 3/4 sleeves

If you want to cover up, a 3/4 or half arm sleeve is a great solution. It has the extra benefit that’s it’s super flattering too.

As the sleeves end at your waist, you tend to focus your eye there. The Karen Kane asymmetric top (below) is also a great style for covering your belly.

Karen Kane Asymmetrical Crepe Top | 40plusstyle.com

Karen Kane Asymmetrical Crepe Top

Wear sleeveless, and wear something with sleeves over that

You can also start building your outfit with a sleeveless top like a short or long camisole.

Then you can add many kinds of toppers like cardigans, vests and boleros, but also the sheer blouses we mentioned above.

Another option is a shawl or pashmina, but they take a bit more effort to keep them in place

Eileen Fisher Bateau Neck Linen Crop Poncho | 40plusstyle.com

Eileen Fisher Bateau Neck Linen Crop Poncho

Below, you can see how you could wear a ruana over a camisole.

sheer top over camisole | 40plusstyle.com

wear sleeveless and wear something with sleeves under that

You can also take your sheer blouses or other tops with cool sleeves and wear something on top of that.

Another advantage of wearing an outfit like this is that you’re creating a long lean line in your outfit which makes you taller and slimmer and hides your belly too!

The example below shows how you could wear a sleeveless vest over a summer ruana or kimono.

How to cover your upper arms with a kimono | 40plusstyle.com

Kate Spade New York Floral Print RuanaTreasure & Bond Button-Up Linen Blend Camisole

You could also wear a longer sleeved top, and then a sleeveless vest over the top, as shown below.

How to cover your upper arms with a long vest | 40plusstyle.com

Made By Johnny Sleeveless Draped Open CardiganAmazon Essentials Classic-Fit 3/4 Sleeve T-Shirt

For many more ideas, check out this article on how to wear a long vest.

Cover up with a sheer cardigan or jacket

Another great way to cover up your arms is to use a sheer cardigan or a cool jacket.

You could add several of these sheer cardigans in a variety of colors to your closet. Not just to cover your arms but also to stay warm. They’re super easy to pop into your bag as they don’t wrinkle.

You can wear these loose or tied with a knot as in the example below. Reviewers say it is ideal as a cover-up for summer events and parties.

SHU-SHI Sheer Shrug Knit Cardigan | 40plusstyle.com

SHU-SHI Sheer Shrug Knit Cardigan

A sheer bolero could be another good option, particularly if you want a dressier evening choice.

Alex Evenings Short Bolero Shrug Jacket | 40plusstyle.com

Alex Evenings Short Bolero Shrug Jacket

Get separate sleeves to cover arms

If you love many of the sleeveless blouses and dresses you already have in your closet but want to cover up your arms, use a separate sleeve or arm cover up.

Sheer sleeves to cover arms

Lace sleeves

A popular brand to cover arms that’s of higher quality is Sleevy Wonders. They offer both sheer but also lace arm covers that are perfect for sleeveless dresses.

Sleevey Wonders Basic 3/4 Length Slip-on Lace Sleeves | 40plusstyle.com

Sleevey Wonders Basic 3/4 Length Slip-on Lace Sleeves

Jersey arm sleeves

If you like to cover your arms with a sold color then a jersey sleeve is perfect for you. These are from Sleevy Wonders too and will be perfect to add under your sleeveless tops or dresses.

Sleevey Wonders Basic 3/4 Length Slip-on Jersey Sleeves | 40plusstyle.com

Sleevey Wonders Basic 3/4 Length Slip-on Jersey Sleeves

As you have seen there are many ways to cover up your arms in a stylish way. Now all you have to choose is whether you want to cover up or not. Both options are equally good!

shop more items here:

Do you want to cover up your upper arms in Summer? If yes, how do you do it?

Continue reading:

  1. The Best Dresses With Sleeves For Women Over 40
  2. 14 Sure-Fire Ways To Hide Your Belly With The Right Clothes
  3. Shrugs And Boleros For Evening Dresses: 10 Stylish Party Cover Up Ideas

Like this article on how to cover your upper arms? Share it on Pinterest!

How to cover your upper arms while staying stylish and cool! | 40plusstyle.com

Feature image by Deborah @deborahgates_

Sylvia

Sylvia is 40+style’s editor-in-chief and has been helping women find their unique style since 2011. She is devoted to empowering women of any age to look and feel their best. Read more about Sylvia and 40+style on this page.

Want to get more articles from 40+style in your inbox, subscribe here.

You can also connect with 40+style on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

Support 40+style by using the links in our articles to shop. As an associate for Amazon and many other brands, we receive a small commission (at no cost to you) on qualifying purchases which enables us to keep creating amazing free content for you. Thanks!