Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Dolman Dances the Night Away

Love, Liza

Remember when you'd never heard of a peplum? Now you are sick of them. Even if you loved the peplum, it's probably lost its pep. Make way for the dolman, as in dolman sleeve. This seems to be, by careful observation, The Next Big Thing. Madame is willing to go out on a limb for this.

A dolman sleeve is that very loose armhole, not connected at the shoulder if connected anywhere at all. This makes for a loose-fitting, drape-y top-half silhouette, depending how much of you is drapable.

The dolman flatters both the narrow-shouldered and/or flat-chested. Likewise it de-mphasizes broad shoulders and can flatter a large bust (hint— the garment needs to taper towards the hem for that to happen).

The dolman is an integral part of Greek-style toga dressing. It requires little in construction skills; the effect is in the cut. And I do like a nice toga-style summer dress with strappy sandals. Lately I've been seeing more "basic summer t's" with dolman sleeves, as well as a raft of dresses and cover-ups. NB The kimono is a cousin of the dolman but not a twin.

The Segment dolman tee—
  Anthropologie, $58

Dolman got its name from the Turkish for robe (dolaman). Although the short, braided military jacket wore by Hussars is also called a dolman, the popular reference is a wide, batwing sleeve. The armhole can be very low or almost nonexistent. The dolman was a popular feature in bias-cut looks from the '30s, appeared again in the early '50s but is forever linked with disco and Halston.

'30s chic
Madame, when she was mademoiselle,
sporting a dolman, 1952
'70s Halston chic

I hear that the '70s are back in home furnishings as well, although I've never heard of a dolman couch.


  1. Well, I didn't spring for peplums and I don't think I'll try dolmans either. I feel like a big bat wearing them. But maybe I'm in a style rut?

  2. I wasn't a fan of the peplum and don't think they look good on anyone. Well, no one I saw looked particularly flattering in them. As for the dolman, I do love them, but worry that I will look too much like a fruit bat.