Today's prom dress industry produces dresses that nearly universally show a lot of skin. You might want a prom dress with sleeves for modesty or simply because you prefer the look of a sleeved dress or would like to wear a more supportive bra. If you are looking for a more modest prom dress that is still stylish, fun and attractive, finding the right dress may be quite a challenge. You do have options though, and you'll still look stunning and be a bit more covered up at your prom.
Buying a Dress
You have several options if you want to buy a modest prom dress. Unfortunately, most of them aren't in your local mall. You might find a suitable prom dress with sleeves by visiting a bridal store and looking through the wide variety of bridesmaids dresses available today. Choose a dress with a great shape and add especially vivacious accessories. Online retailers including Beautifully Modest and Great Lengths offer prom dresses that can keep you covered and in style (see resources below). Cap sleeves are the most common choice, but you can find prom dresses with more arm coverage as well.
Modifying a Dress
Perhaps you have a dress you love, but you wish it covered a bit more skin. If you have found the nearly perfect dress, modifying your dress into a prom dress with sleeves is one option to consider (see references below). If your dress is sleeveless, it is easy to have a seamstress add chiffon or lace cap sleeves or half-circle sleeves into the dress. A skilled seamstress can add longer sleeves by carefully drafting a pattern that will fit the existing armhole of the dress. Combine commercial pattern pieces to create an upper bodice and sleeves out of a lace or sheer fabric to make a strapless prom dress into a prom dress with sleeves.
A Custom Made Dress
One of the best choices for prom dresses with sleeves is simply to have a dress made just to your tastes. The major pattern companies offer a variety of prom dress patterns, and many of these have sleeve variations. If you have a skilled dressmaker, she may be able to combine several patterns to create a dress that is just what you want. Consider looking at vintage and vintage reproduction patterns. Many of the 1950s dress patterns reprinted by companies today offer versions with sleeves and would make lovely, playful, modest prom dresses. You might also opt to use pattern drafting software to create a custom fit prom dress with sleeves.
Wear a Coverup
Adding a layer is an easy way to add sleeves to a sleeveless prom dress. Consider a knit shrug or cardigan; a satin, lace or velvet shrug; or a satin wrap. If you opt for a wrap, wrap it over your shoulders and secure it behind your back with hidden safety pins and a stunning brooch to prevent slipping. You can make your own wrap by sewing two pieces of fabric cut to the size you prefer right sides together and turning them right side out. This will create a reversible wrap for your prom dress.