Monday Musings- Sleeves and Shirtdresses

Happy Monday, ladies. I haven’t done Monday musings for a while so I thought it might be fun to chat about things that are on my radar these days.



I’ve seen more puffed sleeves this season than I care to for a long time. Many look like the ones I put on my little girl… when she was a little girl. The brands that are doing it right for midlife women are making a more concerted effort to offer ones that don’t look silly on us.

And on the subject of looking silly…I don’t know about you but I’m happy to do it intentionally but never want to do it unintentionally:)


blue and white puff sleeve blouse


This puff sleeve is very appealing and doesn’t feel too young to me. Part of the reason is that the “puff” begins halfway down the arm. They call it a blouson style.

I could probably wear this sleeve because they put it on a sweatshirt which tones the whole thing down. Here’s another sweatshirt with a puff sleeve, this time full length with a banded cuff. This one works because the puff starts halfway down the sleeve and the sheer fabric makes it softer. This puff sleeve is very subdued and easy to wear with its casual stripes.

What are your thoughts on puffed sleeves?



These are not a shape or style for every woman’s wardrobe, but they’re more popular than ever this season. It may be a reaction to wearing athleisure during the last year, but many women are ready for real clothes and a shirtdress fits that bill. Our latest heatwave has me stripping off linen pants and reaching for dresses..of any and every kind.


I love a crisp shirt, so it’s natural that I’d love shirtdresses. The funny thing is they only crossed my personal radar last year. I wore this one last year, as a dress and as a duster. I wore it again last week on one of our hottest days some fun earrings from Walmart, my white wedges, and a trusty claw hair clip to keep my hair off my neck.

Since I’m not a fan of those self-belts that match the dress, I usually switch mine out. This white belt gets worn all the time, but you never see it. I wear these elastic, invisible belts with all my jeans. They prevent the waistband from gaping in the back and also flatten the front button so it doesn’t create a bulge. It also prevents that pesky button from wearing through my lightweight tops. They’re truly genius! The smoothest styles are like this, which I have several of but I’d probably never wear those over a garment as I do with this one.



I put the wrong link in my Sunday email so if you missed our Over 50 Style Chat last week, you can watch it here. Out topic was makeup. It was fun to hear what their favorites are. There were a lot of similarities and lots of variety.


Is there a topic you’d like to have us discuss in an upcoming LIVE?

Thanks for reading and remember to wear what makes you feel confident.



This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.


  1. Nancy
    June 8, 2021 / 9:25 am

    I agree with you. I am over the puffy sleeve / ruffle trend. Very little girl looking

  2. MRSBEN2
    June 8, 2021 / 5:36 am

    I’m personally not a fan of short puffy sleeves, however do not mind the longer versions provided that: a) they have a regular set in cap b) are full length c) finished with a reasonable cuff d) the neckline works with their fullness and e) the fabric provides a soft drape. (Being so particular comes with the territory of being a sewer … ☺.) As to shirt dresses; recently purchased one but haven’t had the opportunity to wear it yet as our weather is just beginning to warm up. I chose a long sleeved version for optional length as it doesn’t take much to turn me into feeling like a popsicle in some air conditioned environments plus I will also use it as an overlay (3rd piece) for a cooler or overcast day. Yours looks great on you BTW and like the way you styled it.

    Last but least; the belts you mention are a great idea particularly for the waistline gap, however ‘my theory’ of what is causing the tiny holes most often it seems in t-shirts is basically the quality of the cottons (or blends) now being used, how they are loomed plus the use of inks/dyes and/or their digital printing. In other words, not all cottons are created equal nor is their process of manufacturing. Think bed sheets! (I have some ancient tops that I use for working around the home that really have taken a beating (for your Canadian readers Cotton Ginny and Au Cotton which were not considered high-end labels) and none of them have developed holes.)

    • Jennifer
      June 8, 2021 / 6:21 am

      Thanks Brenda! I do miss sewing. It’s so gratifying.

  3. Sue
    June 7, 2021 / 6:46 pm

    Hi Jennifer!

    Enjoyed your chat with the other ladies on makeup! I always seem to be busy on Friday at 11 but enjoyed it today!

    Thanks Sue

    • Jennifer
      June 7, 2021 / 10:06 pm

      I’m glad you could watch

  4. Kay
    June 7, 2021 / 6:25 pm

    I guess I haven’t been paying attention. I didn’t know puffy sleeves were a thing again. My attitude toward them is colored by my sewing days, much easier to do than a traditional set-in sleeve. I’m not doing much sewing now, just shortening things and mending. I am now going to keep my eyes open for those puffy sleeves and see if any of them are for me.

  5. Gloria Miller
    June 7, 2021 / 1:43 pm

    Interesting post, Jennifer, but I have to be bluntly honest-I don’t care for puffed blouses or shirt dresses. Sorry. My style is more simple, soft-straight line. Could you do a post on minimalist classic styles? Thanks, Gloria

  6. Lin
    June 7, 2021 / 1:28 pm

    I must be in a closet!! What is an invisible belt. And where can I get one ?
    Love shirt waist dresses.
    Thanks for another great post ! 👌

    • Jennifer
      June 7, 2021 / 10:05 pm

      There are red links in the post to a few types.

  7. Joanna
    June 7, 2021 / 1:00 pm

    I think a delicate puff sleeve would be nice on those our age and with narrow shoulders.

    I like shirt dresses but they remind me of something June Cleaver wore all those years ago. To the young shirt dresses are new and on trend. I would have to try one on to access. Like you,
    I love a crisp white shirt and this is just a longer version.

    • Jennifer
      June 7, 2021 / 10:04 pm

      Lol, sometimes I think I do look like June Cleaver

  8. Nancy
    June 7, 2021 / 12:21 pm

    I’m with you on the puff sleeved blouses! They just look too cutesie as you said; more for little girls. The one you show is nice though and definitely better for the mature woman.
    I am not a shirtdress person. I’ve never looked good in a dress or skirt that flares out. I carry my weight mostly in my stomach, so shirt dresses do me no favors. I like it on you and agree, the white belt looks great with it!

  9. Teri
    June 7, 2021 / 11:53 am

    I tried on a puff sleeve sweatshirt at one of my favorite clothing stops, and oh my. I loved the color and couldn’t resist trying it on. After trying it on, I sat there in the sitting room for a couple of minutes looking at it, wondering if I could remake the sleeve and make it “normal”. I decided to pass on the item despite the irresistible color.

  10. Lynn
    June 7, 2021 / 11:33 am

    Invisible belts. What a great tip; I had no idea they existed. For years I’ve been pulling the buckle on my jean belts as far to the right or left as I can until it hits the belt loop in order to avoid a center bulge. I swear I learn something from you with every blog you post. Thank you!

    • Jennifer
      June 7, 2021 / 10:03 pm

      I do that too if I like the buckle but most times I like to wear my shirt over my waistband, I’m glad this helps.

  11. Chris
    June 7, 2021 / 10:34 am

    Travel wardrobes would be a timely topic for an upcoming chat. We’re all ready to travel again. On a recent short road trip, I packed too much because I was so eager to wear clothes that had been hanging in my closet for a year. What lessons have we learned that will be helpful for planning our next vacation? Include suggestions on luggage, totes and handbags. I love the series. Thanks for listing the products you mentioned in today’s post!

    • Jennifer
      June 7, 2021 / 10:02 pm

      Great ideas! I will pass it along to the gals

  12. TeeDVee
    June 7, 2021 / 9:58 am

    Hemlines make all the difference when wearing skirts or dresses!! Gals over 60 who dislike their older legs should try using spray oils like the Banana Boat sunscreens. Even my pale extremities, veins, saggy skin and all, look much improved! lol

  13. Susan
    June 7, 2021 / 8:53 am

    Hi, Jennifer. I’ve enjoyed the Over 50 Style Chats, but please make them easier to find! Could you post links on your blog post every Saturday? I don’t have time to watch them live. I can’t sign up for any more emails, either — I get over 100 a day as is. Thanks so much!

    • Jennifer
      June 7, 2021 / 9:57 pm

      I will see if I can add them to my sidebar for you.

  14. Becci
    June 7, 2021 / 7:51 am

    I love your style and must say you have changed the way I look at fashion, You also have influenced me to try new things, thank you. Now to the shirtdress… how do you gather the fabric with the belt so that it isn’t puffy around the hips? …and I find the belt climbs up until it almost looks like it’s an empire waist which looks silly on me. I usually forego the belt. One more question, how do you know if your long waisted or short waisted? That may be something you could address in the future and how to style those issues.
    Any way thanks for your insight…..have a great week.

    • Jennifer
      June 7, 2021 / 9:56 pm

      If you’re short-waisted you may feel distantly uncomfortable wearing belts because they feel like they’re right under your bust. Long waist people feel the rise on their pants can never be too high. This particular shirt dress has a waist seam that slims the fabric in. On other dresses, I pull the extra to the back so it looks smooth on the sides.

  15. Jan
    June 7, 2021 / 7:43 am

    Where have I been that I missed the memo on invisible belts?! That will solve several of my issues with waist bands that gap. Thankyou!
    I don’t intentionally dress to look silly but when the heat hits, I am grabbing for anything that still offers me coverage but comfort also. So, yes, I do have several popover tops with puffy sleeves!
    I love that shirtwaist dress! I had a white and coral striped one years ago.
    Have a great week ladies!

    • Jennifer
      June 7, 2021 / 9:51 pm

      Happy Monday, Jan

  16. Elizabeth
    June 7, 2021 / 7:28 am

    How can I be almost 60 and have never heard of invisible belts? I have had many shirts over the years get holes from the front button. LOL. Learn something new everyday. Thank you!

  17. Martha
    June 7, 2021 / 7:28 am

    I bought a bright puffed sleeve dress this spring and I have to admit that I was somewhat hesitant to keep it because of all the reasons you mentioned. I am a petite large – age 66 – but I don’t have wide shoulders. I can honestly say that I got multiple compliments on the dress – more than any other I have worn lately. Yes it’s trendy and I doubt it will be in my wardrobe a couple of years from now – but at half price it was a bargain! Hope to get some more wearings before it gets moved along.

  18. Barb
    June 7, 2021 / 7:11 am

    Jennifer, thanks for your ingenious tip for keeping pants flatter!!! I struggle with this all the time and have never heard of smooth elastic belts. I’m ordering.

  19. Chris
    June 7, 2021 / 6:43 am

    I’ve been using the invisible belts for years when first advertised in O magazine. I’m now on my third one. The tiny holes on tops happen when the top comes between a metal button and the edge of a stone counter top. A friend informed me about this!

  20. Leslie
    June 7, 2021 / 6:31 am

    You said when referring to the shirt dresses that they are, a “not a shape or style for every woman’s wardrobe.” Does that mean, yet again, that we have to be tall and thin to look appropriate in this style? I am only 5’4”, and about 30 lbs overweight so my chances are slim I know that this is a perfect style for me, but I am very drawn to shirt dresses!! I don’t know if it is like you the crisp collar or if it is the slight retro feel; I think I remember my Mother wearing this style in the early 70’s !?
    I have 3 shirt dresses and I like how I feel in them. Everything is covered. Nothing is gushing out or spilling over when I wear them. My problem areas are my gut and butt.
    I need to know, is this one of those situations where I REALLY should just stay away from this style?
    Thank you,

    • Jennifer
      June 7, 2021 / 6:39 am

      Absolutely not! I’m 5’4” and love them. Many women prefer floaty dresses or don’t like dresses at all, so they would of course, not care for these. If you like them, go for it! There are so many great ones out there. I adore the one and done aspect of them and always, always feel polished wearing one.
      My mom would have looked great on them but she never wore dresses ;). Maybe that’s why I’m late to the party.

      • Leslie
        June 7, 2021 / 6:56 am

        Thanks for your honesty

  21. Rose
    June 7, 2021 / 6:30 am

    I’ve been having trouble with finding sleeves that fit right also. Mostly the puffy ones are too long or too big for my arms. The one I really liked was the blouson one. Thanks to you I now know the name to look for! I like the look of the shirt dress but it just wouldn’t be for me.

  22. Leslie Greaves Radloff
    June 7, 2021 / 6:17 am

    The blouses are winners in my book, but wouldn’t do the shirtdress in stripes nor with a belt. Blue, lightweight denim, cotton or linen but no belt as they cut my 5’3″ in half and make me look dumpy. You are spot on about brands for adult women, and I saw that in-person Saturday while browsing in an actual store. I have enough history to have ‘been there; done that” and know better than to do it again.

  23. Francesca B.
    June 7, 2021 / 6:14 am

    I agree with you about puffed sleeves and I am hoping this trend will soon fade. Love Johnny Was, and recently I bought one of their new v neck tees and I am loving the vibrant colors and the pattern. Looks great with a white denim skirt. Shirtdresses are another love and I lucked out with a forest green shirtdress from Walmart: the C Wonder Women’s Sleeveless Belted Shirtdress which is so easy to wear. Love that striped one on you Jennifer will have to check that out!

  24. Wyona
    June 7, 2021 / 6:12 am

    I have never heard of this belt, but my thin shirts all have 3 tiny holes, and I couldn’t understand how it happens. I ordered the belts from Amazon – sure hope they work! Love this style of puffy sleeves…

    • Jennifer
      June 7, 2021 / 6:43 am

      These will do the trick. I never where jeans without one.

  25. Eve
    June 7, 2021 / 5:47 am

    I have several of those belts. I buy them to match my pants. I find pretty good ones on Amazon. I love shirt dresses and you look great in this one. I really can’t wear them though because my legs are no longer my best feature. I love the puff sleeves you’ve shown us. I like the wrist or long sleeve better than short. Short looks little girl to me. Love the blue earrings.

  26. Gayle Murphy
    June 7, 2021 / 5:38 am

    I had never heard of the invisible belts. What an excellent idea! My waist is small relative to my hips so I’m always having problems with jean waists. And the button bulge of course. I’ll be buying these later today. Thank you for another genius solution.

    • Jennifer
      June 7, 2021 / 6:30 am

      My hips are straight so these also keep
      My jeans from slipping down. I don’t know what I ever did before I discovered these!

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