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Can You Wear Sleeveless Tops Over 50

Going sleeveless is a bit of a “thing” for most midlife women, including me. Unless you work out consistently and sometimes even then, the skin on our upper arms loses elasticity and can get a crepey appearance. Some women wear sleeveless garments without giving it a thought, but many do not. Today I’m joining my stylish blogging friends from the Over 50 Style Team,  Tania, Susan, and Deborah to discuss our thoughts on how we wear sleeveless tops over 50.

blonde woman wearing gray sleeveless dress and white sweater

In my thirties, baring or not baring my upper arms never crossed my mind. I just did. The older I’ve become, the more it’s become an issue for me. My latest weight loss was great for my feet and knees but wreaked havoc on my face, neck, and upper arms. And to be honest, my upper arms have taken the biggest hit, which these pictures don’t show.


over 50 woman wearing sleevelss dress and white sweater tied at waist

I admit I am not exercising as much as I could be and my goal is to always do more, but even then, the amount of extra skin in my underarm area isn’t likely to go away unless I put that weight back on.

over 50 blogger jennifer connolly wearing sleeveless tee dress

If I do plan to wear sleeveless tops, I head straight to the petite department. They generally have a shallower armhole so they cover more of what I don’t want exposed. They’re also more likely to cover the side of my bra which is mandatory.


woman wearing gray dress and white sweater with no sleeves

I saw my dermatologist for a follow-up yesterday and I asked her about my upper arms. She surprised me by suggesting I use a Retinol cream on them. She then went on to say even Retin A would help so I’m going to add that to my regime. I’ve started using a bit of my self-tanner on my arms and it does help a bit.


jar of retinol cream for upper arms

I’ve just bought this cream at the suggestion of a reader and really like how it feels. It’s cruelty-free and fragrance-free with lots of great reviews. It’s too early to see any results but it is very moisturizing so I apply it twice a day. There are some very highly rated products to improve the look of skin on your upper arms.



The U Beauty Sculpt Arm Compound is quickly becoming a cult favorite. It has a cocktail of interesting ingredients that promise to help your skin look firmer. It’s also cruelty-free, gluten-free, and non-GMO. Crepe Erase is already a cult favorite and many women swear by it to improve the texture of the skin all over their body.

What say you? Is going sleeveless something you give any thought to?

Now let’s head over and see what these ladies have to say about going sleeveless.

Tania at 50 Is Not Old,– Susan at une femme d’un certain âge, – and Deborah at Fabulous After 40


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



  1. Thanks for addressing this subject now that we are in the heat of the summer. That is a great tip about shopping for sleeveless tops in the petite department to avoid the armhole gap! I may check out some of the skin products you recommended.

  2. This post was good timing. Just bought two dresses for church today. They were so pretty and fit me so well, I couldn’t resist. Both are sleeveless and I had to fight with myself because of thoughts of feeling I should not wear sleeveless in church and at 78 I shouldn’t show my less-than-perfect upper arms. But the dresses are so pretty and I feel pretty in them – so what the heck, lol!

    1. Exactly! You feel pretty in them and that’s what counts

  3. I never ever wear sleeveless because of crepy skin that, with recent weight loss is all the wY down my arms onto the forearm. I do not like the look and will continue to cover up unless the creme you mentioned works. I notice other people’s crepey arms and necks. I’m not mean, I just have eyes. I believe in covering what I can’t fix and then not worrying about it. In the summer I wear 3/4 sleeve tops that aren’t clingy, which keeps me comfortable. Another reader mentioned what to do at the beach or pool. I do not go in the water and hide from summer sun. So loose sleeves are right there too.

  4. I love what Kami said.
    We are what we are and should celebrate 🎉 it fully.
    Look at the inside and the outside shines through. ❤️

  5. Judy Freedman says:

    I still wear sleeveless tops and dresses in the summer because even with flappy arms it looks better than short sleeves. No matter how much yoga I do it doesn’t firm up the arms anymore. I’ll have to check out some of the creams you mentioned.

  6. I’m wearing sleeveless right now. A little addition to the foregoing discussion about body-shaming us: my not-favorite compliment is “You look so good for your age!”

  7. With that beautiful smile, who’s looking at your arms anyway?

  8. That shirttail dress looks amazing! Perfect for summer everything! Many of us are less toned due the pandemic halting our usual workout routines. If you’re among the lucky, your genes are holding you together! But, for heaven’s sake, aging skin isn’t something to agonize over!!! – Get a cancer/illness diagnosis and you’ll know what I mean. (And, what do y’all do at the pool or beach at the sight of your cellulite?!) Forget those granny gowns and wear what looks good on you and makes you happy. Only rude and unfriendly types care about your appearance. Thank you Jennifer for another great post!

  9. I’m cooler natured so I rarely wear anything sleeveless. In my area, we’re rarely above 90′ and indoor air conditioning almost always seems chilly to me. I do have some sleeveless tops I can wear for outdoor activities or for layering. I hope you’ll let us know what you think of the Retinol cream after you’ve used it a while

    1. I will let you know

  10. I actually don’t own anything sleeveless. It doesn’t usually get to hot where I live but right now we are going to have a week in the 100’s! I think I might be looking for some sleeveless tops now. I remember reading a book where a 70 year old woman called her upper arms flags!! That kind of stuck with me.

  11. Nice casual look Jennifer. Life is too short to worry about our arms! Cheers, Deb

  12. Lynne A Johnson says:

    I appreciate the retinol product suggestion. It is so much less expensive than the product I’ve been using and the reviews are encouraging. I have no problem going sleeveless, but if my arms can improve, so much the better.
    Your outfit is cute too!

  13. I use hand weights to tone my arms and it works. I use self tanner as well. I wear short sleeves when I run errands mostly
    . We get in the 90’s in Texas, but AC Is cold in stores so iI don’t wear many sleeveless. If it is an out door event in summer I would.
    Most skin hanging is loss of collagen and muscle tone. Part of aging. We can age gracefully. Keep exercising and ear well.

  14. Looking grrrreat, Jennifer and do appreciate the links provided today. Reason being, this summer is the first year that I can say I am concerned about showing my arms due a crepey appearance caused in my case I believe from a lack of toning as well as unintentional weight loss. That said; I consider myself fortunate as am 74 years old but because of a lot of pain (this past winter) from an old back injury I just wasn’t physically active as I normally was which in turn affected my eating habits to that of smaller portions (though still were nutritious). Also shall mention; genetically I am slender so cannot afford to loose weight so am hoping that a few daily laps in the pool (weather permitting) and an exercise routine on a rowing machine will not only improve the appearance of my arms but more importantly my overall physique/endurance. Keeping my fingers crossed …. ☺.

  15. I have made peace with my flabby upper arms! I live in the humid hot South so I wear linen and gauze as much as possible. I do the self tanner on my inner arm but will investigate the retinol. If someone wants to do a photo, I keep a button down linen or cotton shirt close.

  16. Gerri A Russell says:

    Like one of the previous comments, this article struck a chord with me, too. I’m 75 y/o, 5’3″ and weigh 123 (I work to keep healthy and active) and I will wear sleeveless dresses and tops as long as I want to. Like the previous post, I’m saddened and disgusted by the societal pressure on girls and women to look a certain way and hide yourself when you don’t. Wear what makes you feel like the best you!

  17. This whole topic really struck a chord with me. Whether it is saggy upper arms, wrinkles on the face or thickening around the middle, it is such a shame that from the time we are young girls we have been trained to focus on and be critical of all the parts of our bodies that we believe, or have been told, do not conform to an arbitrary and unrealistic standard of beauty. Even already beautiful models are airbrushed and photoshopped into a hyper-idealized version of beauty that rarely even occurs in nature! And yet, companies are making a lot of money on self care products and clothing designed to help us aspire to this unattainable beauty ideal. There have been some efforts to move away from the thin is in/youth=beauty paradigm, but progress has been slow. Women can be beautiful at any age or size, and not only in spite of but because of their “imperfections.” Every pound gained or lost, wrinkle or scar added or inevitable change in our body shape is a product of a life fully lived–bearing and raising children, caring for or worrying about others, time spent outdoors in nature, enjoying meals with family and friends, working productively at our jobs or facing and defeating illness. We should be celebrating our bodies for seeing us through life’s challenges, and not disparaging our perceived flaws and imperfections every time we look in the mirror. I fully embrace the idea that we should all dress in a way that makes us feel confident and good about ourselves. However, when we don’t feel good about our appearance, we need to question whether that is because what we are wearing is not reflecting our true, authentic selves, or if we are instead measuring ourselves against a media and consumer driven image of beauty that by design is guaranteed to make us feel we are falling short. The fact that we, as women, are even debating whether or not we can wear sleeveless tops after a certain age demonstrates how deeply ingrained these ideas are for most of us–myself included. (I am certain that very few men are having similar conversations!) I hope we can all aspire to dress in clothes that are beautiful, comfortable and enhance the way we are living our lives in a way that makes us happy to be who we are.

    1. I totally agree, Kami. And very well said – thank you.

    2. Doris May Casavant Casavant says:

      And I so agree Well said , you’ve covered it all. What a shame we feel self conscious about our looks as we age, one thing I did email Jennifer about was not wearing nylons anymore for evening dress with short dresses, I think older women
      just look more ‘finished’ with a nice hose rather than bare legs in a pair of heels and white legs….. dressing up is fun, and young women do look nice with bare legs and heels, but I feel it’s not a look for older women. Any one else feel the same?

    3. Kami, you are absolutely correct. This is just what I needed to hear today! Thanks for the reminder

    4. I can’t imagine any man having these sort of thoughts about their body

  18. Anne Manthe says:

    Since our bodies are all so different, we’re bound to have different “issues” regarding which parts we’re willing to bare. Upper arms have never been a problem for me. At 72, I have no wings or flaps, and if the skin on my upper arms is not as smooth as it used to be, well so be it. I live in a hot, humid climate and nothing is as cooling to me as a sleeveless top. The white veiny legs need to stay covered, but arms are the least of my worries wardrobe-wise.

    But don’t get me started on the “half-tuck.” With my no longer flat belly, tucking in the front of a shirt is the absolutely least flattering look for me. It’s like putting my worst feature on display. Different bodies, different problems.

  19. Darla Hughes says:

    Hi – I’m 58 and don’t think twice about it. It gets HOT here and sleeveless is a must in my opinion. I do use self-tanner every 3 days and moisturize and exercise, but that’s about it. Most of my friends around my age go sleeveless also, even my mother does. I think people are critical of their own bodies and see things that others do not. It is important to remind ourselves of that when we get focused on one little area.

  20. At 70, I now have the extra sagging skin in my upper arms. My weight is where it should be and I exercise each day. So, I accept that this is how I look! I wear sleeveless tops when it is hot outdoors. I don’t think anyone else really cares how my arms look. I don’t want the expense of buying creams for my arms. I feel fortunate that I can be active and decided not to worry about the annoying and not especially attractive changes our aging bodies are going through. Let’s show our daughters how to accept our bodies and concentrate on our minds and hearts.

    1. Yes!! I love this Dee

  21. I seem to have some weird inner alarm that prevents me from any sleeveless, plunging or mini anything. Fortunately, I have found several cool clothing options that allow me to tolerate the heat somewhat. I am accepting where I’m at today and don’t dwell on all those “wishful” thoughts.
    You look so cool and confident in your little cotton dress and sandals. I love the simplicity of this outfit! Very modern and youthful!
    It’s summer, just find what works for you and have fun!

    1. Happy Wednesday Jan

  22. I at 77 I wear sleeveless and do not care , because we are sweltering in heat this week, I feel for my age I look ok. I exercise most days, use a self tanning lotion every 3rd day and also allow myself a few minutes a week in the sun just to get a slight tan …. I feel all of the above help but I am proud to wear what I can at my age! It is part of aging and Jennifer you look great , I love your blog but I agree weight loss plays a huge part in wrinkles. That is why I always keep a few extra pounds on my body!! Lol. Keep cool and thanks for doing what you do so well…..

    1. Sue, I loved your comment which showed courage and resilience, both unmistakeable signs of a True Stylish Lady! And we all age if we live. Age means life and life may show. I also agree with you on the fact that a healthy amount of subcutaneous fat keeps the wrinkles at bay. It looks far better than a raisin- like papery skin. Especially in the face. Have a lovely day!

    2. Thanks for being here, Sue. I love your attitude.

  23. Susan Blakey says:

    Cute dress, Jennifer, and it looks like it would be quite comfortable in the heat. I hadn’t thought of retinol for the arms, but that’s an interesting idea…

    It’s always so fun to collaborate with you and the “team!”

    1. I love your post Susan!!

  24. Doing planks and pushups for years, using hand weights – it helps with the shape of my upper arms, but not the creepy skin. Still I keep at it to stay strong and active, but my expectations for fixing the tinkling skin are low after all these years. I wear tank tops in the hottest weather, having a light tan does help make that area less noticeable.

    1. I’m surprised it took me this long to try self tanner on my arms:)

  25. cant worry about it yet….living in south florida, july and august, i am noticing my upper arms more these days, but this humidity, youre going to melt and or pass out in long sleeves….how the landscapers stand it, is beyond me…also the serious bicyclist…..my pcp put it in a relative way, when he said people up north stay inside December and January, and we stay inside july and august…

  26. Thanks for post. Have to say it is on my mind these hotter months. The challenge is finding tops and dresses that are cool and still cover arms. Most outfits don’t, and tend to cut off at most noticeable part of hanging skin. Not practical to wear shawls, jackets and sweaters for casual dressing all the time. I work out or do yoga every day and it doesnt help.I haven’t resolved this issue. I think women’s clothing designers need to be more aware about designing clothes for hot weather for casual lifestyle. Not everyone stays in air conditioning all day.

    1. It’s always puzzled me why most women’s dresses are sleeveless! What’s up with that?

  27. Nope ! Won’t do it … but I do have off-the-shoulder with a ruffle tops that I hope deflects the eye away from the bat wings to an attractive neckline

  28. Paulette Levy says:

    You look adorable as always! Cool looking dress! I do occasionally wear sleeveless during our warmest and most humid months. I tend to add a shawl or ruana if going out to dinner. The underside of my upper arms are crepey but the topside is really not bad. I see my dermatologist in August and will ask for one of these products . She has a little kiosk alongside her medical practice carrying lots of sun block products, creams etc and I’m certain she has some of these products you
    mention. I do use hand weights but I’m not sure if that has helped?

    1. I’m using light hand weights but think I need to use heavier ones

  29. I don’t shy away from sleeveless tops or dresses. At work I wear them with a jean jacket or shrugs because the AC is COLD! I won’t wear them outside running because of the sun. This is another natural part of aging. The dress is cute on you.

    1. It really is, you’re right. Aging has its joys and challenges. I’m just trying to roll with them and smile.

  30. Tania Denise Stephens says:

    I have extremely dry skin, so I had crepey looking skin way before I started aging. You’ll have to let me know about that cream and how it works for you. You look great in your outfit, and your arms don’t look loose or saggy at all! BTW, Tania sent me…wait, I AM Tania. Lol!!!

    1. You are hilarious! I love you girlxxx

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