I’ve just paid a visit to the high street to suss out the competition for cocktail dresses. Pleased to say it’s all looking a bit drab out there. Great news for a boutique like mine that specialises in evening wear all year round!

I’m loving the fact that this year we’ve managed to get some on-trend cocktail dresses and party dresses with sleeves. Probably the thing we are asked for most when it comes to occasionwear.

Cap sleeved, three-quarter length, full-length, sleeves with sparkly cuffs, cape-style sleeves – you name it, we’ve got it. Yes ladies there are dresses with sleeves out there!

A big hit is the cold-shoulder, a phrase coined by Hilary Clinton (or open-shoulder) cocktail dresses like those by Michaela Louisa . It’s fabulous if you want to show a bit of flesh without having to spread those bingo wings.

I think it’s perfect  – a bit sexy showing your shoulders without being over-the-top. Yet it still covers the parts of my arms I want it to.

Cocktail dresses with sleeves  – cover up the right way

Be careful. Sleeves can make a dress look frumpy – Duchess of Cambridge in that floral fashion faux-pas earlier this week – need I say more?!

Long, netted sleeves are sexy but by the nature of being see-through reveal a bit more.  You still need to be fairly confident about your arms.

Solid, long  sleeves can be a bit too heavy looking on some people so try three-quarter rather than full length.

On the other hand, long arms suit long sleeves.  Shorter sleeves can look like your dress is having an argument with your wrists.

Full-length sleeves with blingy cuffs make a statement and soften the whole look. Check out Frank Lyman party dresses for these styles.

Lace sleeves look feminine and can give a dress a vintage feel but again, don’t overdo the retro and end up frumpy!