I Would Give Anything for a Shirt With Normal Sleeves

But I'm constantly being vexed by Big Regency

Beautiful woman in vintage clothing sitting on lawn in front of stately home holding onto bonnet

I am no fashion expert. I am a simple man. I put my pants on one leg at a time, just like you do. But then I put on my shirt, and things start to get complicated. The sleeves are just so big, not like they used to be when I was young.

I know women are taught from a young age to think their arms look fat in photos, so maybe this is part of it. Subterfuge. And as we learned in The Devil Wears Prada, everything trickles down from couture houses. Perhaps sleeves are puffy right now because once upon a time in 2020 someone invented “regency core.” This is fine for dresses; I’ve been known to wear a billowing sleeve or two to a formal event. And I understand the appeal of a nap dress with sleeves all akimbo. But when I am not attending a charity gala or frolicking in the grass for a photoshoot with Petra Collins, I just want a normal shirt with normal sleeves.

At the risk of sounding like an old fuddy duddy advocating only for skintight stylings akin to the new Forever 21 x Herve Leger capsule collection, sleeves aren’t normal anymore. Sleeves shouldn’t be airy and diaphanous, they should be unassuming, slightly snug, and played close to the armpit.

None of these shirts, at a variety of price points, have normal sleeves:

Old Navy

Fashion Nova



& Other Stories


Lisa Says Gah


Miu Miu

Alexander McQueen

Yes, a few (but not most) of these are explicitly marketed as “puffy-sleeved,” and many of the brands represented also offer shirt options on the normal end. But based on months of research, the normal options are losing the war and Big Puff is poised to prevail. Enough of the showing off here. It is time to make sleeves normal again.