Microtrend alert: Why we want our sleeves extra long

It's the new hemline

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Milan Fashion Week

Sleeves are like the reliable cousin of our wayward hemlines. They are sensible, consistent  things — wrist-length and warm or short and breezy. And with the exception of a bell shape here, or a batwing there, they were generally the fairly unremarkable necessity to a nice top.

That was until a crew of influential designers began to devote attention to it. On the autumn/winter 2015 catwalks Stella McCartney, Giorgio Armani and The Row amplified their sleeves with a few extra inches, stretching them into knuckle-grazers, or running them right past the fingertips. French newcomer Jacquemus made his shirtsleeves so long you could simply poke your hands through the plackets, leaving the cuffs dangling.

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Stella McCartney AW15

And then the street style set caught on to it, making it one of our favourite looks of the season. Yes, we agree that sleeves extending far beyond a reasonable length can impose some inconveniences. But fumbling with doorknobs, struggling to operate your phone and waving like a loon aside, there are many pros to this directional look. It's a trend with benefits, if you will.

1. You'll save a few quid on gloves.

2. You can use them to smuggle small snacks.

3. They're an easy way to hide a chipped manicure.

4. Or avoid handshakes (if you're not fond of personal contact).

5. They'll hide rueful mid-week nightclub stamps (t'is the season, but your boss doesn’t need to know that).

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Paris Fashion Week

Early adopters on the front row at the spring/summer 2016 shows clapped their flailing sleeves wildly as the XL sleeve made a billowing return to the catwalk, this time courtesy of Topshop Unique, Gucci and newbie designers Ellery and Rosie Assoulin. With longevity on our side (sorry), we feel its time to get involved. For street style inspiration on the microtrend with maximum imapct, scroll on.

London Fashion Week

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Images: IMAXtree

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