Lesley Ebbetts is the brains behind WithSleeves, a specialist range of tops and dresses all designed with sleeves for those of us who prefer to cover their upper arms – perfect for the upcoming party season.
Lesley will be joining us for the final WithSleeves shows of the year on Wednesday, so we asked her to give us a bit of background on the brand’s ethos…
“Ever since I was seventeen and became a fashion assistant on a magazine and newspaper group in Fleet Street, I have been in love with style.
“Over the years since then – being a fashion editor of three national newspapers, four magazines and fashion expert for three TV Breakfast shows and nine years on This Morning – nothing has changed.
“I still love the ever-changing rollercoaster of fashion trends and look forward to wearing a new look each season from the catwalks adapted for my age.
“Some seasons are more difficult than others. Women like me often find that becoming a ‘new age’ also means the fashion world has decided we should choose from high street stores and catalogues that appear to want to dress us like our elderly mothers. What an irony – those of us who were teens in the 60s and 70s were those who had started the fashion revolution, exactly because we were being dressed like our mothers and not the teenagers we were!
“Eventually, something changed. Up and down catwalks and on red carpets, the dress returned.
“A modern, sculpted, shapely, figure-hugging, brightly coloured, paint box printed dress. Wonderfully grown up, it said ‘look at me’ – ideal for strong and feminine women – and it was quickly named the ‘Diva’ dress. In many variations on this theme, it became perfect for the woman of a certain age.
“But, all of them were designed without sleeves. After a while I stopped being happy just talking about, writing and styling fashion, and with QVC’s invaluable help started my own revolution. In 2011, WithSleeves was born.
“Every dress reflects my vision to put a strong, wearable, fashion-forward message to my fellow baby boomers.
“Four years later the vision is as strong, if not stronger, and lately I have dropped the some hems for the customers who aren’t particularly happy in the shorter skirt length and will love our new message: WithSleeves – NoKnees!
“The WithSleeves show later this week also includes strong separates. It seems tops with sleeves are what everyone wants, and I have added a long skirt – renamed by fashion the ‘ball’ skirt – too, as it is a much-loved look this season, especially paired with an oversized sweater or evening top. Lace is still so loved and desired, so I’ve used it to decorate a great top and matching cardigan, as well as a divine jersey day dress. I’ve also included a few images of other pieces from the range you can see by tuning in on Wednesday – but there’s much more on offer than just these few!
“Hope you join us and love it all as much as I do!”