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I Still Care About Three Quarter-Sleeve Shirts

Even if no one else does.

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A scan of the Delia’s catalog Photo: dELiA*s Catalogs/Tumblr

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When was the last time you saw a three quarter-sleeve shirt? Not a long-sleeved shirt pushed up to the elbows, not a T-shirt that runs a little long — a legit three quarter-sleeve shirt. I’ll tell you when: probably not since 2001.

Which begs two important questions: Where did they go? And why does no one care about what was arguably the most practical shirt style to have ever been invented? (Think about it: When was the last time you wore a long-sleeved shirt that you didn’t push up to at least the mid-forearm?)

I grew up in suburban New Jersey, and there were no shortage of three quarter-sleeve shirts in my mall. We had Delia’s, of course, and a Wet Seal, Contempo Casuals (where I also bought my first thong...), the junior’s department of Macy’s, and G+G. At roughly $15 a pop, I had an entire arsenal of fitted, ribbed (very important) three quarter-sleeve tops, as well as lots of two-sets: the camis with matching shrugs that were also three quarter-sleeve in length. Between 1997 and 2002, I owned no real long-sleeved shirts.

And I’d like to return to that time. But now it’s 2017, and for the life of me I cannot find a robust selection of three quarter-sleeve shirts anywhere. I’ve found one good one from Vince that describes itself as an “elbow sleeve,” but let’s just called a spade a spade here. It’s three quarters, and I don’t know why Vince wouldn’t want to align itself with the smartest shirt style.

My question is, if we always wear and style shirts like this, this, this, and this, why don’t we just make them like that and save some fabric? My forearms need to breathe, and no feeling in the world is more aggravating than this.