Sunday, January 18, 2009


My first lesson is on a subject I love very much. A gigot (ghe-go’) is a type of sleeve that is also known as a leg-of-mutton. It looks exactly like you think it would. The fabric is very full at the shoulder and decreases in fullness at a fitted wrist.

A sister of the gigot is the demi-gigot which is full only from the shoulder to the elbow and then fitted from the elbow to the wrist. This style is not as appealing to me likely due to the lack of food in its name.

The leg-of-mutton sleeve was popular in women’s fashion from the Romantic period (1820 - 1850) up until the 1890’s. In the Edwardian period that followed, women’s sleeves shifted in the opposite direction. Sleeves were now fitted at the shoulder and grew wider towards the elbow. A good example of this style is the kimono sleeve.


Currently, I have a sweater in my closet whose sleeves look very much like a gigot. This could also be due to the sweater being an extra large and I am a small since its made by Candies and they aren’t known for their hip-ness. Either way, it gives the same effect and this is why I bought it (okay and it was only 8 dollars). Sorry I don’t have a picture of this for you right now.

Another modern example of the leg-of-mutton was modeled by the always fashion conscious Kelly Wearstler who judges on Top Design. Kelly put her own spin on a gigot blouse in Season 1 by pairing it was a nice plaid skirt and hair that doesn’t belong to any time period.


As much as I hate to even write her name, Kenley from Project Runway designed a dress for the Astrology challenge in Season 5 that clearly had hyper-gigot sleeves. The point of the challenge was to design an outfit that represented the astrological signs in an avant garde manner. Interestingly, Kenely was called out by Michael Kors for ripping of Victor and Rolf and Balenciaga in this challenge. She defened the outfit up and down saying she isn’t a thief (heck, she doesn’t even watch the runway shows) and swore it was avant garde. I know I didn’t take French but avant garde typically refers to something that is innovative; something we have never seen before. And as you can see, Kenley is not only a rip-off but also a good fashion history student so that’s at least one positive thing about her! Thanks and I hope you enjoyed your first lesson!


For this blog and all future blogs, I’ll be consulting “Survey of Historic Costume” by Phyllis Tortora and Keith Eubank. Thanks guys!

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