Tuesday, June 11, 2013

That Fleshy Armpit Bit


A while back, I posted a magazine cover that showed a model from a side angle in a cap sleeve dress. Several people commented that the view of the model's fleshy underarm bit was unsightly. Now, while the angle of the photo wasn't my favorite for showing off a dress, it never would have occurred to me to be bothered by the model's underarm, of all things. I've spent long enough obsessing about various parts of my body, and it never even occurred to me that I was missing a vital part of myself to be disgusted by! So, to catch you all up: this is the part of the body where the arm meets the torso, and there's a little fold of flesh. Mon dieu!

Ever since then, I notice my fleshy underarm bits ALL THE TIME. There they are, just hanging out, being all unsightly.


I can't even get them to go away by distorting myself--no fair!

In all truthiness, I actually quite like those little flaps. I don't actually find them unsightly, unbecoming, or disgusting. I mean, what's the alternative? Maybe some sort of Barbie mutant arm that connects to the torso by plastic peg . . .

What does bother me, is that I'm now aware of the fleshy armpit bits. I scrutinize photos of myself, wondering if I'll be criticized like the model on the cover of that magazine. And I seriously resent having one more part of my body to worry about--like it wasn't enough to obsess over my tummy, triceps, biceps, hips, thigh circumference, inner thigh area, neck waddle, ankles, boobs, back fat, saddlebags, behind-knee area, hairy toes, upper lip, . . . . ok, you get the point.

So, here's my suggestion: can we all just agree, as women, that the fleshy armpit bit is of no concern? That it's normal, not repulsive? That it doesn't need to be covered in shame? Because, seriously, my brain is going to explode if I spend one more second worrying about it.

Or, alternatively, we could decide that it's just the sexiest part of the body ever and flaunt our armpit flaps brazenly all summer. What do you think?


158 comments:

  1. I've had trouble with my arm pit bits since i noticed them as a kid...its hard to get over it and i try to every day! I'm with you on just calling it sexy and moving on with the happier parts of my life! Thanks for the post Gertie :)

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    1. Indeed! Heaven help the Un-Photoshopped Women of the World, we are as nature made us. It is essential ease for a working joint, and I think it is kinda cute myself.
      Gertie, you have my blessing to immediately cease fretting and commence flapping! xo

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    2. hee hee essential ease. this comment alone has made all the difference to my world - i do not own a single sleeveless item of clothing. a million thanks

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  2. Wohoo! Well said! 100% agreed. Let's rather work on loving the parts that are commonly scrutinized already, instead of adding more sources for insecurity and self-hatred.

    Reminds me of all the articles about the rise in plastic surgery in the intimate region... just... no. *insert Grumpy Cat here*

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  3. I have never noticed the flaps before because... doesn't everyone have them? Unless they don't have arms, I suppose... I'm all for declaring it and every part of our bodies sexy. I'm tired of this assault on our looks just because we don't look like a photoshopped model.

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  4. I suggest we deem the armpit flap magical. Then it will be mystical and precious. We will all spend hours staring at them in the mirror, eyes round with awe and wonder. We may even compose songs to them, oh mystical magical armpit flaps... ok maybe not. Worth a shot though.

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  5. "flaunt our armpit flaps brazenly all summer" I love it!
    I feel pretty self-conscious about that part of my body and pay close attention to how a garment reveals or conceals it. I feel my pitflaps are often exposed by shoulder straps that aren't set far enough apart for my broad shoulders. Strapless is okay if I alter the pattern so that it doesn't cut into them. pitflap muffin top is the worst!

    My understanding, and I might be totally wrong, is that they are an extension of breast tissue, so that those of us who are bustier have extra pitflappage.

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    1. I think you're right about it being breast tissue. Whenever I get a mammogram those bits get pressed also. The technician told me it's because it's not regular fat, but breast fat, and therefore more prone to cancer.

      I call mine "bat wings" in the hidden hope that one day I'll be able to fly.

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    2. Marsha, may you be able to fly one day, because man, you just made me laugh. ;) Delightful. k.

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    3. the muslinette, I love the term and I think it should be pronounced with an exaggerated French accent: le pitflappauge'. So elegant.

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    4. oh my god marsha, that's brilliant.

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    5. YES! Pitiflappage and bat wings in the same thread :)

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    6. There is a great resource on reddit for fittings bras - that flat can be largely minimised by wearing the right sized bra and doing the swoop and scoop. See the following links:

      This is what started it all: http://www.reddit.com/r/ABraThatFits/comments/rh26h/is_getting_fitted_for_a_bra_as_humiliating_as_it/c469bi0

      http://www.reddit.com/r/ABraThatFits/wiki/quick

      http://brasandbodyimage.wordpress.com/2012/09/05/putting-your-bra-on-properly/

      WARNING: Following these steps may lead you to requiring new bras, once you find out all your bras are TOO small in the bust

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  6. I agree. It is what it is. I felt so sad when my mother voiced her concerns over showing hers at my wedding. Like... really? This is important? Could we not focus on smiling and being happy and comfortable instead?

    The issue is that so many magazines, advertisers, products, etc manipulate bodies in images in ways we don't pay attention to that we are starting to forget what real bodies look like. We have armpits. We have skin. We have fleshy bits that allow us movement. Let's stop pretending that we don't.

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  7. I am heartily in favor of brazen flaunting.

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  8. Ha! I'm generally quite small, but definitely well endowed in this one area. My little sister once delighted in poking this exposed soft flesh whenever possible. publicly. Sigh. So i'm all for a moratorium on adding more things we should be ashamed of!!

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  9. uh-oh. off to check in the mirror right now.

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    1. My thoughts also, it was nothing I ever noticed but now I have to go see. Wait.....ugh, I've been walking around with exposed breast for how long? When did this happen to me?

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  10. “That lady is so pretty, I just can’t get past her unsightly armpit flaps,” said no man ever. This is a sad and perfect example of how women cause other woman to have body insecurities a lot more often than men do. When I was a kid, I always heard woman talk about how they hated their arms and how they would never show them in public. I remember thinking “WTF?” (What the fudge, since I was a child), “Who cares about what an arm looks like? It’s just an arm!” While arms are useful, they are still just not worth stressing over-and for that matter, neither is any other part of a woman’s (or man’s) body. Learn to see yourself the way the person who loves you most on the planet (your hubby, your mom, your sister or whoever) does and you will live a happy and more productive life.

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    1. I agree with you Nikki! My mom always warned me not to draw others attention to what I considered to be my flaws..especially my husband, he doesn't see them and I only look less attractive when I pick myself apart. I personally believe I was wonderfully created by God and should love myself as much as He loves me.
      Thanks Gertie for sharing your lovely creations and modelling them beautifully for all of us!! A true beauty!

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  11. hehe armpit flaps.

    I promise not to ever say anything disparaging about anyone's armpit flaps.

    Here's my answer to anyone who does: It's part of my arm yo...you gotta problem with it?

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  12. I really can't see the point of fussing about a very normal part of everyone's anatomy. Yes, we can all be very critical of our own bodies, but should we be overly worried by the fleshier sections?
    Writing as someone who is not many months from the age of sixty, I feel incensed that anyone should be overly critical of anyone else's body.
    Gertie, please don't be concerned about your own bodyshape. Keep showing us your creations, as well as describing any alterations you make. I just wish the rest of the fashion industry could be as honest and helpful.
    Thanks so much for your posts about sewing. I, for one, have learnt such a lot.

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  13. I have this problem and I always thought that it must have been from ill fitting bras (I have tried so many to try to rid myself of this problem) or ill fitting tops (strapless tops/dresses are the worst). However, I do not see this problem in your pictures.
    But yeah if this could be an ignored area, I would jump on that. I don't need that in the pile ontop of muffin top and thunder thighs

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  14. Agreed. It seems there are always the negative Nellie's out there. I've been trying to focus on the whole package, not just the bits I don't like, and really learning to accept a compliment when it's given. Thank you Gertie.

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  15. "What do I think about this?" I think that people need to seriously get a grip. We have arms, they connect to our bodies, ergo fleshy bits. If we didn't have the fleshy bits,we wouldn't be able to raise our arms. Then we wouldn't be able to ask questions, hail taxis, brush our hair (or teeth!!), give someone a cuddle, throw a ball etc etc. Where would we be then? And btw (for the sake of hilarity) some people love these areas a *little* more than they should (unless the term "bagpiping" is an urban legend)...

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    1. Haha, just looked that up!!

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  16. Agh! Whoever brought that up in the first place, shame on her. I still remember how free I felt when I finally decided I was going to wear sleeveless garments whenever I felt like it and if someone else didn't like looking at my upper arms, tough. I haven't been arrested yet. And Gertie, this should be the worst of your worries. You always look great.

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  17. Oh boy, there's not enough time for me to worry about that part of my body anymore. I thought it was caused by ill fitting bras but got professionally measured and was told by the fitter that it's perfectly normal and almost inevitable if your bra is properly supportive, especially for well endowed ladies. This is my new approach when I look in the mirror - in 20 years time would I look at the body I have now and criticise it? I think the answer is 'no' so I might aswell appreciate it now! :)

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    1. Fantastic technique! Seriously, I look back on photos of myself 5, 10, 15 years ago and think: what the hell was I so bent out of shape about? Why was I so hung up on my imperfections?
      This definitely puts my present body worries in perspective.

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  18. I have really never noticed that bit of anyone's body before or even thought of it as an 'armpit flap'. It's just part of the arm, so whatever. Agree that women do not need anything new to worry about their bodies and anyone who would leave a comment pointing out something like that is clearly an idiot.

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  19. I've never noticed that 'flap' before, but I have to admit I have a weird phobia of people seeing/touching my armpit. I just find it really weird although, before I thought about it recently, I wasn't bothered at all. People are strange!

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  20. Urg, major pet peeve of mine. This is one of those stupid things I do not understand. It has become standard practice to photoshop out the crease/fold that occurs on EVERY WOMAN EVERYWHERE. Just like the little creases on your back that happen when you turn to look behind you, always photoshopped out of magazines etc. Seriously, dig up an unretouched Victoria Secret pic and you will see even lingerie models have armpit flaps and back creases when they twist. It's necessary to be able to use your joints. Time to move on, people, and stop criticizing the few magazines that DON'T turn every model into a plastic fabrication of human-ness.

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    1. indeed. If you didn't have that extra flap you wouldn't be able to raise your arms...and I think THAT would be a significant drawback in your life. ;) k.

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  21. Hahahahaha!

    Armpit flaps??? That's definitely a new one for me! Talk about silly!

    What ISN'T silly is that some thoughtless person's comment has made you feel self-conscious!

    Gertie, I think you're an absolute stunner, and hope that after this you can just forget about your 'underarm flaps' or whatever they are!

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  22. I used to know a guy who thought that area was a very sexy area on a woman. He loved summertime clothes, and was in heaven when women would wear tank tops and spaggetti straps!

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  23. Oh good grief it is all fine. We need to stop seeing any human who is not a skeleton as fat.

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  24. I'm amazed at what I learn reading sewing blogs! I've just googled armpit flaps and your images from this post comes up the most! I can't really see what you mean as you don't seem to have any excess flesh there. You can bet I'll be checking in the mirror tonight to see if I have an armpit problem though! Thanks for the heads up!

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  25. Kudos to you Gertie! Life's too short to worry about minutea like this. P.S. Love your blog.

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  26. I'm 50/50 with that bit. I don't notice it ... or it doesn't bother me when I wear tank tops, but if I even try on a strapless top/dress that little bit just bothers me SO much....therefore I don't buy/wear very many strapless items. :-(

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  27. Brilliant blog post again Gertie! I must admit that I've long noticed, and disliked, that part of my body. However, I hate other parts more so it never became a big problem...haha! I'm all for calling a truce with it and declaring it sexy ;o)

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  28. I was a bit nonplussed by that comment when I first saw it; like, is that little bit where the arm joins the body this year's cellulite? Do we really want to invent a new thing to criticise women's bodies for, and worry about ourselves? I thought the original picture was gorgeous, and the idea that a perfectly normal bit of a perfectly normal (gorgeous!) woman's body should be seen as "unsightly" just seems daft.
    We are not Barbie dolls; we don't have neat plastic ball-joints at hip and shoulder!

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  29. I was one of the people who commented on that post, that I didn't like that bit either. I meant that I don't like that style that shows that part of the arm. I like vest-type straps, I like long sleeves, I like short sleeves, I like strapless, I like mid sleeves. But a cap sleeve is neither one nor the other and I just don't like them. I didn't mean that that bit shouldn't be shown (I wear vest tops all the time, even though I had an operation which meant that I had muscles from my back brought through under my arms to the front to form pouches to hold breast implants, which in turn means that part of me is quite chunky!). No need for anyone to get all paranoid about pit flaps. Although I do think it's an area that can be celebrated. With vest sleeves, obviously! ;0)

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  30. I have never ever noticed this on anyone before, so it obviously doesn't bother me. It's odd how something doesn't exist unless we become conscious of it.



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    1. Also, just look how beautiful you are...and you're worrying about a silly little bit of fleshy stuff we all have! Stop it right now this minute! :)

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  31. I've been raised in a way that made me not conscious at all of things like that, my parents and especially my mom never made any comments on body form of either men or women. It is only now that I realize how lucky I am, and I hope I'll manage to do the same witb my kids. Its simply a waste of time and happiness, to worry about parts of our anatomy that are supposed to be there. And people are supposed to look different! And yes, unfortunately it's mainly women making women feel bad. Thank you for taking the official step in the right direction. Julia

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  32. I've never really noticed my front armpit flaps, though I have been bugged by excess flesh at the back armpit and have avoided sleeveless dresses for that reason, though I adore cap sleeves. I worry my arms look too fat when I wear that style. :( sigh. I agree that we should definitely stop worrying about various body parts, and just celebrate who we are by wearing what we want! There should not one standard of beauty; we should all realize beauty comes in many forms and the diversity of beauty is part of what makes everyone so lovely.

    On the other hand, there are some styles that flatter figures more than others, but still, armpit flesh isn't really a big deal. I truly never notice it on anyone else.

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  33. ah ha ha ha...so so funny..I know I have the same concerns and yet I have never put a name to the troll...I think I have developed blindness to this part of my body - and have subconsciously just covered up!! So now what?! I agree with all comments...this is unjust to the female body; we are so pretty in all our shapes and forms..let's flaunt our bodies in selfmade outfits that stands out and shows what we are all about: Creative, innovative, self-aware persons who can be proud of what we can do. Thanks Gertie.

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  34. Women can be so ridiculous in their criticism of other women. It comes across as, "I hate myself, so I'm going to tear you down." I don't let other people and their issues affect me. Show your armpits (as long as they're shaven).

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  35. You have just made me laugh so much! Sorry, I know it is a worry to you. I have more of a roll of flab there but thankfully have been more worried about bristly armpits than armpit muffin tops. You look so beautiful in whatever you wear and to be honest I am too busy studying your sewing masterpieces and tattoos to notice body bits. Anyway curses to anyone who judges another person for a wayward lip whisker or fat ankles. XXXX

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  36. You look lovely! I'm so glad that I'm not the only one with hairy toes. Seriously, I thought I was the only one......;)

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  37. You're so funny! And yes, you do have very sexy armpitflesh, you!! LOL!

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  38. My only concern with my fleshy armpit bits is that when my arms are down they are uneven; one's pudgier than the other and I like as close to symmetry when I can see something so close up.

    My boyfriend of nearly 11 years likes those flaps and basically anything I want to scrutinize so I am (VERY) slowly learning to accept some less than desirous parts. ...but the tummy has to GO!! AUGH!

    And I think you look fabulous! You have great contours and I love your tattoos and hair!

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  39. I think we should all agree to love ourselves just the way we are! Women are BEAUTIFUL! Of course, this doesn't apply to myself. I'm far too overweight, lumpy, jiggly, wide, round, etc for this to apply to me. (We are our own worst critic.)

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  40. let's declare world wide sexy fleshy armpit day :-) and we can all wear our sleeveles dresses to celebrate it!

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    1. oh and I just have to share this: http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/381642/april-13-2011/the-word---buy-and-cellulite

      Stephen Colbert's funny and very poignant message on how multinational companies have gotten real got at creating imaginary problems their "innovative" products can magically fix. He calls them shame-o-vations

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  41. My sis in law calls it 'armpit boob'.

    I wouldn't even know which muscles to contract to exercise it!

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  42. Love the sarcasm, Gertie! And to the peeps who said it was unsightly: if it didn't exist, you wouldn't be able to get full arm movements without stretching the hell out of your skin. Good lord.

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  43. Goodness! Some people really don't have anything else better to do, do they? except pick out tiny little pieces of a whole person and bring it to the forefront - and for what outcome? to just end up making you feel bad about yourself? In primary school my "friend" once told me I was bug eyed and so for the rest of my life I was more obsessed about that then my crooked teeth (teeth being more important then bug eyes!) As an adult I know that I don't have bugged out eyes and I was silly to waste my time on worrying about it.
    Gertie when I look at your pictures, I'm looking at your garments (or that magnificent hair!) and I've never sat there and tried to pick out yours or any other sewing bloggers flaws. Since reading you blog I've always imagined you as being fairly confident with yourself - because being a sewer you have to come to reality with your body, so please don't let a silly throwaway comment by negative Nancy's bring you down! Chances are the poor thing might even be struggling with body image issues themselves and needs to project it onto someone else to feel better!

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  44. Holy crap your hilarious! I've never noticed arm pit flap either until NOW reading this post! OH no, look away Shannon, look away!!!!

    But agreed I'm going to let my armpit flap fly!!

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  45. I'm all for flaunting arm pit flaps. Sounds like a plan!

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  46. Somehow someway I remember a woman naming hers Floppy and Bob. Works for me!

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  47. Thanks for the belly laugh. I agree with having plenty of other things to worry about other than fleshy armpit flaps. I'm going to wear mine proudly this summer with a side of bra-induced back fat. YAY!!

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  48. Huh. I am 60 years old and my best friend a little older. Whenever we get together we end up having a hate session on the way we look, mostly about our bodies. We do this until one of us remembers our age and that it is, at last, incredibly unseemly to forego the wisdom we've earned to do this. On the other hand, I work with a bunch of women half my age who, for the most part, are always telling me and each other how great we look, don't seem to have this thing about being heavier than a model, or having bigger or smaller boobs. I think it's changing then until I catch my daughter doing the same thing to herself. And, can I say that I thought I was fat when I was 30 and I was 70 pounds less than I am now?

    Armpit fat be damned. Find a man or a woman who thinks the curve of the armpit is the sexiest thing of all.

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  49. Don't you hate that? As if women didn't have enough bits to worry about.

    How about this: I will not only brazenly flaunt them, I will let them flap in the wind like the banners of my womanhood! F*ck it!

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  50. Gosh I have never heard of nor noticed this phenomenon on others or on myself. Looking at your beautiful pictures I'm still not quite sure what I'm looking for.

    I think it best to remain ignorant than look for another way to find imaginary flaws or failures in wonderful women.

    Sarabeth
    Life of an Agnostic Sunday School Teacher

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  51. Looking good Gertie! I love your style so much! And i can't wait to try to make these!!

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  52. I think I adore you!
    Thanks for such a healthy attitude and encouragement!!

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  53. we call them Tuck Shop Lady Arms, made famous by a judge on Australian idol who criticised a contestant for showing too much flap! He was criticised widely here in Aust, but I'm sure it mortified the contestant, and affected thousands of women who previously didn't even consider their arms in a negative light.
    in any case, we as a gender need to stop attacking ourselves and each other

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  54. I was just going to comment more or less the same as Nikki O : just one more part of our bodies that men don't worry about ! (a different matter would be what might "emanate" from said area but let's not get graphic !) And as long as we're comfortable about how we look that's what's important, but naturally some of us will "see" ourselves better in some styles of garments than others. It's just learning about what suits you better, like a man would look better in a cut/colour than another. It's not about changing the body (and bits that can't be changed) but adapting to the style/cut/colour that most suits us (if that's what we want...if we want to wear a bag well hey, each to their own !)

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  55. When I read that original comment, I had to go back and look and the model-pic closely (under Zoom, yet) to see what she was talking about.
    That model was COVERED, in a pretty dress, which is more than I can say for most of Vogue magazine lately. I had no problem with the pic.
    Oh, and I've been working out with weight for 2 years, and this summer I plan to "brazenly flaunt" my *triceps.* For the first time in 50 years. I don't do "fat acceptance" really well, but how thin do I have to be?

    Sandy in TX

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  56. Like WHAT?!! We've got yet another part of our body to freak out over? At times like this, I'm reminded of the lyrics to a Regina Spektor song:

    "I've got a perfect body
    But sometimes I forget
    I've got a perfect body
    Because my eyelashes catch my sweat
    (Yes they do, they do-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh)"

    Happy to have some skin under my arm. xx

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  57. I have pretty big arm muscles from climbing. And they stick out in every pretty summer dress I have. So trust me, a bit of skin hanging is a lot better than Rambo-muscles sticking out hahahaha :)

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  58. Love this post! I think it is a terrific idea to brazenly flaunt those beautiful armpit flaps! I plan on showing mine off as much as possible this summer :o)

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  59. This has amused me, I too have enough body issues real or imagined, that I try and overcome daily. NO MORE. (well, except for 'x' part of me...)

    I read / skimmed the comments above and the reference to barbie dolls also made me laugh.

    Maybe the next photo shoot should be obviously photoshopped to show barbie doll arms and how ridiculous they would look, to demonstrate the point.

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  60. Go, Gertie, go! I am so tired of people finding things to pick on regarding women's bodies. It's making a lot of people paranoid. I saw someone ripping on a woman's feet the other day—the tops of her feet. They looked like...tops of feet. Normal feet that didn't have, say, aliens bursting out of them or hobbit hair (which might be a matter for concern, hormonally speaking) or *anything* wrong with them. I am not sure what the commenter was expecting, but it was weird. And she was pretty brutal about it, too.

    Can we stop? We are human, not plastic, not fembots (thank the Lord), not endlessly moldable nor in need of it. Armpit flaps. What? Yeesh. I say we stick those little rhinestones for manicures on them just for the sake of being contrarian and go about our lives!

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  61. Oh yes! I already obsess about other bits (or not "bits" :-D ) without needing to worry about other areas.... I'm with you. Jude.x

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  62. I'm piping up here to agree that NO parts of a woman's body is unsightly, all bits and 'not bits' are AMAZING!

    The main reason I sew to make things fit my amazingly unique body!

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  63. I have these! I don't tend to get my upper arms out that often (mostly due to the weather not being up to it where I live most of the time), but will now give it a go more often! I also have the bumpy skin on my upper arms (and calves) that some people have. I remember being really embarrasses by it when i was younger
    , but it doesnt worry me so much now that I am in my 30s - like many others, I wish i had spent far less time worrying about it when i was young,( and quite a bit thinner) than i am now. So stupid!

    Also, i had a look at the offending photo, and i couldnt see an "arc of flesh", let alone an offensive one. Ive seen this area highlighted in magazines such as 'Heat' that we have in the uk, where they put circles around celebrities' armpit crinkles in pap photos - and i just thought, that's just the way that their arm pit goes when they bend it like that. (And then i cursed myself for reading heat again. Argh!)

    Another also: Another commenter said that armpit area was the reason why she likes to sew vintage, as the arm pits are higher. I had a look at the pictures in your side bar of the old vogue patterns, and to my untrained eye at least, the arm holes look to be cut equally low as the pattern you did for the magazine recently. odd...

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  64. I believe the people who criticize must have some trapped emotion related to their own flaps, mostly their mouth. My response would be to tell them to deal with it, grow up and move on. You are beautiful Gertie! I wish I could pose as gorgeously as you do! It seems someone has a jealousy issue. Sherry

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  65. That is some serious body shaming. Wow, they should be embarrassed.

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  66. I have a friend who owns and shoots for an 'ethical erotica' company, which has several websites with photos of women of all shapes and sizes. He was telling me recently that having photographed so many women, he's gotten a little bored of the traditional focus areas, and developed a fetish for the curves of a woman's armpit! He quite literally talked to me for ten+ minutes about the exquisite beauty of this area of the anatomy. I went home that night and inspected my armpit in the bathroom mirror. No! It was just an armpit - neither beautiful nor ugly - simply nondescript and unremarkable. And then yet other people apparently find this part of the body unsightly. Isn't it funny how differently we humans can see when looking at precisely the same thing?

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  67. Hahahaha..you made me laugh.
    Its funny what we can scrutinize about our own bodies. I have been guilty of this myself.
    You look fabulous! arm pit flaps and all.

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  68. I think it's totally sexy! Great post.

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  69. Yes, with hot pink hair, a body full of tats, and kick-ass stylish clothing, the only thing anyone will ever notice on you is the little fold of skin that connects your arm to your body. Girl, go have a drink and kiss your hubby.

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  70. I have never even noticed that part of anyones body EVER let alone thought it was ugly...Im confused as to why these people thought it fine to rip on the model? Are they so perfect that a tiny natural fold deserves their imput? LONG LIVE UNDERARM BITS!! Ahem.
    Right on Gertie x

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  71. I realized a very long time ago, that every single little and/or big part of me is drop dead gorgeous. So is every other person on the planet, btw. Anybody who can't see it simply isn't really worth worrying about. In the words of Mr. T "I pity the fool."

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  72. Thank you!!! I don't get the problem with the armpit flap! It's not ever something I really look at, unless someone is wearing something that is definitely 3 sizes too small for them and it's kind of "protruding", but even then...

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  73. I think underarms are the new frontier for woman's body insecurity/hatred. Here in Australia (probably elswwhere too) we have ads for Dove deodorant that claim to render your armpits beautiful. Heaven forbid you should be seen in public without gorgeous underarms!

    I've also seen quite a few pins on Pinterest for exercises to target armpit fat (people still seem to think you can spot reduce. When will they ever learn?)

    Imagine what we could accomplish if we set our minds to IMPORTANT THINGS?

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  74. Hahaha What a silly thing for women to obsess over. I remember in college one of my suite mates started talking about another girls bras - that they had - gasp!!! - armpit stains. ON HER BRA! Seriously, who worries about stuff like that?

    Now, I have a bit of an issue with my armpit, but … I had breast cancer, had a double mastectomy and lymph nodes removed (I'm fine now, so please no one worry!) so my right armpit is just deformed. So I'm not exactly chomping at the bit to show it off. But guess what?? I'm not even supposed to shave on that side because one little nick to the skin could cause lymphedema, so I'm not exactly anxious to let that out in public either. Thankfully, I am more worried about my health than what someone else might think if the should happen to glimpse my (somewhat sparse, only growing in part of the pit because radiation killed the rest of the follicles) hairy pit.

    So yes, I'm totally with you on this. ;-)

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    1. I had exactly the same as you. Exactly. But I was never told not to shave and about the nicks possibly causing lymphodema. Insect bites, blood pressure cuffs, needles but never nicks. Google does tell me differently now though, although one of the Ladyshave-type things are fine apparently. Glad you're okay now xox

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  75. I just wanted to add that you have the sexiest armpits I have ever seen so I'm glad you are bringing this issue to the fore!!!

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  76. LOL! i only can say that women has to stop to complain about their body and enjoy life more :) our body is just a container of our beautiful soul, this is the only thing we have to care about. so I think your fleshy underarm is gorgeous and that those dresses are amazing on you, and yes, I can see your soul, and anyone agree with me when I say that it's a beautiful soul. xoxo Giusy

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  77. Gertie, I think that skin is like a gusset! If you don't have it you can't raise your arm. I was just thinking yesterday how cute you look in the blue dress. I never thought about my armpits and I refuse to start now... I will hang this on a poster ;) thanks for the post

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  78. I think we have all become brainwashed into how we THINK a woman's body should look, thanks to all the photos in magazines that are photo-shopped. Not to mention all the plastic surgery that is rampant in our society. Return me to days when it was highly desirable be of rubenesque proportions.
    Embrace the goddess within you & treasure yourself !!!

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  79. Honestly Gertie I have never ever noticed such a thing until you brought it up. I had no idea if I had them or not so I ran to the mirror to check. I'm old too and I don't have them so it must just be a genetic thing maybe and I see nothing at all unsightly of them and would never have noticed if you hadn't mentioned it.

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  80. Hahaha :-) You are *beautiful*! No man ever cared about details like armpits or any of the other things you listed, and we just have to stop. Here's the only thing to remember: a sad face will ruin any outfit!
    Thanks for sharing :-)

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  81. When I read your post I was somewhat surprised that anyone had commented on such a thing. It's so sad that many women are so critical of their own bodies and those of other women. My view is that life is too short to worry about what shape your body is, whether it's toned enough, etc. It's great to want to be healthy, but other than that I feel obsessing about such details is a waste of time!

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  82. I am so glad you picked up on this and pointed out how ridiculous it is. I used to work at a retouching studio and would work for fashion photographers and advertising. One thing we were always told to do was remove/reduce the armpit skin or shadow because it is 'distracting'. Total stupidity I thought, but I guess some people do pick up on it and think it weird that part of our human bodies are unsightly or distracting. If you look out for it, you'll see that all models in ads have smooth, sometimes non-existant armpits.
    It's another rant for another day about retouching and the problems it's caused, but on the armpit issue I say if you've got them flaunt them! Funny looking or not, they are part of us and don't warrant such negative attention.

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  83. It seems this is NOT a new thing. In Claire Shaeffer's Couture Sewing Techniques book there is a picture of a sleeveless top from the 1960s(p42) with what is described as an 'Armpit Flange'. This is a flap of material in the front armscye designed to cover the pit, I guess. Were they covering hair, the squidgy bit, or what? Seems women in the 1960s were subject to armpit tyranny too. Not sure about the use of the word flange though...

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  84. "flaunt our armpit flaps brazenly all summer"
    roflol! ha! let's do it
    i'm battling with my own body demons, have been for years '(ever since having first kid who's now near 15) and my DH's constantly disparaging remarks dont help. i remember reading the armpit comment and being all "what?! " they noticed that?really?! and then all "great! one more thing to worry about" you are gorgeous and shouldnt feel complexed about any thing. i took your mbook with me to a friend's house yesterday so she could help me with the portrait blouse and while there went into a local yarn and fabric store and pulled out book to see yardage for some gorgeous fabric. everyone had to look at book and gooshed and oohed and aahed over your designs but also over the art work and also over you <3

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  85. To any who took the time to over look the awesomeness of your dress and concentrate on (as I lovingly call mine) bingo wings (this also incorporates the sexy bit of underarm), WTF! Seriously people there is enough hate out there without being spiteful Get a life. Screw 'em! I think you are fab and your tutorial for Peter Pan collars is frikken awesome. As the kids say "haters gonna hate". I will now jump down from my soap box.

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  86. Guilty - I was one of the commentators who mentioned this on the original picture. Can I be quite clear - I did not mean to criticise anyone's body and I am sorry if my remarks were taken that way. What I meant was to imply that since if we sew we have the luxury of designing and making clothes that really shape to our bodies, we can cut and sew sleeveless garments so that the armhole line falls at the most natural crease point between arm and torso on us. As several people above have remarked, it's like getting fitted for a really well-fitted bra. I think pattern designers need to consider this, otherwise dresses can look as if they are too small and tight. When I designed and made my daughter's wedding dress I struggled over several muslins until I got that underarm line just right. And then it looked SO much better in the way dress sat and fell. Nothing in what I said was meant to reflect on anyone's body at all. I absolutely agree with everything that has been said about accepting ourselves the way we are and feeling confident about being ourselves.

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    1. Thanks, Anne! The post wasn't meant to target any of the comments, just my absurdity in worrying about such a thing. I agree with you about fitting--if I had custom fitted that dress, I might have made the armhole higher. Sadly, it was made to fit a dress form!

      You've got me musing on fit now, too--Fit is a difficult subject, and it's also very personal (what feels right to one person doesn't to another). the other thing is that clothes have the pesky habit of moving when a person moves. People are always pointing out wrinkles and drag lines that are usually caused by the way a model is moving--as though clothing is supposed to look like cardboard cutouts on our bodies.

      Anyway, that's a whole other ramble! :)

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  87. I think I'm a little late to the party on this one, but I have been obsessing about this for the past year and I had no idea that anyone else noticed! My problem is that one side is bigger than the other. It's always more pronounced when I'm on my period (something to do with boobs getting bigger or something?)but it always annoys me, and if I'm wearing something sleeveless I tend to tuck it in under my strap constantly. Thank you for bringing this up Gertie, and all of the lovely comments, you've helped me realise what I already knew. Sod the underarm, let your arms be free!

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  88. I like it too! It's ultra feminine and I wear mine as a badge of honour. Now if I can just get myself to feel the same about that feminine cellulite...........

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    1. Sophia Loren famously praised her thigh cellulite as being quite desirable and attributed it to her love of pasta.

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  89. I work as a bra fitter at a department store and it is amazing how many women mention it as a problem area in the fitting room. They all ask for a bra to help get rid of it. There is no easy way to tell them, but that bra doesn't exist. Literally everyone (and I have seen a lot of half naked ladies to figure this out for myself) has this! In the end that's what I tell anyone who mentions this bit of skin flap to me.

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  90. life is too short to worry about underarm flaps whatever you call them. the dress is lovely and suits you. that is the first thing that comes to mind, not uuurrgh arm flaps things!

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  91. WHOA... I remember reading that comment, being totally SHOCKED at it - I felt that the tone and diction was unbelievably demeaning, condescending, possibly pathological - and I was very proud and impressed by how eloquently and succinctly you put a lid on it, Gertie. The comment was completely off-topic, contextually irrelevant, and (at least to me) read like an odd personal vendetta. I also remember it suggesting that the offense was a direct result of the model's being "too thin" but maybe I am putting my own insecurities into that... So that was that. EXCEPT - I COULDN'T STOP. THINKING ABOUT IT! I am generally lucky in that 1) I like my body the majority of the time, and 2) I'm genetically disposed to falling into my culture's idea of an "acceptably attractive" woman - I'm petite and between "athletic" and "curvy". Usually. Except for when I get extremely stressed out. Like getting dumped by your fiance of 3 yrs on your birthday without an explanation...And 2 months later, I see I have lost 25% of my body weight & look... seriously malnourished and unhealthy, because I AM unhealthy because I am not eating. So now I'm skinny wearing hoodies in summer, eating whether I feel like it or not because I need nourishment - and I have to spend a long weekend wearing nice dresses because my sister's worked so hard and now is finally graduating with her PhD - and I'm OBSSESING about my spindly arms and do they look like the model's? Or rather, like the comment about the model? Do 0people think I'm a vain, shallow, self-starving woman who is showing off her fearless armpit skin flops flippantly?
    NOPE! They are jealous because I AM TURNING INTO A BAT, AND WILL SOON BE ABLE TO FLY! SO MUCH BETTER! I am glad to know that I was not the only person so strangely, strongly affected by such a dumb comment. Thanks - Gertie, you're amazing.

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  92. Focusing on which bits of our bodies are "unsightly" or "unfeminine" or "unsexy" is exactly why women aren't running the world yet. Coincidence?
    And who says that every part of us must be sexy and that we must be sexy all the time to be appreciated and accorded respect? Yeesh.

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  93. Well said! All bits of our bodacious bodies are badass.

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  94. Seriously people commented on that?! What the hell. People look at too many magazines and forget that it is all fake fake fake. Unrealities. Just the other day I heard a little girl that couldn't be any older than 9 saying to her mother," Shouldn't I get some diet food like you and daddy?" And her mom was already very thin. No one needed diet food. Obviously her mother has issues. Enough of this BS ladies!!

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  95. :)

    Thank you for making me smile...common sense seems to confound some.

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  96. I say if you got em, that is fleshy bits, then flaunt em. Anyway, if we had no fleshy bits we would not be human.

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  97. To make it short: When a person is looking at such a pretty lady like you, and the only thing they can look at, are your armpits, it's their own fault. Don't know if my translation is good (it's my Granny's saying), but I hope you understand the message :-)

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  98. I'm 60. My legs wobble when I walk because they have cellulite even though I can walk a field all day long and pick up hay. My triceps still wiggle in spite of the fact that I can lift 50 pound feed bags from my tractor to my barn and feeders. I have saddlebags because my Grandma was built this way and felt it necessary to share -- but no chair is ever too hard. And, I have some amazing boob and stomach stretch marks from having the most remarkable son who makes me smile when I think of his chocolate eyes and beautiful hands.

    Do I care that I look like this? Heck no! After all, I could be in a bed, peeing myself, and having to be fed. Hell yeah, I am grateful to wiggle, stretch, shake, wobble, and bag. I am 60 and I freaking rock with all I can do. Every woman should feel so free and happy about their equipment!

    (Oh, and you should see my bat wings! ROFL)

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  99. underarm side boob showing is fine if that is your thing, but to me it says you made your dress too tight and skimpy. we sew so we can correct the flaws that ready made offer. people need to stop being defensive and understand positive critiques!

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  100. I used to worry that my butt was too big. Then my friend's child got cancer and was in the hospital for 21 months fighting for her life. Now, I am thankful that all my parts work and that my family is healthy. If someone does not like to see my underarm, or butt, or that one chin hair then they don't have to look!

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  101. Amen, Sister. I cannot stand one more nanosecond of self-hatred. I am raising a 6 year old beautiful little girl and trying desperately to keep my culturally-learned/brainwashed self-scrutinizing, body-hating negativity under lock and key so I don't unwittingly convey it to her, and of course, the only way I can do that is to deprogram these tapes in my head. My job is to give help her develop enough self-esteem to successfully battle the war on unrealistic physical perfection. Beautiful is not owned solely by individuals who are such freaks of nature to be considered such an "exquisite specimen" that they actually earn a fortune due to the premium on their rarity. Sigh... Thanks, Gertie again, for starting another interesting dialogue. And FYI to Ms. Corrigan: by the time you reach 46 years old, your underarm flesh no longer has any relationship whatsoever to your boobs, be it side or otherwise ;)

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  102. I have an "armpit boob", for lack of a better word. That is what it looks like though! It's only on one side, fills up most of the armpit and I just happened to develop that way.

    I must admit, it really does bug me when people criticize armpits. Sometimes people are just built that way, and it's important to remember that. "Helpful advice" on how to get rid of their armpit fat might turn out to be body shaming. I've seen my share of red faces as people have realised they've pointed out an armpit boob, not ill-fitting clothing.

    Plus, it doesn't matter. :) (And I wish people would stop being so picky and mean.)

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  103. okay. wish we could talk in person because sometimes reading words can be read wrong. The original post was on a size 8 model on the cover of a magazine. the crtique was not on the body but the design of the dress . No one ever said anything about being disgusted over a body part, ever. though all these posts went off on it. and I am 53 years old . we sew to develope better fitting and visually better garments then ready wear and that pattern fell alittle short. there is nothing wrong with saying that. I am an expert sewist with a 30 year thriving business in my local community and when I sew for a customer they are not ashaamed of their bodies but would love to help cover what they want covered. very simple. no one is knocking people but helping to develope beautiful fitting clothes for our needs. and yes the underarm side boob is not attractive , ask any bride.

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  104. It is really hot in Tennessee where I live and I am going to have to show my armpits or feel like I am burning in the fiery pits of hell...so I choose to like the armpit flap. I will consider it a thing of beauty.

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  105. THANK YOU. On Pinterest I've seen tons of posts on how to "fix" this "problem" area. Really??? Really???? Have we become that sick as a society? I guess we have.

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  106. Seriously? Seriously. Wow. Let's all just be beautiful and call it day guys.

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  107. I agree. And can we add to that list visible panty lines. What's the deal. It just means I'm wearing panties.

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  108. Agreed. It's flesh. It's required for movement.

    I have also seen Pinterest pins about getting rid of that bit, and I was so surprised. It seems like such a stupid thing to get hung up on.

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  109. I love your flappiness, Gertie. Great post. Just recently found your blog while looking for help sewing with silk. Flappy sewing!

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  110. I guess I don't see the criticism or need to for you personally to worry about other people's issues. If I were to contemplate making that style of dress, I would say to myself, "Oh, well knowing MY figure, I have some bulginess in my sideboob/underarm area. I would cut the armscye higher/lower/with more room/whatever so that ME wearing MY bra doesn't cause my underarm poochiness to come bulging out the side of my new dress." It is a fit issue. If that isn't your fit issue, why worry about it?

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  111. This was the one thing that Bride's *always* asked about. Sigh. I tried my best to reassure them that it was a normal part of the body. Some believed me and some did not.

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  112. Best opening paragraph! I'm not really that body conscious, so, have no problem with arm flaps et al...your body- it's fine, arm flaps and all =)

    Chris

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  113. At one point in my life, I really thought that little fold was gross. But after seeing my body go through some major changes of weight, and now having lost so much weight as to be getting loose skin in other places, I don't give a darn about that little bit. Pretty much everybody has it- I'd say its normal, natural, and pretty unoffensive.

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  114. Yes, the arm flap is of no concern whatsoever! This post made me laugh. We are flesh and blood people, I so dislike the barbie doll look.

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  115. My daughter taught me to love my cuddly bits. Ever since she was very young, she has loved to cuddle into my armpit and rest her head just there. The fleshier the softer. Now I like my batwings round and full as they serve an important function :-)

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  116. I wish Gertie would comment again .I been looking for that original post and it is missing, but remember thinking that if I made that dress,that the model on the magazine had on I would have to build up the underarm area for me to be comfortable . No mention was made in that post that a person has ugly arm flaps, Unfortunately that was a miss understanding on the readers part. But this has been interesting reading all these posts. My son goes to FIT in NYC and critiques are made on design as a learning tool not a criticism. Sometimes visually a design needs to be tweaked

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  117. Gertie, this post me laugh so much. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the bit of skin that covers the muscles and bone that attach your arm to your body. :)

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  118. When I notice a new part of my body to worry about, I remind myself that I have a perfectly normal human body, and that there are many, many people who have it worse off than I do. I may not be the ideal woman for everybody I'd like to seduce, but there are a good many people who would find me perfectly sexy, with or without whichever imperfection I'm worried about at any given moment. Human bodies have creases and flaps and folds, and they'll get more of them as they age. We're all only human, and we all have things to celebrate about our bodies. Don't stress about a little extra flesh around the armpit.

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  119. Gertie, you are gorgeous! Enough with all this, let's all work on making that little voice SHUT UP!!!

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  120. Oh we humans... so beautiful in our perceived imperfections...

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  121. leschatsducirqueJune 14, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    What a wise and inspiring post. You are a star! <3

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  122. Here here- We should celebrate that there are pictures of un-airbrushed women who we look up to around Gertie! Why should we banish are armflaps- surely they are there so we can lift our arms up, which is quite important! You look fabulous.

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  123. My yoga teacher, who has the tightest body imaginable, calls that part of the body the "swedge." I think that's a perfect word!

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  124. Here! Here! One of the blessings of reaching the over 40 crowd is that I don't over worry about such mundane things. Geez. I'd more concerned with getting my sewing up to snuff as you sewist Divas so my up-and-coming vintage style wardrobe will not look mammy made.

    Lyric
    http://www.SewAndCro.com

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  125. I swim three hours a week at the YMCA in an thigh length aquatard. At age 50, I decided no more shaving underarms and legs. What a relief. And no one at the pool even notices. Unsightly squishy bumps?,love'em because that is who I am. I can't wear sleeveless outside any more due to skin cancer, so I envy all your flirty little summer dresses.

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  126. "Fleshy arm bits"??? Please everyone, we are all enough as we are.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html

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  127. That bit at the very front of your armpit? That's your PECS. No, really, that's where your fabulous muscles attach to the top of your arm. Go look up some pictures of muscles.

    Knowledge is power, and the more I know about my body, and why lumps and bumps are not just random but are functional things that do amazing things, I love it more, and I hope you do too.

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  128. Yes! Since I'm fat, I don't have a small flap, I have little nuggets that stick out. As a teen they were one of my most hated body parts - my underarm nuggets, backfat and belly. All evidence that I was fat and therefore a TERRIBLE PERSON.

    I realised a few years ago that I don't care about my armpits at all anymore. Ok, I'm fatter now and have more things to worry about, if I'm going to. But basically I just got tired of thinking about that and not wearing short-sleeved things, and I did a lot of work to start accepting my body, even when I can't love it as much as I'd like, that day. Seriously, if my armpits are bothering someone then we have bigger problems. But noticing that I don't mind them was a lovely day for me - think of all the brain space I'm saving by not worrying about them! I've used that brain space to learn to sew :P

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    1. I like your reference to saved brain space... It really does work that way, somehow. Sherlock Holmes was onto something...

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  129. I got directed here by a Ravelry post, and thought "Cool sewing blog," then found this post, and am full of joy! To hell with armpit flaps!

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  130. Super-belatedly...because of a pattern that led to a pattern review that led to a blog that led to a designer's blog (the Zen driving of the internet), I happened to watch Michael Kors' 2013 Spring show. The last model in the last dress of the show is a typical model--9 feet tall, 88 pounds (I may exaggerate a trifle)--and has what appears to be very tanned pit-flaps of her own. I wonder if some bodice/armhole constructions shove the pit-flap out and proud? The show is available on both Youtube and the Kors website blog, if you want to see whose flaps are bigger:)

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  131. My 9yo daughter found her flaps the other day. I told her they were beautiful! Part of her body. That all beautiful ladies have them. Today I find this post. I love it! :)

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  132. Haha... I actually do not have this problem... With that said, it does not bother me. It's truly insignificant..

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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