Niana sleeves ~ a perfect fit!

4 min readFeb 10, 2023

What are Niana sleeves?

photograph of woman sitting on stool — wearing niana sleeves and flowy pants.
photographed: Me (Nicole) in Midnight Niana sleeves

Niana sleeves are modernized Filipiniana sleeves. What makes them Niana? (1) corset-style cord. (2) gender-fluid accessibility. (3) versatility. (sometimes 4) upcycled material.

photographed: mannequin figure in Lavender Niana sleeves

To be completely honest, my first objective was to find a solution to the frequent slippage of the butterfly sleeves. sleeves are typically found attached to a top/dress and oftentimes attached at the armpits (or not attached at all). I wanted to find a way to create a simple, elegant way to make them comfortable when getting down on a dance floor. I can assure you, the corset-style back passes the dance test :)

Secondly, I wanted to detach the Filipiniana from its common association to the Filipina. When defined, Filipiniana is a collection of books and non-book materials (such as figurines, games, fashion and culture) from the physical location of the Philippines.¹ This is most definitely a loaded topic (and deserves it’s own blog post), but in all its limiting ways, Filipiniana is inherently gender neutral and Niana sleeves are for everyone.

Lastly, I wanted a ready-wear option of cultural wear that I could throw on top of anything: a tank, a long sleeve top, tube top, that dress in the back of my closet I only wore once.

Love to hate Kate Sanders ;P

It’s been 20 years (holy crap, what?) since the Lizzie Maguire Movie came out, and Kate Sander’s voice still burns red in the back of my head: “Lizzie Maguire, you are an outfit repeater!” Filipiniana sleeves have always been associated with regal-wear… which oftentimes means one time use. Niana sleeves are inherently versatile at the core, with every hope to double (possibly triple… quadruple?) the use out of dresses and outfits that have been left to wilt. We are here for economy-of-use and impressing them outfit-rememberers.

Size Matters… 😉

Why body measurement is important

The obvious answer is that you want your Niana sleeves to fit… but it’s also good to know your measurements for sake of knowing! Niana sleeves are reliant on a few primary measurements: your arm hole, shoulder-to-shoulder*, and bicep*, and arm length*.

How to get measured

Tools needed:

  • measuring tape (>$2 at Joann’s or dollar store)
  • pen/paper
  • a friend

if no measuring tape….

  • sharpie/marker
  • piece of non-stretch string or twine (at least 4 ft long)
  • ruler

Measuring Guide

illustration/figure of measurement guide.
RitualFashion’s measurement guide for body measurements

For Niana sleeves, you’ll want to measure the following:

  • your arm hole (12)
  • shoulder-to-shoulder (19)*
  • bicep (13)*
  • arm length (10)*

*primarily used for custom orders

For non-measuring tape method, you will want to use the string to measure around body parts. Use the sharpie/marker to mark the string where measurement falls. After every measurement, use your ruler to measure length of string and write down on paper to keep track!

Some tips on taking your measurements:

Whether your measuring for Niana sleeves or just taking measurements for your records, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Be sure to measure against your body without pinching the skin or constricting tightly.
  • Wear tight fit clothing + a good bra (if applicable).
  • Get help! Please ask a partner/roommate/stranger on the street to help you measure — it will give the best/most accurate results.
  • Wear tighter fit clothing + a good bra (or whatever undergarment you intend to wear at the event. it will help give accurate measurements).
  • Measure pressed against your body without pinching the skin.
  • When measuring chest-area, take a deep breath and hold. This ensures you have enough room to breath when getting custom work done!
  • Measure your arm widths from your dominant side (muscles often develop more on your dominent arm).
  • Measure around your body parts at their biggest point (bicep, chest, etc)

And thats it! If you are interested in purchasing a pair online, check out my shop at I hope to continue vending at local events around SF in the near future (or for as long as I can keep up this high-energy hobby 😬).

You can find me on social media at @nianacollection on IG and tiktok! Follow me for more updates and info on upcoming drops and projects.