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I'm reading a book and came to this term... it's a bit strange to me... so I searched on internet but can't find a definition.

There are some pictures on internet and wiki mentioned it in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1890s_in_fashion , I roughly guess it means the sleeve style for ladies, that has a big part on the shoulder, am I right? or is there somewhere an accurate/official definition?

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not to be confused with beef curtains... duck :) – Brad Apr 22 '12 at 12:40
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Leg-of-mutton sleeves (also called leg-of-lamb sleeves, mutton sleeves, and gigot sleeves) are ornamental sleeves that reached the height of popularity in the 1830s, and are described by the OED as:

very full and loose on the arm but close-fitting at the wrist.

Here is a picture so you can see the full idea:

Gigot sleeves

Though, not all of them were quite as puffy as this, it was probably the goal. The other answer here already explains where they got their name (from their resemblance to a sheep's leg).

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thanks, now I understand it :) – athos Apr 20 '12 at 4:19
actually, it looks not bad... maybe one day it'll be the fashion again, who knows? :p – athos Apr 20 '12 at 4:19

Mutton joints, ie. the legs of sheep, are large at the top where all the muscle is but with a very thin bone sticking out of the other end where the sheep's foot would be.

I imagine it's that sleeves which are puffed out at the shoulder but skin tight at the ladylike thin wrist would look like that. But i'm not intimately familiar with victorian women's clothing

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thank you for the explanation – athos Apr 20 '12 at 4:19

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