5 Statement Sleeve Styles for Fall & Winter Trends
by Tina Boomerina (Christina Gregoire)
I remember seeing tops and dresses with flared and ruffled statement sleeves last year. Some styles were perfect clones of the mini dresses you and I wore in the 60s, complete with the same ¾-length Mod (trumpet) sleeves. Other designs I pondered were like hippie threads from the 70s, with romantic balloon or poet sleeves, the same styles that let us morph into gypsies or Shakespearian actors in our dreams. So, I thought this sleeve-kick might be a quickie fad. Well, I was wrong. These groovy retro looks have become long-term staples with real staying power.
And… hey… a cute blouse or jacket with swank sleeves is an easy way to update one's pitiful wardrobe without blowing next month’s rent.
Ruffled, Ruched, Frilly Sleeves:
Actually, after watching this trend evolve, I would feel confident buying an investment coat with flared or poufy sleeves… although you and I might want to play dress-up by practicing with cheapo styles from Tarjay or TJ Maxx. We need to make sure we know which groovy styles complement the curves of our own wonderful bodies.
Statement Sleeves for Women Over 40, 50, 60, 70:
Women over “fill-in-the-blank” years old have to use a discriminating eye before plunking down big bucks for a good outfit. We can’t afford to buy into cool trends if the details of the outfit draw everyone’s attention to our fat waists or our big butts or our crinkly arms.
On the other hand, there are a thousand different variations (fabrics, lengths, cuts) of these quirky sleeves, so you and I can use the right kinds of pleats and ruffles and flares and poufs to draw people’s eyes to our best assets.
Tip: If you have a hard time finding a statement sleeve that feels right, try going “all out” with a crazy blouse that looks a bit insane on the hanger.
Works for me. (I’m not kidding.) And, the craziest styles usually end up in the clearance department, so…. woo… freaking… hoo!
And, if you fear being the first one on your block with lacy poet sleeves, just conjure up images of Jimi, Janis, or your favorite artist.
5 Types of Statement Sleeves:
Every website uses different names for various sleeves, so I’m going to use the names we used back in the day. And, if I don’t know what something is called, I may make up a name.
1. Mod, Trumpet Sleeve: If you’re old enough to remember Pattie Boyd, you might use different terminology. Some people call it a flute sleeve (as in champagne flute, not clarinet) or a bell sleeve. However, on the West Coast, bell sleeves have traditionally referred to a one-piece sleeve, shaped more like bell-bottom jeans. Trumpet sleeves are sewn from two pieces, with the cuff being the only flared part.
Note: In 1964/65, every girl from 2 to 17 had a Mod dress similar to the dotted frock above. I'm fairly sure all college girls, housewives, moms, and grandmothers wore dresses like this, as well. The BEST Mod dress to ever grace my closet was similar to the dotted dress above. It was made of two prints in complementary colorways: pink dots on candy apple green and candy apple green dots on pink. The main part of the dress was one colorway and the details (bows and ribbons around the bodice, around the sleeves, and on the flare of the sleeves) were the colors in reverse. I had a pair of patent leather shoes in candy apple green that matched my dress.
I wish I still had that most fabulous dress even though it was a size zero. I would frame it and hang it on the wall like pop art.
2. Balloon Sleeves: Just like all statement sleeves, balloon sleeves come in a zillion variations, so I guarantee there is some type of balloon sleeve to suit a chick of any age. Balloon sleeves are basically just long puffed sleeves, usually with a cuff at the bottom, near the wrist. Some balloon sleeves have elastic at the cuff or more than one ring of elastic to create several puffs on each arm. (I don’t know what the multi puffs are called. Think of Baroque paintings of princesses.
3. Poet Sleeves: Some people say that long balloon sleeves with cuffs are poet sleeves, but I was taught that poet sleeves were essentially poufy balloon sleeves with extravagant ruffles or big flounces at the cuff. And, it’s my website, so I’m right… haha.
4. Multi Ruffled Sleeves: Most of the newest, trendiest ruffle sleeves are modern takes on the old retro styles. I kinda like the idea of multiple ruffles on sleeves… I wonder if I could wear layers of ruffles or if I’d look like a floozed-out tart. I guess it depends on the quality of the design. It’s very Nouveau New. The photos I’m showing are very classic styles but you can find rocker-chic looks that would be at home in a Prince video from the 80s.
5. Intergalactic Sleeves: OK, big or square shoulders with quirky ruching are not my style. The ruching is fun, but my shoulders are so broad that big or padded shoulders make me cry. However, I know women with normal, feminine bone structures who look fabulous in this sleek intergalactic style, so I’m chanting “Nam myoho renge kyo” to calm my mind, as I write about a style that gives me nightmares. And… I’m doing it just for you… in case you’re one of the dolls who wears this well.
Here are a few other keywords that will steer you in the right direction: petal sleeves, angel sleeves, leg o’ mutton sleeves, and Juliet sleeves. Any statement sleeves with poufs, frills, or ruffles will update your wardrobe and bring out your younger, fresher self.
Photo Credits: Prshots.com. (None of these companies pay me or bribe me to promote their products. Most photos are from British companies, but almost all have American websites.)
- Main Photo: MandCo.
- Mod Trumpet Sleeves Red Pantsuit: Wallis.
- Mod Mini With Retro Trumpet Flute Ruffle Sleeves: JD Williams.
- Modern n Retro Balloon Statement Sleeves: Debenhams, Miss Selfridge, Hobbs.
- Poet Sleeves With Ruffled Flounce at Cuff: Monsoon, Debenhams.
- Multi Ruffle Statement Sleeves: Monsoon, Wallis, Oasis-Stores.
- Intergalactic 80s Style Statement Sleeves With Ruching: Wallis, Wallis.
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