While we’ve all heard of “business in the front, party in the back,” for the past few seasons, sleeves have been the real main event. Whether they’re billowy and bell-shaped, flouncy and pleated, or so voluminous they can barely be stuffed in your jacket, these sleeves do far more than just shield your arms from the elements (and, tbh, sometimes the cool ones don’t actually do the best job of that).
Fashion girls are falling hard for the trend—not since Anne Shirley finally got her puff-sleeve dress (c’mon, “Anne of Green Gables,” anyone?) has anyone harbored quite so much enthusiasm for ample-armed clothing. IRL, however, the look can seem tricky to pull off. For one, there are the practical matters, such as negotiating less-roomy outerwear and eating without letting your wrists get anywhere near your food.
Then there’s the styling aspect. If you, like me, grew up hearing shoulder pads talked about with a collective shudder, the idea of extra volume up top—even if it’s not strictly of the ’80s variety—will always provoke a little wariness. But with so many fun tops, dresses, and jackets with supersize sleeves on the (virtual) shelves right now, it seems as good a time as any to experiment, don’t you think?
Below, see how two fellow editors and I styled some of our favorite statement-sleeve pieces of the moment, and shop the looks to try out the trend for yourself.