How To Style Puff Sleeves & Embrace Summer’s Sweetest Trend

Kristen Bousquet
How To Style Puff Sleeves & Embrace Summer’s Sweetest Trend
Photo: Kristen Bousquet.

It’s nearly impossible to scroll through your Instagram feed, Pinterest or really any clothing brand’s website without seeing a few puff-sleeved pieces right now. Back in 2019—Wow, remember when we all wanted to leave 2019 real quick? Now look at us in 2020—puff sleeves were easily one of the biggest, most-worn trends, and it’s safe to say the look isn’t going away for summer 2020. That said, the question of how to style the puff sleeve trend is still one I’m asked often, so I pieced together a few looks to provide you with some style inspo.

Now, don’t think that puff sleeves became a thing just last year. The look has been around for years—in fact, it’s been around for centuries. Exhibit A? This poofy-sleeved silhouette was everything back in the 1800s; think Anne of Green Gables, but make it fashion. Back then, the gigot sleeve was all the rage, a puff-sleeve style that was wide from shoulder to elbow, then narrow from elbow to wrist. While most tops in 2020 have a shorter, fluffier take on the puff sleeve, even this old-school version is now shoppable at your favorite fashion boutiques. Fortunately, I’ve never met a statement sleeve I didn’t like, so I’m partial to them all.

STYLECASTER | How To Style Puff Sleeve Trend

Kristen Bousquet.

Whether big or small, puff sleeves make a damn statement, and they’re my go-to secret for spicing up any boring look. I’m sharing some of my favorite ways to style the unique trend below, and pairing my puffiest sleeves with my favorite summer pieces (A lot of which are from Lulus, fair warning, because have you seen their New Arrivals section rn?!). With that, read on for three easy ways to style summer’s sweetest trend, and ten inspo outfits you can reference later.

 

1. With A Two-Piece Look + Hat

STYLECASTER | How To Style Puff Sleeve Trend

Kristen Bousquet.

Let’s start off with something simple: A puff-sleeved top. What’s great about tops is that you can pair them with so many different bottoms to create a multitude of looks. The first and third tops are simple neutrals that can easily be dressed up or dressed down, but the difference between a white puff-sleeved top and a black one totally changes the vibe from beachy to edgy. The floral option in the center is perfect for when you’re looking to rock a brighter bottom, like these fun pants. As a finishing touch, I’m always a fan of a wide-brimmed sunhat.

For outfit number one, my top and floral shorts are both from American Eagle and I accessorized with a hat from Lulus, a green bag from Princess Polly, these Birdies pom-pom slippers and my Ryan Porter necklace. For the middle look, my floral top, orange pants, neutral heels and net bag are all from Lulus (!), and I paired the ‘fit with a Lack of Color hat, Nuri Collective earrings and the same necklace by Ryan Porter (Spoiler alert, I wear it with everything!). Last but not least, outfit number three features another top and skirt combo from American Eagle, these cute back boots from Lulus and a black sunhat. Voila!

2. With A Summer Midi Dress

STYLECASTER | How To Style Puff Sleeve Trend

Kristen Bousquet.

If you ask me, the best part about warm-weather fashion is being able to toss on a dress and not having to think about putting an entire outfit together. These looks were as easy as throwing on the dress, grabbing the nearest hat and pair of shoes and piecing it all together. Somehow, it just works! Especially when you opt for this specific dress silhouette, a midi-length cut with a bottom that flares out. The shape balances out the puff sleeves and makes the overall look cohesive.

For outfit number one, I paired this floral Lulus dress with my oldest, comfiest nude shoes, a Forever 21 hat and Calico earrings. For the second look, I chose this beautiful blue Lulus dress and contrasted the color with some brown accessories, all from Lulus, too. Last but not least is this sweet yellow gingham Lulus dress, which I paired with my net bag, some pale blue heels and a headband that matched them ~perfectly~. So satisfying.

3. With ’70s-Inspired Hues

STYLECASTER | How To Style Puff Sleeve Trend

Kristen Bousquet.

I am ALL about color—especially during the summer months — so these funkier, more vibrant options are totally up my alley. With the first outfit, you’ll notice a great example of a long-sleeved dress with a more voluminous sleeve, reminiscent of the vintage gigot style we talked about earlier. Outfit number two just screams summer, and the fitted miniskirt bottom contrasts the dramatic sleeves to create the illusion of a snatched waist. Last but not least, I love the old-school style of outfit number three contrasted by the punchy, fun earrings. Plus, don’t you just love a good leg slit??

My first outfit features a yellow dress, my netted bag and a neutral sunhat, all from Lulus, with my go-to nude block heels. Look number two is another Lulus dress and heel combo, plus the same green Princess Polly bag from earlier and some Whateva Lola earrings to finish it off. Last but not least, outfit three is this yellow gingham dress with white heels from Lulus, Princess Polly earrings and an ivory Lack of Color hat.

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