Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

Lindsey Lanquist
Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves
Photo: Alyssa Crane.

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Over the last year or so, we’ve seen a lot of delightful trends. Metallics made their way into summer wardrobes. Tropical prints experienced a somewhat controversial resurrection. Ruffles, smocked details and jelly sandals were among the relics of our youth to see a revival. But no trend has felt more consistently fun, more consistently delightful and more consistently charming than the return of puffy sleeves.

This is likely because, while these other trends are reminiscent of our youth, none feel as specifically associated with fairytales as puffy sleeves do. Growing up, we adorned ourselves with ruffles. We slipped our feet into jelly sandals. We teased the smocked details on our clothing—pulling them away from our bodies and watching them bounce back, time and time again, without any loss of elasticity. These experiences were fun, tactile, exciting. And now, they’re nostalgic. But none of them drip with dreaminess the way puffy sleeves do.

Because puffy sleeves were the stuff of fantasy. They were a mainstay of Disney princess culture, characterizing every ball gown we begged our parents to buy come Halloween. They were magnificent—fancy in a way our other favorite pieces simply weren’t. You could wear jelly sandals to the beach, or the park, or the playground. And you could sport ruffles and smocked details just about anywhere, too. But puffy sleeves—those were reserved for special occasions.

Not anymore. What was once a hyper-fancy relic from our youth has made its way into the contemporary mainstream—and into the ready-to-wear contemporary mainstream, at that. Puffy sleeves are no longer exclusively reserved for Disney princesses or Halloween costumes or the fanciest events on our calendars. They’re designed with day-to-day wear in mind. You’re not over-the-top or fussy if you wear puff-sleeve clothing on the regular—you’re just on-trend. So be the 20-something, or 30-something, or whatever-something your 5-year-old self always wished you’d turned out to be. You might not be a literal princess, but when you look this good, who even cares?

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

1. Laura Ashley Lucille Button-Front Peplum Blouse, $69 at Urban Outfitters

Definitely buying this one with the matching biking shorts, because seriously—the two-piece is too cute to pass up.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

2. Rainbow Organza Puff-Sleeve Midi Dress, $49.99 at Urban Outfitters

Sure to elevate any ensemble you pair it with.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

3. Finders Keepers Aranciata Ruffle Puff-Sleeve Romper, $140 at Urban Outfitters

Last year’s fruit print trend still managed to make its way into the zeitgeist this spring/summer.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

4. Perseverance London Ottoman Puff-Sleeve Mini Dress, $305 at Urban Outfitters

A little 1980s, a little Wizard of Oz—a lotta cute.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

5. Veronica Sweetheart Top, $68 at Free People

Because you shouldn’t have to choose between puffy sleeves and off-the-shoulder necklines if you don’t want to.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

6. Organza Puff-Sleeve Cinched-Waist Midi Dress, $44.99 at Urban Outfitters

Can you imagine anything more quintessentially spring?

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

7. Elsie Floral Puff-Sleeve Crop Top, $59 at Urban Outfitters

Crop tops are a far cry from the puff-sleeve pieces of yore, but don’t we all deserve a little more fantasy in our day-to-days?

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

8. Puff-Sleeve Tiered Maxi Dress, $56 at ASOS

Perfect for brunch, trips to the beach, and maybe even days spent at the office.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

9. Lisa Says Gah Topanga Puff-Sleeve Midi Dress, $180 at Urban Outfitters

Dorothy isn’t in Kansas anymore—she’s in fashion heaven.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

10. C/MEO COllective Elate Top, $135 at Fashion Bunker

Fairytale chic—an aesthetic our younger selves can definitely get behind.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

11. Some Kind of Beautiful Midi Dress, $395 at Free People

Metallics are routinely underrated in the spring, but this floral dress proves how seasonally appropriate they can be.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

12. Missguided Puff-Sleeve Dress, $20.50 at ASOS

Sexy, sleek and a little princess-y—the ultimate trifecta.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

13. Close Enough Long-Sleeve Dress, $111 at Fashion Bunker

Because puff sleeves don’t have to be short.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

14. Lisa Says Gah Toni Smocked Crop Top, $148 at Urban Outfitters

Puffy sleeves, ruffled hems and a smocked bodice all in one? This is what our elementary school fashion dreams were made of.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

15. Laura Ashley Penelope Cherub Babydoll Dress, $79 at Urban Outfitters

A puff-sleeve dress that feels floral without actually featuring a floral print—we’re here for it.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

16. C/MEO Collective Vices Short-Sleeve Top, $160 at Fashion Bunker

The visual definition of a statement blouse.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

17. Miss Selfridge Bardot Puff-Sleeve Dress, $35 at ASOS

Bold colors, bold sleeves, can’t lose.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

18. Polka Dot Tie-Front Romper, $69 at Urban Outfitters

This puff-sleeve, polka-dot romper brings all kinds of mod fun to the table.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

19. Gingham Seersucker Mini Dress, $69 at Urban Outfitters

Because gingham and puff-sleeves are a veritable match made in heaven.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

20. Gabriella Dress, $495 at Free People

A party-worthy dress for every fun AF occasion on your calendar.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

21. Puff-Sleeve Tea Jumpsuit, $48 at ASOS

Versatile enough to live in this season.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

22. Antibes Gingham Puff-Sleeve Midi Dress, $69 at Urban Outfitters

A little drop-waist goes a long way.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

23. Thurman Ruffle Puff-Sleeve Top, $89 at Urban Outfitters

A ruffled, floral, puff-sleeve blouse that feels anything but over-the-top.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

24. Carousel Asymmetrical Frock Dress, $69 at Urban Outfitters

Proof plaid isn’t a fall-only pattern.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

25. Addison Puff-Sleeve Peplum Top, $59 at Urban Outfitters

Because wrap blouses are more fun with puff sleeves.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

26. C/MEO Collective Ovation Top, $135 at Fashion Bunker

Giving new meaning to the phrase “statement sleeves.”

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

27. Greta Knit Pullover, $350 at Anthropologie

Oh yeah, puff-sleeve sweaters are definitely on the sartorial menu.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

28. Secure Long-Sleeve Top, $150 at Fashion Bunker

Instant elegance.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

29. Keepsake Allure Printed Puff-Sleeve Crop Top, $135 at Urban Outfitters

Sure to play well with your favorite high-waisted pants. Or high-waisted shorts. Or high-waisted skirt. (Or high-waisted anything, really.)

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

30. Bow Detail Mini Skater Dress, $19 at ASOS

It was really only a matter of time before bows made their way into the puff-sleeve sphere.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

31. Vesna Puff-Sleeve Peplum Top, $29 at Urban Outfitters

Because dresses aren’t the only way to get your floral on this spring.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

32. Denim Puff-Sleeve Blouse, $250 at Anthropologie

Don’t you think you deserve a denim blouse as interesting as you are?

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

33. Keepsake Daybreak Top, $135 at Fashion Bunker

This fabric was made to be rendered in puff-sleeve form.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

34. Sabrina Ruched Puff-Sleeve Crop Top, $69 at Urban Outfitters

Square necklines offer a serious structural juxtaposition to round, puffy sleeves.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

35. LPA Filomena Mini Dress, $228 at Revolve

Date night awaits.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

36. C/MEO Collective Close Enough Puff-Sleeve Top, $69.99 at Urban Outfitters

A maximalist take on print and structure—because you really can have it all.

STYLECASTER | Puff-Sleeve Pieces to Shop, Because Nothing Says Spring Like Puffy Sleeves

37. ASTR the Label Icon Top, $98 at Revolve

For the shopper who can’t pick between puff sleeves and long sleeves.

 

Our mission at STYLECASTER is to bring style to the people, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale. 

A version of this story was originally published in July 2018.

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