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If you’re anything like us, your style’s changed quite a bit over the years. (RIP our Tammy Girl pedal pushers.) But if there’s one trend we couldn’t be happier to see make a comeback, it’s the puffed sleeve. Maybe it’s because it helps us channel our inner Disney princess in a way that feels decidedly modern and grown up. Or maybe it’s that months of living in loungewear means that, quite frankly, we’re over minimalism (at least for now). All we know is that this season, we’re seeing statement-making sleeves on everything from blouses to dresses to cardis – and we’re ready to embrace taking up more space.
But it’s true, there’s an art to adding volume the flattering way. Thankfully our Senior Stylist Millie Rich has shared her four top tips to ensure your puffed-sleeve look is a big, billowing success.
Now, a puffed sleeve wouldn’t be doing its job if it didn’t create some volume. But that means your top half will be asking for all the attention. Millie’s advice? Draw the eyeline down with a midi or maxi dress, as shown here on Sarah, founder of vegan candle brand Evermore. “A longer skirt lengthens the silhouette, which visually balances out a dramatic puff.”
If you prefer to show a bit of leg, you can always add length via the sleeves instead. “A long-sleeve puff lessens the detail at the top of your frame,” Millie says. “That means your shoulders won’t look out of proportion.” Plus, it’s a super elegant look you can wear all year round.
We’re all for a balloon sleeve, but we don’t want the balloon effect anywhere else. (We’re looking at you, torso.) To ensure a flattering silhouette, consider a style with a tighter form around the bust. “Something with a shirred effect across the body is a great pairing with a statement sleeve,” Millie advises. “It adds definition, and leaves the puff to do the talking.”
Yes, there’s something flamboyant about a puffed sleeve. But paired with easy-going denim, it will create the ideal dressed-up-casual aesthetic, and we’re taking serious inspo from this look Millie chose for London-based stylist Bianca. “As a jeans-and-a-nice-top girl myself, I find the puffed sleeve to be that piece that allows me to not feel too dressed down – especially if it’s in a bold colour or pattern.” We love how sporty trainers create the perfect finishing touch to this contrasting look.
Words: Victoria Ferguson
Photography: Liz Seabrook
Styling: Millie Rich