A wedding dress is not just all about the skirt and the bodice - the sleeves play a big part of the overall look and can have more impact than you might think. There are many different types of sleeves that are stylish, interesting, and beautiful. For any body type, any wedding theme, or any style of dress, there is a perfect type of sleeve to complement it.
The sleeves of wedding dresses can either be categorized by length or by style.
1. Cap Sleeves
Cap sleeves is a small, rounded sleeve that just caps the shoulder and top of the arm. Great for girls with very slim arms and small shoulders.
2. Short Sleeves
Short sleeves are classic wedding dress sleeves for spring and summer wedding dresses. They are very versatile and generally allow for freedom of motion.
3. 3/4 Length Sleeves
3/4 length Sleeves were popular in the 50s and recently came back to vogue in the late 90s. They are modern and dramatic, perfect for a wedding in any season.
4. Long/Illusion Sleeves
Long-sleeved wedding dresses covers the whole arm. They can be made sheer of fabric to create a illusion style. Long sleeved wedding dress is formal and a little bit vintage-looking.
Aside from the four basic lengths of sleeves, there are also many different sleeve styles to choose from. Depending on their styling, sleeves can look dramatic, retro, trendy, cute, gothic, daring, or romantic. Some of the most popular types of sleeves are:
5. Juliet Sleeves
Juliet Sleeves is a traditional wedding dress sleeve, it’s puffed at the shoulder then becomes fitted around the arm. It’s great for big, frilly or period-style wedding dresses, but if you have large arms you need to be careful with this sleeve and the res of the dress as it might make you look very broad on top.
6. Puff Sleeves
Puff Sleeves is the short version of the Juliette sleeve. Puff is fitted at the bottom around the arm with elastic or a band to keep it in place. Very Bohemian and gives the impression of innocent youth and joy. Good for more casual summer weddings.
7. Butterfly Sleeves
Butterfly Sleeves is short-sleeved, loose and flowing on top of the arm with little to no coverage under the arm.
8. Bell Sleeves
Bell sleeves flares out toward the wrist – just like the bell-bottomed shaped flares from the seventies. The bell sleeve can be as long or as short as you want, so it can stop at the top of the arm, the elbow or wrist. This is a very flattering, and dramatic design.
9. Bishop Sleeves
Bishop Sleeves is long-sleeved with a very loose fit through the sleeve and a very fitted, tight cuff. Very vintage look that was popular in the 1950s and currently seen on Paris runways.
10. Poet Sleeves
A beautifully romantic sleeve, Poet Sleeves works really well with floaty-type dresses. It’s wide and gathered at the shoulder and continues from the shoulder to wrist, where it is gathered again or tapered.
11. Set In Sleeves
The Set In sleeve is part of the bodice. There is no seam to separate it from the rest of the dress.
12. Raglan Sleeves
More often seen in sporty casual tops than in formal wear, the raglan sleeve is attached to the dress by means of an angled seam. The seams create an inverted V shape.
13. Petal or Tulip Sleeves
A really pretty but subtle sleeve design. Petal Sleeves, also called Tulip sleeves, is a short sleeve that criss-crosses over the top of the arm. It’s also known as the tulip sleeve. Great for all arm shapes and sizes and really works with simple and modern dress designs.