Do you own a statement sleeve yet? If you don’t, go ahead and grab this fashion piece today while it’s still in vogue.
Sleeves are the latest ‘statement pieces’ when it comes to fashion as they have been grabbing attention like never before! Be it at designer launches on the runways, recently concluded global celebrity events like Oscars or the Cannes Film Festival, or on college campuses back home – voluminous flares, long arms, drooping shoulders, oversize cuffs and more such endearing designs and patterns are nailing the look on every platform. While the origin of several of these designs can be traced back to the vintage period, what we are witnessing today is their fresh and contemporary versions and variations after being rehashed, refashioned and restructured by designers to make them fit in the present time.
“Sleeves have come of age and right now is their golden period. What’s nice to see is that the sleeves inspired from past eras like 1600s or 1700s have been rediscovered so brilliantly in terms of structure, fabric used, volume, slit lengths, number of gathers and all that is in play at the moment. As we embrace more and more globally trending designs in fashion, we want everything to look edgy, sexy, young and easy at the same time. So there is this whole effort by designers towards making the sleeve look global,” says designer Nivedita Saboo. “Best part is, these sleeves compliment women of all ages as well as size, which is making them a favourite of many,” she adds. Let’s take a peek into some sleeve styles that are rocking the scene.
Bohemian rhapsody Off-shoulder sleeve
Flaunting bare shoulders seems to be the latest thing to have caught fancy of women all over. One of the hottest trends of this summer, off-shoulder ensembles entered the fashion market in the 1800s. In 1960s, French actress Brigitte Bardot donned the off-shoulder silhouette pairing it with everything from skirts to pants, which made it popular. Now, this style is back in vogue and celebrities from Rihanna and Bella Hadid to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra have flaunted it with elan this year at major events.
Commonly known as the peeka- boo sleeve, the cold-shoulder sleeve, a variation of the offshoulder sleeve is quite a rage at the moment. Its bohemian vibe has been appreciated and embraced by women who love outfits with a feminine feel. The sleeve has been incorporated even in bridal and swimwear apart from the regular jumpsuits, dresses and tops!
Speaking volumes Bell sleeve
Voluminous bell sleeves date back to the 5th-15th century (Medieval Period). If you wish to add some drama to your outfits, a bell sleeve that flares out towards the wrist, is your best bet. New variations of this sleeve have been tweaked to give it a sleek look. Voluminous flares in sheer fabric that have elbow tie-ups or ruffles are in this season.
Trumpet is a unique sleeve that stands out among the crowd. It is more voluminous than a bell sleeve. It tapers at the elbow and flares out into a trumpet-like shape towards the wrist. During their recent public appearances, actresses Riley Keough, Isabel Lucas and Kendall Jenner were spotted donning the style with flair.
Long hanging sleeve
When actor and fashionista, Sonam Kapoor, walked the red carpet wearing a light pink coloured gown at this year’s Cannes film festival, all eyes turned towards her sleeves that were literally touching the floor. A produce of the 13th century, long hanging sleeves are slit in front at the elbow-level and the arm is passed through the slit to display the long sleeve of the undergarment. During the 15th century, the sleeve fell as long as tubes to the ground level!
The Bishop sleeve looks similar to a Church Bishop’s sleeves, hence the name. It is long, rounded at the bottom and gathered into a cuff at the wrist. The sleeve was popular during the 1830s to 1860s. Bishop sleeve is a blessing for broad-structured women as it makes the shoulders look smaller. Crafted in soft fabrics like chiffon or silk, it also comes in lycra and polyesters. Turkish influence
If you love period drama, this one’s for you. Juliet or Turkish sleeve is gathered at intervals to create a series of puffs down the arm, a pattern believed to have been inspired by Mameluke warriors of the 13th century. The sleeve was introduced in the Jane Austen Fashion Exhibit in Melbourne in 1816. Jumpsuits with Juliet sleeve are in at the moment. It is also a favourite with today’s brides, especially in lace fabric. The sleeve is also known by the names Marie or Virago sleeve. Romantic interludes
This fun design of the 80s is a strip of pleated fabric (lace, net or similar fabric) used as a trimming in a dress at the collar or sleeves. This pattern complements a thin frame as it gives out an impression of having wide shoulders.
Ruffle sleeve first appeared during the 15th century. It evolved in design by the 16th century. Unlike its appearance, a ruffle sleeve does not have gathers or pleats. Instead a wavy effect is created by cutting rounded fabric and applying its shorter edge to the garment. At the moment, ruffle bandeaus, ruffle dresses and dresses with ruffle embellishments running along on them are thronging the fashion market.
This is a 1920s sleeve. It is gathered at the neckline and lower rim and the gathers are held in place using an elastic. The sleeve is back in fashion and is currently seen paired with peasant-style blouses of different lengths and in shades of white and ivory, which are ideal hues for summer. During 1960s and 70s the peasant sleeve was considered as a non-formal attire in central and eastern Europe.
Balloon or puff sleeve
This sleeve style was born around 14th-17th century (renaissance period). It fits tightly from wrist to elbow graduating to a fully rounded puff from elbow to the shoulder. A lot of padding is used in the making of this sleeve to keep the huge puff intact.
Dolman or batwing sleeve Worn during the Middle Ages, the dolman or batwing sleeve was common between 1861- 1865. The sleeve makes the shoulders look sloped therefore making the waist look thin. So it’s a great option for women with a wide waist who want their waist to look slimmer. The fabric is cut wide at the armhole almost till the waist and narrows towards the wrist resembling a bat’s wing.
An eternal favourite, the Kimono sleeve is inspired by traditional Japanese dresses that date back to the Heian period (794-1192). The sleeve has many variations. Butterfly kimono is 4-5 inches wider while narrowing down towards the wrist; a long sleeve extending below the wrist is called the long kimono; square kimono resembles T shape; lastly, short kimono sleeves are cut just under the shoulder in a vertical line or horizontal line.
Words: POOJA KULKARNI