Everything you didn’t know you needed to know about sleeves!

“Um…you know, it’s got the sleeves that do that thing over the top of the shoulder? You know?”

“Yes, I’m looking for a dress with the sleeves that go like this…” *insert flailing hand movements*

Have you ever had that moment when trying to describe the style you’re looking for to a hovering shop assistant? Because we get a lot of customers who know exactly what they want, they just don’t know how to put it into words. And goodness knows, it would make the experience a lot easier for all of us if we knew what you were after!

So today, I thought we’d start with a part of fashion that has really taken off in a design sense in the last few years: sleeves.

It’s an easy way to add a unique touch to a dress or top without going overboard, and there are so many different styles to choose from now:

  • Off-the-shoulder or peasant

This style has been everywhere for a few years now but is still going strong. It basically consists of bare shoulders with either short or long sleeves. It sometimes involves elastic or it’s cut to sit just below the shoulder. It may be combined with some of the other sleeve styles.

Sanganer off-the-shoulder dress

Driven By off the shoulder midi dress


  • Cut-out or cold shoulder sleeves 

    Zira blouse

Chalk blouse

Also heavily in vogue for a while, these are usually half length or t-shirt sleeves with an open section. Great for women who don’t like to go sleeveless or need to wear a bra but still like to have that cooler style.

Zira blouse and skirt

Chalk blouse

Bouquet Top





  • Bell sleeves 

    Garcia blouse

This is such a beautiful feminine style, usually on longer sleeves in light fabrics. Fitted to the elbow, it flares out into a frilled cuff or ruffle.

Garcia peasant top

Velvet Blooms Top – Silver




  • Angel sleeves 

    Shalimar top

Imagine the shape made on snow angels; a wide flare, or like a less-fitted version of the bell sleeve. May be any length.

Shalimar frill peasant top

Dark Romance Dress




  • Bishop sleeves 

This style was big over winter, but in a lighter fabric can still be worn into spring. It gets inspiration from historical styles, and can be full or ¾ length, flared shape that gathers to a cuff.

Lazari Blouse – Black

Loryn Blouse – Stone


  • Kimono sleeves 

Wander with Me dress

Obviously taking inspiration from the Japanese kimono, this is a wide, long, loose sleeve, sometimes separated from the body like a flag.

Wander With Me Midi dress






  • Cap sleeve 

    Bayliss dress

Most people are familiar with this style: an extension of the fabric that literally caps the shoulder. Quite feminine flattering on most shapes.

Valentine fitted midi dress

Bayliss midi dress

Valentine fitted midi dress – silver



  • Butterfly sleeve 

Loreen top

A floaty variation of the cap sleeve usually fluted and in light fabric. Again, very feminine and flattering.

Loreen top






  • Petal sleeve 

    De Armas wrap dress

Another variation of the cap sleeve, named for the two ‘petals’ of fabric that overlap to form the cap over the shoulder.

De Armas wrap dress




  • Slit sleeve 

Long or ¾ sleeves with a slit right down the length to the cuff. A great way to feel covered up without getting too hot.

Monarch Dress






  • Batwing sleeve (Mesa dress)

Exactly as it says on the box: a wide loose sleeve with a deep armhole (usually covered underneath). Similar to the kimono sleeve but attached to the body of the top or dress to give a full wing look. Black Mesa dress in Plum/Teal Multi

Black Mesa dress






  • Cape top 

Technically not a sleeve, but really an extension of the collar, the arms and shoulders are covered to about the elbow by a wide draping cape.  A lovely option if you don’t want to show your arms but don’t like the restriction of sleeves.

Cape Dress – Red Floral

Ignite Passion Midi Dress



  • Raglan (Mary check, Anatalla tee)

    Antallia tee

Mary Check Prom Dress

Mary Check Prom Dress

Mostly found on more casual styles, like tees. The arm seam runs from the collar diagonally down to the underarm. Think 70s baseball style.

Antallia long sleeved tee

Mary Check Prom Dress – Light Blue