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Whether you call them puff sleeves, balloon sleeves, bishop sleeves, or leg of mutton sleeves — yeah, that’s actually a thing — a voluminous statement sleeve is the most enduring fashion trend of 2020. Girlish and gentle puff sleeves make us feel safe, sweet, and playful, which is probably why we reach for them all year round. But where did they come from, and how do you style them? More on that ahead.
Puff sleeves are a general name for the many variations of voluminous sleeve shapes that have become a fashion favourite since 2018. First coming into style in the Renaissance era, puff sleeves have seen peaks in popularity in the Edwardian age, again in the 1930s, and now in the 2020s. Many of us associate puff sleeves with a childlike gentility and bygone femininity, and often times throughout history they respond to changing attitudes around gender roles — like women’s roles in wars, work, and politics.
Puff sleeves might be cute and girly, but they don’t always have to be so innocent. Keep reading for 25 fresh ways to wear puff sleeves whether you’re into edgy leather looks, denim-on-denim, cool Y2K style, or sweet pastels and frills.