An Ode to Puff Sleeves


Theresa Peteranna | Thu, 27 Feb 2020


You may have seen the puff sleeve in Four Weddings and a Funeral, having not lived through it yourself. Don’t be afraid: the puff sleeves are having a renaissance as Spring 2020 promises to pay homage to the age of New Romantics.

Puffy sleeves are simply fabulous. Take Hayley, the Scottish designer on Netflix’s Next In Fashion, who wears her own custom made shirt patterned with polka dots. The puff is often made from tulle, but these sleeves are having comebacks in all fabrics from denim to cotton. Puff sleeves are powerful: the construct of added fabric on your shoulders adds height and status. It flatters all wearers, especially when paired with a square neckline. On Instagram, you’ll find influencers wearing puff sleeves with midi skirts, jeans, and often chunky black boots to break up the innate girlishness. 

With my own purchase of puff sleeves on a white ribbed top, I’ve felt akin to Christmas angels, Glinda the Good Witch or even, an extra in a Midsummer’s Night Dream. They certainly have a time-travelling effect: an old man in Prohibition commented that I looked like his ex-wife when he got married, circa 1980s. Despite being a magnet for those who lived through the puff’s first conception, the sleeves are only going to climb in both popularity and height of the shoulder.

For Lecture Chic, I go for a 3/4 Black ribbed puff sleeve top from New Look at £12.99 It screams both a love for Nietzsche and Vogue.

For Date Night, Romantic sleeves are made tough in a Black Denim Button Puff Sleeve Dress, from Topshop at £39.99. It’ll work for Kilau, Nandos or a night at HMT.

For a Night out, I team New Look’s Off-White Puff Organza Sleeve Top with jeans or a midi skirt, from £12.99. It guarantees fast service, even in Atik, as you’ll stand out at the bar.

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