Bigger Isn't Always Better, But With This Trend, It's Absolutely the Case

Maxine Eggenberger
·3-min read

Most trends start life as just that—trends. By definition, a trend is a development or change, and as such, we expect trends to do the same; evolve into something else or, in some instances, veer off entirely. However, some trends prove themselves to be more than fleeting; some have staying power. And the puff sleeve trend is one such example of a look that's had a longer shelf-life than many of us expected it to.

The puff sleeve trend first cracked the fashion veneer in 2018, when '80s references raved the runway. We gladly bought into it, fully aware that it would likely be replaced by another detail of note the following year, no matter how pretty it is. Fast-forward to 2021, however, and the supersize sleeve is still just as popular as ever.

"Exaggerated, puff sleeves is a silhouette that has dominated in recent years, and is set to continue and become even more prominent in 2021," explains our Editor, Emma Spedding, in our bumper spring/summer 2021 trend report. "From dresses with huge ballooned shoulders at Loewe to trench coats with gathered sleeves at Altuzarra, get ready for even more shoulder action this year."

Oh, we're ready. With spring on the fast approach, Bridgerton (aka cap puff sleeve porn) fever still raging, and the cottagecore movement gaining more traction than ever, the puff sleeve trend is precisely what our wardrobes we need going into the new season; a little romanticism. Scroll below to see some standout puff-sleeve looks, then shop our favourite puff-sleeve buys.


Thandi's spliced puff sleeves in blue satin are simply divine.

Puff sleeves look even more dramatic when they involve a statement print.

One of the most impressive puff sleeves we've seen.

Clever Emili creates a gorgeous colour clash with her green puff sleeve dress and pink chair. Instagram 101.

One of the chicest and easiest ways to wear the puff sleeve trend is by way of a white shirt or blouse tucked into jeans.

We love the proportions of Grece's oversized puff sleeve dress.

Rounded puff sleeves make for an even more statement silhouette.


Miu Miu White Cotton Blend Dress (£955)

& Other Stories Smocked Puff Sleeve Top (£65)

Aje Vellum Puff-Sleeve Top (£240)

Cecilie Bahnsen Clementine Dress (£1235)

H&M Frill Collar Blouse (£15)

Sea Nadja Dress (£415)

Reformation Roe Satin Blouse (£180)

Kitri Manon Rose Print Midi Dress (£99)

Ulla Johnson Harriet Blouse (£260)

Ganni Checked Dress (£175)

Free People Ain't She A Beaut Midi Dress (£98)

The Marc Jacobs The Kat Dress (£460)

La Redoute Cotton Ruffled Shirt with High-Neck (£38)

& Other Stories Textured Ruffle Collar Puff Sleeve Top (£55)

Brock Collection Seva Puff-Sleeved Top (£515)

Zara Puff Sleeve Jumpsuit (£50)

& Other Stories Floral Button Puff Sleeve Cardigan (£65)

Simone Rocha Ruffled Mini Dress (£995)

H&M Puff Sleeve Dress (£35)

Next Up: The Under-£100 High-Street Buys That I Love This Month

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

Read More from Who What Wear