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 Wedding Dress Sleeve Styles

Wedding Dress Sleeve Styles


The second element that influences the overall look of your gown is the sleeve length. When selecting the sleeves for your wedding dress, you will want to consider the time of day and the season in which you will be married. While sleeveless or strapless gowns are now considered appropriate year-round, long or three quarter length sleeves are not well-suited for a wedding held on a summer afternoon. This chapter looks at the different sleeve length options, and indicates their impact on the overall look of your dress.



Capped sleeves hug just the top of the shoulder. You will commonly find capped sleeves on delicate, feminine dresses, and they can either be made of the same fabric as the bodice, or out of a contrasting sheer silk or lace for a barely there look. The capped sleeve works best on slender arms since this look will draw attention to this area.


Petal sleeves have two pieces that gently overlap on the upper arm to create what looks like the petals of a flower. This style is an alternative to a standard short or capped sleeve. Petal sleeves are also more forgiving on larger arms than other revealing styles, such as the capped or sleeveless options.


Juliet sleeves are long, romantic sleeves that puff out around the upper arm and are fitted down to the wrist. This sleeve will add an element of theatrics to your look, and are the most appropriate for winter or evening weddings.


The balloon sleeve is similar to the Juliet, except that it does not extend into a long sleeve. The balloon sleeve is short and features a puff around the upper arm. You will want to take care when selecting a sleeve of this type since it can often overbear your look and cause your upper body to appear larger.


The poet sleeve is fitted down to the forearm, where it then flares out, resembling sleeves of the Shakespearian Era. The ruffles at the end of the sleeve can either be made of the same fabric as the rest of the sleeve, or they can be contrasting to create a more dramatic statement. A fabric such as lace is perfect for this type of effect.


If you are looking to cover your arms, but still want to look elegant and sexy, illusion sleeves are a great option since they consist of a transparent material that allows your skin to show through. These sleeves can be of any length and work well with embellishments such as beading and lace overlays.


Bell sleeves are long, fitted sleeves that flare out gently at the wrist. These sleeves work best on simple, elegant gowns such as a column or A-line silhouette, since they will add formality without taking away from the clean look of the dress. Bell sleeves are most appropriate for winter or evening weddings.

Three-Quarter Length

Three-quarter length sleeves extend from the shoulder to the forearm, stopping somewhere between the elbow and wrist. Like the illusion, this sleeve allows you to feel covered up but does not cause you to feel restricted in any way. The three-quarter length sleeve works well with most dress styles and many levels of formality, as well as most body types.


The bishop sleeve is a variety of long sleeve tat is full through the forearm and is gathered by cuff at the wrist. This style has a bohemian look to it, and works well for casual, outdoorsy ceremonies.


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