puff sleeve


The fashion pack’s love affair with big sleeves isn’t over yet, and from bell to lace to floaty there’s room for all eventualities, sleeve wise. But the Queen of the big sleeves for the next season is the gorgeous puff sleeve.

Of course, we’ve been flaunting our own version of the puff sleeve since the early days of Wingz. The Chiffon Volume Sleeve is stylish and goes well with formal, party and casual wear and has been a top seller. The big sleeve, and the puff sleeve have a long fashion history, a history that certainly inspired us to create our own version.

History of the puff sleeve

Once upon a time, and in fairy tales and classic period dramas, the longer version of the puff sleeve was known as the leg-o-mutton sleeve, Some other names were the bishop sleeve and the virago.

Posh Renaissance ladies loved a bit of puff sleeve, but since then, the style has been in and out of favour with fashionable ladies and style magazines. In the 1930s it was picked up again after the twenties obsession with straight up and down, boyish styles. Women wanted a more feminine look after flappers had stolen the limelight for a good few years and a frill has always been seen as feminine and a bit romantic. Back then, unlike our versions, the full sleeves were lined with stiffened fabric to give them a bit more ‘oomph’.

Going back even further, there was the gigot sleeve, which was worn wide over the arm and then narrowed down from the elbow to the wrist. Ladies in the late 19th century loved them despite the word Gigot meaning ‘back leg of an animal.’ Like the early 20th century versions, they also needed lots of padding to keep them puffy, which made them hard to wear. The sleeves got bigger and bigger until some women were too wide to fit through a door with their sleeves on.

gigot puff sleeve

In the 21st century, Pippa Middleton showed off her sleeves at Wimbledon this year in style. She wore a cute, long sleeved printed maxi dress by Anna Mason for her day at the tennis, and rocked the puffy sleeve in her usual understated style.

Embed from Getty Images

Puff sleeves at Copenhagen Fashion Week

August saw the Copenhagen Fashion Week for Spring/Summer 2019 and the puff sleeve was well in evidence with some of the designers, especially Cecilie Bahnsen, who is well known for her soft and feminine touches.  She showed off typically poufy designs this season, with puff sleeves joining tie-backs, peplums, and gorgeous full skirts.

Embed from Getty Images

Vogue 30th Anniversary Party in Madrid

The biggest puff sleeve of them all might well have been seen at the Vogue 30th Anniversary party in July when shy and retiring Tristan and Cosima Ramirez Ruiz de la Prada made a dramatic entrance in extreme puff with colours to match. We love their style although we’re not planning a Wingz version of this style at the moment!

Embed from Getty Images

So…whether your style is extrovert or subtle, casual or party, add a puff sleeve and you’ll be up there with the fashion pack in 2018/19…

Edwardian Image By Unknown - http://www.vox.com/2014/7/8/5880931/the-19th-century-health-scare-that-told-women-to-worry-about-bicycle, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34492238