With so many sleeve options, the choice can be overwhelming. Let’s look at the most common types of wedding dress sleeves and how to choose the right sleeves for you.
What Are My Sleeve Style Options?
Flutter sleeves are usually short or mid-length, flared sleeves made from lightweight materials like lace or chiffon.
Bell sleeves flare out at the bottom, giving them a dramatic medieval flavor. Bell sleeves are typically long.
Poet sleeves are wide and billowy through the arm, then gather snug at the opening, usually with a ruffle at the end. Poet sleeves are generally mid to full-length.
Bishop sleeves are much like poet sleeves – wide and gathered at the opening, only with a cuff at the end instead of a ruffle. Bishop sleeves are typically full-length.
Puff sleeves are typically short or mid-length sleeves that offer a lot of roundish-volume.
Fitted sleeves are slender and lay close to the arm. The most popular fitted sleeves are full-length, like the sleeves on Kate Middleton’s wedding gown.
Mutton sleeves feature a lot of volume at the shoulder and upper arm, then taper off to a fitted sleeve at the wrist. Most mutton sleeves are full-length.
Tulip sleeves usually feature overlapping pieces of fabric that look almost like petals. Typically, tulip sleeves are cap or short-length.
Which Sleeves Are Right for Me?
Consider the Weather
No one wants to be uncomfortable on their wedding day. Remember to consider the weather and even the temperature inside your venues when looking at sleeve options. Full-length brocade sleeves may be a bit much in the middle of summer, and sheer chiffon bishop sleeves may not be warm enough in the dead of winter.
Consider Your Setting
Some religions or cultures don’t allow bare shoulders or exposed arms. Remember to check whether your venue has any wedding gown guidelines to avoid potential issues on your big day.
Consider Your Body
Many women carry weight in their arms, which can be a source of insecurity. Fitted sleeves may draw attention to any extra bulk in the arm area. At the same time, poet sleeves may make your arms look even larger.
A safe bet is to try sleeves that balance out the size of the upper arms. Bell sleeves are wider at the bottom, and bishop sleeves are often narrower at the top, making them excellent camouflage choices.
You can choose to follow the “rules” for what looks good on you, or you can ignore them completely – there is no wrong answer. As long as your dress makes you feel beautiful, confident, and excited to say I do, you’ve succeeded.