Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

The Resurgence of Balloon Sleeves

Balloon sleeves, also known as puffed sleeves, have made a major comeback in the fashion world. This trend, which was popular in the 1980s, has been seen on runways, red carpets, and street style looks. From blouses to dresses, balloon sleeves are making a statement and adding a touch of drama to any outfit. In this blog post, we will explore the history of balloon sleeves, how to style them, and tips for wearing them. So get ready to embrace this trend and add some volume to your wardrobe.

A Guide to Styling Balloon Sleeves

Balloon sleeves can be styled in various ways, depending on the occasion and personal preference. Here are some tips on how to rock this trend:

For a Casual Look

For a casual and effortless look, pair a balloon sleeve top with high-waisted jeans or shorts. This will balance out the volume on top and create a flattering silhouette. Complete the look with some sneakers or sandals for a comfortable yet stylish outfit.

For a Formal Look

To elevate your formal attire, opt for a dress or blouse with balloon sleeves. This will add a touch of sophistication and make a statement. Pair it with tailored pants or a pencil skirt for a chic and polished look. Add some heels and minimal accessories to complete the ensemble.

For a Night Out

For a night out, go for a more dramatic look by choosing a dress or top with exaggerated balloon sleeves. This will add a touch of glamour and make you stand out from the crowd. Pair it with some statement jewelry and strappy heels for a show-stopping look.

Balloon Sleeves: A Fashion History

The trend of balloon sleeves dates back to the 16th century when they were worn by both men and women. During the Renaissance period, balloon sleeves were a symbol of wealth and status, as they were often made with expensive fabrics and intricate details.

In the 19th century, balloon sleeves became popular again, thanks to the Victorian era. Women’s dresses were adorned with voluminous sleeves, often decorated with lace and ruffles. This trend continued into the early 20th century, with the introduction of the “leg of mutton” sleeve, which was a more exaggerated version of the balloon sleeve.

In the 1980s, balloon sleeves made a major comeback in fashion. They were seen on everything from blouses to wedding dresses, and were often paired with shoulder pads for an even more dramatic look. However, this trend eventually faded away in the 1990s, only to make a comeback in recent years.

How to Sew a Balloon Sleeve

If you’re feeling crafty, you can also try sewing your own balloon sleeve top or dress. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to sew a basic balloon sleeve:

  1. Start by cutting out two rectangles of fabric for the sleeves. The length of the rectangle should be twice the desired length of the sleeve, and the width should be the circumference of your arm plus a few inches for ease.
  2. Fold the rectangles in half lengthwise and sew along the long edge to create a tube.
  3. Next, hem the bottom edge of the sleeve by folding it over twice and sewing it down.
  4. Now, gather the top edge of the sleeve by sewing a basting stitch (a long, loose stitch) along the top edge and pulling the thread to gather the fabric.
  5. Attach the gathered edge of the sleeve to the armhole of your garment, making sure to evenly distribute the gathers.
  6. Finally, sew the side seams of the garment and finish off any raw edges.

You can also experiment with different types of balloon sleeves, such as bishop sleeves or lantern sleeves, by adjusting the width and length of the rectangles.

Celebrities Wearing Balloon Sleeves

Balloon sleeves have been spotted on numerous celebrities, both on and off the red carpet. Here are some of our favorite looks:


Rihanna is known for her bold fashion choices, and she definitely didn’t disappoint when she wore a pink satin dress with exaggerated balloon sleeves to the 2015 Grammy Awards. The dress was designed by Giambattista Valli and made a major statement on the red carpet.

Meghan Markle

The Duchess of Sussex has also been seen rocking balloon sleeves on multiple occasions. One of her most memorable looks was a black Givenchy dress with sheer balloon sleeves, which she wore to the Endeavour Fund Awards in 2019. This look perfectly combined elegance and modernity.


Zendaya is no stranger to experimenting with fashion, and she pulled off a stunning look at the 2018 Met Gala in a Joan of Arc-inspired Versace gown with voluminous balloon sleeves. The dress perfectly showcased her edgy yet chic style.

Balloon Sleeves on the Runway

Balloon sleeves have been a popular trend on the runway in recent years. Designers have been incorporating them into their collections in various ways, from subtle puffed sleeves to exaggerated and oversized ones. Here are some notable examples:

Marc Jacobs Spring/Summer 2020

Marc Jacobs’ Spring/Summer 2020 collection featured a variety of balloon sleeve tops and dresses in bold colors and prints. The designer played with different lengths and volumes, creating a fun and playful collection.

Valentino Fall/Winter 2020

Valentino’s Fall/Winter 2020 collection showcased a more subtle take on balloon sleeves. The designer incorporated them into elegant and sophisticated dresses, adding a touch of drama and femininity to the looks.

Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2021

For his Spring/Summer 2021 collection, Alexander McQueen presented a modern and edgy take on balloon sleeves. The designer incorporated them into structured blouses and dresses, creating a strong and powerful look.

The Different Types of Balloon Sleeves

There are various types of balloon sleeves, each with its own unique style and volume. Here are some of the most popular ones:

Bishop Sleeves

Bishop sleeves are characterized by their fullness from the shoulder to the elbow, and then tapering down to a fitted cuff at the wrist. They are often seen on blouses and dresses and add a touch of elegance to any outfit.

Lantern Sleeves

Lantern sleeves are similar to bishop sleeves, but they have more volume throughout the entire arm. They are often gathered at the wrist, creating a lantern-like shape. This type of sleeve is perfect for adding drama to any look.

Gigot Sleeves

Gigot sleeves, also known as leg of mutton sleeves, were popular in the Victorian era. They are characterized by their fullness at the top of the arm, gradually tapering down to a fitted cuff at the wrist. This type of sleeve adds a touch of vintage charm to any outfit.

Balloon Sleeves for Every Occasion

Balloon sleeves can be worn for various occasions, from casual outings to formal events. Here are some ideas on how to incorporate them into your wardrobe:


For a work-appropriate look, opt for a blouse or dress with subtle balloon sleeves. Pair it with tailored pants or a pencil skirt for a professional and polished ensemble.

Weekend Brunch

For a casual yet stylish weekend look, pair a balloon sleeve top with high-waisted jeans and sneakers. Add a statement bag or some fun accessories to complete the look.

Date Night

For a romantic date night, go for a dress with exaggerated balloon sleeves. This will add a touch of drama and make you stand out. Pair it with some heels and minimal jewelry for a chic and elegant look.

Tips for Wearing Balloon Sleeves

Here are some tips to keep in mind when wearing balloon sleeves:

  • Balance out the volume by pairing balloon sleeves with fitted bottoms.
  • If you’re petite, opt for smaller and more subtle balloon sleeves to avoid overwhelming your frame.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of balloon sleeves to find what works best for you.
  • Keep accessories minimal to let the balloon sleeves be the focal point of your outfit.
  • When trying on a garment with balloon sleeves, make sure they don’t restrict your movement or feel uncomfortable.

The Future of Balloon Sleeves

Balloon sleeves have been a major trend in recent years, and it looks like they are here to stay. Designers continue to incorporate them into their collections, and celebrities and influencers are embracing this trend. We can expect to see more variations and creative ways of styling balloon sleeves in the future.


Balloon sleeves have made a major comeback in the fashion world, and it’s easy to see why. They add a touch of drama and femininity to any outfit, making a statement without being too over-the-top. From casual to formal occasions, there is a balloon sleeve style for every occasion. So go ahead and embrace this trend, and add some volume to your wardrobe.

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