girlie puff sleeves are the perfect topper for spring at Balenciaga, Donna Karan, Alexander McQueen, Armani Prive Couture, Valentino (top); Nicole Miller, Roksanda Ilincic, Maison Martin Margiela, Christian Lacroix and John Galliano (bottom)
Whether it's a new full skirt, wide-legged trouser, or your go-to pencil skirt, a blouse or jacket with puff sleeves promises to be one of your new fave pieces. Feminine, yet strong in that 40s film star way, the exaggerated shoulder automatically makes your waist look smaller, so play it up with a belt, by tucking it in, or opting for a piece that comes self-belted. As the runway styling shows, necklaces and earrings don't really work here; instead, go for big heels and, if you simply must, big bracelets or bangles.
What's interesting about this sleeve is how overt the fashion history reference is. Starting with the ruffled, floor-length skirt suits Olivier Theyskens was designing for Rochas for Fall 2005 (we did this post at the time questioning the possible underlying reasons for a resurgence in the Victorian look in fashion), it was only logical to expect to see the rest of the late 19th century Gibson Girl look appear: a nipped in waist, full skirt, and the poufy leg-of-mutton or gigot sleeve.
Here are some beautiful puff sleeve tops, plus pretty reference pix from fashion history:
- white crepe satin Dior puff-sleeve jacket (middle)
- Bebe etched linen Origami jacket (top)
- Dorothy Perkins white buttondown shirt
- True Love puff sleeve top
- ecru Antonio Melani Zora tie-front blouse
- fashion history illustrations: top - daytime walking suits from 1894 via wikipedia; ladies chatting in an 1890s garden - pastpatterns.com
- Lesley Scott
(runway photos: style.com)