A funny thing happened to our dress sleeves over the course of the pandemic — they ballooned, they volumized, and they swelled to cloud-like proportions. This fashion writer’s hypothesis is that puff-sleeve dresses are what happens when fairytale escape meets stay-at-home comfort. The nap dress surely takes a lot of credit for kicking off this unexpected trend, but those frocks were more suited for indoorsy, (err, lockdown-y) life. These newer puff-sleeve dress styles, however, are explicitly for being seen in. And there are so many options available right now, whether you’re keen on the poofed-up tulle skirts or something more casual for daily wear.
Because this “big”-time trend is only about to blow up even further, and because people are itching to get out there again, we’ve rounded up the best puff-sleeve dresses that are sure to be the conversation starter at any social function. Broken down by dress length, occasion, and affordability, click on for the puff-sleeve dresses that rewrite the definition of “arm party.”
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Puff-Sleeve Mini Dresses
Mini dresses are for leggy moments, long strides, and hot nights — which may all be in your future (if they aren’t already in this post-vax world). Here are a few selects that are short in length but amped when it comes to sleeves.
Lulus Celeste Floral Print Puff Sleeve Mini Dress, $, available at Lulus
Hill House The Athena Nap Dress, $, available at Hill House
SWF Puff Sleeve Mini Dress, $, available at Revolve
Madewell Quilted Puff-Sleeve Mini Dress in Sunflower Field, $, available at Madewell
Puff-Sleeve Midi Dresses
Puff-sleeved dresses channel extra-but-in-the-best-way energy. But if you want to take the extra down a notch, consider a longer hemline. A midi dress can help tone down the look from “total princesscore” to “princesscore, but acceptable at the farmer’s market.”
Faithfull the Brand Falabelle tiered checked cotton-poplin midi dress, $, available at Net-A-Porter
MintCloudBoutique Plaid Gingham Puff-Sleeve Midi Dress, $, available at Etsy
Wray Rosemary Dress, $, available at Wray
Alexia Admor V-Neck Puff Sleeve Dress, $, available at Nordstrom Rack
Puff-Sleeve Maxi Dresses
Go long! Ahead are a few puff-sleeve maxi dresses that just skim the ground. And, to be sure, the tiered A-line skirts and thigh-high slits do allow for mobility.
NastyGal Shirred Puff Sleeve Maxi Slit Dress, $, available at NastyGal
Free People Dahlia Embroidered Maxi Dress, $, available at Free People
Sister Jane Bud Burst Jacquard Maxi Dress, $, available at Urban Outfitters
Staud Demi Short Puff-Sleeve Maxi Dress, $, available at Saks Fifth Avenue
Mango Flowers Cotton Puff Dress, $, available at Mango
Double-Puff Sleeve Dresses
What’s puffier than a puff sleeve? A double-puff sleeve. This extra-romantic style comes with extra length in the sleeve that’s perfect for transitioning from the end of summer to the beginning of fall.
Reformation Michaela Dress, $, available at Reformation
Alamour The Label Cassidy Dress, $, available at Alamour The Label
Casual Puff-Sleeve Dresses
Puffy sleeves automatically make any outfit look polished, but sometimes you want a little flair without looking overly dressy. Enter: the casual puff-sleeve dress. These are dresses made from laid-back fabrics like cotton or linen, but still pack in the volume.
Forever That Girl Gathered Puff-Sleeve Mini Dress, $, available at Anthropologie
A New Day Women’s Elbow Sleeve Eyelet Dress – A New Day™, $, available at Target
Zara PRINTED BALLOON SLEEVE DRESS, $, available at Zara
Vero Moda Lykke Puff Sleeve Floral Print Dress, $, available at Nordstrom
Extra Puffy Puff-Sleeve Dresses
Not to worry if you fear looking deflated — these next few puff-sleeve dresses are extra puffed and bubbled.
Ghospell Figurative floral puff sleeve mini dress, $, available at ASOS
ASOS EDITION puff sleeve volume midi dress, $, available at ASOS
& Other Stories Tiered Puff Sleeve Mini Dress, $, available at & Other Stories
Self Portrait Puff-sleeve checked taffeta mini dress, $, available at MatchesFashion
Farm Rio striped scarf maxi ruffled dress, $, available at Farm Rio
Fancy Puff-Sleeve Dresses
It was only a matter of time before formal puff-sleeve dresses made their way into the likes of weddings, cocktail hours, galas, and other fancy-time affairs.
Selkie The Ice Cream Gingham Parliament Dress, $, available at Selkie
ASOS DESIGN puff sleeve satin tea dress, $, available at ASOS
Brock Collection Puff Sleeve Poplin Midi Dress, $, available at Intermix
H&M Gathered Dress, $, available at H&M
Puff-Sleeve Dresses on Amazon
Amazon, a key source for affordable fashion finds, has a decent selection of puff-sleeve dresses. This one here is a bestseller — and the next couple styles get our stamp of approval as well.
Exlura Off Shoulder A-Line Vintage Mini Dress, $, available at Amazon
Dokotoo Puff Sleeve Chiffon Mini Dress, $, available at Amazon
R.Vivimos Puff Sleeve Off-Shoulder Boho Midi Dress, $, available at Amazon
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