The Best Types of Sleeves: 11 Different Sleeve Styles

How do you choose the perfect type of sleeve? The decision used to be easy: short in the summer, long in the winter… Today however, a sleeve of any length can be flirty, casual or even regal. So what do you choose?

In the words of our Head Designer, Gloria Berck, “Any sleeve could compliment a woman’s body type. What it comes down to is personal preference.”

Do you want a sleeve with a little flair? Do you want a sleeve that will cover your arms? Or do you want a sleeve that’s both modest and shows off some skin? 

“What you’ll notice about the dresses here is that the silhouettes are simple, comfortable and are an easy fit. All the interest and excitement of these dresses are in the different types of sleeves.”

- Gloria Berck, CA Head of Design

Sleeves have become a fixture in fashion design and garment making. And with so many unique types of sleeves that serve both an aesthetic and practical function, it’s easy to get lost in the changing styles. Sleeve designs can be created in any fabric and any style and they are a crucial element of a garment’s look and silhouette, as it is one of the first things you see in a garment. 

Beyond their practical function, different types of sleeves complete a garment’s silhouette and can create movement or structure to the piece depending on style.

“We don’t want our sleeves to look or feel heavy, so we design them to be light and airy but still cover you up,” Gloria explains. “Over the years we’ve expanded upon the traditional sleeve lengths (short, long) to include sleeves with slits, ruffles, cold shoulders, blousons and so on.” 

“The big driving point with all these figure flattering dresses is the body shape - slightly loose, a-line dresses where the sleeve is the big deal,” she continues. “We find that this works for any woman’s body type because many times, a woman simply wants to cover up her arms. Not everyone wants a sexy, form-fitting silhouette, so we found the recipe for that.”

Whether you’re looking for a statement sleeve or a modest sleeve, we’ve got the right sleeve type that will highlight your features beautifully. Check out our favorites below. 


The romantic ruched sleeves need no introduction.

Ruched sleeves can be any length and are delicately sewn along the outer edge of the sleeve to create a multi-dimensional sleevf. You’ll see the ruched sleeve style on many Connected Apparel dresses. 


Dusty Pink Floral V-neck Dress

$85 | Available in Regular

Sonya is the storybook floral v-neck dress for the true romantic. 

Floral print textured chiffon, delicately ruched extended short sleeves and princess seams under the bust make this v-neck dress feel feminine and enchanting. Every inch of Sonya is meant to accentuate your natural curves while keeping you comfortable, wherever the day or night takes you!


Short sleeves are a classic sleeve style that will never go out of fashion.

They are great for warmer weather, offering a simple style and comfortable fit. When the temperature begins to drop in the evening, short sleeve dresses are easy to style with a sweater or jacket. No bunching of the sleeves!


Tie Dye V-neck Short Sleeve Dress

$70 | Available in Regular

Marissa is the short sleeve dress for the woman who’s always up on the latest trends! 

This casual yet chic short sleeve dress is made from soft, buttery terry fabric in trendy stormy sky blue and coffee brown tie dye print. It even has every woman’s favorite dress detail—pockets! And with a versatile v-neckline and an above the knee length, this short sleeve dress is sure to be your new casual go-to season after season!


There are more to cap sleeves than meets the eye!

Cap sleeves offer a flattering vertical silhouette in the upper part of your body and add a bit more structure to a garment. Connected Apparel’s cap sleeves are carefully constructed to provide a comfortable fit, while also being figure flattering.


Light Purple Sequin Lace Bodycon Dress

$85 | Available in Regular

Need a party dress that’s perfect for a wedding, posh birthday party or other glitzy special occasion? Gracie has you covered!

The Gracie sequin lace bodycon dress is classic, feminine, sparkly and cut to a sexy, yet comfortable knee length. This short sleeve bodycon dress is made from stretch sequin lace and features a plunging sweetheart neckline with comfortable shape-defining boning and a slightly padded bust. Gracie holds you in at all the right places without making you feel constricted, so you can feel equally as comfortable as you look stunning. In the Gracie bodycon dress you’ll be sure to turn heads at your next special occasion.


Sleeveless dresses are another classic dress style that is seasonless. 

Women's sleeveless dresses and sleeveless jumpsuits create a long vertical line that can be eye-catching. If you have broad shoulders or arms that you feel conscious about, tank style sleeveless dresses with a neckline that's deep can help to balance out the look.


Heather Grey Sleeveless Casual Midi Dress

$70 | Available in Regular

This sleeveless version of our Quinn midi dress is the season’s best kept secret! 

This simple and essential midi dress features a modified sheath silhouette that’s fitted through the bust and shoulders. Made from buttery soft heather grey stretch fabric, this everyday midi dress will keep you feeling comfortable and looking casually chic all day and night. We’ve finished our Quinn midi dress with a slit in the front overlay, strategically crafted to end at the most slimming part of your waist. She’s the season’s essential one-and-done casual chic midi dress with eye-catching flair!


Like an off shoulder look, cold shoulder sleeves show off a little extra skin. 

Style experts say the cold shoulder sleeve is fashionable, stylish, and offers a slim effect for your arms. Because the sleeve hangs on to the bodice from the sides rather than from the top of the arm, the hole that is left draws attention to a small portion of your arm while camouflaging the rest of your upper arm.


Cold Shoulder Jumpsuit

$95 | Available in Regular, Petite & Plus

Featuring cold shoulder chiffon sleeves and an in-set waist line, Gloria is everything you want in a jumpsuit. 

Gloria is made from stretch crepe scuba which glides over the body making it the ideal choice for dancing, walking, name it. Wear this jumpsuit for an evening out or to a special event.


Raglan sleeves come in all lengths and are a popular choice for many garments. 

Unlike regular sleeves that are attached at the underside of your arm, raglan sleeves are designed to be an extension of your shoulder, therefore creating an illusion of long arms for a slim look. They’re also great for shrinking broad shoulders. Connected Apparel takes things one step further with an open sleeve style, which allows for added movement.


Light Purple Floral Knee Length Dress

$85 | Available in Regular & Plus

Classic meets contemporary in this stunning floral knee length dress.

Sasha combines a striking light purple floral print with fashion-forward chiffon raglan sleeves. With the unique open hem styling, Sasha’s sleeves are eye catching and give you just the right amount of arm coverage. You’ll find yourself reaching for this knee length dress for daytime events and fancy luncheons.


Open hem sleeves are also referred to as peek-a-book sleeves. 

Adding a slit to a long sleeve not only provides coverage, but also allows for added movement. It also allows for the sleeves to not be form fitting, but instead light and airy.

Dusty Purple Sequin Lace Sheath Dress

Dusty Purple Sequin Lace Sheath Dress

$90 | Available in Regular & Plus

Wearing Stevie may make you feel like a Hollywood starlet. 

This elegant knee length sheath dress is designed with a vintage style reminiscent of 1950s Hollywood. Stevie’s stretch sequin scalloped lace glides over the body. And long chiffon sleeves provide subtle coverage while the side slits create dramatic flair and movement. Stevie is the glitzy knee length sheath dress that’ll elevate any special occasion. It’s an iconic party dress that’ll have you feeling like a confident and glamorous Elizabeth Taylor by the end of the evening.


Three-quarter inch sleeves provide just the right amount of coverage, taking the chill off while also showing off some extra skin. 

Fashion gurus have been known to say that three-quarter inch sleeves are the most universally flattering. Because this sleeve has a length between the elbow and wrist, they highlight the smaller part of your arm and are known as bracelet sleeves. Why not style your dress with some bangles?!


¾ Sleeve Floral Ruffle Hem A-line Dress

$85 | Available in Regular

Meet the ready to wear anywhere, Spring A-Line floral dress. 

Danielle’s lightweight textured floral print fabric gives this A-Line dress the versatility to wear it from one season to the next. And Danielle’s fitted bodice with shirred waist accentuates your figure, while the skirt of this A-Line dress allows you to move freely and comfortably from place to place. From lunch with friends to attending a garden party, Danielle is a must-have in your Spring wardrobe.


A length that’s between short sleeves and three-quarter sleeves and end right at the crease of your arm. 

They are a great option when you want to conceal the upper part of your arm but you still want to feel a bit of breeze. Visually, elbow sleeves end just under your bust, one of the smallest parts of your midsection, which helps to create a figure flattering silhouette. 


Lavender Floral Faux Wrap Dress

$80 | Available in Regular

Like a wrap dress, Gina is simply classic. 

Instead of a tie at the waist, Gina has an O-ring, which means there's no fussing to make the perfect bow or knot! The faux wrap dress accentuates your figure, while elbow sleeves provide extra coverage. Made from stretch knit jersey, this purple floral print wrap dress can take you from work to play in minutes. Simply switch out your earrings and purse.


Butterfly sleeves are a beautiful added element to any dress. 

Gathered at the shoulder seams, butterfly sleeves have a loose hem to give them movement. With its chic design and elegant look, butterfly sleeves allow you to move freely while feeling confident. 


Burnout Overlay Mauve Midi Dress

$85 | Available in Regular & Plus

With events going a bit more casual this year, we’re introducing special occasion dresses that are too, like the Giselle! 

Giselle may be a simpler style dress, solid mauve stretch fabric in a basic sleeveless sheath silhouette, but the attached overlay top gives this Spring midi dress a uniquely sophisticated bohemian feel. The overlay features gorgeous burnout chiffon floral print with flowy butterfly elbow sleeves that provide modest coverage while allowing your arms to move freely. And the overlay’s front tie creates the illusion of a separate top & skirt, rounding out the subtle more casual details that make Giselle a perfect match for all your 2021 events!

Don’t forget to grab its matching mask!


Blouson sleeves add a touch of drama and uniqueness.

Typically, you’ll find a blouson sleeve paired with a simple, streamlined silhouette. This allows for the sleeves to be the focal point and why wouldn’t you want them to be?!


Purple Floral Chiffon Bell Sleeve Dress

$85 | Available in Regular

Shayla is the bell sleeve dress that can be styled for multiple looks.

Wear Shayla’s bell sleeves on your shoulders for a more modest everyday dress look or drop them off the shoulder for a flirty date night dress look. Fully lined, this floral print bell sleeve dress features a slit up to the knee for added movement and a mixi length, just slightly longer than a classic midi. And to create your most figure flattering silhouette, the Shayla Bell Sleeve Dress was designed with a gathered waist that highlights curves while the textured purple floral chiffon fabric glides over the body in all the right places. Whether you’re heading to a friend's birthday or a picnic in the park, this cute floral print bell sleeve dress is perfect! 

From daytime dresses to women’s jumpsuits and cocktail dresses, Connected Apparel has expanded upon their product offering by adding figure flattering sleeves. Regardless of size, rest assured that you’re buying a comfortable dress that will look and feel great on!

Shop Statement Sleeves

Shop our collection of statement sleeves and make an entrance! Larger than life, never underestimate how empowering a statement sleeve can be for the woman bold enough to wear it. 


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