Fashion 101: Different Types of Sleeves

Sleeves 101: 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 types of sleeves do you choose?

In the words of our Head Designer, Gloria Berck, “Any sleeve types 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 length 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 different types of dress styles 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 Designer

Sleeve styles 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 sleeve 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 dress style.

Kristin is wearing the sasha midnight blue floral dress and the raglan sleeves are making quite the statement!

“We don’t want our dress 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 and so on.”

“The big driving point with all these figure-flattering dresses or even tops 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, a modest sleeve or traditional sleeve, we’ve got the right sleeve styles that will highlight your features beautifully. Check out our favorites below.

Ruched Sleeve Styles

The romantic ruched sleeves need no introduction.

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

Indra is wearing the celia sequin lace dress that is sleeveless but features a pop of chiffon at the waist.

Short Sleeves Design

Short sleeves are a traditional 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 styles are easy to wear with a sweater or jacket. No bunching of the sleeves!

A classic sheath silhouette in a chic polka dot print, you are sure to love the Lulu dress!

Elbow sleeves are gathered to create a balloon sleeve that is feminine and flattering. Made from a lightweight chiffon fabric, the Lulu dress is a lightweight option for warm weather and beyond.


Cap Sleeve Styles

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 sleeve styles are carefully constructed to provide a comfortable fit, while also being figure flattering.

Meet Gracie, a cobalt blue cocktail dress that is classic, feminine, and sparkly.

This lace cocktail dress is made from stretch sequin lace and features a plunging sweetheart neckline with comfortable shape-defining boning and a slightly padded bust. Gracie creates your most figure flattering silhouette without making you feel constricted so you’ll look absolutely stunning while feeling unbelievably comfortable.


Kristen is wearing the georgia deep teal dress that features balloon sleeves that add a touch of feminity.


Sleeveless dresses are another traditional sleeve 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 self conscious about, tank style sleeveless dresses with a neckline that's deep can help to balance out the look. The great thing about sleeveless dresses is that you can pair them easily with sweaters, jackets or even opt for dresses with capes!

Mari is a timeless and chic sleeveless dress that will become your go-to for any and all fancy events!

The metallic fabric adds a subtle sparkle that is both feminine and fun while also being lightweight so you feel comfortable throughout the night. With a column skirt and fitted bodice that gathers into an artful knot, this v neck floor length sleeveless dress has you feeling elegant from the moment you slip her on.


Raglan Sleeve Styles

Raglan types of 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 sleeve styles 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 in our Sasha dress.

Kristin is wearing the maya metallic floor length dress that is sleeveless with an attached cape.

Slit Sleeve Styles

Sleeves with slits are also referred to as peek-a-book sleeves.

Adding a slit to a long sleeve dress 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. Gloria says, “Adding chiffon sleeves with slits to our Stevie dress was the perfect way to create a comfortable, figure-flattering special occasion dress that adds mystery and a touch of sexiness.”

Three-Quarter Sleeve Styles

Three-quarter inch sleeve styles 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 sleeve styles 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 also known as bracelet sleeves. Why not style your dress with some bangles?!

If you love the way our Lisa everyday dress hugs your curves while feeling like a dream, get ready for the next generation of Lisa!

The Lisa knee length dress with faux wrap detail at the waist creates definition for a figure flattering silhouette. The matching flounce creates the sophisticated look you desire for a work to play look.


Terri is wearing the uptown 2.0 black jumpsuit that has three-quarter chiffon sleeves.

Elbow Sleeve Styles

Elbow types of sleeves offer comfort and coverage

A length that’s between traditional short sleeves and three-quarter sleeves and ends right at the crease of your arm, elbow types of sleeves offer comfort and coverage. 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. 

This figure flattering sequin lace dress is all about ultra femininity.

From her unique neckline to scalloped lace elbow sleeves to a partially unlined lace back, Meryl will have you feeling your best in minutes. Note the scalloped hem of this figure flattering sequin lace dress balances out the look. With every detail considered, Meryl will have you feeling comfortable and confident at your next special event. 


Kristen is wearing the tina eyelet cowl neck dress that is sleeveless.

Balloon Sleeve Styles

Balloon sleeves add a touch of drama and uniqueness.

Typically, you’ll find a balloon 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?!

Margaret is a little black jumpsuit with an updated flair.

Featuring long, chiffon balloon sleeves that are comfortable and easy to move in, this formal jumpsuit is made from stretch crepe scuba fabric and glides right over every curve. Note the V-neck back detail for that added sexy touch and also the high neck roll collar in the front to keep the look sleek and sophisticated.


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

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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