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.

montonya is wearing the violet floral mesh dress. The sleeveless detail elevates the dress and makes it simple to style for the warmer months. She paired the dress with a nude heel to dress up the look for a daytime event.

“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.

Feel comfortable and confident in the simple, yet figure flattering Erika dress.

The Erika silhouette captures the eye with understated details like ruched extended short sleeves and a square neckline that highlights the elegance of a woman’s collarbones. Erika’s fitted bodice and A-line skirt are made of lightweight jersey knit fabric that makes this square neck midi dress both versatile and essential.


Bring on the romance with our new CAxLZ Kathy ruched sleeve top!

The delicate ruching adds feminine detailing to an otherwise classic three quarter sleeve top, but the elegance doesn’t stop there! With a V-neckline and extended t-shirt hemline, every inch of Kathy is figure flattering. Whether you wear Kathy during the day for work or out for a date night, she will help you stand out and feel good! 


karla is wearing the leona sheath dress, which features long balloon sleeves that are comfortable and easy to move in. She paired this dress with silver accessories and black heels. 

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!

Bri has the desirable features you want in a jumpsuit: a V-neckline, butterfly chiffon sleeves, and a defined waistline.

Made from stretch crepe scuba, the material 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.


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.

Gracie is sexy, elegant, classic, and sparkly. 

This sequin lace dress is classic, feminine, sparkly and cut to a sexy, yet comfortable above-the-knee length. This extended cap sleeve bodycon dress features a plunging sweetheart neckline with comfortable shape-defining boning and a slightly padded bust. 


Meet Cynthia, you’re next go-to wedding guest dress!

With a bodice made from scalloped navy sequin lace, Cynthia is feminine and eye catching. Cynthia's deep V-neckline features a mesh illusion for chic coverage, while the wide empire waistband helps to accentuate your natural cursive.


adriana is wearing the lisa 2.0 fuchsia dress that incorporates elbow flounce sleeves. She paired the dress with a simple nude heel to allow the statement sleeves to speak for themselves!


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!

This navy and periwinkle floral dress features an all-over print for a soft and versatile look.

Like all of our Carly dresses, this fan-favorite sleeveless chiffon dress is made from easy care, machine wash fabrics and features Carly’s classic empire waist, A-Line skirt and multidimensional ruching on the bodice and wide tank straps. Our Carly below the knee length dresses make the perfect Spring Easter Sunday dress, bridal shower dress or brunch dress. 


Regina is an ivory jumpsuit perfect for any special occasions you may have coming up.

This ivory jumpsuit is chic and comfortable featuring a tie at the waist that accentuates your natural figure and two pockets for extra comfort and practicality. Note that Regina’s straight legs split in the front for a trendy and sexy touch.


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.

Classic meets contemporary in this stunning knee length raglan sleeve dress.

 Sasha combines navy sequin lace 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.


Lene is wearing the elsa orchid dress that features a chiffon capelet for that extra touch of class and movement. Paired with a silver heel and silver jewelry to complete the look.

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.”

Stevie is one of our tried-and-true silhouettes.

The stretch, zig zag, chevron lace fabric glides over the body, while the long chiffon sleeves of this lace dress provide subtle coverage. The taupe color and chevron print adds a unique, beautiful touch for the 2022 Spring and Wedding Seasons.


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?!

Stevie is simply classic. 

This sheath dress is made from floral print stretch jersey knit that keeps you comfortable. Note the slit up the arm on the sleeves for added flair and movement. This version of Stevie is a great new addition to your daytime event wardrobe lineup.


Leona is a classic sheath in an updated floral knee length.

Three quarter sleeves are gathered into a cuff to create a balloon sleeve that’s comfortable and easy to move in. Made from a slinky pleated bodre, this version of Leona glides over every curve. From luncheons to casual weddings, you’ll love every minute that you’re wearing this floral sheath dress.


Leslie is wearing our tried-and-true Sunny silhouette. The floral flounce adds a simple touch that makes it the perfect day and night dress. she paired the dress with a nude heeled sandal and gold accessories.

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. 

Brandy is not your typical plain dress.

The laser-cut asymmetrical panels create dimension to elongate the body while the bodycon silhouette gives you a figure flattering shape. This subtle asymmetrical striped dress is a fabulous choice whether you're going to work, attending a casual dinner or even going to Easter Church or Brunch.


You'll look amazing and feel even better all day and night long.

This stunning number is your next favorite day-to-night Spring dress. Tina's draped cowl neck and side ruche provide interesting details, while the stretch orchid floral print jersey fabric hugs your figure without being too constricting. Tina slips on right over your head making it easy to get dressed in the morning.


montonya is wearing the mary iris purple dress without the shrug. featuring a sleeveless look that can change in the instant with an included elbow sleeve color-matched shrug. 

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?!

Wear Caroline in the office, to a party, or on date night!

At first glance, it may seem like you’re pairing a blouse with a pencil skirt, but when you take a closer look, you’ll realize that Caroline is a dress! Who doesn’t love a two-in-one deal? With her below the knee length, long balloon sleeves, and high neckline, this work dress will keep you feeling classic and chic.


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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