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.

Jackie is wearing the Elsa capelet dress in taupe. The unique attached capelet elevates the dress and makes it simple to style. She paired the dress with a basic black heel to allow the dress to be the star of the show!

“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.

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! 


Leanna is wearing the Emeline dress which features three-quarter balloon sleeves that add unique coverage, perfect for the colder weather. She paired this dress with a black ankle bootie and statement earrings to balance out the look. 

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.


Cute meets comfort in this casual black cropped jumpsuit.

With short sleeves, a V-neckline and tie at the waist, Harper accentuates your upper body, while the cropped wide leg pants help to elongate your legs. While the buttons on the bodice are for show, there’s no need to worry! 


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.

Wear this eye-catching lace bodycon dress at your next special occasion!

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. 


Grace is sexy, elegant, classic, and sparkly. 

This bodycon floor length dress is made of stretch sequin lace and features a plunging sweetheart neckline with boning and a padded bust. Grace holds you in all the right places without making you feel constricted. You're sure to turn heads at your next special occasion.


Jackie is wearing the Betty dress that incorporates chiffon balloon sleeves. The long, chiffon sleeves are gathered at the wrists to create a stunning balloon sleeve that is comfortable and easy to move in. She paired the dress with a simple black 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!

Looking put together can happen in an instant when you wear this Elsa Capelet Dress.

An attached floral print capelet elevates the exquisitely soft A-Line stretch crepe scuba dress. Simple, refined and elegant details like the V-back of this floral midi dress make Elsa the loveliest choice for any special event. Just add dangling earrings and a clutch and you'll be ready in minutes!


Sara is a timeless wide leg jumpsuit that you can wear for any season.

A chiffon cross-body ruffle adds dimension and movement, taking this sleeveless jumpsuit to the next level of sophistication. With the perfect pair of heels, dangling earrings, and an evening clutch, you'll be all set to head out to a wedding reception, upscale dinner, or a night of cocktails. 


Carole is the new, elevated little black dress!

This classic A-line stretch jersey knit V-neck has a cozy fall twist. An attached button front flyaway cape in chiffon overlays this black A-line dress. Carole’s added neutral colors will instantly spice up your fall little black dress collection.


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 mustard leaf details with fashion-forward chiffon raglan sleeves. You’ll find yourself reaching for this knee length dress for daytime events and fancy luncheons all season long.


Feel and look your very best in this stunning mosaic print dress.

Sasha combines a striking mosaic floral print with fashion-forward chiffon raglan sleeves and a flattering above the knee length. Whether you wear Sasha out to a daytime wedding, or a fancy date night, she is the go-to event dress! 


Wear this stunning floral knee length dress to your next Holiday parties.

Sasha combines a striking red and black rose print with fashion forward chiffon raglan sleeves. With the unique open hem styling, Sasha’s sleeve will keep you dancing the night away with ease. 


Leslie is wearing the Gayle dress that features tiered chiffon butterfly sleeves for that extra touch of class and movement. Paired with a strappy 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 sleeves feature a slit up to the elbow for added flair and movement. This version of Stevie was created in a midi length for that added touch of sophistication and class you’ll want for your upcoming wedding events.


Stevie is a customer favorite. 

The stretch, zig zag, chevron lace fabric glides over the body, while the long chiffon sleeves of this lace dress provide subtle coverage. The long sleeves feature a slit up to the elbow for added flair and movement. The dark emerald green color and chevron print adds a unique, beautiful touch for the 2021 Holiday Season. 


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?!

A two-in-one jacket dress like Monica is the ultimate one-step piece.

The slip on sheath dress comes with an attached jacket made from stretch jersey fabric so you can be out the door in minutes! Simple, sophisticated, and soft to the touch, you’ll feel comfortable and look amazing from day-to-night in this print jacket dress.


The ultimate dress to impress, Erin is your new go-to work dress!

This classic plaid sheath dress features three-quarter sleeves and a high neckline for a classic look, while the stretch puff painted fabric adds texture. Whether you’re going to work, running errands or going out to dinner, Erin is a dress you will turn to time and again this season.


Jackie is wearing our tried-and-true Lisa 2.0 silhouette. Her elbow flounce sleeves add a sophisticated touch. She paired the dress with a statement earring and a bold red lip.

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. 

Carrie is proof that a knee length dress is wearable architecture.

An asymmetrical neckline and draping throughout make this dress both figure flattering and sleek. Carrie’s skirt panel creates a wrap effect for added dimension and the zebra stripes make a bold statement. Throw on this bold zebra print dress for a work wear ready day at the office, then transition straight into a night out!


Butterfly Styles

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.

Gayle is simply classic.

This knee length dress is made from stretch jersey knit that holds you in at all the right places without making you feel constricted. Shirring in the surplus bodice and at the waist makes Gayle dynamic and flattering. Note the tiered chiffon butterfly sleeves for that extra touch of class and movement.


Karla is wearing the Brandy dress with simple elbow sleeves. Perfect for the Fall season, she paired the dress with an ankle bootie, handbag, and a denim jacket for the chillier weather. 

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?!

Amanda is the go-to outfit when you’re feeling unmotivated to sift through your closet.

At first glance, it looks like you’re wearing a gorgeous blouse and pants, but when you look closer, you’ll quickly realize that this is a jumpsuit, which means its a one-and-done outfit! The floor length, wide leg pants give a sophisticated feel that are equally as comfortable. 


Emeline is the fall dress your closet needs!

Slip on this balloon sleeve midi dress for a holiday party or fancy date night. Emeline’s midi length keeps you warm, while the three-quarter balloon sleeves add unique coverage. Emeline has a tie at the neckline that can be worn as is or even untied to unveil a V-neck for a more alluring feel.


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.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published

Editor's Picks