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How to Wear the Puffy-Sleeve Trend

The Trend I Wore All Fashion Week Will Be Even Bigger for Spring

How to Wear the Puffy-Sleeve Trend
Image Source: Style Du Monde

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As someone who appreciates simplicity, I totally understand why the puffy-sleeve trend can feel like . . . a lot. Ample arms, big shoulders, and billowing cuffs aren't exactly subtle. I generally subscribe to a classic and minimal aesthetic, but often find myself drawn to feminine flourishes like pretty prints, cute colors, and yes, you guessed it, fanciful sleeves, too; particularly when I'm craving a more standout look. So, as I prepared a lineup of outfits to wear throughout New York Fashion Week, where novelty is rewarded on the street style scene, I decided to rock puffy sleeves in top, dress, and sweater form. And let me tell you, the trend is a lot more wearable than you may think.

Since I tend toward simple pieces, the bulk of my wardrobe can teeter into humdrum territory if I'm not inventive. But with a closet full of classic silhouettes and neutral colors, I struggle to achieve impact sans the whole "try-hard" thing (me sporting a maximalist look would be akin to witnessing a mermaid on land: unnatural and technically not even a thing). It wasn't until I came across a few puffy-sleeve pieces that it dawned on me; a little volume can go a long way. I can still feel like me if I temper a bold sleeve with muted colors, clean lines, and uncomplicated accessories. Even if I dared to wear a puffy sleeve in a brighter hue (which I did!), I've deduced that minimal extras make me feel comfortable and more willing to experiment; what better feeling to enter into fashion month with?

My puffy-sleeve success story doesn't stop here, however. After witnessing the first few shows and presentations of the week, I quickly realized that the puffy-sleeve trend isn't going anywhere for Spring. In fact, it's getting bigger than ever, with swingy bishop sleeves, Princess-style shoulders, and '80s-inspired shapes both for day and night popping up all over the runways. Am I just tooting my own horn for being in line with such a prominent trend? Absolutely not. But it makes me feel good knowing I've invested in a trendy silhouette that will be sticking around into Spring and Summer. And in turn, I'm hoping this encourages you to try your hand at the trend, too.

Without further ado, check out five puffy-sleeve outfits I wore to the Spring 2020 shows and presentations throughout New York Fashion Week ahead, and shop my looks head to toe. Then, to preview the 2020 version of puffy sleeves, scroll through for all of my favorite moments from the runway.

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