Types of Sleeves: 27 Short, 3/4th and Long Length Varieties 2022

Check out this article to learn the different varieties of short and full length sleeves which add a beautiful look to any outfit.

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  5 Jan 2022 6:50 AM GMT
Types of Sleeves: 27 Short, 3/4th and Long Length Varieties 2022

No matter how beautiful a garment is made, the sleeve ultimately completes the overall look. Sleeves are the most important elements of a dress which cover up your arms at different lengths along with creating a focal point. Even a small little detail on the sleeves can transform a regular, plain outfit into a designer ensemble. From the cute puff sleeves to the dramatic ruffles, there are different types of sleeves which serve different practical and aesthetic purposes.

In this article, we have picked 3 main categories of sleeves based on their length and listed the sub-types of sleeves under each. Read along to find out how many of them have you used so far!

27 Different Types of Sleeves Based on Sleeve-Length:

Sleeves come in different lengths, shapes and sizes. While some highlight the shoulder part, the others highlight the arm, elbow or wrist. The idea is to choose a sleeves type that complements the rest of the outfit beautifully along with keeping you comfortable. The fitting of sleeves also depends on the design of the outfit and the user's comfort level. Of course, if you are bold and confident about your body, then going sleeveless is another option!

Let us now check out the 3 main types of sleeves based on the length;

A. Small Sleeves-

Small or short-length sleeves are types of sleeves that end above the elbow. They don't offer any major coverage to the arm, but add a pretty look to the outfit. These sleeves can again range in varied lengths, starting from 2-inch cap sleeves to a 4–5-inch sleeve. The designs also vary according to the overall design of the outfit, like overlap, circular, pleated etc. Let us now check out the 10 different varieties of short sleeves:

1. Cap Sleeves:

As the name suggests, a cap sleeve is a small piece of fabric covering only the upper part of the shoulder to look like a 'cap'. It does not have any attachment or tapering under the arm inorder to make it look like a small umbrella above the shoulder. This type of small sleeve comes with a slightly fitted look to make it sit snugly on the intended place.

2. Plain Sleeves:

The most common type of short-sleeves is plain sleeves which just come as circular sleeves covering shoulder and tapering underneath. These sleeves are commonly seen on t-shirt, shirts, blouses or kurtas. Plain sleeves are ideal for office and everyday purposes as they look simple and neat. These sleeves come in a wide range of lengths, all which end above the elbow.

3. Petal or Overlapped Sleeves:

Petal sleeves get their name for the tulip petal-like shape which comes by overlapping the fabric and stitching the two ends on the upper side. These sleeves have a feminine look and are commonly seen in women's attires like frocks, blouses, tops and Kurtis. In addition, petal sleeves lend retro vibes to any outfit and involve a special technique to stitch the lower part into the armhole seamlessly.

4. Roll-Up Sleeves:

Roll-up Sleeves add a smart, casual look to the outfit with their unique rolled-up design. Slightly longer plain sleeves are rolled up and stitched to a length above the elbow. These sleeves are seen mostly in western wear like shirts and tops. However, ethnic wear outfits like Kurtis and saree blouses also feature them to get a fusion look.

5. Puff Sleeves:

Puff sleeves are one of the most popular types of sleeves which look good on traditional and modern upper wear. The sleeves feature a gathered detail on the shoulder to give a puffed-up look. Due to their voluminous appearance, puff sleeves are also called balloon sleeves which usually come with a tight or elasticated armband on the bottom. Puff sleeves go well on blouses, tops, t-shirts and Kurtis.

6. Melon Sleeves:

Melon sleeves are a dramatic version of puff sleeves which feature a bigger and more voluminous puff. They come with fabric gathering above the elbow region and fastened to an elasticated band to create that balloon effect. This 19th Century fashion is back into the contemporary fashion scene and trending big in traditional and western-wear segments. Many fashionistas prefer these sleeves for getting a 'fullness' look on their arms.

7. Ruffle Sleeves:

Ruffle sleeves are one of the most popular types of sleeves for their playful, flirty look. They feature a gathering detail around the armhole with a wide flare on the bottom. When done correctly, ruffle sleeves look like the fluttering wings of a butterfly, earning them the name- butterfly sleeves. Thin fabrics like chiffons, nets or light cotton suit well for making ruffle sarees as they retain that flowy nature.

8. Lantern Sleeves:

Lantern sleeves are a cross between puff sleeves and plain sleeves. The upper part has a gathering detail to achieve a puff which ends as a plain sleeve ending above the elbow. The name comes from its lantern-like appearance that adds volume on top and fitting look on the lower side. Lantern sleeves look good on traditional and western tops and blouses.

9. Cold-Shoulder:

Cold-shoulder sleeves ruled the fashion scene until the recent times. They are regular sleeves with an exceptional cut detail on top to reveal the shoulder area. Since the shoulder part gets exposed, the sleeves are called 'cold-shoulders'. These sleeves add a stylish fusion look to any garment and make the wearer look broad.

10. Split Sleeves:

Split sleeves feature a cut or a split in the center of the sleeves, typically ruffle or flowy sleeves. These sleeves add a modern touch to a regular outfit and also offer comfort to the wearer. The sleeves are attached neatly around the armhole with or without a gathering detail. Another variety of split sleeves is a tie-up detail on the lower end that resembles a knot or a bow around the arm.

11. Raglan Sleeves:

Raglan sleeves are non-set-in sleeves, which means they come as an extended piece of the fabric from the outfit, instead of an additional attachment around the armhole. You can identify them from the diagonal in-seam which starts from the collar bone to the underarm. Raglan sleeves are commonly seen in T-shirts, shirts and tops due to their casual look.

12. Draped Sleeves:

Draped sleeves look quite flattering on the arms with their layered, flowy look. They come with a layering of draped effect on the center of the sleeve which extends into a fitted look in the end. A drawstring or an elastic band often comes in the center to pull it down and create a neat drapey look. These sleeves are usually seen in t-shirts, tops and Kurtis.

13. Off-Shoulder Sleeves:

Off-shoulder sleeves or Bardots are popularly known as the 'Summer sleeves'. They are drop sleeves which come as an attachment to a low neckline that begins below the collarbone and exposes the shoulders. These sleeves create a breezy look to the wearer and suit outfits like dresses, gowns, tops and blouses.

B. Medium-Length/Half-Length or ¾ Length Sleeves-

Mid-length or 3/4 th length sleeves are those which measure below the elbow but at least 3-6 inches above the wrist. Medium-length sleeves do not touch the wrist part of your hand and look like a balanced version of short and long-length sleeves. 3/4th Sleeves offer enough coverage to your hand, making it perfect for women who want to combine style with comfort.

14. Flamenco:

Flamenco sleeves are a type of sleeves which come from the Spanish iconic outfit, The Flamenco dress. These sleeves feature a fitted look until the elbow and extend as a two to three layers of frilly ruffles. The length of sleeve depends on the number of ruffles added to it. Flamenco sleeves create a girly, playful look and suit feminine outfits like dresses, tops and blouses.

Here are the two types of ¾ length sleeves:

15. Straight 3/4th Sleeves:

A common type of ¾ length sleeve is the fitted sleeves that start from the shoulder and end a few inches below the elbow. The sleeve measures equally from the armholes till the end to create a slightly loose look above the wrist. It is ideal for people who have a lot of flab around their upper arms and wish to cover them without losing the comfort factor.

C. Long-Length Sleeves-

Long-length are the most popular types of sleeves, as they offer full coverage to your hands. These sleeves come in different varieties to complement a diverse set of fashion needs and body types. Long-sleeves or full-sleeves are appropriate for formal and informal settings. They offer impeccable comfort and style for people living in cooler climatic conditions.

Here are the different types of full-length sleeves:

16. Fitted Long-Length Sleeves:

These sleeves offer full coverage to your hands and feature a stylish fitted look from armhole to the wrist. Fitted sleeves are usually made with elasticated materials to get that stretch and proper fit. A traditional Indian version of fitted sleeves is the Bangle sleeve or Chudi Sleeves which feature gathered detailing on the wrist. Fitted sleeves go well with formal and informal attires as they create a flattering look to the wearer.

17. Shirt Sleeves:

Shirt sleeves are types of long-length sleeves that come in a typical men's or women's shirt. They start from the armhole and end on the wrist extending into a stuff cuff. The cuffs can be rolled up to reduce the length of the sleeves. Shirt sleeves are usually a little wider than the actual measurement of your hand to offer comfort and ease of movement.

18. Bishop Sleeves:

Bishop sleeves are long-length sleeve types that have their origins from the bishop's robe. The sleeves feature a loose fit with a gathered detail on the wrist that can extend into a stiff cuff or an elasticated band. Bishop sleeves are quite trendy as they accentuate your arms and draw all the attention towards them. They add a stylish look to party wear gowns, designer tops and blouses.

19. Leg-of-Mutton Sleeves:

Leg-of-Mutton Sleeves are medieval types of sleeves which add a dramatic look to the outfit with the voluminous puff on the shoulders. The balloon-like detail extends as a fitted look until the wrist and the end result resemble the shape of a mutton leg, that is wider on top and narrow on the bottom. These sleeves are also called the French Gigot sleeve which translates to 'leg of lamb'.

20. Peasant Sleeves:

Peasant sleeves have their origins from the traditional European peasant dress. These sleeves feature a fitted look on the top and extend as a loose flare on the wrist. While originally peasant sleeves were meant for the lower strata of society, they are now icons of style and fashion. They lend Boho vibes to any outfit and suit a wide variety of clothing like dresses, tops and blouses.

21. Flounce Sleeves:

Flounce sleeves or flare sleeves are a cross between 3/4th and long sleeves which feature a unique flouncy detail. The sleeves come as a straight 3/4th sleeve with an extended attachment of extra-wide circular piece around the arm. So, the entire sleeve looks like a big bell that starts from the elbow, covering up your lower arm to wrist areas.

22. Angel Sleeves:

Angel sleeves or angel wing sleeves are one of the prettiest types of sleeves in the fashion world. These sleeves come as a flared design loosely hanging from the shoulder till the wrist. When you open the arms, the flare creates the effect of a beautiful angelic wing. These sleeves look best when made in flowy, transparent fabrics like net or lace.

23. Floor-Touching Sleeves:

Floor-touching sleeves are oh-so-trendy sleeves that are seen on many celebrities' red-carpet outfits. As they name suggests, these sleeves are made to the fitted until the elbow part from where a long fabric hangs down till it touches the floor. Floor touching sleeves look great on part-wear gowns and dresses.

24. Kimono Sleeves:

Kimono sleeves are very wide and loose sleeves which come from the iconic Kimonos of the Japanese tradition. The sleeves run from the side seam of the bodice instead of an attachment at the armhole. Kimono sleeves are the most comfortable type of sleeves as they lend a lot of movement and breathability.

25. Batwing Sleeves:

Batwing sleeves are stylish sleeves that come as wide pieces of fabric on the shoulder with a deep armhole to let the hand pass through. The end of the sleeve has a fitted look and the overall result creates a bat wing like appearance. These sleeves suit casual wear outfits like tops, t-shirts and blouses.

26. Juliet Sleeves:

Juliet sleeves come from the famous Shakespeare play – Romeo and Juliet. The baroque type of sleeve features an extra voluminous puff on the shoulder with a fitted long-length sleeve that ends on the wrist. These sleeves add a unique look to the wear and highlight the shoulder part with their dramatic look.

27. Virago Sleeves:

Virago sleeves are vintage sleeve types which look like layers of small balloons on your hands. The full-length sleeves are fastened with strips of elastic or threads in layers to create puffed up look to the arms. These sleeves are usually seen in tops and gowns to add a classic European touch.
Apart from these 27 different types of sleeves, there are many more varieties which are extended versions of these. If you are into designing or planning to start a career in fashion, this knowledge about sleeves will come handy. Do you know of any other unique types of sleeves that are not listed in this article?

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