Read and discover the many different types of sleeves and their variations in our definitive fashion words dictionary below.
Different Types of Sleeves in Fashion
3/4-length sleeves (N.) [three-by-foh-r leng-th slee-vz] Sleeves that end at the middle of the lower arm are called 3/4-length sleeves or three-quarter sleeves. They are named so because they cover three-quarters of the arm. These types of sleeves are longer than elbow-length sleeves and shorter than full-sleeves.
Angel (N.) [eyn-juh l] Long flowy sleeves that are fitted at the armscye (armhole) and flare out like angel wings with asymmetric ends at the wrist are known as angel sleeves. Also see kimono sleeves.
Batwing (N.) [bat-wing] Resembling the wings of a bat, batwing sleeves have a deep armhole, till atleast the waist level and are usually fitted at the wrist. Also dolman sleeves.
Bell (N.) [bel] Types of long or 3/4-length sleeves that are fitted at the armhole and flared out at the bottom, either with a seam or seamlessly, are called as bell sleeves. Also see butterfly sleeves, trumpet sleeves.
Billowy sleeves (N.) [bil-oh-uee slee-vz] Voluminous sleeves that swell up along the arm, either towards the wrist or throughout the length are called billowy sleeves. These may be of different types of sleeves, including Bishop, trumpet, dolman sleeves, or a combination of these. Also see poufy sleeves, voluminous sleeves.
Bishop (N.) [bish–uh p] A loose sleeve, voluminous or poufy at the lower half and gathered at the wrist with large cuffs. Also see peasant sleeves.
Butterfly (N.) [buht-er-flahy] Short or cap versions of bell sleeves are called butterfly sleeves. Also see half bell sleeves.
Cap (N.) [kap] A cap sleeve is a short sleeve that covers just the top of the shoulder. Also see short sleeves.
Cape sleeves (N.) [kay-p slee-vz] A cape sleeve is a flared sleeve that has a slit or slash all along its length, giving the look of wearer wearing a cape from the back, especially when the arms are lifted. Cape sleeves may be long or elbow-length. Cape sleeves have many different variations, each designed to give the look of a cape. They may have a separate fabric sewn along the arm-hole that extends across the back to the other side. They may be flared after the elbow, or they may be attached over and above a sleeveless garment, giving the cape look.
Cold-Shoulder (N.) [kohld shohl-der] Cold-shoulder sleeves are those that have cut-outs at the shoulder.
Cuff sleeves (N.) [cuh f slee-vz] Long sleeves that end in a band of fabric are known as cuff sleeves. The cuff may be the sleeve fabric turned back and stitched on itself, it may be buttoned, ruffled or elasticated, or it may be stitched with a stiff inner-lining, such as in canvas or organza. Cuff sleeves are usually either full-sleeves or sometimes 3/4-length sleeves. Cuffs are sometimes also embellished or have lace trimmings.
Elbow-length sleeves (N.) [el-boh leng-th slee-vz] Sleeves that end just at, just below or just above the elbow are called elbow-length sleeves. These may cover the elbow partially or fully; and cover the upper-arm fully. Elbow-length sleeves are shorter than 3/4-length sleeves and longer than short sleeves.
Dolman sleeves (N.) [dohl-muhn slee-vz] See batwing sleeves.
Flamenco (N.) [flah-meng-koh] Inspired by the Spanish dance costume, flamenco sleeves are fitted at the forearm and flared out into tiered ruffles at the end. Also see circular flounce.
Floor-Touching (N.) [flohr tuhch-ing] Types of sleeves that are long, flowy and extend to the ankles or floor are called as floor-touching sleeves.
Half bell (N.) [hahf bel] Short or elbow-length versions of bell sleeves are called half bell sleeves. Half bell sleeves are different than butterfly sleeves, as the latter are shorter and cap-sleeve sized. However, some brands use the two terms, half bell sleeves and butterfly sleeves, interchangeably.
Juliet (N.) [joo-lee-uh t] A juliet sleeve is commonly found in medieval fashion and has poofiness just at the top above an abrupt seam, after which the sleeve is tight and fitted.
Kimono (N.) [kuh–moh-noh] Inspired by Japanese culture, kimono sleeves have deep armholes and are long and flowy. These are similar to Angel sleeves in the west, with the difference being that angel sleeves are fitted at the armhole, whereas kimono sleeves have deep armholes. Furthermore, angel sleeves may flare out more than kimono sleeves, and have asymmetric hemlines.
Mutton Leg (N.) [muht-n leg] Sleeves that are flared at the shoulder and upper arm and gradually become more fitted towards the elbow and below are called mutton-leg sleeves. They’re given that name owing to their resemblance to a mutton-leg. A mutton leg sleeve is similar to the juliet but the poofiness is more gradual, without any seams and cinches at the wrists.
Off-the-Shoulder (N.) [awf shohl-der Sleeves that don’t have anything going over the shoulders and begin at the upper arm are called off-the-shoulder sleeves or off-shoulder sleeves.
Peasant (N.) [pez–uh nt] Inspired by hippie culture, peasant sleeve is a type of loose sleeve with poufy shoulders that’s cinched at the wrist with a cuff. These look similar to Bishop sleeves, but are designed in a more casual way, with less structure. Whereas Bishop sleeves flare out as they reach the wrist, peasant sleeves are loose right from the armhole.
Petal (N.) [pet-l] A sleeve made up of two petal shaped panels that overlap each other is called petal sleeve.
Raglan (N.) [rag-luh n] A type of sleeve that starts at the collar and goes down diagonally towards the underarm is known as raglan sleeve.
Sheer sleeves (N.) [shee-uhr slee-vz] Sleeves that are made out of sheer fabric such as tulle, chiffon or lace are called sheer sleeves. Sheer sleeves can be of many different types of sleeves.
Short sleeves (N.) [shoh-rt slee-vz] Sleeves that end at the middle of the upper arm are called short sleeves. These are longer than cap sleeves and shorter than elbow-length sleeves.
Slashed sleeves (N.) [slash-d slee-vz] Sleeves that have a multiple short or long slashes or slits within them are called slashed sleeves. Slashes may be horizontal or vertical. Also see slit sleeves.
Sleeveless (Adj.) [sleev-les] A garment that has no sleeves is called a sleeveless garment. For example, sleeveless shirts, tops or dresses.
Slit sleeves (N.) [slit slee-vz] Sleeves that have a long vertical slash or slit on them are called slit sleeves. Slit sleeves may have a slash or slit along the whole length of the sleeve, starting from the armhole, or a short slash, starting at the elbow. Slit sleeves are similar to cape sleeves, only cape sleeves are more flared, giving the look of a cape when the arms are lifted. Also see slashed sleeves, cape sleeves.
Trumpet sleeves (N.) [truhm-pet sleevz] Long sleeves that are fitted or gathered at the armhole and then flare out gradually towards the bottom, either with a seam or seamlessly, are called trumpet sleeves. Trumpet sleeves are similar to bell sleeves, but the latter are fitted till the elbow or lower arm and then flare out. Furthermore, bell sleeves are never pleated or gathered at the armhole. However, many brands use the two terms interchangeably. Also see bell sleeves, angel sleeves.
Victorian sleeves (N.) [vik-toh-ri-uhn sleevz] A comeback trend of the styles of sleeves that first became popular during the Victorian era, or during the 19th century, such as Bishop sleeves, mutton-leg sleeves, Juliet sleeves. Read about the Victorian sleeves trend in Fall/Winter 2018 fashion trend forecast.