Wedding Dresses With Sleeves

Are you ‘umming and ahhing about having sleeves on your wedding day? Well, we’re going to give you the low down all about sleeves on wedding dresses: where they originate from, what types of sleeves you could wear, our favourite sleeves from designers and lots more sleeve inspiration.

Being a female, who’s fallen in love and to see those dreaded love pounds when you step on the scales, I know that we all like to hide the bits we’re less proud of. I find that this is one of the main reasons that us girls want sleeves; to hide our not so best bits. It’s a tough one because we should be comfortable and embrace our bodies! Self loving is the key to being happy but I know I would want to look back at my wedding pictures and not think… bingo wings!’. On the other hand, sleeves can be a cool addition and can really finish off your dress. There are lots of reasons for wearing a sleeved dress: because of the climate, type of venue and also religious reasons. What’s your reason for seeking out sleeve inspiration? Comment below…

Weddings are the epitome of love, bringing two people together who want to spend the rest of their lives with one another but originally marriages where mainly about two families coming together, arranging a marriage between them for money, ancestry lines and alliances. Therefore the wedding dress was about showing off what the family brought to the arrangement, wealth and fashion. Brides wearing white can be traced back as early as 1406 but after Queen Victoria wearing white for her wedding in 1840, white was declared the most fitting colour for future brides to be. Sleeves have been a big part of fashion for many years, and the female fashions combine in date order with bridal fashion. Whereas bridal fashions can be more elaborate, after all, this is the one day when you can have the biggest dress, skirt, train, veil or even the smallest skimpiest dress out there. It is about your own individual style and preferences.

Royal Couple
10th February 1840: Queen Victoria (1819 – 1901) and Prince Albert (1819 – 1861) on their return from the marriage service at St James’s Palace, London. Original Artwork: Engraved by S Reynolds after F Lock. (Photo by Rischgitz/Getty Images)
Queen Victorias Wedding Dress on Display

Here’s our lowdown on sleeve types that you could wear for your big day, don’t forget to comment below your favourite type of sleeve and what you’re thinking of wearing for your big day.

Long Sleeves

Your sleeve will be determined by the shape of your wedding dress and which material your dress is made from. Long sleeves look great if you have a short dress or a low back as this can balance out how much flesh is being covered. You don’t want to be fully covered from top to bottom unless it’s for religious reasons, super cold or the material isn’t fully backed so at least  have some flesh on show!

bride and groom
We love the balance of this wedding dress, arms are covered by sleeves so whip out those pins instead with some funky shoes.

Our favourite is a lace long sleeves, with a tulle backing so you can still see your skin but you’re slightly covered by the lace detail. Lace can be an all over pattern or it can be lace appliques. Speak to your local dressmaker, because if you don’t have sleeves but you want them adding to your dress. An easier way of creating the look is by making a false sleeve in tulle and adding the lace detail afterwards to compliment the patterns in your dress. Dressmakers can easily pick up lace appliques from fabric merchants, there’s plenty to buy from so that you will be able to find a perfect match!

Mimas by Eliza Jane Howell is a perfect example for long sleeves, we love the lace contrast against the plain dress.

Cap Sleeves

These types of sleeves are perfect for those who want to cover their arms only slightly, as it allows your arms to move around freely and the fabric hides those little wibbly bits that we women want to hide! The cap shape can be quite taught towards the arm or the fabric can be floaty away from the arm, it’s totally up to yourself! Cap sleeves are quite popular on wedding dresses, so you should see lots of gorgeous wedding dresses with this style already implemented in the design.

Drasila by Pronovias is the perfect example of a cap sleeve, looks awesome in a lace which is a great contrast from the plain fabric of the dress.

T-Shirt Sleeve

What’s super cool about the t-shirt sleeve is the fact that you can rock a t-shirt style on your wedding day! This is for the uber chilled, relaxed brides to be who aren’t too formal! You mainly see contrast t-shirt sleeves, so a plain top then fancy lace sleeves or the other way around.

Lenora 6
Tshirt sleeves can look extra special as well! For example, Lenora by Watters WToo is gorgeous, sparkly and is a super relaxed style.

The key to not looking too relaxed on your wedding day, if you’re quite covered up on the front, make sure your dress is uncovered elsewhere, for example, this Lenora dress is a perfect for showing your back off!

Short Sleeve

The best thing about short sleeves is that you get best of both worlds, you’ve got super pretty detailing from the sleeve and also have your skin on show. This is a good sleeve when you’re not sure how the weather is going to pan out, it’ll keep you that little bit warmer on a cooler day but also you won’t be too hot and flustered on a warm day if you had worn a long sleeve.

Short sleeves can be made out of all fabrics, talk to your local dressmaker you would like sleeves added to your dress, or if you already ahve sleeves, how you can jazz them up! What’s amazing about a short sleeve is, if your sleeve hits you at your elbow, your elbow is normally the same height as your waist. The more angles you ahve pointing at your waist, for example your short sleeve sitting next to your waist, it can make your waist look even slimmer!

3/4 Length Sleeve

3/4 sleeves and short dress, perfect match! Memphis by Ian Stuart is a winner!

3/4 length sleeves are perfect for those wanting sleeves but not wanting to cover up too much, best of both worlds we say. Go full lace sleeves, plain sleeves with detailed edging or plain sleeves with details down the arm. Button detailing always looks fashionable on 3/4 length sleeves as well, can also make it easier to get a tight fitting sleeve.

Butterfly Sleeves

Looking for an ethereal, whimsical and pretty look? You’re a bride after butterfly sleeves. Free flowing butterfly sleeves were majorly in fashion in the 70’s and with the revival of vintage, they’re happily back again. The sleeves can be attached to the side of the dress so it’s like a cape, or they’re not attached and you have the full butterfly, dreamy experience. Our favourite style is french chantilly lace sleeves, they’re super delicate and romantic just like Sofia from Grace Loves Lace.

Sofia by Grace Loves Lace is the perfect look for the butterfly sleeves.

Bell Sleeves

Another vintage revival, the bell sleeve isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but we sure love them. Preferably the sleeve is nicely fitted and from the elbow onwards, the sleeve flares out. Fleetwood by Daughters of Simone is on fire right now, especially with the cord detailing on the bodice which is a key fashion trend of 2017. Bell sleeves suit A-Line wedding dresses and fitted wedding dress silhouettes the best. You don’t want a huge wedding dress with bell sleeves, as that’s just too much going on.

The bell sleeve is very much a bohemian style, the Fleetwood design by Daughters of Simone is the ultimate bell sleeve!

Bishop Sleeves

Bishop sleeves have come back into fashion in 2017, they’re a yey or ney in my opinion. Sometimes they can look a little too heavy, but Ariel by Claire Pettibone has really nailed the bell sleeve. You’re best keeping the design of the sleeve soft, not too fussy and keeping in line with the rest of the wedding dresses details.

Ariel by Claire Pettibone brings it with this bishop sleeve, bringing the old style back into fashion!

Bell sleeves are best made from delicate material, try to avoid heavy fabrics as it won’t hold the shape as well. Cuff detailing really stands out on bell sleeves, go for a long cuff as it shows off your slender arm.

Puff Sleeves

Always remind us of Disney characters and Princesses, as they’ve been used many times for these types of costumes. Saying that we do love the softness of puff sleeves, as many of us love to feel like a Princess on their wedding day.

Kate Moss spotty dress by HalfPenny London have brought out some fabulous puff shaped sleeves!

The Kate Moss dress by HalfPenny London shows us how to style puff sleeves in 2017, the delicateness looks great in a spotty tulle fabric. Again just like the bell sleeve, use a delicate material so it doesn’t look too heavy.

After our lowdown of sleeve types, have you go a favourite? Have you decided you definately want sleeves or don’t? We reckon as soon as yu start wedding dresses on you’ll know what you like and get ready for falling in love with something totally different, maybe a wild card.

Happy wedding planning,

Much love,

Claire Amelia x

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