Puff It Up! A Look at the Ever-Evolving Puffed Sleeve Style

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Puff It Up! A Look at the Ever-Evolving Puffed Sleeve Style

Evolution Of Puffed Sleeves. (Photos: Pinterest)

From Anushka Sharma to Deepika Padukone, you may have spotted many of your favourite celebs pulling off the puffed-sleeved trend with extreme ease. While puffed sleeves are a common concept now, do you know that it was born way back in the Victorian era? Puffed sleeves have a long history dating back to Ancient Greece when draped garments like the chiton sometimes had a billowing effect on the sleeves. Though not ‘puffed’ like the sleeves today, they were definitely the starting point.

Evolution Of The Puffed Sleeves

Began In Ancient Greece

While the puffed sleeves trend began in ancient Greece, it was during the Renaissance when there was a huge artistic explosion in Europe. The puffed sleeves made their way back and this time they were more ‘puffed up’. The 16th century saw the rise of puffed sleeves, especially amongst the elite. The puffed sleeve, which could be either ¾ length or full length, was gathered at either the top or bottom. To achieve this voluminous effect, the sleeves were often lined with fabric that had been stiffened. Soon puffed sleeves became a sign of affluence and wealth. They were worn by ladies from high societies.

The Victorian Era

Next comes the Victorian era (mid to late 19th century) which saw the true evolution of the puffed sleeves. Initially, the sleeves were modestly puffed at the shoulder, but by the 1890s, they had a volume that mirrored the societal norms of the time, where a delicate, hourglass figure was desired. The puffed sleeves lent a sense of innocence and feminity and were preferred by ladies of the Victorian era.

By the late 19th century, the goal of designers was to get the sleeves as large as possible. This era also saw the reemergence of gowns after empire-waist dresses and fitted sleeves of the Regency. Designers may have drawn inspiration from here.

The 20th Century

In the early 20th century especially the 1920s and 1930s we saw the world shift toward a more functional fashion. The Victorian ideals, the voluminous dresses were soon missing from the fashion world. However, even during this age of minimalistic looks, puffed sleeves found their way to children’s wear and started being a symbol of youth and innocence.

Queen Margherita of Italy
Queen Margherita of Italy. (Photo: Pinterest)

However, by the end of the 20th century, we saw a rise in puffed sleeves as they made a return to the fashion industry. This was mainly because popular figures like Princess Diana started wearing and flashing them. This was also the era of pop music and soon puffed sleeves became a symbol of power and feminine confidence.

Princess Diana
Princess Diana Made The Puffed Sleeves Popular In The 20th Century. (Photo: Pinterest)

The Present

And now we finally come to the present, the 21st century. From the year 2000, we have seen many retro looks making a comeback. Be it the puffed hairstyle or the puffed sleeves, 21st century saw the return of many fashion trends that were dying. Even to date, Bollywood celebs love the puffed sleeves trend and designers love making them. Puffed sleeves are significant for nostalgia and bring out the retro look. It represents drama, versatility and individual expression.

Janhvi Kapoor wearing a puffed sleeve dress. (Photo: Pinterest)
Anushka Sharma
Anushka Sharma. (Photo: Pinterest)

The puffed sleeves have held on through the centuries in this ever-changing fashion evolution.

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