Wedding dress styles series - Types of Wedding Dress Sleeves And How To Choose The Perfect Sleeve For You

You'll find many beautiful wedding dress styles when you're shopping for a wedding dress. And you can really get confused, even frustrated, if you don't know what you're looking for. So what wedding dress style should you look for and why?

That question is complicated. And to fully answer it will take a few detailed articles, which is why this article on wedding dress designs is in different parts. This is the first part of the article.

So why does it have to take several articles to answer the question about choosing the perfect dress style for you?

It's because there are different parts that makes a wedding dress and each part has its own style. So you'll not just be choosing a single style for your wedding dress but a combination of styles for the different parts it carries.

When you go for wedding dress shopping and you find one you think you like here's mostly what will be included in the description of the dress:

  • Waistline:
  • Dress Length:
  • Sleeve Style:
  • Silhouette (or Style):
  • Neckline Style:
  • Color:
  • Train:
  • Color:
  • Fabric:
  • Beading:
  • Train Length:
  • Decoration

If you don't know about the elements that make the wedding gown, the different styles each elements has and what each style is about, you can't know if the wedding dress you choose is the best to flatter your body features on your wedding day so you look your very best.

So in this series on wedding dress styles I'll be discussing the different elements of a wedding gown, the common styles available and what styles you should choose to give a flattering look that will leave lasting impression on your guests on your wedding day. To achieve a flattering look we'll have to talk about face and body shapes, neck, shoulder and bone structures.

In the end you'll be well educated and the decision about what wedding gown style to choose will become much easier to make saving you a lot of time and frustration because you will know exactly what you're looking for and why.

Try not to get overwhelmed with all the details provided. Even if it's only one thing you pick from the articles on wedding dress styles, it will still give you an edge over the bride who didn't know any better.

Elements/Parts of a Wedding Dress - Wedding dress anatomy

The different elements of the wedding dress we'll be discussing are:

  • Sleeve
  • Neckline
  • The Bodice
  • Waistline
  • Silhouette
  • Skirt
  • Fabric
  • Embellishment
  • Train
  • Veil
  • Color

The Sleeve

The sleeve of a dress is the arms area. There are different styles of wedding dress sleeves and a few of them are popular. The available styles of sleeves can be grouped into three categories:

  • Strapless
  • Sleeveless
  • Sleeved

Strapless: As the name suggests, such dress has no strap to hold it in place. Good for broad or thick shoulders. Not so good for smaller chests; though a push-up bra can help smaller chests.

Sleeveless: This type of sleeve unlike strapless has some fabric such as spaghetti either at the neck or shoulder to hold it in place.

Sleeved: There are different styles of sleeved wedding dresses and they are:

  • Cap sleeves
  • Short sleeves
  • 3/4 (three quarter) sleeves
  • Elbow-length sleeves
  • Long Sleeves or full length sleeves

For cap sleeves, short sleeves and long sleeves there are varying styles.

sleeved wedding dress styles

Puffed sleeves: A short sleeve puffed at the shoulder.

Juliette sleeves: They're a variation of puffed sleeves. It has a puff at the shoulder and narrows at the upper arm to the wrist as a closely fitted long sleeves.

Cap: The type of sleeves that fits closely to the shoulder. Whether flat or puffed, a cap sleeve covers just the uppermost position of the shoulder. And most of them cover only the crest of the shoulder with no fabric under the arms. It compliments slender arms.

Bufferfly sleeves also called flutter sleeves: This type of sleeves can be as short as cap sleeves or as long as three-quarter sleeves flowing on top of the arm with little to no coverage under the arm.

Bell sleeves: Elbow or three-quarter length sleeves that are fitted near the shoulder and widen dramatically at the bottom edge.

Bishop: This type of sleeves is long-sleeved with a very loose fit through the sleeve and a very fitted, tight cuff. This type of sleeves is a vintage look and it was common in the 1950s.

sleeved wedding dress styles

Dagged or angel sleeves: Fitted near the shoulder and open dramatically at the elbow or below into a fall of fabric that's longer at the back than at the front.

Poet: A type of sleeve that is fitted at the elbow and then flares to the wrist.

Set in: This type of sleeve is sewn as part of the bodice of the dress. It's not commonly seen in weddings.

Tulips: This type of sleeves is short-sleeved wrapped over the arm and crosses over itself creating the look of a tulip.

sleeved wedding dress styles

So which wedding sleeves do you choose?

The sleeve length of your wedding dress can have a dramatic impact on the look of the dress and your comfort level.

sleeved wedding dress styles

What style will be right for you is determined by several factors and they are:

  • Wedding venue
  • Coverage
  • Your upper body features
  • The skirt style of the dress
  • The body type
  • What you feel comfortable and confident in.
  • Weather condition

Elbow length and longer sleeves are appropriate for a church wedding ceremony because they provide more coverage. But if you want more coverage but less restrictive sleeves, puffed, dagged and bell sleeves are a great choice.

As a rule short sleeves draw attention to the bust. The horizontal line they draw visually widens the body at that point. So if you're small chested (small breasts) short sleeves will be a good choice for you since it will add weight to your upper body proportions.

Full-skirted dress styles often look more balanced with short sleeves. If a skirt is already long, wearing it with a long sleeves blouse is bad fashion.

The hems of elbow-length sleeves point directly at the waist so they're excellent choice for a bride with an hourglass shape whose slender middle is some of her best features. Wedding gowns designed to focus on the waist such as a corset bodice and basque waistline look especially beautiful with elbow-length sleeves. You can also achieve the same thing that is to create horizontal line at the waist with a sleeveless or cap-sleeved gown by wearing elbow-length gloves.

A three-quarter sleeve falls roughly to the bride's hips making it especially flattering sleeve length for a bride with a heavier upper body and a slender lower half.

Some details on a wedding dress such as beading, lace trim, and cuffs can underscore or soften the horizontal sight-lines elements that should have pointed to the bride's figure where the sleeves end. However a strong cuff in a contrasting fabric emphasizes those lines.

Cap sleeves cover the bony portions of the shoulder and reveal the thickest part of them therefore it's a good choice for a bride with thin arms. But someone with heavy arms and shapely shoulders should choose a sleeveless style that focus attention on the contours of her shoulders instead of her upper arms. Or a short-sleeved design with a wide portrait neckline that showcases her collarbones and shoulders while concealing her arms.

As regards comfort keep in mind that a wedding lasts for hours you don't want to spend those hours fighting with your dress or always be conscious of your dress throughout the program and silently causing because it makes you feel discomfort for almost everything you try to do. So whichever sleeve you choose make sure you're able to lift your arms to wave, dance and throw your bouquet if necessary. Also you want to be able to move without worrying about the dress slipping or the straps cutting into your skin at the shoulders with each gesture you make.

It's better to buy a gown with too long or too large sleeves than one that feels all tight at the armhole or throughout the length of the sleeve because it is easier to alter sleeve length and take in a sleeve than to let one out.

Sleeve dresses, cap sleeved gowns and spaghetti sleeves afford the most freedom of movement. But you can have that same freedom and more coverage with puffed sleeves.

Short and elbow-length sleeves can become more comfortable with a notch cut into the sleeve to prevent binding near your gown and make sure you can easily bring your hand forward to hug friends and family.

Continue reading wedding dress styles in part 2 to be published soon...

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