In a time where wedding dress sleeves no longer mean “modest”,  it’s safe to say that sleeves make a gown feel more stylish, not to mention interesting and in some instances sexy. With so many types to choose from and reasons to wear sleeves (think structure and support, ease for dancing, etc.), enter: the sleeve glossary.

Cap  

In a traditional sense, these sleeves might sound cutesy  but when done with an illusion neckline or in a soft lace, they’re a chic way to add stability and coverage. A cap sleeve should cover just the shoulders and typically do not go all the way under the arm.

Short  

These sleeves are a classic style for warmer weather weddings and are very versatile. Much like a short sleeve shirt or blouse they provide coverage of the full shoulder, go all the way around the arm, and allow for generous range of motion.

¾ Length  

Perfect for a wedding in any season, the quarter sleeve has made it’s way back into fashion season after season and create a modern (and sometimes dramatic) look depending on the fabrication. A soft tulle will create a different feel from a structured ¾ lace sleeve.

Long  

While some church venues require sleeves for the ceremony on the bride’s dress, long sleeves are a popular choice because they add a formal feel without being over-the-top. Whether you wear them to create a vintage vibe or sexy silhouette,long sleeves have become a hot bridal trend on the runways.

Juliet

This type of sleeve is technically a fitted long sleeve with a gathered puff at the shoulder. It’s a romantic style that is reminiscent of Renaissance fashions and Shakespeare (if you couldn’t guess by the name).

Puff

The short-sleeved version of the Juliet sleeve, a puff is fitted at the bottom of the sleeve around the arm with elastic or a band to keep it in place. This style is youthful and worn well in a lighter weight fabric and creates a Bohemian feel when done right.

Butterfly

Just like it sounds, butterfly sleeves are short and loose flowing sleeves set at the top of the arm with little to no coverage underneath—they flutter! Most commonly seen on bridesmaid dresses, butterfly sleeves have made their way back to bridal.

Bell

As seen on the most recent Bridal Fashion Week runways, bell sleeves have emerged once again as a top trend [insert link]. These sleeves flare out toward the wrist for a very dramatic look and feel. Most are long-sleeved, but bell sleeves can also fall at the forearm or the elbow.

Bishop

These long, loose fitting sleeves end at the wrist with a tight cuff creating a flowy, whimsical effect. Very popular with bohemian and relaxed-styled weddings, the Bishop sleeve has maintained a sense of romance that brides fall in love with again and again.

Poet

Also known as flared or bell sleeve, poet sleeves are feminine and romantic while holding true to a youthful feel. These are done well in soft lace or sheer fabrics.

Set-In

The set-in sleeve literally means that it is part of the bodice—there is no seam to separate each sleeve from the rest of the dress.

Raglan

This modern style is most often seen in contemporary fashion—less in bridal—but minimalist-style designs have been known to incorporate some unique elements like a raglan sleeve. The seams create a line from the underarm to collarbone.

Tulip  

Inspired by the look of a tulip, this short sleeve is created when fabric wraps over itself at the top of the shoulder. These sleeves are more common in bridesmaid dress styles but are also an option for customizing a dress to have more coverage with a romantic touch.

Spaghetti Straps

These dainty details help support the bodice without actually covering the shoulders. They are easily added and removed and can be embellished to match the dress.

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