Pump Up The Volume: The Best Puff-Sleeve Dresses For Any Occasion

A funny thing happened to our dress sleeves over the course of the pandemic — they ballooned, they volumized, and they swelled to cloud-like proportions. This fashion writer’s hypothesis is that puff-sleeve dresses are what happens when fairytale escape meets stay-at-home comfort. The nap dress surely takes a lot of credit for kicking off this unexpected trend, but those frocks were more suited for indoorsy, (err, lockdown-y) life. These newer puff-sleeve dress styles, however, are explicitly for being seen in. And there are so many options available right now, whether you're keen on the poofed-up tulle skirts or something more casual for daily wear.

Because this “big”-time trend is only about to blow up even further, and because people are itching to get out there again, we’ve rounded up the best puff-sleeve dresses that are sure to be the conversation starter at any social function. Broken down by dress length, occasion, and affordability, click on for the puff-sleeve dresses that rewrite the definition of "arm party."

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Puff-Sleeve Mini Dresses

Mini dresses are for leggy moments, long strides, and hot nights — which may all be in your future (if they aren’t already in this post-vax world). Here are a few selects that are short in length but amped when it comes to sleeves.

Hill House The Athena Nap Dress, $, available at Hill House

SWF Puff Sleeve Mini Dress, $, available at Revolve

Madewell Quilted Puff-Sleeve Mini Dress in Sunflower Field, $, available at Madewell

Puff-Sleeve Midi Dresses

Puff-sleeved dresses channel extra-but-in-the-best-way energy. But if you want to take the extra down a notch, consider a longer hemline. A midi dress can help tone down the look from “total princesscore” to “princesscore, but acceptable at the farmer's market.”

Faithfull the Brand Falabelle tiered checked cotton-poplin midi dress, $, available at Net-A-Porter

ASOS EDITION puff sleeve volume midi dress, $, available at ASOS

Wray Rosemary Dress, $, available at Wray

Puff-Sleeve Maxi Dresses

Go long! Ahead are a few puff-sleeve maxi dresses that just skim the ground. And, to be sure, the tiered A-line skirts and thigh-high slits do allow for mobility.

NastyGal Shirred Puff Sleeve Maxi Slit Dress, $, available at NastyGal

PARTHEA Puff Sleeve High Split Floral Print Dress, $, available at SheIn

Staud Demi Short Puff-Sleeve Maxi Dress, $, available at Saks Fifth Avenue

Casual Puff-Sleeve Dresses

Puffy sleeves automatically make any outfit look polished, but sometimes you want a little flair without looking overly dressy. Enter: the casual puff-sleeve dress. These are dresses made from laid-back fabrics like cotton or linen, but still pack in the volume. 

Forever That Girl Gathered Puff-Sleeve Mini Dress, $, available at Anthropologie

A New Day Women's Elbow Sleeve Eyelet Dress - A New Day™, $, available at Target

Zara PRINTED BALLOON SLEEVE DRESS, $, available at Zara

Vero Moda Lykke Puff Sleeve Floral Print Dress, $, available at Nordstrom

Extra Puffy Puff-Sleeve Dresses

Not to worry if you fear looking deflated — these next few puff-sleeve dresses are extra puffed and bubbled.

Ghospell Figurative floral puff sleeve mini dress, $, available at ASOS

& Other Stories Tiered Puff Sleeve Mini Dress, $, available at & Other Stories

Self Portrait Puff-sleeve checked taffeta mini dress, $, available at MatchesFashion

Farm Rio striped scarf maxi ruffled dress, $, available at Farm Rio

Fancy Puff-Sleeve Dresses

It was only a matter of time before formal puff-sleeve dresses made their way into the likes of weddings, cocktail hours, galas, and other fancy-time affairs.

Selkie The Ice Cream Gingham Parliament Dress, $, available at Selkie

ASOS DESIGN puff sleeve satin tea dress, $, available at ASOS

Brock Collection Puff Sleeve Poplin Midi Dress, $, available at Intermix

H&M Gathered Dress, $, available at H&M

Puff-Sleeve Dresses on Amazon

Amazon, a key source for affordable fashion finds, has a decent selection of puff-sleeve dresses. This one here is a bestseller — and the next couple styles get our stamp of approval as well.

Exlura Off Shoulder A-Line Vintage Mini Dress, $, available at Amazon

Dokotoo Puff Sleeve Chiffon Mini Dress, $, available at Amazon

R.Vivimos Puff Sleeve Off-Shoulder Boho Midi Dress, $, available at Amazon

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