How to Wear Statement Sleeves

Make a sartorial stand with your sleeves

MAVEN46-big-sleeves-banner2photo: Pernille Teisbaek

Words by Nicole Thomsen
April 26th, 2016

Bell shaped, oversized, exaggerated… There’s a new trend in town and it’s all about making a statement. With your sleeves. Flared trousers have had their time in the spotlight, now it’s up to your tops. From the beautifully fluted bell shapes at Ellery and the bishop style at Erdem to the circular flounce sleeves at Roksanda, sleeves have been brought to new lengths and proportions for spring/summer.


One quick browse through Instagram and Pinterest and you’ll see that a statement sleeve is the trend on everyone’s arms. From stylists like Margaret Zhang to your favourite fashion bloggers such as Pernille Teisbaek, the bigger, longer, more voluminous sleeve the better. But forget about the ’70s connotation that the term “flare” usually brings. While these wide sleeves may have started there, this trend has a modern and minimalist aesthetic. Take your que from these style mavens and you’ll be pulling off this trend in no time.

Pernille Teisbaek
Kendall Jenner

The Cropped Kick Flare Sleeve

If you’re looking to test the water with this trend then a shirt with a cropped kick flare sleeve is one to invest in. The shorter length and mini proportions make it by far the easiest version to wear but it is no less of a style statement. The added detail on the sleeve takes the average shirt and transforms it into something that extra bit special and stylish.
The cropped length as seen on Pernille Teisbaek and Kendall Jenner draws the eye to the smallest part of your figure- the waist- making this style a winner if you have any area that you want to detract attention from such as the thighs or bust. A shirt like this is a wardrobe hero as it is equally suitable as part of your office attire as it is for after work drinks. This is your new “going out” top.

Irina Lakicevic
Vanessa Jackson

The Bell Sleeve

The bell sleeve is your oyster. Whether you want to go for the large and pronounced style or you prefer a more timid display, the bell sleeve is the most popular shape for spring/summer 2016. If you opt for the extreme, make sure the rest of the outfit is pared back- there’s no room for bold prints and patterns here. Take inspiration from Irina Lakicevic who went for a pair of jeans in a similar shade and added some extra height to her look with a sleek pair of heels to avoid looking swamped.
Similar to its cropped counterpart, the bell sleeve is another flattering style. The fitted shape that kicks out at the wrist or elbow elongates the arm and makes the upper half appear slimmer. Who ever heard of bingo wings?

Margaret Zhang
Nicole Warne

The Exaggerated Sleeve

Perhaps impractical but ever so cool, exaggerated sleeves aren’t short of making a statement. Going beyond the wrist and covering your hands completely, this is an aspirational trend that’s all about the look with no regard for times when you may need to use your hands. But hey, fashion is meant to be fun sometimes.
You can go for the simple shirt with extended length which is by far the most demure version or you can opt for drama with a waterfall sleeve available from Ellery, the brand that is truly pushing this trend for SS16. However, a top with such drama should be left well alone. The sleeve is an accessory in itself so keep your outfit minimal and monochrome like Nicole Warne, whose outfit would be perfect for a summer wedding.

Which sleeve will you be styling? Keep scrolling to shop