28 Sep 2016

The Beauty Of The Bell Sleeve

The Bell Sleeve on vickiarcher.com

The bell sleeve; I love them.

The bell sleeve has been around for a few seasons but it is only now I am feeling the beauty of the bell.

As a transitional piece, the bell sleeve blouse is the perfect addition. There are days when a sweater and jacket are too much but a sleeve is necessary; the bell sleeve is brilliant and comes into its own.

The bell works because the detail is in exactly the right place; excess around my chest or my middle is not my friend. I don’t need a zillion ruffles wrestling my already generous double chin and I don’t need extra mileage around the hips. Most of the bell sleeves I have seen go simple in the body and save the rest for the sleeve.

I like a trend to be ageless.

An elaborate sleeve knows no age; youthful or mature, it is a pretty look. I like it worn with an armful of bracelets; a sneak peak with the movement of the arm, not to mention the jingle jangle. Wear it with a pair of jeans or a tailored pant. I like the higher waist jeans (very grateful they are back) with the bell sleeve blouse and if you can tuck it in, even better. I don’t tuck so much, I never have, as I am short in the waist and prefer my shirts to stay out.

This sleeve creates the impression of a long elegant arm and draws the eye downwards; length is always flattering.

The Bell Sleeve on vickiarcher.com

My first foray with the “bell” was a dress I have worn and worn. It is sheath style, very plain, but with fabulous over-scaled sleeves. It is one of those dresses I put on and immediately feel “dressed”.

After this dress, I decided to pay closer attention to the blouse version. A detail like this adds that little bit extra, provides additional flair to a classic outfit. There is something about an extravagant sleeve that makes the everyday feel more glamorous. The only downside is to beware when eating out!

There are versions and then there are versions.

Some styles are more voluminous than others; I’m erring on the less is more side, as is my nature, although Balenciaga and the House of Dior knew how to create a very beautiful silhouette. If you are packing for a trip include the bell sleeve blouse because it is an ideal accompaniment to the black pant and a great alternative to a tailored suit or LBD. The bell sleeve looks and feels the part.

I think you can tell I am crushing on this style. xv

The Best Of The Bell Sleeve

theory ‘lexanda’  //  milly ‘ruthie’  //  millie ‘bell’  //  free people ‘easy girl’  //  tibi crepe de chine

Step back in time with the House of Dior HERE

images balenciaga for vogue 2006 and house of dior 1969

Thank you Nordstrom for sponsoring, The Beauty of The Bell Sleeve

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Anita Rivera

Oh these are marvelous and I was just watching a movie where one of the actresses was wearing a darling dress with simple bell sleeves. I thought, “I could wear that!” These are remarkable photos, Vicki. Excellent choice.


Thank you Anita.. and I will tell Giulia (my fabulous graphic designer assistant) We had great fun finding and creating these pics to illustrate my point :)

Yes.. you can definitely wear a bell sleeve..

Taste of France

I think this is one reason why I like to fold back the cuff on my shirts–it creates a bigger point as well as exposes the wrist.
I had a dress with big, dramatic sleeves when I was little. Those sleeves made me feel so glamorous. But now I like them best on a dressy dress or top lest they get in the way. They’re a perfect party look.


AS I just replied to Mimi… I find the bell sleeve a very easy way to dress up.. stay comfortable but still feel like I gave made an effort and a little more glam than usual… I can always do with that ;)

Mimi Gregor

I find voluminous sleeves very impractical — I even got rid of my kimono-type robes. I cook or wash dishes a lot at various times of the day or night, and any sleeve that doesn’t fit snugly ends up either wet or with food bits on it. God help me if I decide to flambe something! With long, snug sleeves, you can always push them up, but you can’t really roll up a bell sleeve.


Yes I hear you Mimi… A flambé nightmare!!
but I do love the drama of them and what they add to an outfit.. I find them a very easy way to dress up without having to add much :)

Donna Inglis

When I select on the darkened dress (where one would normally then see your example) I am taken directly to your Instagram page, though not “a sheath style, very plain, but with fabulous over-scaled sleeves” picture. Might you be able to re-direct me?

And, your blog is one of my all time favorites….wonderful!


I like this very flamboyant style of the bell(e) sleeves but I believe that one who wear it must me tall and slim otherwise it looks a bit dawdling


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