How To Wear Puff Sleeves When You’re Over 40

This post first published on December 18, 2019, we we updated it with new shopping links and information. One of the easiest ways to give any look some serious drama is to add volume. This can come in the form of a full skirt, wide leg pants, or puff sleeves. And there is no better time to try the puff sleeve trend than now. Now no one (probably) wants to emulate the Seinfeld puffy shirt moment or look like they are filming a Victorian costume drama on a daily basis, but there are a lot of ways to do volume at the shoulder, elbow or wrist that don’t look like you’re wearing a costume. Here’s how to wear puff sleeves over 40. This is one of the top fashion trends for spring 2020.

How To Wear Puff Sleeves

One of the key aspects of making the puff sleeves look work is keeping the rest of the outfit contemporary and sleek. Then let the sleeves make the statement, and perhaps avoid going for white or cream shades. As an added bonus, puffy sleeves or voluminous sleeves are very forgiving. Especially if you don’t like showing off your arms or want to draw attention away from your bust.

If you are interested in trying out this trend, here are our tips for rocking some extra volume in your sleeves.


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black puff sleeve blazer fountainof30
Tibi Sculpted Sleeve Tropical Blazer, now $417 (40% off)

Jackets Always Work

A puffed sleeve blazer like this one from Tibi is an easy way to adapt this trend to fit your lifestyle (and who doesn’t love well-cut black jacket?). Wear it with denim for a casual day or slim embellished pants or a pencil skirt for a cocktail party.

puff sleeve tops black fountainof30
Cece Puff Sleeve Crepe Top, $59 | Whistles Puff Sleeve Top, $109

Try A Little Black Top with Puff Sleeves

Everyone needs a little black top that has a special detail or two in their wardrobe. It can work with a variety of bottoms and be a real workhorse. This one by CeCe at Nordstrom is a great deal. We love the keyhole back and half-length sleeves. Another option by Whistles has longer sleeves and simple clean lines that would be easy to pair with practically anything from white jeans to a floral skirt. It’s a more interesting version of the basic black tee.

modern print puff sleeve tops fountainof30
Leith Puff Sleeve Wrap Top, $35.40 | Ganni Leopard Print Puff Sleeve Blouse, $205

Go For A Print

To keep your puffed sleeves firmly in this decade, try a green leafy print in a bright color, this like Leith Puff Sleeve Wrap Top or this Ganni Leopard Print Puff Sleeve Blouse. These tops are both gently fitted at the waist for a flattering fit.

Puff Sleeve Sweater
Rachel Parcell Puff Sleeve Sweater, $37.50

Try A Knit Puff Sleeve Trend

Puffed sleeves aren’t just limited to blouses. This Rachel Parcell sweater looks relaxed and cozy, which is exactly what we crave. It also has the added bonus of giving you the flattering aspects of voluminous sleeves without looking like a period piece or 80s vintage.

Frame Shirred Puff Sleeve Silk Blouse, $350

A Deep V-Neck Always Adds Drama

You may want to avoid the sometimes prissy or fussy look of a puffed sleeve blouse. Keep in mind a deep V neckline can take that look from girlish to grown-up. We love this bronzey pink blouse by Frame. Worn with some delicate necklines or long earrings and slim trousers, this would be a great choice for any occasion.

One thing to keep in mind is that with puffed sleeves, or any kind of look that makes a structural statement, you may want to go for a higher end option. Doing these sorts of pieces well tends to involve somewhat complex construction or tailoring (although we did find some cheap and cheerful options). Then again, we think that investing in well-tailored and well-made items is a good idea in general, and at any age!

Shop The Puff Sleeve Trend

– Jacqueline Zenn

You may like to read more of Jacqueline’s styling posts for women over 40 like How To Do Winter Athleisure When You’re Over 40 and How to Wear Sneakers When You’re A Grown-Up.

This post contains affiliate links which may give us a commission at no additional cost to you.

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