How to Pull Off 80s-Inspired Puff Sleeves IRL

Like it or not, the 80s are back in fashion…in a BIG way. One of the most popular takes is the puff sleeve, a kind of throwback to the sculpted shoulders of the infamous decade of excess. But they’re actually surprisingly chic and easy to pull off — if you know what you’re doing.

Puff sleeves were hard to miss on the Spring 2018 runways.

Emanuel Ungaro Spring 2018, Carolina Herrera Spring 2018, Anrealage Spring 2018; Images: Imaxtree

Puff sleeves first starting popping up on the Spring 2018 runways. Emanuel Ungaro added them on everything from wedding dresses to a shiny tee layered under a floral patterned jumpsuit. Carolina Herrera relied on the puff sleeve to amp up red carpet gowns and work-ready blouses. They don’t get more voluminous than the ones at Anrealage. Exaggerated sleeves decorated a large portion of looks from dresses to jumpsuits.

Sleeves were still puffed up come fall.

Gucci Fall 2018, Ulla Johnson Fall 2018, Halpern Fall 2018; Images: Imaxtree

And things didn’t deflate for Fall 2018. Perhaps no brand personifies the OTT 80s like Gucci. While “accessories” like a baby dragon and human heads stole the spotlight at the brand’s Fall 2018 show, strong shoulders were well-represented, including the puffy variety. Although Ulla Johnson has become synonymous with prairie dresses, the designer also loves puffed-up shoulders. She even incorporated the eye-catching detail on a denim one-piece. Halpern’s glitzy offering was full of color and shimmer with a few puff sleeves thrown in for good measure.

Puff sleeves on the streets.

Puff-sleeve blouses have become pretty popular street style fare; Images: Imaxtree

While these larger-than-life silhouettes look great on the runway, they can be tricky to translate to your wardrobe. Street stylists usually prefer to balance out their puff-sleeve blouses with denim, whether the jeans be cropped, cuffed or white. Add in a statement bag and pointed-toe footwear to draw attention elsewhere.

Puff-sleeve tops are the easiest way to try out the trend since they’re more versatile than the dress or jumpsuit formats. Ready to turn up the volume? Take your pick of these 23 versions along with some helpful tips to make wearing them easy no matter your skill level.

[ Next: You Can’t Go Wrong With Florals This Fall ]