Subliminal Style
Effortless. Authentic. Professional.

Catching Rae

Parsing Trends: Bell of the Ball

More trends! Can you take it??

This year, bell sleeves can manifest as anything from ethereal ruffles to silky slits to bubble-hemmed poufs - and the history of the bell sleeve is just as varied. From about the 1500s-1800s, bell sleeves were associated with princesses and high society. put it succinctly, saying that "fitted sleeves were for peasants." Ironically, bell sleeves also appeared in the 1970s and in the 2000s associated with peasant blouses, pop music, and other more bohemian looks.

The common element seems to be that bell sleeves sure aren't for the day-to-day, conventional working class citizen:

Positive Connotations

  • Status
  • Wealth
  • Leisure
  • Freedom
  • Optimism
  • Romance
  • Nostalgia
  • Feminine/Ladylike

Negative Connotations

  • High maintenance
  • Unrealistic
  • Impractical
  • Superficial
  • Out of Touch (Ivory Tower)
  • "Fluffy"
  • Immature
  • Twee
  • Prissy

What associations do you have with bell sleeves? Do they make you dream of castles and handmaidens... or do they just make you paranoid that you'd get one caught in the disposal?