There are a lot of ways wearing a bell-sleeve top can improve your everyday life. Hailing a taxi is now an ethereal photo opp. Dancing/flinging your wrists around to Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” in your apartment is decidedly more impressive. Signing the receipt for your awesome new shoes includes a triumphant flourish. These are all just side benefits, though. The real draw for bell sleeves? They are without a doubt the best way to look fashion forward right now.
It’s no secret that the style crowd loves to inject a little drama into their outfits, and the statement sleeve is the ideal way to do so. That’s why I selected them as the inaugural subject for the relaunch of Trend Trial, a series near to my heart, where I test-drive a style that’s currently trending in the fashion world. (For a some context, see my first ever Trend Trial from nearly four years ago!) So without further ado, I present my little primer on how to wear bell-sleeve tops—scroll down to see the three best ways to style them!
What I'm Wearing: Zara jacket; Who What Wear Bell Sleeve Blouse in Light Blue ($25); Vetements Season 1 Jeans ($1395); Gucci Princetown Mule Loafers ($695); Céline Bridge Black Acetate Geometric Sunglasses ($465).
If you’re going to embrace the bell sleeve, I think it’s best to lean into the playful silhouette. A moto jacket with cropped sleeves shows off the billowing cuffs for a dramatic effect—I literally found myself waving to strangers like a loon because I was so tickled by the look. I finished off the outfit with a pair of Vetements jeans (which I’m proud to say we covered over a year ago!) and a version of the Gucci slides fashion girls unanimously love. Side note: Apparently slides are not podiatrist-approved footwear, but it wouldn’t be the first time I sacrificed comfort for fashion!
Does it get any trendier?
Want to be impressed? Check out how one girl re-created these jeans from scratch.
What I'm Wearing: Zara dress; Who What Wear Bell Sleeve Blouse ($25) in Black; Simon Miller S801 Bonsai Bag ($360); Isabel Marant Joss Embroidered Leather and Suede Sandals ($344).
A slip dress with a top layered underneath is an easy way to make an outfit more interesting without a ton of effort. AKA, it’s perfect for the summer. More proof it’s the ideal look: NYC girls are all about it. As for the accessories, to me an interesting outfit demands interesting accoutrements. Case in point: Imagine this look with a plain black clutch… kind of boring, right? The metal-handle mini bag and embellished sandals make perfect supporting actors.
The slit on the sleeve allows it to catch the wind, creating the prettiest movement. Hello, Instagram.
Who says you need a stiletto for an evening out? A chunky block heel gives me a boost sans any foot pain.
What I'm Wearing: Isabel Marant Tryna Printed Devore-Chiffon Top ($350) and Zebra Print Suede Pumps ($110) Pre-Owned; Who What Wear Bell Sleeve Blouse ($25) in White; Acne Studios Harriet Crinkle Trousers ($273); Céline Sangle Shoulder Bag ($2400) and sunglasses; Gabriela Artigas Infinite Tusk Ring ($132).
I believe you should make the clothes that are lucky enough to enter your closet work hard for you. If you’re spending your money on an item, it better well be versatile enough to wear in many situations. Take this printed Isabel Marant halter tank. You can wear it on the weekend by itself, and still pull it off at the office by layering a blouse underneath. Enter: our beloved bell-sleeve top. As a layering piece, it feels a bit more exciting than a plain tee, no?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but nothing feels fresher than an uneven pants hem right now.
The dramatic sleeves mean you can get away with keeping baubles to a minimum. Not having to deal with your jewelry box and still looking put together? Win and win.
What trend should I try next? Let me know in the comments below!