The main differentiating factor on types of sleeves on women's apparel is the length. Another determining factor is the way the sleeve is cut and how it fits around the arm. The type of sleeves cut into women's tops or dresses gives each piece of clothing a distinct styling.
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The cap sleeve sits directly on the shoulder. Cap sleeves are not tight-fitting at all, which allows for a comfortably loose fit above the arms. This is the shortest type of sleeve cut on women's tops and dresses.
The fabric on short sleeves is cut between the shoulder and elbow. Unlike the capped sleeve, short sleeves on shirts and dresses are a more form-fitting sleeve. Short sleeves are mostly found on casual and active wear.
Just as the name suggests, this type of sleeve covers three quarters of the arm's length. Three-quarter sleeves leave the area between each elbow and wrist uncovered and are ideal for wearing during cool autumn weather.
Long sleeves run from the shoulder all the way down to the wrist. Depending on the length of your arms, long sleeves may lay longer or shorter on your wrists. Long sleeves can be found on t-shirts, blouses, sweatshirts and sweaters.
Puffy sleeves are most commonly seen on ball gown style wedding dresses, pageant gowns and princess or queen costumes. Puffy sleeves are named for the way this type of sleeve extends out in round puffs around the upper arms or at the shoulders.