Best puff-sleeve top

Shirts & Tops

Puff sleeves came back in style in the spring of 2018.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Which puff-sleeve top is best?

The “cottagecore aesthetic,” a style influenced by romanticized rural life, has swept social media and popularized tulle skirts, ruffled hems, sweetheart necklines, floral embroidery and puff sleeves. Puff sleeves were already making a comeback in the fashion world, but the cottagecore obsession has only built their hype. 

Saodimallsu Womens Cute Short Puff Sleeve Sweater is the perfect top to layer over another shirt or wear on its own. The sweater is 100% cotton and is loose fitting with a casual bohemian, or hippie-inspired, look that is fit for any season.

What to know before you buy a puff-sleeve top

A top with puffy sleeves can have different necklines, lengths and additional detailing and can be paired with an assortment of bottoms. You can personalize your look with accessories, like a pearl necklace to match the elegance of the sophisticated top. This style, accessorized or not, will complement your body shape.


Puff-sleeve tops typically have sweetheart necklines to match the romantic vibe of the sleeves themselves. But the necklines can also be square-neck, scoop-neck, high-neck, halter-top or V-neck. These tops can be sweaters and blouses, and can come in either crop top or regular length. You can find a blouse in every color and in many different patterns, although the most common designs are floral prints.

How to wear

The cottagecore style blouse can be paired with shorts, trousers, jeans or a skirt, depending on how feminine you want your style to be. Crop tops are just as versatile, but should be paired with high-waisted bottoms.

Most fashion stylists recommend adding one or two types of accessories with your outfit.

Body shape

Since the exaggerated sleeves create the illusion of having broader shoulders, these tops look best on pear-shaped bodies, where they give the impression of having an hourglass shape. Of course, all bodies can rock the puff-sleeve look with the right pair of bottoms and accessories.

What to look for in a quality puff-sleeve top

The fabric should be made of an opaque material that is comfortable to wear throughout the day. It should be adjustable to flatter your body shape and the details should add to the Renaissance style without overdoing it.

Material and transparency

Always remember that lightweight shirts are more prone to transparency, unless you purchase a thick material. Polyester blends do not always list the percentage of the blend, making it difficult to discern whether or not a top will be see-through. Checking the reviews is a good way to determine the transparency of the top. Of course, any see-through top can be fixed by purchasing a thin undershirt or wearing nude-colored underwear. A brief overview of fabrics is as follows:

  • Linens are very lightweight, transparent and prone to wrinkling.
  • Cotton is breathable and not see-through, but be wary of cotton blends. Depending on what the cotton is combined with, the shirt may lean towards transparency.
  • Polyester can be a blend of many fabrics including cotton, nylon, acetate and acrylic. The sheerness of this material can vary.
  • Rayon is a very soft fabric that is prone to wrinkling and can be transparent when stretched.
  • Lycra and Spandex are similar to rayon, except they are a thicker material.


These tops should always be adjustable and not too stiff. An overly stiff top will not only be uncomfortable, but less likely to conform to your body in a flattering manner. Many puff-sleeve-style shirts can be adjusted and the sleeves are able to go on and off the shoulder.


These tops are often sewn with ruffles, bows and sheer layers to create a regency-style look.  Some tops will be ruched, a wavy gathering of fabric, across the middle to fabricate a cinched waist.

How much you can expect to spend on a puff-sleeve top

Most of these blouses cost around $20-$30. 

Puff-sleeve top FAQ

Can I get puff sleeves altered?

A. These sleeves can be altered like any other garment. You can remove excess fabric to deflate the puff or you can add fabric to make it bigger.

Are puff sleeves in style?

A. Puff sleeves have been in style since spring of 2018 and have shown no signs of disappearing any time soon. Clothing designers continue to release new concepts using this dramatic sleeve and are keeping the look contemporary in the developing fashion world.

What’s the best puff-sleeve top to buy?

Top puff-sleeve top

Saodimallsu Womens Cute Short Puff Sleeve Sweaters

Saodimallsu Womens Cute Short Puff Sleeve Sweaters

What you need to know: A 100% cotton top with half-length puff sleeves in over 20 different colors.

What you’ll love: This shirt is made of a lightweight and soft fabric in a dotted design pattern. It is machine-washable and can fit sizes small to extra large.

What you should consider: Some of the shirts are more vibrant in real life than they appear in the photos.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top puff-sleeve top for the money

Dorose Women’s Casual Tops

Dorose Women’s Casual Tops

What you need to know: A cotton top in a vintage style with elastic-bound puff sleeves.

What you’ll love: This shirt comes in 14 different colors and can fit sizes small to extra extra large. The sleeves have adjustable buttons on their cuffs.

What you should consider: It wrinkles easily.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Floerns Women’s Square Neck Puff Sleeve Shirred Blouse Crop Top

Floerns Women’s Square Neck Puff Sleeve Shirred Blouse Crop Top

What you need to know: This blouse has long puff sleeves and a square neck in a crop-top style.

What you’ll love: This top comes in 19 different colors and has a ruched torso. The sleeves are in a Marie style — long sleeve puffs tied at intervals down the arm.

What you should consider: Some people recommend sizing down because the cut is larger than normal.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Gwen Swanson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.