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Making the Case for Ruffle and Puffed Sleeve Tops

After my army green pants post a few months back, I received a lot of client requests about what to wear with said pants. My favorite pairing is a ruffle or puffed sleeve top. But I’ve found there’s a lot of hesitation surrounding this style.  In fact, it was the text conversation with a long-time client that prompted me to write this post… I’ve included excerpts at the bottom of this post.

Why am I’m a huge fan of tops with ruffles and/or puffed sleeves? Well, a few reasons…

1. The ruffles and puffs add a feminine flair that counterbalances the workwear (like manual work, not 9-5 work), vibe of the pants.
2. Sleeve and shoulder details were all over the runways and it’s an easy way to add interest to an outfit and make it feel current
3. A shoulder detail is much easier to wear than a bell sleeve detail. i.e. the puffed sleeve won’t get stuck in your soup when out for dinner.
4. Adding ruffles or a puffed sleeve visually balances your top and bottom when wearing a slouchy or wider bottom pant.

It’s NOT Too Cute

Some women, especially the over 40 crowd, have expressed concern that the ruffle/ puffed sleeve look is just too cutesie. And they feel they’ve aged out of the look. Let me start by saying I LOVE when a woman is aware of age-appropriate dressing. It’s refreshing and the self-awareness is applauded. We’ve all seen the mom with the rocking bod swapping clothes with her teenage daughter, and frankly, it’s kind of uncomfortable for everyone. Just because you can wear it, does not mean you should… But I digress.

On the flip side, I encounter many women that unnecessarily age themselves with their clothing because they don’t want to look like that mom in the crop top and ripped jeans. A ruffled top is one of those pieces that can skew young or sophisticated and feminine depending on how you style it.