9 Variations of Maxi Dresses with Sleeves and When to Wear Them

Model Wearing a Long Green Maxi Dress with Long Sleeves

One of the most beloved dresses that most women and girls love to wear during the summer and fall is a maxi dress. If you’re like me and you want to have an effortlessly amazing look, maxi dresses with sleeves should be your choice.

Maxi dresses are admired for their free-flowing style that keeps you covered. Contrary to popular belief, less exposure of the skin or any body part to the sun can keep you cooler than expected even if the temperature goes up. This is possible only through more coverage such as the one that a maxi dress provides.

The key here is to make sure that the fabric is light, which eliminates the option of silk, wool, or polyester. Right from stunning solids to posh patterns, you can easily find a perfect dress to live the season in style.

Designers of maxi dresses keep these dresses sleeveless so that they are balanced well. Nevertheless, maxi dresses with sleeves is truly a stylish summer silhouette. It is not only beautiful but also makes a statement regardless of where you go.

Different Variations of Maxi Dresses with Sleeves

When it comes to maxis with sleeves, you truly have many options with design and length. For example, a batwing-sleeve maxi is ideal for those who want to have a unique look than their daily, ordinary one. If chosen with a high-contrast print, this beautiful piece can stand out in a distinct way. You can then choose to support this look with flats.

On the other hand, if you wish to have a graphical impact, a striped, short-sleeve maxi can be the best choice. You can choose one from various multi-directional striped panels, pleated collections, and fitted silhouettes. Then, you can coordinate this look with wedges.

Looking for a head turning, jaw dropping dress? Then go with a single-shoulder silhouette dress. A decent-looking single-shoulder design is likely to make a striking statement due to its magnificent, sophisticated accents and slits.

How about reflecting an enchanting allure in a brightly printed dress having a flutter sleeve? Just combine one of them with platform sandals and a hobo bag. By adding some light jewelry, you can achieve a fashionable flair.

Sounds interesting? Well, these are some fashionable sleeves to consider while investing in a maxi dress. Below are some of the standard and popular sleeves to check out!

Long Sleeves

Regarded as the most customary sleeve style, long sleeves in maxi dresses wrap the whole arms until the wrists. These sleeves are commonly seen and preferred when it is cold outside. They are also preferred by plus size ladies, as they easily hide the shoulder flab while giving a stylish or smart appearance.

In maxi dresses, long sleeves can be plain, printed, or be transparent with some embroidery work. If plain, you can consider adding some style by adding some ornamental accessories such as shiny show buttons by consulting your tailor.

Short Sleeves

A short sleeve maxi dress has sleeves that reach just above the elbows. These sleeves are shorter than three-fourth sleeves and longer than the cap sleeves. They are designed to or must cover the armpit so that one can easily distinguish them from the cap sleeves. Short sleeves are usually chosen by petite ladies.

Three-Fourth Sleeves

Also known as three-quarter sleeves, maxi dresses with sleeves from shoulders until the forearm are ideal for summers. The sleeves tend to end somewhere between the elbow and the wrist.

Cap Sleeves

A maxi dress with cap sleeves? If you want a dress with sleeves but want them as short as possible go with cap sleeves. These dresses have sleeves that hang from the shoulders’ edge but do not extend up to the armpit. This means the shoulders are covered but the armpits are exposed.

The overall look of such a dress is like a sleeveless one. The only difference is that the small sleeves extend a bit from the shoulders and then bend a bit.

Cuff Sleeves

Cuff sleeves are rolled-up sleeves that are commonly seen in the style of a shirt. They have an integrated fold and a button to which the overall appearance is like that of a manual fold.

A cuff is nothing but a fabric layer at the sleeve’s lower rim appearing at the wrist. It is made by folding the fabric, sewing additional material on it, or attaching a readymade one with the help of studs or buttons.

Cuff sleeves are usually seen on clothing made exclusively for summers, such as maxis, crop tops, and conventional kurtis. They look trendy due to their trendy look as well as high comfort level. Choosing such sleeves is truly a trendy addition to a plain maxi outfit.

Bell Sleeves

As the name indicates, these maxi dresses have sleeves in the shape of a bell. Bell sleeves are available in different lengths and suit different types of dresses. For example, these sleeves are found in tops with a double-layered border.

In terms of length, this sleeve can be short or long and is typically arranged smoothly into the armhole without shirring or pleating but flares near the bottom. The length is likely to end anywhere from the wrist to the elbow.

Flared sleeves culminate at the upper biceps and have a bell shape but are technically known as butterfly sleeves. The same design is known as the Bishop’s sleeve if it is relatively full in circumference and is pleated at the bottom as well as into the armhole.

Maxi dresses with flared bell sleeves can usually be found online as summer dresses. The flared and bishop’s sleeves are popular among western dresses.

Butterfly Sleeves

Maxi dresses with butter sleeves are your traditional dress. They reflect the traditional design of the 1930s and were known to create an illusion of broader shoulders. In those days, these sleeves were preferred on formal outfits with puffed designs becoming wider towards the hem. That’s why it’s known as a blend of puff and cap. After all, puff sleeves are short and gathered at the beginning (rarely) or end.

A wider cut look makes it look like the wings of a butterfly when the dress is worn. These are ideal summer dresses that are suitable for special occasions such as get-togethers or birthday parties.

There are people who think that these sleeves appear large, however, they are simply a type of extension and have no odd appearance. Consider going with butterfly sleeves on your maxi outfits for a distinct stylish look this season.

Kimono Sleeves

Kimono sleeves for maxi dresses are inspired by conventional Japanese clothes and are commonly seen in tops and dresses in Western wear. There are no armhole seams which makes these dresses more comfortable.

Kimono sleeves are usually seen in fashion designed for summer, fall, and spring. Thus, they are also a part of many comfortable maxis.

Raglan Sleeves

A raglan sleeve extends as one piece from the collar to the underarm, forming a diagonal seam from there to the collarbone. This gives the illusion of a wider underarm area to give more space while having a layer of coat with your maxi outfit.

These sleeves are available in different lengths and are ideal for casual tops and bodycon dresses. Unlike regular sleeves, these are an extension of your shoulder with an inseam that runs from under your arm.


These are the variety of sleeves that you can consider for maxis. Maxi dresses with sleeves give a smart and fashionable look, provided you choose the sleeve style that best suits you. For example, a formal maxi dress will look the way you want if there are cuff sleeves. Or the bell sleeves would be ideal for parties or weddings.

Just avoid following others and focus on what makes you look good and unique. The variations of sleeves can confuse you, but you should just consider the occasion for which you will be wearing a flowy maxi outfit. That’s it! This is the simple key to choose the right sleeves for your maxi dress.


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