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Bell Sleeves: Practical or Just Pretty?

Over the past year, fashion bloggers couldn’t get enough of bell sleeved tops, dresses, and sweaters. Their voluminous shape add dimension to any outfit and turns simple tasks like fixing your ponytail and hailing a cab into a whimsical photo op. But while these awesome sleeves certainly hold their place on an Instagram feed, can this structured yet feminine silhouette actually be wearable?

Can you answer an email wearing bell sleeves? Drink a cup of coffee? Find the Saturday Night Fever album on vinyl? If it gets chilly out do you have to layer your bell sleeved blouse with a bell sleeved jacket, or does your jacket get an instant ruffle upgrade? I investigated:

I got this white blouse for $6 at a super clearance event, and I have been trying to figure out how to incorporate it into my tomboyish wardrobe for almost a month. I obviously didn’t want to hide these incredible sleeves under a sweater or blazer, but I felt like the stark white top needed to be subdued for fall.

Instead of a cardigan, I layered the blouse with an off white sleeveless sweater dress. This broke up the bright white while still showing off the sleeves. I kept my lower half sleek with riding pants and knee high boots which evened out the outfits proportions. I wouldn’t recommend wearing bell sleeves on an Italian dinner date, but I found them to be more fun than invasive.

Here are some bell sleeved tops to shop now:

Photography by Jacob Paul

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