What is Half Sleeve Length in Clothing?

Half Sleeves, Yes Please!

Fashion Dictionary

In women’s clothing fashions, a half sleeve is a type of sleeve length and style. The sleeve ends *AT the elbow* or *3/4 of the way TO the elbow on the upper arm*. This type of sleeve length is between a short sleeve and a 3/4 sleeve length. As such, they may also be called elbow-length sleeves, but often end just above the elbow. This type of sleeve is regularly found on tee shirts, camp shirts and dresses. The sleeve can be tight to the arm, balloon-style, or loose.

Kate Middleton, or Duchess Kate, is fond of the half-sleeve and is often seen wearing it. She has worn this sleeve length in everything from a simple, casual white tee-shirt to a formal, full-length evening gown.

Who Should Wear a Half Sleeve?

A half sleeve length is flattering on most body types because the sleeve length tends to hit at the narrowest part of the waist. If you have a short-torso and the sleeve lands where your pants do, opt for a shorter sleeve, such as a cap sleeve or standard short sleeve.

This sleeve length is also good for either showing off toned arms (in tight sleeves), or covering less-toned arms in looser sleeves that cover more arm.

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See more photos of this outfit post for an example of a half sleeve tee shirt, this time worn with pleated shorts.

How Should I Wear a Half Sleeve Length?


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This sleeve length is flattering with wide-leg pants and bell bottoms for a 1970s-style, because the longer sleeve length will help balance the visual weight of the wider bottoms. Again, make sure the sleeve is still hitting above the waist and they are not in alignment. It’s all about proportions! The half sleeve top is also flattering with a midi-length skirt or on a midi-length dress. Kate Middleton often opts for this sleeve-length which balances out cropped trousers or midi skirts/dresses as well.

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