Just because it is a fashion statement that never goes out of style, my bell-sleeves are ringing ting-aling-aling. This popular sleeve style that came into fashion during the Victorian era is a fashion statement that I have reinvented to create my own twist, bringing to life my signature bell-sleeve.
Many of you may relate to the bell-sleeve as a trend that comes and goes, however in my world, like ‘black,’ it came but never went back.
The bell-sleeve became popular in the late 1840s with the armholes small and wide at the opening, whether the hem fell at the elbow or the wrist.
The tops were so narrow in the 1840s and early 1850s that they were sometimes crafted as separate pieces and tied to the bodice and the bell-sleeve was often worn with an under-sleeve, known as an engageante.
With the bulky openings engageantes were worn. It could be argued that sleeves of this style with flounces were specifically called pagoda sleeves, but the terms seem interchangeable when reviewing Victorian articles.
These under-sleeves could be seen peeking out from under the bell sleeve and were gathered tightly at the wrist. They were put on separate from the garment and removable for laundering. Late in the 1800s short bell sleeves for evening gowns appeared quite a bit, until straps became popular.
Michelle Howell is wearing the Liz Ogumbo signature Sequin peep-back Bell-Sleeve gown which flows with so much grace and elegance and great for your soireé or grande red-carpet entrance.