When Zara saw its ruched brown puff-sleeved minidress fly off the shelves in September (perhaps the weirdest time of the year to consider buying such a frivolous party piece), it signalled a new era for after-dark dressing. Midis of every variety have ruled supreme over the past few winters’ festive seasons, but it would appear the hunger for super-short was there all along.
The influence of the 1980s started well over a year ago, with many dismissing it as a flash in the pan kind of catwalk-only comeback. If you look around stores, street style galleries, influencer feeds or even your own recently purchased list I’m sure you’ll find hints of the time that committed many fashion crimes.
Designers and brands have been careful to pick and choose from this epoch’s wild looks—with leopard print, exaggerated shoulders, costume jewellery, stiletto pumps, velvet, lamé and leather being prioritized over, say, Madonna’s cutoff gloves, pink tutus and leg-warmers.
The ’80s look comes to life in the nighttime, and no more so than with the kind of dress that Zara saw such a retail success with: short, fitted, puffed at the sleeve or shoulder. These dresses were meant to be worn bare-legged or with 10-denier tights, chandelier earrings, killer heels and red lipstick.
Originating from higher echelons of the fashion chain, you’ll see more luxe versions from the likes of Magda Butrym, Alexandre Vauthier, Saint Laurent and Alessandra Rich. Instagram’s coolest girls don’t discriminate, though. You’ll be just as likely to spot Topshop as you will the soon-to-be-released black version of Zara’s aforementioned hit.
All that’s left to say is this: Put the flash on your camera phone because these dresses deserve a selfie before the night gets too boisterous…
See Who's Wearing Puff-Sleeved Dresses
Shop the Look
Remember this kind of silk? It’s back again.
Such a jaunty London take on the ’80s trend.
These are made to order, so don’t dilly-dally.
We love a dress that comes with a feather boa. How novel.
French-girl favourite Isabel Marant’s been doing this style for years.
Calling out for red lipstick.
Also cute for work with tights and boots.
A bargain, we say.
There are longer versions too.
We’re amazed by this fabric.
A new label to know.
Just add crystal earrings.
Even dreamier with a chain belt.