Alright, alright, let’s talk about the super-weird sweater sleeve trend. Or, should I say, the turtleneck scarf trend. Or the super cropped sweater trend? Lately, I’ve even heard it called the knit bolero trend. This look has almost as many names as P. Diddy and when I first saw it, I really wasn’t sure what to think. Like all wild trends, though, it slowly grew on me, so I decided to give it a whirl.
Where did the sweater sleeve trend originate, you ask? TBH, no one can say for sure. My first sighting was back in 2019 via the Simonett Sweater Sleeves, which are more or less a glorified knit bolero meant to be paired with a bralette for a cute, matchy-matchy look. I love them, but for $90, I wasn’t interested. No shade, Simonett, I think your items are gorg!!!
Then, I saw more and more influencers on my feed rocking a slightly different silhouette—less of a sweater sleeve, more of a turtleneck scarf, if you will. The look resembled a super-cropped sweater, with the neckline and sleeves fully intact but the bodice cut just above the cleavage. This definitely appealed to me more, although I still didn’t believe the piece was wearable enough to really catch on.
As a large-chested gal, I was also skeptical about how this would go paired with cleavage. I’d only seen it on model-sized influencers and I wondered if it would look a bit ~inappropriate~ paired with 34Gs poking out underneath. However, I’m glad to say I was wrong; I felt really cute in my sweater sleeves when I wore them out and about, paired with a plain white tank underneath. I also got a ton of compliments, and not nearly as many “WTF happened to your sweater?”s as I expected.
Is the look unusual? Yesit’s definitely the boldest sweater trend I’ve seen to date. Will it keep you warm like an actual sweater? No—not unless you’re someone who only needs their arms covered. Do I think it will continue to gain popularity? Yes—the look as already trickled down to fast-fashion retailers and small businesses, so it’s getting more attainable by the day.
No matter what name you call it (I’m sticking with sweater sleeves or knit boleros, depending on whether or not they have a front), there’s no denying that this is a trend worth trying this season—and one I intend to wear all the way into 2022.
If you feel the same, read on for a few shoppable options below, all of which (of course) have completely different names.
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High Collar Puff Sleeve Sweater
If you’re not sure if you love this trend, no need to invest. Amazon has some very cute affordable options.
Ultra Cropped Knit Ribbed Turtleneck
My personal favorites have that little chain detail linking the sleeves. Jewelry and knitwear all in one!
Rib-Knit Bolero Sweater
I already own this H&M pick and I recommend sizing down if you don’t want your sleeves super slouchy.
Bolero Sweater Sleeves
Plus babes will love this Eloquii option, available in three neutral hues with matching tank top options.
Links Links Teeny Cardi
This on-sale Revolve pick is the first version I’ve ever seen with buttons. Sold!
Rib-Knit Bolero Sweater
Did I mention that H&M bolero also comes in bright red? Yep, it’s pretty much a need.
Colorblock Sweater with Cutout
If you’re unsure what to pair yours with, consider this Eloquii option, which comes with a built in tank for more of a cut-out sweater look with a full-coverage back.
Michelle Knit Shrug
I think a fun color is the move once you’ve locked in a good creamy hue, so this Ruby shade is next on my list.