All Patched Up: The Elbow Patch Trend

If you’ve been seeing (& loving) more and more elbow patch jackets and sweaters lately, you’re not the only one. We’ve been watching them slowly trickle into the stores, silently. They’re like the ninja trend – just waiting to spring on us in all of it’s sexy professor glory.

I’m unbearably excited about this “trend” (ha, like it’s new, right?) for a few different reasons. One – it adds some non-serious class to any outfit. There’s a bit of a sense of humor in a top with elbow patches, which makes it pair awfully well with more classic wardrobe elements like pencil skirts, pleats, and slacks. Two – the versatility of an elbow patch sweater or jacket is really impressive! Check out the “How to Wear: Elbow Patches” section at the end of this post for ideas! 

Your elbow patches vary in texture, pattern, color, and conventional shape and be put on almost anything with sleeves!

The third reason I love elbow patches? The DIY potential! Scrap fabric and an old blazer could – in minutes – become an all new, fresh piece for your wardrobe.

# Elbow Patch Styles Under $100


Aside from any “ironic hipster” connotations – we love this because it adds an older-menswear feel to anything from a pair of slacks and a button-down to a frilly, pale pink dress.

Try this: Academia Cardigan from Need Supply, $64

Relaxed & Casual

As casual-but-not-really remains our mantra, sweatshirt-material jackets will always be right up our alley. Mixed with added to a graphic tee and sneakers, it’ll be the perfect layering piece (top or middle!) as we move in to spring.

Try this: Hurley Wilfred Boyfriend Hoodie from Zappos, $79.50


With broad shoulders, a nipped waist and bigtime structure in-between, equestrian jackets can add a heavy dose of polish and luxe to other structured elements.

Try this: Plaid Blazer from delia*s, $49.50

Subtle & Classic

This style is the equivalent of buying longevity insurance for your jacket. The color of the elbow patches nearly blend in with the overall color of the jacket, so the elevated style is definitely there, but with a streamlined twist. By not getting to wild & crazy with the contrasting colors, we’re adding years of wearability to your closet.

Try this: Modern Lit Lecturer Blazer from Modcloth, $44.99

Retro Bombshell

A little fitted sweater with some masculine features? What could possibly be sexier? Whether under a jacket or atop a pencil skirt – it’s a knockout.

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Try this: Sweater with Heart Elbow Patches from ASOS, $63.63


Everyone has their days when they just want to feel put-together. A preppy, plaid jacket can be your ticket to easy dressing. Add over a simple white t-shirt and skinny or straight-leg denim with flats or boots.

Try this: Grad School Ace Blazer from ModCloth, $95.99 (for some reason…?)

Well, you might have the best possible elbow-patch jacket on the planet, but if you don’t know how to wear it, or don’t feel confident enough in your pairing abilities to take it for a spin, we have gathered our favorite looks from for some style inspiration~

How to Wear: Elbow Patches

Anna S.

Keiko L.

Melanie Y.

Jamie C.

Hannah O.

Emina S.

Are you a fan of elbow patches? How do you like to wear yours?

  • I love this trend, but have yet to find just the right piece with this detail to add to my wardrobe…maybe I just need to do a DIY! :)

  • I was just thinking how this is popping up favorite is definitely the sweater. Now only to find the right color!

  • Love how versatile this style has become. Nice collection and showcase of the different ways to wear it!

  • I really love that this trend is popping up. The only thing is the elbow patches always end up sitting in the completely wrong place on my arm! I guess I’ll just have to add some to a sweater on my own to get the placement correct.

  • Loving the elbow patches. I’m a big fan of blazers and tweed jackets. They are so flattering and can make the most simple outfit look fab.