I'm not ashamed to say that I recently received an order from Swell.com that consisted of 3 dolman-sleeve tops. They meet all of my requirements: They're comfy, easy to wear, and go pretty well with jeggings. But I got to wondering, 1. what does "dolman" mean? and 2. where did this style come from? Well, gather around kiddies, because you're about to get a fashion-related history lesson (the best kind).
To begin, the word "dolman" comes from the Turkish word "dolaman," meaning "robe." It was rocked by the Turks in the 18th century. I'm assuming the robes caught on because of their comfort, being loose-fitting and flowing and whatnot. However, contrary to popular belief, residents of the Ottoman Empire did not spend their days lounging on ottomans, though I'm sure they wouldn't have minded.
Speaking of wars, dolman was also the name for the uniform jackets worn by Hungary's cavalry. The jackets were narrowly cut and cropped. This obviously has nothing to do with the modern-day dolman.
But that's okay, because in the 1800s, dolman-style overcoats were popular with fashionable Civil War-era ladies. In Gone with the Wind (my only source of knowledge on the Civil War), Scarlett O'Hara's curtain dress had kind of a dolman thing going on. So that's something.
In conclusion, Wikipedia tells me that the sloping effect dolman sleeves have on ladies' shoulders makes their waists appear smaller. I believe this is pure conjecture. But it can't hurt.