Real World Ruffles: 5 Chic Ways to Wear the Trend

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gucci Spring 2013 RTW - Look 6 -
Gucci Spring 2013 RTW
In case you missed it, ruffles were all the rage at the Spring 2013 shows. If you are anything like me, that notion sent a shiver up your spine.

Don’t worry. I’m not here to convince you that ladylike ruffles are really super cool. I’m not a ruffles person. Rows of sweet little ruffles give me hives. So, I was happy to discover that this season’s ruffles tend to be oversized and sculptural, more like a Frank Gehry building than a Laura Ashley dress. That’s not to say that there aren’t some serious fashion pitfalls standing between the average fashionista and spring ruffle success. But, at least there’s hope.

Ruffles showed up in the least likely places this year. Runways historically occupied by sleek and chic – like Gucci, Balenciaga, and Givenchy – all showed outsized ruffles draped across blouses and scurrying down the sides of clingy column dresses. It’s still early in the Spring shopping season, but stores are already stocking some pieces that mimic runway looks.

I’ve been scouring the online racks looking for some good examples of how to wear the ruffle trend without veering into ‘80s bridesmaid territory. I have not come up empty-handed. Check out these chic new takes on the ruffle.

This Ruffle-Sleeve Blouse from Alexander McQueen almost succeeds at making ruffles edgy. The size and placement of the ruffles, along with the stiff black fabric construction all work together quite well. Pair this blouse with slim black pants or a pencil skirt, plus severe heels, to keep the look runway-worthy.

Alexander McQueen Ruffle-Sleeve Blouse

→ Buy the Alexander McQueen Ruffle-Sleeve Blouse, $875.00, at

For a blouse that might be slightly more wearable for the average woman, check out this Halston Heritage find. The asymmetrical cascade of ruffles and peplum hem do justice to the trend, but are not so fashion-forward as to be out of place at the office.

Halston Heritage Ruffle Detail Cotton Top

→ Buy the Halston Heritage Ruffle Detail Cotton Top, $295.00, at; shipping and returns are free.

It’s hard for me to find a dress with ruffles that doesn’t come across as too cutesy for my taste. But, this Ralph Lauren Collection dress – straight off the Spring runway – kind of works for me. Nothing like a plunging neckline to make ruffles grow up fast.

Ralph Lauren Collection Ruffle Sleeve Dress

→ Buy the Ralph Lauren Collection Ruffle Sleeve Dress, $2,998.00, at

So-called “fast fashion” hasn’t really caught up to this trend. Consequently, super low priced versions of the look haven’t arrived on racks yet. But, this last-season (and on sale) Ruffle Front Skirt from Antonio Melani does a decent job of mimicking the trend at a low price.

Antonio Melani Serina Ruffle-Front Skirt

→ Buy the Antonio Melani Serina Ruffle-Front Skirt, $38.15 (was $109.00), at

Want to rock a runway-worthy look at your next special event? This Givenchy mini-dress is the real deal.

Givenchy Ruffle Hem Mini Dress

→ Buy the Givenchy Ruffle Hem Mini Dress, $1,510.00, at