Pencil Skirts Are So Serious—Instead, This New Fun Trend Is Winning Me Over

Grab your feather boa and pluck your tallest platforms—this season we're going to the (puff)ball! Cropping up in crowds across fashion week, peppering runway shows throughout the season, and quietly seeping into the Instagram scene, all of a sudden, the puffball skirt trend is officially back everywhere we look.

The pencil skirt's polar opposite, with a playful silhouette that cuts through the '90s and '00s noise to deliver full-blow '80s fun, the puffball skirt trend achieves a high volume, high drama look that Carrie Bradshaw would fawn over. Playing off the ra-ra and skater skirt silhouettes that came before it, spring's slew of puffball skirts and dresses flare out before folding under the hem, creating a puff-like finish. Often constructed from fabrics such as nylon, duchess satin and jersey—which better hold the voluminous shape—the skirt is cropping up in the form of everything from mini skirts to extra-long dresses this season.

Offering a fanciful retort to the pencil skirts and tailored styles that dominated across the last few months, the playful silhouette embraces the fun side of fashion. Whilst this isn't the first time we've celebrated this trend—the skirt was a popular staple throughout the '80s and across the '10s, the past few years' focus on "quiet luxury" makes the return of the puffball this time around feel entirely fresh.

Whilst at first glance you might have assumed the skirt was difficult to style, the breadth of options available across designer and high-street brands means that finding a style that feels wearable for you is easily achievable. Whether you're curious about the trend and interested in a fitted dress with a subtle flare, or keen to go for an ultra-mini, ultra-puffy style, there's an option out there to suit your preference.

Discover How Fashion People Are Styling Puffball Skirts for Summer 2024:

Model wears a puffball skirt on the Molly Goddard AW 24 runway

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Style Notes: Appearing in fuchsia pink on the Molly Goddard A/W 24 runway, the dramatic skirt was cut to a longline length and styled with an oversized blouse in a similarly billowy shape.

Model wears a puffball dress on the Aknvas SS24 runway.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Style Notes: Also featuring in the latest collections of Aknvas, Marques' Almeida and Aaron Esh and it's clear that designers are backing the rising trend in a big way for all of 2024.

@borislavasekova wearing a puffball skirt

(Image credit: @borislavasekova)

Style Notes: If you have a more subtle fashion sense, pairing your skirt with a tonal top and accessories like Borislava's is a great way to dip your toe into the trend.

@remyfarrell styles the puffball skirt trend

(Image credit: @remyfarrell)

Style Notes: For evening outs, why not try pairing your puffball skirt with a chic blazer and contrasting tights?

Influencer wears the puffball skirt trend.

(Image credit: @sobalera)

Style Notes: I love the look of the white puffball maxi and tailored blazer. This is definitely an outfit that you can take from the office to an evening out with friends.

@elliee.rob wearing a puffball dress over jeans

(Image credit: @elliee.rob)

Style Notes: Why not try wearing a mini puffball dress over your favourite jeans like Ellie for an edgy twist on the trend?

@rebeccaferrazwyatt wearing a puffball skirt

(Image credit: @rebeccaferrazwyatt)

Style Notes: You don't have to wait for a night out to wear you puffball skirts. I love Rebecca's skirt, t-shirt and loafer combo for more casual days out.

Climbing the ranks on Google Trends more and more by the day, the influence is certainly being felt in real life, too, as people seem keen to back the skirt trend that practically promises fun-filled season of outfits.

Read on to discover our edit of the best puffball skirts to buy now.

Shop the Puffball Skirt Trend:

Natalie Munro
News Writer

Natalie Munro is Who What Wear UK’s news writer. Having worked in the fashion industry since her time at university—where she obtained a BA in Journalism from University of the Arts London, Natalie's experience spans journalistic and styling roles. In the early stages of her career Natalie predominately worked on editorial shoots for fashion publications such as British Vogue, Vogue Ukraine, AnOther Magazine and Elle UK, before moving into journalism roles.

On completion of her degree she interned in the editorial team at British Vogue and later went on to freelance for the publication. Here, she developed her interest in reporting on the latest fashion news and trends. Inspired by the dynamic nature of the industry, Natalie went on to write for other lifestyle and fashion brands and publications before taking on the role as News Writer for Who What Wear.

With an interest in uncovering the latest fashion trends, Natalie takes a leading role in identifying news for Who What Wear UK. Focusing on trends on and off the runway, as well as street style and celebrity fashion, Natalie reports on a daily basis, ensuring that she remains ahead of the trends. Natalie also creates content for Who What Wear’s social channels including TikTok and Instagram on a weekly basis.