Fashion historians can tell you that every decade has a defining trend. The '70s had platforms, the '80s had shoulder pads, and the '90s had chainmail dresses. And then, there are the aughts which, arguably, have managed to be seared into our collective memories in a way that no former decade did before. That was partly due to the rise of divisive trends like low-rise hemlines, trucker hats, and everything covered in excessive amounts of rhinestones (you can't honestly forget them even if you tried). So you can understand our collective surprise when this decade managed to find a way to dominate the runways again.
It's worth noting that all trends eventually come back in style (even if we retire them for a bit), but it doesn't mean each one is worth wearing again. When it comes to this era, it can be tricky to find pieces that manage to look good in the long run, much less match a more minimalist aesthetic. And while I adore seeing the fashion set wearing '00s-inspired outfits, I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I've found it hard to want to wear anything from this era. That is until I saw the return of one specific trend: ruffled clothing.
I'm willing to say that ruffled clothing is the best trend from this period. And to prove my theory, I've researched how ruffled pieces have resurfaced in recent collections and shopped out the best clothing with ruffles at every price point. If you're as anti-aughts as I was, I'm betting these ruffle pieces will convert you to the cause like they did for me.
Ruffles on the Runway
As stated before, nostalgia was a dominant force among the spring/summer 2022 collections, and in turn, we've seen a boom in apparel inspired by this era. While the fashion set may have first frocked to the idea of all things micro, low-rise, and cropped, another trend in the mix deserved its dues: ruffles. But don't be fooled—these aren't the cottagecore or overtly traditional ruffles that first come to mind; instead, they often got a more grown-up take in recent collections. You can see that through the sultry candy-colored halter dresses in Blumarine's S/S 2022 collection or Saint Laurent's F/W 2022 collection that featured a black ruffled gown styled with a moto jacket.
These ruffles take inspiration from our favorite childhood trends but are by no means childish. The reenvisioning of ruffles leans into more "bad girl" aesthetics through micro hemlines, body-hugging silhouettes, and ultra-sheer chiffon. It's also all about the styling itself, as you want to embrace your inner baddie when styling this trend for the summer. Think styling a chiffon ruffled dress with glass heels or a full-length sheer ruffle duster with a bikini and knee-high boots.
If you're still not convinced that ruffle clothing is where it's at this summer, let me share some quick stats with you. According to Klarna, ruffle clothing has seen a 68% increase in purchases over the past four months. More shoppers are buying into this trend, and summer is the ideal time to embrace this style. Of course, it won't be for everyone—in fact, in true '00s fashion, the return of this style is bound to ruffle some feathers. But if you shop the right pieces and style them right, you'll do the ruffling in a good way.
Shop Ruffled Clothing
Style this over jeans or a swimsuit, and you’ve got the perfect summer outfit.
You can pair this with jeans, skirts, or swimwear and it will look good no matter what.
Cheetah print is very '00s, so you might as well lean into the vibe and go for it.
Attending a wedding this summer? This dress will be perfect for the occasion.
ACNE Studios did not come to play with this dress.
Everything about this dress screams elegance.
Consider this dress as my closing argument that ruffles (when done right) are the perfect trend for the summer.
Jasmine Fox-Suliaman is a fashion editor living in New York City. What began as a hobby (blogging on Tumblr) transformed into a career dedicated to storytelling through various forms of digital media. She started her career at the print publication 303 Magazine, where she wrote stories, helped produce photo shoots, and planned Denver Fashion Week. After moving to Los Angeles, she worked as MyDomaine's social media editor until she was promoted to work across all of Clique's publications (MyDomaine, Byrdie, and Who What Wear) as the community manager. Over the past few years, Jasmine has worked on Who What Wear's editorial team, using her extensive background to champion rising BIPOC designers, weigh in on viral trends, and profile stars such as Janet Mock and Victoria Monét. She is especially interested in exploring how art, fashion, and pop culture intersect online and IRL.
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