The Trend I Begged My Mom to Buy Me in High School Is Back


Getty Images

My freshman year of high school coincided with a pretty pivotal moment in pop culture, at least as far as teenage girls were concerned: the first season of The O.C., the release of Mean Girls, and the ascendance of Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie on The Simple Life. All of which, of course, dictated the fashion of the era: Juicy sweats, low-rise jeans, Ugg boots, and ill-advised sequin boleros were rampant—but Abercrombie & Fitch, with its endless array of flippy mini skirts that could've been pulled from the closets of Marissa Cooper and Regina George, reigned supreme.

Considering my friends and I wore a school uniform five days a week at the time, you'd think we'd have wanted to express a little individuality on the weekends, but looking back at photos from 2004, that doesn't seem to be entirely the case. In some of them, all five or six of us are wearing variations of the same skirt—always ruffled, often tiered, occasionally affixed with a decorative bow or row of buttons, and never quite long enough to satisfy our parents. There were skirts in white eyelet lace, silky florals, and frilly denim, and I have vivid memories of coveting every last one in the Abercrombie catalog (the fact that I lived in Canada, where there were zero A&F stores at the time, only intensified the longing).

In the dozen or so years since, I've intentionally steered clear of these ultra-girly, ultra-mini styles, instead building out a solid collection of midi, pencil, and high-waisted A-line skirts—all of which feel far less risky to wear on a gusty subway platform. But this season, fashion's obsession with all things flouncy has reached fever pitch, and the '80s trend is bringing ruffled minis back into the fore. Isabel Marant and Marc Jacobs endorsed the style in a big way for spring, and everyone from Zara to Madewell is following suit. And while I'm still on the fence about revisiting this particular sartorial period (let's not bring back the bedazzled flip-flops, k?), I'll admit a few of the options are seriously tempting.

If you're ready to embrace the trend, keep scrolling for 15 ruffled skirts to shop right now.