When was the last time you wore a ruffle dress? Was it when you were a child or teen? Or, maybe you’re like me and you’re still donning these feminine textile masterpieces. Why not, right? I truly feel they’re timeless. Ruffle dresses are not only appropriate for adults, but they come in a ton of fashionable designs that range from casual grunge to romantic evening wear.
Every ruffle dress is a soft and youthful moment, but you can polish and refine it using some great styling techniques. No matter your style, a ruffle dress or two (or three) belongs in your closet. So, to help you add ruffle dresses into your own weekly charades, I’m sharing a guide to wearing them. Here it is:
How to Style a Ruffle Dress
Are Ruffle Dresses in Style?
I can confidently say that ruffle dresses are back in style! With Y2K fashion crawling back into both department stores and fashion week alike, everyone is remembering these iconic 2000s dresses.
If we’re speaking honestly, there is not a LOT of great fashion to come out of this era. (Aside from all the pastel colors.) So, it’s clear why trendsetters have chosen this gorgeous and feminine look for their 2023 fashion moments.
So, if you’re ready to take this trend by storm and really rock this look in a modern way, here are some styling tips to make sure the outfit really speaks to 2023 and not 2003:
Balance hard and soft textures.
A ruffle dress is all about balance. Often, these looks are a lot to look at. They have a ton of depth and dimension that makes them really exciting to look at and really fun to wear. Because the ruffles need to bounce, ruffle dresses are often less structured and use softer fabrics.
So, when you’re styling a ruffle dress, add hard textures to the ensemble. Accessories and shoes should stay more structured and simple to avoid making the outfit too busy or unfocused. If you ever look at a ruffle dress but think, “It’s too much,” remember you can tone it back with your accessories!
Keep accessories simple, but refined.
Yes, I did say simple, but they must also be upscale and refined! Ruffle dresses with the wrong accessories could look childish instead of youthful. Focus on sophisticated and polished accessories that will keep the look fashion forward.
Wear heels to accentuate movement.
The movement you get from walking down the street with a ruffle dress is both amazing to see and feel! It’s one of the best parts of wearing a flowy dress, right? So, consider wearing heels to really accentuate and push that movement. Make those ruffles rock!
Don’t be afraid of prints and colors.
A ruffle dress’s shape and movement is already a lot to take in. However, you don’t need to be afraid of bright colors or prints. As long as you’re simplifying your accessories and contrasting the vibrant hues with neutrals, a print or color can make your look even more elevated. Learn more about how to add a pop of color to your outfits, here.
Play with style.
Ruffle dresses don’t come in only one style. (Keep scrolling to see some of my favorite ones below). Ruffle dresses aren’t all girly, old-fashioned, or avant garde. You can find ruffle dresses that are glamorous, modern, and even edgy.
Plus, they come in several different cuts. You could get some ruffles on a maxi dress or a sweater dress if you wanted. So, before you dismiss this trend outright, see if there is a way you could fit it into your personal style!
Consider where the ruffles are placed.
Ruffles make a big statement. They’re busy, fluid, and bold. So, wherever ruffles are placed, they’ll really accentuate that part of the body. Because of this, you should definitely consider your body type and where the ruffles are placed.
As a rule, don’t put ruffles on the widest part of your body a this may throw the look off balance in a way. For example, if you’re more of a pear shape silhouette, try ruffles on the top half like with ruffle sleeves or collars. If you’re an inverted triangle shape, do the opposite with ruffles at the hips.
Rectangular silhouettes should put ruffles on the busts and hips to give you a little more curve and to define that waist. Apple bodied women should go for angled ruffles that are more detailed and minimal over something simpler and larger. Finally, if you’ve got that hourglass shape, go ahead and put ruffles anywhere, but always remember to balance out the top and bottom half.
The goal is to draw eyes up and down, highlight the waist, and really just give yourself a lot of confidence to conquer whatever is ahead! No matter what your body style, you’ll look great!
Here are some ruffle outfit ideas:
Ruffle Dresses for Women
Mint Frill Hem Layered Mini Dress
Talk about an adorable ruffle dress? This frothed, swingy tulle dress is completely timeless, and so much fun to wear. The color and ruffle style makes the look modern while the shape is adorably girly and sexy. It’s just so cute!
For the rest of the look, you’ll want to work on elevating your pieces and introducing hard textures. The pleated gold mules are the perfect addition, because they add a lot of hardness to the look, but the bows keep them feminine and fun. Add another color with a cute clutch and you have a complete party look!
Asymmetrical Sequin Ruffle Dress
Here’s another formal look. This one comes in the form of an asymmetrical sequined dress with draped ruffles. I love the double-layered ruffles that are thicker and more dramatic than most ruffle dresses. Moreover, this gorgeous ruffled dress can be styled to look edgy or elegant depending on your vibe!
Tartan Ruffle Midi Dress
Here’s something a little more casual. This tartan ruffle midi dress could go anywhere. The plaid print uses classic primary colors, and the ruffles are around the collar, sleeves, and hem. Also, it has pockets!
Make the dress work-ready with a blazer and flats. Or, go ahead and make it more formal with taffeta sandals and matching earrings! Going for a more casual look? A denim jacket and black booties could take this dress anywhere. It’s so versatile and fun!
Ruffle Neck Sweater Dress
How about this ruffled sweater dress? So cute! Sweaters can easily look a bit frumpy and masculine, so a ruffle neck is a great way to make it more romantic and give the look a little excitement!
This dress is an ideal pick if ruffles aren’t usually your style. With the boots and sunglasses, this look is anything but “frilly.” It’s super polished and sleek for all you boss ladies out there.
Tulle Ruffle Nap Dress
The Hill House Ellie nap dress not only comes in 11 colors, but it comes in four different fabric options. It’s rare you get to personalize a dress so much! You can snag this in lace, silk, sequins, or tulle.
I really love the pink tulle, because the ruffles are a bit more subtle and structured in the sleeves, yet the skirt is super soft and flowy. It’s SO romantic and feminine, especially with the youthful color choice. For accessories, get some party platforms and tassel earrings—both will highlight the beautiful movement of that skirt!
Halter High Low Satin Cocktail Dress
This dress just makes you want to dance! The ruffles are all across the hem and up the slit in the skirt. The whole thing just bounces when you move, and it’s just so much fun. The halter top style is really flattering with all the pleats and the asymmetrical neck piece.
For accessories, you can go a little bolder, because really aside from the shape, the dress is really tame with color and style! So, grab matching pom pom shoes (or go with a coordinating color) and finish it off with pink earrings!
Emerald Ruffle Dress
Scalloped Trim Midi Dress
Here’s another outfit idea that works for something more casual. The navy color is flattering and it’s the perfect base for more color. Instead of the traditional ruffle style, this one has little scallops for a quaint, youthful look. Each ruffle is outlined with white trim, which gives the look more geometry than most ruffled looks, which is really cool!
Juxtapose the soft textiles with a woven plaid tote and velveteen loafers! I wouldn’t go neutral with the items either, go a little bold since the base color is navy. Pink, yellow, red, and even other shades of blue layer great on this tiered scalloped dress!
Black Metallic Ruffle Neck Dress
Here’s a ruffle dress in black. SO cute. It’s not flat black, but has a flex of gold that really makes it pop. It’s got ruffles around the neck, cuffs, and hem, but they’re really understated, so it’s not overwhelming the whole look. Personally, I’d opt for these floral drop gold earrings. So chic!
Twiggy Tiered Ruffle Organic Cotton Voile Maxi Dress
Isn’t this wavy print ruffle dress just dreamy? It’s retro, but with a super adorable modern color scheme and fit. There are ruffles on the neckline, at the hems, and throughout the skirt. It gives all the summer vibes and has a flattering silhouette. Plus, the colors are so lovely! More summer outfits, here.
Accessorize with layered necklaces, and pastel heels and handbags. Since there are so many bold hues in the dress, you can really draw it out with some colorful accessories! Stick to one of the colors though (green, purple, pink, or yellow). Having varying accessory colors will look a little too much like a basket of Easter eggs. Draw it together with one defining color.
Gianna Floral Print Ruffle Dress
The next outfit has a timeless feel with a romantic floral pattern and ruffles EVERYWHERE. This dress is for those of you that really want to go for it when it comes to a ruffled dress. Because the look is so bold as is, definitely go for neutral accessories to really highlight all the beautiful details from the bow in the back to the structured sleeves.
Grid Pattern Ruffle Shift Dress
If you’re looking for something with a lot of visual interest and spunk, this dress is 100% for you. It comes in a bold red color, and there is a different geometric moment everywhere you look. There’s gridded organza, a ruched bodice, a square neckline, a tiered ruffle skirt, and lantern sleeves. Talk about detail! Rock this in monochrome with more red, or frame the dress with neutrals.
You could add a colorful waist belt and velvet beaded headband!
P.S: Monochrome is in this year and I have more monochrome styling ideas for you, here.
No matter your style or the season, a ruffled dress belongs in your closet!
If you want to add a little excitement to your current wardrobe, grab one of these ruffle dresses. Whether you’re headed to a party, the office, or the farmer’s market, there is a ruffled dress on this list for you! And, if you need more style tips to amplify your style, check out my blog! I’ve got a ton of content that’ll add a burst of life to your closet!
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Can you please tell me who makes the green wrap dress in the last photo with the bookshelves? Thanks.