How to wear ruffles - Styled By Sally

How to wear ruffles

They emerged quite a few seasons ago now and this summer there’s no sign of them disappearing – RUFFLES! Ruffled sleeves, one shouldered ruffles, ruffled skirts, off the shoulder ruffles…

We get it; it’s an appealing look ~ pretty, girly, summery. But how do you jump on the ruffle trend without looking like you’ve raided your 4 year old’s cupboard?

Here are some simple tips to ensure you’re ruffle ready this season.


All ruffles add fabric, which means additional bulk. If you’re big busted, avoid a wide ruffle that sits on the bust and opt for a ruffled V-neck. However if you’re small busted, a ruffle over the bust is a great style for you.


Above: Witchery ruffle front blouse– perfect for big busts

Equally narrow shoulders vs. broad shoulders. Narrow shoulders look great with an exaggerated ruffle worn either straight across the shoulders or one shouldered. The ruffle creates a little extra up top, helping to balance a narrow shoulder with a wider hip.

Above: Aere off shoulder blouse – broad shoulders look fabulous in off the shoulder

Above: Forcast Ruffle sleeve tee – the ideal way to make your shoulders look broader

If you’re big busted AND broad shouldered, our advice is to avoid wide ruffles altogether (sorry) Instead, look for vertical ruffles and soft fabrics that gently drape the body rather than add bulk. Or, choose a ruffle on the sleeve (like a bell sleeve below) instead of the bodice.

Above: Witchery spot print midi dress – the soft nature of this fabric and the ruffle positioning is very flattering for bigger busts and broader shoulders.


The diagonal ruffle suits every shape because it draws the eye up and down the body, this way and that way. One shouldered tops and dresses are generally more flattering than off the shoulder because they create a softer line.

Above: Commonry off shoulder ruffle top – a great top that can be worn horizontally or diagonally across the shoulders from Commonry in sizes 12-24

A ruffle positioned horizontally will draw the eye width-ways, so if you’re big busted your best option is a ruffle cut on the diagonal (i.e. one shoulder)

Above: Society Addict one shoulder blouse – this style is also great for some tummy coverage and providing shape to the upper body with the diagonal ruffles


Most ruffles you’ll see are placed at the shoulder or upper arms, but you will also see ruffles placed on skirts and dresses. A vertical ruffle on a skirt is a very flattering option for curvy women, as is a ruffle running along the bottom of a skirt or dress. The key to any ruffle placement on the lower body, is not to have it sitting at your widest point.

Above: Pilgrim silky midi wrap dress – this one ticks all the boxes! Available in multiple colours and sizes 6-18.

So for example, if you’re very narrow in your hips, a horizontal ruffle placed on the hips can be a great way to create more curve. On the other hand if you want to compliment your curves without adding unnecessary width, a ruffled hem is an extremely flattering choice.

Left: Seed layered skirt – a perfect style for those who want to balance wider hips and a smaller waist/upper body


To avoid looking like you’ve been shopping in the children’s department, here are some quick tips for how to team ruffles with existing pieces in the wardrobe:

  1. Denim – a simple pair of jeans worn with some ruffles up top is the perfect way to ‘pair down’ the fun and girliness.
  2. Up top or down below – choose one or the other
  3. Darker colours – when we think of girl’s clothes we often think of colours like pink, baby blue, lemon. For a more sophisticated look, opt for ruffles in colours like black, navy and beige.
  4. Patterns – a ruffle in a printed fabric can actually look less ruffle-y than a block colour because the pattern blends. So if you want your ruffles to be more subdued, choose a pattern.

Choosing whether or not to wear ruffles this season has nothing to do with age, shape or size. You can all wear them! As always, it’s more about choosing a ruffle that flatters your shape, that enhances your best bits and reflects your personal style.

Don’t go crazy spending too much money on the ruffle trend either. One or two key pieces to inject some fun into your summer wardrobe is really all you need, and there are plenty of affordable options available as per our suggestions.

The simplest way to look your best.

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