How to wear ruffles - Styled By Sally

How to wear ruffles

They emerged last season and this spring summer there’s no sign of them disappearing – ruffles.

Ruffled sleeves, one shouldered ruffles, ruffled skirts, off the shoulder ruffles, multiple 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. However if you’re small busted, a ruffle over the bust is a great style for you.

Above: Country Road

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.

Left: Witchery dress, Right: Witchery one shoulder top

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.

Left: Camilla and Marc bell sleeve blouse, Right: Camilla and Marc wrap shirt


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: Country Road one shouldered dress

A ruffle positioned horizontally will draw the eye width-ways, so if you’re big busted you’re best option is a ruffle cut on the diagonal (i.e. one shoulder) Even better, a fluid fabric that drapes the bust like below.

Above: Witchery top

If your upper arms are not your favourite area, choose a one shoulder option over a completely off the shoulder and look for cut out sleeves like below.

Above: Witchery stripe cami


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: Country Road wrap skirt

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 Ruffled maxi skirt, Right: compliment curves with Saba ruffle hem skirt


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 and stick to it
  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 chambray.
  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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