We Tried On The Best Ruffles And Frills On The High Street To See Whether They're Actually Wearable...
The Debrief: Would I end up looking less early 00s Carrie Bradshaw and more massive meringue?
You thought frills and ruffles were a thing of the past right? Worn underneath skirts in the 1700s to make them look super full, the preserve of flamenco dancers, reserved for special occasions (such as a 5-year-old’s birthday party).
Think again, ruffles are back for Summer 2016. They were everywhere on the catwalk from Saint Laurent to Gucci in their more traditional form and dreamily reimagined by Molly Goddard and Ryan Lo.
I looked on in wonder at the undulating folds of the ruffles as they cascaded down the catwalk and onto the high street. It was quite exciting to see such a break from all the edgy minimalizing, a welcome return to and celebration of being fussy. Would they actually be possible to wear, though, I wondered? I’ve got a reasonable sizeable bust (DDs), would that hinder me? Would I end up looking less early 00s Carrie Bradshaw and more massive meringue?
And so, reader, I ventured onto the high street in search of wearable, work friendly, even, ruffles. Here’s what I found:
1. Zara - the one you could legit wear to a wedding
First up Zara. Aka Zeline, Zucci, Zaint Laurent – the place you go to to find stuff that looks like it’s designer when you can’t afford to buy designer.
This top looked weird on the hanger. I didn’t think it would go around me let alone sit in a way that was anything other than absurd. In was pleasantly surprised. The ruffles looked ruffled enough but not OTT. I grabbed these stripped culottes and some shiny platforms which worked rather well with it.
Ruffle top £19.99, culottes 29.99, shoes £29.99
2. H&M – the one that’s actually a superhero cape
I was hugely sceptical about this top. The colour and the fit. It’s basically one giant ruffle, so big you feel invincible, like Batman, disguised by your cape. However, it had a tight top underneath which kind of flattened everything down, meaning that the whole thing sat really quite well. I grabbed a pair of v casual trousers to see if you could keep it dressed down with trainers (which is all I ever wear) …turns out you totally can.
Top £24.99, Trousers £19.99, Adidas trainers my own
3. Topshop – the structured ruffle
TBH I think this structured Bardot-type ruffle top from Topshop really nails it. It’s frilly but somehow still sleek enough to be paired with loud tie-dye trousers as I have here…which is no mean feat.
4. Miss Selfridge – the oxymoron
Here, my friends, we have, rather paradoxically, a clingy bodycon ruffle. Also in the Bardot vein this jersey dress channels some serious off the shoulder vibes. I was worried by boobs would make the ruffles protrude obscenely like a frilly bib, but, actually, it looked alright. I went for a bold colour which meant the dress was a bit of a statement, but I kinda liked it.
Dress £24, Adidas trainers my own
5. River Island – positively cruise worthy
Finally, I wondered whether you could do smart ruffles in a way that didn’t involve wearing a dress covered in them. River Island threw me this wildcard. The top, again, is v Bridget Bardot to continue the high street’s current obsession with her. I wondered about trying it with some loose fit black flared trousers, palazzo pants essentially. This was super flattering and I think, if you threw on a pair of mega heels, some big cat eye glasses and, perhaps, a giant wide-rimmed black straw hat for good measure it would work very well on a swanky cruise ship (because, obviously, I go on those all the time…NAT) or in an actual palazzo.
Top £28, Trousers £17
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