On first look, ruffles can either remind you of a flamenco dancer or an extravagant wedding dress. But when translated to the language of fashion, ruffles take a whole new meaning. This outfit detail has always hovered over trend charts, hereby giving it a permanent position in the industry. But the prominence of ruffles in spring 2012 is due to their versatility. It might sound like an age-old argument, but this season, ruffles aren’t just an outfit detail, they have, in fact, become the outfit itself.

They’re loud at times, overly shy at other occasions, and to find out how they can fit in your summer wardrobe, please do continue reading after the jump.

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Click the thumbnails for full pictures
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled
Feminine and frilled

Ruffles for spring 2012

Adding ruffles or frills to an outfit is like adding the colour pink to your outfit; it instantly directs the ensemble towards the stereotype of femininity. The delicate folding of fabric evokes nostalgia, romance and innocence. It contours the body in the most sensual manner, be it as a peplum, collar, low-lying belt or cuff detail.

Traditionally, ruffles were created using lace. But for spring 2012, a variety of fabrics such as organza, soft silk, satin and sheer chiffon are creating a buzz.

We see ruffles to be a great spring detail because they partner with other trends for the season in the most immaculate fashion. You can either be reminded of a domestic goddess when you see a frilled skirt, or see ruffles buddy up with sheer layering for the season. The options are endless and the spring / summer 2012 runway shows present images as solid proof.

Ruffles on the runway

The white lace, pastel hues and candy pink palette was enough to state the girly aesthetic of Preen by Thornton Bregazzi’s spring / summer 2012 collection. And not far behind are the panels of ruffles around the collar, waist and even lapels of a tuxedo-style jacket. The ruffles seen here are not too loud; actually they’re pretty low-key when compared to other spring collections, but that’s the artistic visualisation of Preen. The fashion house has even seeped in other spring trends such as high-waist skirts and sorbet colours along with the detailing of ruffles.

ruffle collar
Ruffled collar at Preen, S/S ’12

Even with the existence of fishtail plaits, socks underneath booties and bows, the soft draping of ruffles around the body at John Galliano’s show particularly reinstates the idea behind his girl-focused collection. Its asymmetric paneling across the body is made more obvious with the underlay of sheer chiffon. The sexual hints of skin underneath are cleverly camouflaged with an innocent layer of ruffles.

sheer ruffled dress
Sheer dress with ruffles at Galliano, S/S ’12

Moschino Cheap and Chic’s spring look is all about highlighting the upper torso with bold summer colours. Ruffles cater to this by vertically placing themselves over the chest and as shoulder accents. Moschino Cheap n Chic interprets ruffles in its most known trait – with flirty ruffle dresses, paisley prints and bright hues, but still keeping it at par with the modernity of spring 2012. If you want to adapt ruffles into your wardrobe and keep it traditional, look at Moschino and Rachel Zoe for inspiration.

printed ruffle dress
Frilled dress at Moschino, S/S ’12

Missoni gambles with 1950s ruffling with endless crochet panels on off-shoulder necklines.

off shoulder ruffles
Off-shoulder ruffles at Missoni, S/S ’12

While over in New York, Oscar de la Renta’s modern and contemporary woman wears her ruffles and frills in a refined and bold way. Laces, multi-tone prints and sheer still exist, and ruffles merely assist in creating that final look.

tiered ruffle dress
Tiered ruffles at Oscar de la Renta, S/S ’12

The one fashion house that takes ruffles to an entirely different platform in its vision was, of course, Alexander McQueen. This is one example from the spring / summer 2012 runway where ruffles don’t just feature in the details, but as the outfit itself. Extravagance is an understatement for this, especially when shoes are covered with ruffles. McQueen’s peplum-driven show is overwhelmed with ruffles around the waist, at the bottom of skirts and all over the skirt. This is where ruffles become the fabric for a collection, but in the most intricate, artistic and non-tacky way.

alexander mcqueen ruffle dress
Intricate ruffles at McQueen, S/S ’12

How to wear ruffles for spring

  • Merge ruffles with other spring trends, especially if you’re not sure about flaunting the sheer trend by itself, just as yet. Use ruffles to cover up the chest or subtly expose certain parts of your body.
  • To make ruffles stand out for spring 2012, look for something out of the ordinary on clothing racks at the shops. Do your research well, for this one. Don’t just go for a t-shirt with a V-neck ruffle panel or a ruffle bikini. Experiment with the trend and find pieces that will work for this season in particular.
  • Use the ruffles to an advantage of your body shape. Emphasise your waist or your shoulders with ruffles, whatever you are most comfortable with. Remember, this spring is all about peplums and collars.
  • Don’t worry too much about the fabric as it doesn’t have to be chiffon or satin. Frayed tulle, leather, mesh or laces are all great options for spring 2012.
  • If you’re fearful of going off the chart on girlishness, contrast a ruffled piece with tough accessories like leather cuffs or heavier boots.

Pieces to try

ruffled clothing

  • Tiered ruffle skirt available from Topshop
  • Ruffle monokini, available at ASOS
  • Alexander McQueen crepe peplum jacket, available at net-a-porter
  • Dolce & Gabbana ruffled chiffon blouse, available at net-a-porter
  • Yves Saint Laurent ruffle-sleeve blouse, available at net-a-porter
  • Ruffle collar, available at ASOS
  • Notte by Marchesa evening gown, available at My Wardrobe
  • Sequin ruffle dress, available at ASOS

For more inspiration on how to style ruffles direct from the spring 2012 runways, head to the gallery above and click on the thumbnails.

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