In the universe of dresses, there’s one type of frock that deserves more credit and attention than it currently gets: the ruched dress. And, as it is springtime (and subsequently wedding guest season), ruched dresses are having a moment. Ruching, which is the gathering of overlayed fabric to create a beautiful rippling effect across the bodice or at the waist and hips, offers incredible texture and depth to an outfit. (A slip dress, in comparison, would look rather flat.) Ruched dresses are often paired with body-contouring silhouettes — but given the extra folds of fabric that are built into the construction, there’s a “layer” of ease that comes with wearing a ruched dress. There’s less need to smooth out or pull down a dress after you’ve gotten up from sitting and often no reason to steam or iron beforehand; the ruching, which is generally achieved with an elastic-blend fabric, offers a level of stretch for more comfortable wear.
It’s why you’ll see ruching in a wedding reception bridal dress and also find it in a cute swimsuit. You’ll also see ruching details aplenty in maternity clothes, especially down the side seams of tops and dresses. Ruching will also show up on activewear, such as on the front of sports bras or down the crack of workout leggings for a butt-emphasizing effect. It’s also a style that exists nearly everywhere you look. Ruching knows no bounds when it comes to budgets — it’ll be in both affordable casual summer dresses and fancy cocktail attire. The pleat-inspired technique is clever like that: Ruching borrows the dramatic and sweeping aesthetic of Grecian draping but because the gathering is tighter and more bunched up, ruched dresses are suitable for everyday wear as well. What we’re saying is that the ruched dress ought to be a trend you try for its unique way of amping up elegance for whatever occasion you may find yourself in.
Ahead, we’ve “gathered” 17 viable ruched options for those seeking accentuation, attention, and attitude when it comes to spring dresses.
The ruching at the chest and sides immediately gives this maxi dress more dimension.
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The hips don’t lie: Ruching has a gorgeous way of hugging curves.
Because ruching plays with folds of stretchy fabric, it’s a great style for swimsuits.
The subtle ruching detail at the bust takes this otherwise basic dress up a notch.
The ripples on the bodice make this cocktail dress a heck of a lot more fun and festive.
Because of the ruching on the side, the slit up the leg has a more dramatic effect.
The cascading ripples on the front add an extra layer of romance to this dress.
Extreme ruching on a neon green dress makes for a mischievous going-out look.
Zara Ruched Front Dress, $29.90
The way this mini dress reminds us of puckered lips.
The ruching on a black dress may look subtle, but the effect up close remains dramatic.
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If you’re traveling, consider bringing a ruched dress. We promise you won’t have to worry much about getting out the wrinkles.
It’s a body-con dress but with more texture.
The patchworked ruching on this dress is wildly impressive.
H&M Gathered Mesh Dress, $34.99 $21.99
A short and sweet dress that does not skimp on the ruching.
We love any dress that allows the wearer to control the intensity of ruching.
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It’s elegance, it’s grace, it’s a ruched dress fit for a modern Greek goddess.
The ruching has arrived for this red-hot moment.
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