17 Dresses For Causing A Rippling Effect

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.

free-est Lyla Midi Dress, $88

The ruching at the chest and sides immediately gives this maxi dress more dimension.

Shop Free People


By Anthropologie The Maya Ruched Cowl-Neck Dress, $160

The hips don’t lie: Ruching has a gorgeous way of hugging curves.

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Skims Shaping Swim Ruched One Piece, $128

Because ruching plays with folds of stretchy fabric, it’s a great style for swimsuits. 

Shop Skims


Madewell Leedra Button-Front Midi Dress, $138

The subtle ruching detail at the bust takes this otherwise basic dress up a notch.

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Reformation Suvi Knit Dress, $198

The ripples on the bodice make this cocktail dress a heck of a lot more fun and festive.

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Susana Monaco Sleeveless Ruched Midi Dress, $268

Because of the ruching on the side, the slit up the leg has a more dramatic effect.

Shop Nordstrom


Ganni Floral Ruched Mesh Midi Dress, $325

The cascading ripples on the front add an extra layer of romance to this dress.

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Superdown Sierra Ruched Mini Dress, $74

Extreme ruching on a neon green dress makes for a mischievous going-out look.

Shop Revolve


Zara Ruched Front Dress, $29.90

The way this mini dress reminds us of puckered lips.

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Abercrombie & Fitch Asymmetrical Strappy Ruched Midi Dress, $100 $79.99

The ruching on a black dress may look subtle, but the effect up close remains dramatic.

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Good American Ruched Mesh Midi Dress, $129

If you’re traveling, consider bringing a ruched dress. We promise you won’t have to worry much about getting out the wrinkles.

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Lulus Total Appeal Lavender Ruched One-Shoulder Bodycon Midi Dress, $59

It’s a body-con dress but with more texture.

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Topshop Ombre Ruched Panel Mesh Midi Dress, $84

The patchworked ruching on this dress is wildly impressive. 

Shop Asos


H&M Gathered Mesh Dress, $34.99 $21.99

A short and sweet dress that does not skimp on the ruching.

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Rare London Ruched Asymmetrical Midi Dress, $89

We love any dress that allows the wearer to control the intensity of ruching.

Shop Urban Outfitters


Norma Kamali Walter Off-the-shoulder Ruched Stretch-jersey Midi, $205

It’s elegance, it’s grace, it’s a ruched dress fit for a modern Greek goddess.

Shop Net-A-Porter


Babaton Contour Ruched Cami Mini Dress, $88

The ruching has arrived for this red-hot moment.

Shop Aritzia


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