“What about ruffles?” I asked my styling client who wanted to add femininity to her “nicely put-togetherness”, which consisted of pants, blouses and jackets. Her corporate job of two decades and the demand to look “professional” had taken over; she had lost her playful joy of dress ups. Her sensual femme barely had a chance to peak through at parties or dinners with the hubby.
Outfits in which we hide an important part of ourselves for a longer period of time can make us loose essential shades of our identity.
She laughed nervously. “Anything”, she said after clearing her throat, “but ruffles. They’re so girly and proper. I feel like Debbie Reynolds.”
I understood, I had a similar weird shiver when pulling out the ruffled tops at the clothing store. I love their bombastic 2019 runway expression but in real life their fragrance was that of demure wifies of the 50’s, of Diorissimo and Chanel No 5. When I was into fragrances they were called “Poison” or “Obsession” depending on my state of mind. Give me a femme fatale in Brazil not a brain reduced cutie in Stepford. It turned out both are equally challenging to me; under the demurely ruffled blouse lies the longing for the child-like sweet feminine as much as the black satin of a femme fatale holds the fear of sensuality.
It is interesting that many of us associate ruffles with smugly virtuous, well behaved females. Because their history says otherwise.
Each time I had tried ruffly dresses or blouses I had felt a shiver of nicety nice. But the ruffle sirens lured me and not only because they are a 2019 uber-trend. What I love about trends is that they invite us to reject them emotionally and when we check into our emotions and accept the dare we are surprised.
So I went for it, carefully.
When I tried the polka dot blouse with its ruffles cascading down it’s front under a frontier soldiers frock made me feel like a fierce rifle swinging boy. What the heck is masculine about ruffles?
It dawned on me; way back they had been an adornment for both, men and women. There was nothing “feminine” about them, they were theatrical uni sex “game on” for everybody. More they were statements of confidence, sometimes as in aristocratic snobbery of being better than everybody else, stiffening it up in their proud posture producing neck ruffs and other times they are connected to rebellion in our collective memory. Revolutionaries wore ruffles in various time periods and countries. When flimsily dressed courtesans needed to wear under garments in the winter they ruffled them to make them more appealing to their lovers; and the rest of the female world followed. Marie Antoinette, flappers in the 20’s and flamenco dancers in the 30’s frolicked in their frilly.
Hey, revolutionary Alexander Hamilton wore a jabot.
Ruffles were fierce, voluminous, indulgent, wildly frilly, deeply decadent or simply different than the rest of their time. They were out there “I AM…. ” statements and folded themselves into every decade making waves since over 700 years counting the ruffled veils of the 14'th century.
Except in the 50’s. Ruffles became wholesome as if the 50’s were doomed to make everything “nice”. Dior and Balenciaga went for it and, paired with little pearl necklaces, ruffled dresses became the ultimate crispy Stepford wife wardrobe.
They explosive re-appearance this year fits to the motto of empowerment fashion; they are big, demanding attention and taking a breath. They demand “do not to freaking judge me!!!” I am art. I want what I want.
I am woman.
Ruffles are the perfect combination of a playful, sensual, soft female being and her theatrical forward-thinking, risk taking power. Wearing ruffles with confidence means to embrace our history; to wear our battered woman hood and the legacy of all the women standing up for our rights. The ruffle is royal and revolutionary, two sides of our powerful strength because as women we are both; wise and willful queens who are about to regain their strength and rule their queendom with creativity and love.
As they were worn by both genders, they also predict a new understanding; an elevated closeness of male and female.
Power ruffles are ultra girly, crazy avantgarde and cowgirl confident; the theater of “I am woman.”
Every break out of our routine gives us clarity of who we are and what we really want, every risk taken makes us more fierce and style is a woman’s power creating play ground.
Long live the power ruffle.
I picked exquisite ruffle designs for you from low to high prices, small and big designers. Enjoy. Test one if you haven’t already and discover your surprise.
I especially love No 1, such amazing theater for so little money.
Do you have a favorite?