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Your Guide to Ruching: The ’80s Trend That’s Actually Flattering

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Ruching was a hallmark trend in ’80s fashion, defining everything from the sumptuous leather mini skirt to the puffy-sleeve ’80s prom dress. The gathered designs inherent to these styles made a swift (yet enduring) comeback in the aughts, transforming the traditional bodycon dress with an uber-flattering upgrade that magically hugged the curves and concealed them at the same damn time. As we moved into the 2010s, ruching once again became a mere sartorial artifact—until now, when ruched clothes are seeing their second major resurgence.

This new generation of the ruching trend is anything but outdated. Gone are the days of awkwardly-placed draping liberally strewn across entire garments and bunched ruching that cascades all the way from the midsection to the thighs. Now, major design houses like YSL, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi and Gucci (just to name a few) are leaving a fashion-forward mark on the trend; all three embraced several ’80s throwback trends in their 2018 runway shows, making the most of power suits, voluminous sleeves, shoulder pads, metallic lamé finishes and of course, gathered ruche detailing.

Now, these details are trickling down to the fast-fashion sphere, where they’re showing up not only in dresses and skirts, but also statement blouses and casual athleisure pieces. In other words, it’s easier to get your ruche on than ever before. Fun, flattering and omnipresent, ruching is one 2019 trend sure to have serious staying power.

STYLECASTER | Ruching is One 80s Trend That’s Actually Flattering; Here’s How to Wear it in 2019

Free People.

Only Forever Mini Skirt, $68 at Free People

The ruched mini skirt you wore on repeat a decade ago is back—with a twist. Subtle side ruching and a minimalist print give this skirt a modern upgrade.

STYLECASTER | Ruching is One 80s Trend That’s Actually Flattering; Here’s How to Wear it in 2019

Net-a-Porter.

Orseund Iris Ruched Satin Dress, $795 at Net-a-Porter

There’s a reason  this Instagram-famous silk number is always selling out.

STYLECASTER | Ruching is One 80s Trend That’s Actually Flattering; Here’s How to Wear it in 2019

Revolve.

Tularosa Tawney Dress, $158 at Revolve

This peachy dress has left us longing for spring. Plus, it offers the trend-minded a way to get in on the ruching movement while still sporting flowy silhouettes.

STYLECASTER | Ruching is One 80s Trend That’s Actually Flattering; Here’s How to Wear it in 2019

Reformation.

This ruched top is sure to look great on anyone—regardless of your cleavage situation.

 Your Guide to Ruching: The 80s Trend That’s Actually Flattering

Nordstrom.

Ulla Johnson Maya Embroidered Satin Midi Dress, $625 at Nordstrom

The subtly ruched sleeve detail paired with the flattering cinched waist gives this luxe midi a touch a throwback flavor.

STYLECASTER | Ruching is One 80s Trend That’s Actually Flattering; Here’s How to Wear it in 2019

Shopbop.

Kendall + Kylie Ruched Crew Neck Dress, $118 at Shopbop

Pull-through ruching gives this classic bodycon dress a little tomboy character without overriding its sex appeal.

STYLECASTER | Ruching is One 80s Trend That’s Actually Flattering; Here’s How to Wear it in 2019

Nordstrom.

Rebecca Taylor La Vie Ruched Top, $225 at Nordstrom

Statement sleeves and a gathered bodice prove ’80s style can still feel totally romantic.

STYLECASTER | Ruching is One 80s Trend That’s Actually Flattering; Here’s How to Wear it in 2019

Urban Outfitters.

Finders Keepers Locales Ruched Midi Dress, $190 at Urban Outfitters

We’ve officially found the sweetest Valentine’s Day dress (maybe of all time).

STYLECASTER | Ruching is One 80s Trend That’s Actually Flattering; Here’s How to Wear it in 2019

Revolve.

Cinq a Sept Aren Skirt, $365 at Revolve

The peek-a-boo mesh detail on this slinky midi kicks the seduction factor up a notch.

STYLECASTER | Ruching is One 80s Trend That’s Actually Flattering; Here’s How to Wear it in 2019

Nordstrom.

Tibi Knit Ruched Tie Front Dress, $595 at Nordstrom

Tomboys and athleisure lovers are clearly not exempt from the ruched trend.

STYLECASTER | Ruching is One 80s Trend That’s Actually Flattering; Here’s How to Wear it in 2019

Forward.

IRO Fling Dress, $694 at Forward

The classic ’80s mini dress re-imagined for 2019.

STYLECASTER | Ruching is One 80s Trend That’s Actually Flattering; Here’s How to Wear it in 2019

Shopbop.

Jonathan Simkhai Backless Bodysuit, $395 at Shopbop

This alluring bodysuit is business in the front and party in the back.

STYLECASTER | Ruching is One 80s Trend That’s Actually Flattering; Here’s How to Wear it in 2019

Free People.

She’s in Parties Bodycon Dress, $128 at Free People

This mini proves bodycon dresses offer the ultimate backdrop for ruched texture.

STYLECASTER | Ruching is One 80s Trend That’s Actually Flattering; Here’s How to Wear it in 2019

Need Supply.

Rachel Comey Slither Ruched Mules, $380 at Need Supply

Textiles aren’t the only place we’re seeing ruched detailing.

Our mission at STYLECASTER is to bring style to the people, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale. 

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