Ruffles are one of those clothing details that are fun, flirty, cute, creative, eye-catching, and can be flattering on almost every body type. If you've never gone for this detail, you should definitely give them a try. You can go for a giant in your face ruffle, or a much more subtle soft ruffle about the cuff or hem.
How do I style it?
Ruffles add volume to you and your outfit. There is no doubt about that, so in order to avoid the "loofah effect" where you just look like one giant poof ball, you want to pair your ruffles with something slim fitting to the body like a tank, skinny jeans, a pencil skirt, etc. If you are going to wear ruffles on top, and ruffles on bottom, make sure that in between the two pieces or the one if it's a dress, that you are nipped in at the waist. Wearing a belt or just having a garment that darts in at the waist will create a nice balance.
How should I wear ruffles if I'm petite, average, tall, or plus sized?
Petite: because you don't have a lot of length to your body, huge ruffles can further cut the length of your body and easily overwhelm or seem heavier on your small frame. Opt instead for a smaller ruffle and/or avoid wearing ruffles from head to toe unless they are small and subtle, and definitely no ruffle trains. If you also have a small bust and you want to make it appear bigger, adding a ruffle across the bust line can add a bit more volume to your chest.
Average: You have a bit more body length to work with and can get away with a medium to larger sized ruffle. If you are short waisted, a maxi ruffle skirt can draw attention downwards adding length to your body. If you are long waisted, a shorter cropped ruffle top may bring more balance to your shape.
Tall: You can handle a lot of ruffle on your body because it's not going to cut the length of the leg or the line of the body to do so. If you are more on the petite size, rock a smaller ruffle, vs. more on the plus size, you can rock a wider ruffle for more balance.
Plus sized: Ruffles add volume. *If* that's not something you are interested in doing, opt for a medium to small sized ruffle. Not to worry however, as ruffles can be used strategically to balance out your shape. If you have a large bust, smaller bottom, wear a larger ruffle on bottom, and keep your top stream lined, slim fit, and simple and vice versa if you have large hips and butt---wear your larger ruffle up top, and keep your bottom stream lined and simple.
Can I wear patterns with ruffles?
Yes, but you don't want to go into clown territory with your ruffle outfits. Ruffles are plenty eye catching, so taking a ruffle and then adding giant polka dots or heaily textured flowers, etc. can overwhelm the look. If you are going to do a pattern, do one with small or very subtle print and keep everything else you pair with it in a solid or neutral color. You can also pair that heavily patterned ruffle outfit with say a leather jacket or blue jean jacket to tamp down on the in your face pattern or design.
How do I accessorize them?
Wearing a ruffle is usually the attention getting show stopping part of your outfit especially if you go in full giant ruffle mode. Keep your accessories simple and small so as not to upstage your ruffled outfit if you are working with a large ruffle, and medium to large sized if you are working with a subtle small ruffle.
Are ruffles work appropriate?
Most definitely, though you probably want to leave the giant in your face ruffles out of the office and opt for a more subtle and soft ruffle.
Have fun with ruffles. Don't be afraid to experiment with them. You may hate a huge ruffle, but a small one may be just the ticket. And if you can't handle wearing an outfit with ruffles on them, go for a purse, belt, shoe, or other accessory with ruffle detail to punch up a plain outfit.