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Jess is wearing a coated poplin floral print dress with ruching details by Marni

How to Pull off Gathered Clothes This Summer

If fussy frills aren’t your thing, read these eight foolproof tips to make gathering a refined feature in your wardrobe

Lead ImageJess is wearing a coated poplin floral print dress with ruching details by Marni

Perhaps the first question that springs to mind when considering an item of ruched, pleated or frilled clothing is: “what are the chances of looking like a grandmother/Tudor lord/piece of chintzy upholstery?”

Alessandro Michele at Gucci has deftly proven that any of the above can work, and to powerful effect. And yet for those who prefer something a touch understated, there are means of making a frou-frou skirt or flouncy piece of shirting instantly wearable. Look no further than our how-to guide, photographed by Mark Peckmezian and styled by Nell Kalonji for AnOther Magazine S/S17.

1. Grown-up 

Marni’s grown-up iteration of a girly floral cotton dress – complete with ample gathering and a balloon sleeve – is the perfect statement piece for a look that wants to subtly nod toward 1980s Laura Ashley. (Who wouldn’t?)

2. Leather

Avoid any connotations of sweetness and light by adding a sadomasochistic edge to frills with monochrome leather. 

3. Backwards

Deftly styling a piece of clothing in an unexpected way – take this innocent-looking silk blouse, worn backwards, for example – will subvert ‘cute’ in one fell swoop.

4. Scarf

A floral scarf needn’t simply be worn around your neck: channel Carrie Bradshaw circa 2001 by nonchalantly tying to the upper arm, thigh, or wrist.

5. Camouflage

Declare war on frou-frou via this cotton jacket by Erika Cavallini, paired with matching khaki trousers to make major colour-blocking impact.

6. Anorak

Heading to a festival this summer? Don’t risk getting caught looking anything less than fabulous in a downpour. MSGM’s nylon top can be easily adjusted for various levels of ruching.

7. Gingham

Laura Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie meets the Vatican. An unlikely pairing, but one ready for any afternoon picnic, barbecue or baby shower. 

8. Wedding

Embrace chic minimalism at your wedding with this Ferragamo drawstring dress in white silk organza.

Hair Naoki Komiya at Julien Watson Agency; Make-up Nami Yoshida at Bryant Artists using Chanel; Models Jess PW at Storm, April Alexander at W Model Management; Casting Noah Shelley at AM Casting; Set design Janina Pedan at The Magnet Agency.

This article originally appears in AnOther Magazine S/S17.