Genesis of Ruffles

“You think you know, but you have no idea”


I have never quite been able to wrap my head around the notion that if you ask a fashion history book (or, say, Wikipedia) about the genesis of ruffles, they will take you back to the 15th century and spew some rhetoric about neck-lines and threading and threaded neck-lines. In a more modern day, it seems obvious that the inspiration behind what would become a renown technique in matters of dressmaking was the outcome of a woman’s ambitious quest to find love in a hopeless place. Which, in this instance, meant finding creativity inside her vagina.

Picture this: said woman, (maybe, maybe not reincarnated as a modern day Miuccia Prada if only for the “ugly-chic” factor) finds a lucid reflection across a shiny surface where she can see into her own soul. Fascinated by the cogitation of exterior self, she thinks about that which really defines her. Could she see it? Should she be able to see it? What is definition?

She waits for down time, (in hopes that no horse and buggy could interrupt the forthcoming study). Once the sun begins setting and the public arena has grown quiet, she strips herself of her lace-up girdle and white cotton knickers, and sits down, legs spread eagle in front of the surface. Then, she leans in (maybe she’s been reincarnated as Sheryl Sandberg?) for a better view.

Taking mental notes to jot down the curiosities that construct the interior of her vagina, she stares in utter bewilderment. Because she’s no dummy, the venus fly trapper discards the less innovative, more obvious facets of the vagina and focuses attention on the untapped artistry. Naturally, this leaves her rather bemused and more importantly satisfied. Her own labia is the source of much anima. Pun so intended. How exquisite, precise and full of dimension, she probably thought.

And that’s when it was decided: she would get hold of some thread and some cotton, and attempt to wear her innermost vulva on her outermost body.

“Ruffle, I shall call it,” our prehistoric feminist exclaimed, “for with it, I shall ruffle the feathers of humanity.”

And that she did.

Almost immediately, the trend earned traction. Faster than wedge sneakers in 2011, even. For years following, both men and women would participate in ruffle-wearing. This quite naturally presented few problems for the women even in spite of their ignorance regarding the birth of their preferred trim.

On the other end of the genitalia, however, through even the most deeply of misogynistic epoques, the men in question would naively sport, in a most emasculating and discernible manner, the quintessence of femininity around their necks. Had they been aware, even the irony impaired could have appreciated this idiosyncratic paradox, no?

And to think, we were denied the right to elect our nation’s president. Indeed, this was certainly a job far better suited for the dudes sporting vaginas around their necks. Of course!

Now in 2013 and more specifically as a result of Spring’s runway season, you know how it goes: three’s a trend. But five? Five is a revolution! And this season in treatments we need not neglect: you guessed it, ruffles are tying the town frilly. Images above clock in from Nicolas Ghesquiere’s final runway show for Balenciaga, the masterful craft of Rei Kawakubo, demarcating the lines of that which makes a sleeve appropriate and functional (I’ve counted four on the particular garment in question) thus far. There are two hits from Tisci’s show for Givenchy featuring barely there eyebrows and exquisite chokers amuck, a meticulous job from Claire Waight-Keller’s work for Chloe and finally, the one baring a most candid semblance to the labia: all hail Gucci.

Liking our fashion history? Read about mutton chops  and holiday sequins!

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  • Phallic creations could never be quite so revolutionary. Another reason why we women are simply better than men, hey.

    • alcessa

      Actually, you know what I think?

      The day the first fashion conscious wife in the history of Southern Europe was suddenly confronted with her naked husband, for the very first time during their marriage, in the broad daylight, she took a good look at him. Her look stopped in the middle for quite some time and then went up. He was looking at her, pleadingly.

      “You know,” she said, “I think I’ve just discovered what you really need.” His eyes lit up. She took a long, narrow piece of cloth from the chair nearby and knotted it around his neck, using a revolutionary new knot she’s just thought of. “This way, the cold’s not going to get you on the battlefield.” she said happily, looking at both beautiful things dangling in front of him, one created by god herself and one by the wife.

      And thus the cravat was invented.


    I think it is an eternal desire for women to fly ; although agreeing with Millie.
    Love from Andalucía- Spain.
    Medina is a Spanish surname.

  • Princess Anne

    Lest we forget the cod-piece, the crinoline, and bustle. All ass-enhancing, genitalia-boosting garb. Justin revived the wrong sexy; who’s bringing those back?

  • jackie

    Your page is always an inspiration to me, you are the reason, why I don´t give anything about what people think about me, I wear whatever I want to, thank you for that!

    I know a lot of people are reading this page, but please don´t see this comment as an advertisement, just read.

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  • monkeyshines
  • Rachel Gilman

    You are fucking hilarious

  • Loved reading your theory about the creation of ruffles. I can definitely picture it.

  • i’m sure these bitches of yore were all like so lord uptight you’ll swaddle ye neck in labial folds but you won’t go down upon me, totally weak.


  • Nico Italian fashion blogger

    Impossible to wear and you are very funny

  • Sarah McCarron

    These clothes, particularly those with ruffles near the neck, are what I imagined the women wore in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

  • sophia

    you should really think about a career as a comedian.
    im never gonna be able to look at ruffles the same innocent way as before…
    <3 Sophia

    • Except you can’t stop writing this blog.

  • Jessica

    So creative Leandra- I love the imagination of your historical revision!

  • Sartorial Revenge

    ….and we will never again be able to look at someone wearing ruffles without cringing and thinking about the inside of our lady bits. Congratulations!

    But speaking of the female private business on show: can someone tell me why no one has managed to create leggings that do not lead to pilates classes full of camel toes?

  • Nequéren Reis

    boa tarde – Deus abençoe a sua semana – curto e participo de todos os blogs.

    O seu blog é diversificado sucesso amei, se você puder der uma passadinha no meu blog, por favor retribui a inscrição. Agradeço a todos os blog pelos recados, sigo todos.

  • ana romero

    hahahahahahha I love the way you write ! kisses from

  • Leila Daiana Llunez
  • Christina Ooi

    Ruffles and ruffs…. originally amazing at keeping the tobacco off of precious garments!

  • Zoe

    all hail gucci

    Amen & Shalom

  • From now on I’m officially calling IT/HER: V-Ruffle — or V-Ruf or VR or just Ruff for short.

  • hello lovely!! you come up on ‘similar blogs’ on my bloglovin’ ee im so glad i clicked on you love your blog!

    it would mean so much if you’d take a little look at mine?

    thankyou so much

  • I know I’m supposed to be looking at the ruffles, but I keep staring at that awesome choker and the gold belt! 😀
    But seriousy, that choker is pretty darn cool.

  • daftasanything

    Oh, dear God. That was hilarious. I will never look a ruffles the same way again.

  • Emily

    I just made a salmon colored t-shirt with two ruffles down the front. The second I tried it on & looked in the mirror I thought, “Labia. I can’t wear this.” (or can I, after reading this great story?)

    • ImportKT

      That’s the definition of kismet and the Internet demands you deliver. =)

  • Cas_foster

    Has anyone mentioned to you that when scrolling on your website the goddamn toolbar at the bottom flits? Flickers, twerks, whatever. Thought you may want to fix it (iPad and phone not computa)

  • Manu

    amazing amazing 🙂
    love this post

    xoxo manu

  • You just have to wonder what goes through the heads of some designers before they convince themselves “that’s a good idea” 🙂

  • :-)

    Julier Bugge!!

  • aw geez, I just wore a ruffle top out for my birthday and I have no idea there was a massive vagina round my neck…


    you can see my ruffling here -

  • LEC

    How can you talk ruffles without mentioning Lanvin? Just a thought… xx