Skirts are having a big moment right now. From micro minis to denim maxis, it’s no wonder designers are digging up the fashion archives to unearth some serious swish potential. And bubble hems are the latest trend to reach 2023’s style zeitgeist.
Of course, this silhouette has some historical baggage to it. Back in the 1980s, bubble skirts were popularized through drop-waist dresses and poufed hemlines that were worn by the likes of Princess Diana and Madonna, while designers like Yves Saint Laurent featured them on their runways. Later, in the 2010s, bubble skirts became popular once again, along with skater skirts and bandage dresses, with celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Ariana Grande, and Zoe Saldana endorsing the bulgy trend.
While the comeback has been brewing for some time, designers fully backed the trend for spring 2023, as inflated and puffed clothing and accessories from brands like Loewe, Louis Vuitton, and Moschino took center stage. Take, for example, Jason Wu — known for his feminine silhouettes and impeccable dressmaking skills — who included a maxi bubble hem dress in his spring 2023 lineup, while Ulla Johnson opted for double the effect, matching an exaggerated orb top and bulbous, floor-sweeping hemline in one dress. New York-based label Dauphinette went for a more literal interpretation of the trend, unveiling a bulged, hemline dress in the brand’s spring 2023 collection. Meanwhile, Carolina Herrera gave us full 2010s flashbacks with a high-low dress (the less PTSD-inducing term for “mullet skirt”) with a cloud-like hemline.
It’s worth noting that, along with bandage dresses, high-low skirts, and peplum, bubble skirts are one of the most dreaded fashion trends of the 2010s. Personally, it is still one of my favorite trends from the era, thanks to its versatility and party-ready aesthetic. IMO, it’s just as good for a night out as it is for a picnic outing. But thankfully, their 2023 equivalents are not as bizarre as the ones we witnessed back in the decade of feathered hair accessories and leather leggings. Designers have pushed the puffiness out of the picture, going for less inflated iterations that elevate the trend. Instead of mini and knee-length styles, they’re also adding bubble hemlines to maxi skirts and dresses that feel more elegant than costume.
For styling, take some cues from celebrities like Lea Michele, who wore a black bubble hem mini dress over matching pants to the Brandon Maxwell show in February, or Real Housewives of New York City cast member Sai De Silva, who sported a showy pouf of a mini dress over sheer tights during New York Fashion Week in September. At Paris Fashion Week, the trend was also seen in the attendees’ street style, including a plush, velvet peplum top with a rippled hem, styled over simple black pants.
While it’s still cold out, cocoon dressing just feels right, so don’t let anyone burst your fashion bubble. Or at least until you try one of the options below.
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