The Bubble Skirt Trend Is So Different This Time Around

Expect to spot them everywhere come summer.

Bubble skirts
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Last week, I caught up with a friend over FaceTime; she was whipping up dinner in her kitchen as I was sprawled out on the couch. As she backed up to grab something from her fridge, my eyes immediately drifted to her pouffy, calf-length bottoms. “You’re wearing a bubble skirt! They’re everywhere right now!” I enthusiastically told her, pivoting the conversation. She was quite pleased by this news. And I meant what I said: The bouncy style’s fan club seems to be growing by the minute, as evidenced by all the tastemakers and labels flocking to the flirty look.

Though it's popping up left and right, the puffy hemline traces all the way back to the ‘50s. In fact, according to FIDM Museum, the New York Times declared the look “one of the prettiest dance fashions for evening” in a 1958 article. Hubert Givenchy played with the silhouette throughout the decade (in ‘54 and ‘56, to be exact), while Yves Saint Laurent for Dior debuted its bubble dress in ‘59. But it didn’t reach peak popularity until the ‘80s, thanks to endorsements from leading ladies of the decade, including Princess Diana and Naomi Campbell. In ‘87, the late royal made a grand entrance at the annual Cannes Film Festival, wearing a navy and white puffball number underneath a form-fitting double-breasted blazer. That same year, the legendary supermodel posed for a Vogue UK photoshoot clad in a bubble dress courtesy of French fashion designer Christian Lacroix. Fast forward to the early aughts, and Paris Hilton became the poster girl of the flirty look.

Tim Graham/Tim Graham Photo Library/Getty Images

Fast-forward to 2024, and slowly but surely, the balloon-like silhouette is creeping back into the fashion world. On the Spring/Summer 2024 runways, for instance, designers solidified it as the new look du jour. Bally offered up an intriguing chartreuse mini version, which was belted for extra oomph. At Aknvas, a billowy white style complete with a dramatic slit in the middle was juxtaposed with an edgy acid wash denim jacket. And then there was the chocolate brown confection seen on the MSGM runway.

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Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images
Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

Suffice it to say, the bubble skirt isn’t going anywhere this summer. So, if you’re jumping on the bandwagon, get inspired by the five outfits ahead.

Keep It Classic

Your bubble skirt outfit needn’t be overly trendy. If you’re one to lean towards timeless, classic silhouettes, pair a cute white mini with a simple black pullover, sleek leather loafers, and polished pearls.

All Set

Having a handful of no-fail summer outfit formulas in your back pocket is key on hectic mornings. One must-try combo? A matching set. Or, more specifically, why not opt for a balloon midi skirt, like this breezy style from Cinq à Sept, alongside a coordinating button-down? Finish with ballet flats if you’re wearing said look to the office and strappy, lace-up sandals on the weekend.

Layer It

By now, you likely know all about the dress-over-pants trend. But have you heard about the emerging skirt-over-trousers look? If the answer’s no, turn your attention to this duo pictured on influencer Alyssa Coscarelli. She perfectly layered her puffy miniskirt atop complementing black trousers. To ensure the top half of your ensemble isn’t competing for attention, follow her lead and toss on a relaxed ribbed tee.

Color Happy

When styling the feminine piece, don’t be afraid to get a little playful with your accents. Here, stylist and writer Michelle Li wore her pastel pink style with a lime green quilted bag, Mary Jane-looking sneakers, and gray knee-high socks. And if you’re feeling extra bold? Throw a chunky beaded necklace into the mix.

Eye-Catching Accessories

Another A+ way to accessorize your balloon-like bottoms? With pumps and a bag in slightly different shades of the same color, as demonstrated above. A pastel pink piece teamed with a brighter hue is a striking mash-up, but you could always test this out with blue, green, or yellow. Lastly, ground the outfit with a gray oversized blazer.