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There are few trends I miss from my youth. I’m of the mind that fashion has only improved since the early aughts—an era that can really only be described as “regrettable” when you consider all the low-rise jeans, excessive embellishments and straight-up chainmail that pervaded it. But one relic from the past I’ve missed since my elementary school days? Smocked clothes.
There’s something endlessly fun about the super-elastic, super-textured feel of smocked pieces. The way your clothes fit your form without leaving you feeling constricted or immobile. The way you could pull the puckered fabric away from your body and watch it softly snap back—again, and again, and again. Smocked clothes were one of the few advents of the early aughts that deserved a full-on craze, and it’s a shame we let them go the way of rimless rectangle sunnies and purses covered in rhinestones.
Thankfully, 2019 has given us a rebirth of the smocked clothing trend (in addition to a handful of other retro resurgences I’m admittedly less here for—whatever, as long as low-rise jeans stay in the early 2000s where they belong, I can’t complain that much). And the best part about this specific revival is: Smocked clothes don’t feel distinctly aughts-y. There’s no separating tiny sunglasses, or strappy block heels, or lettuce hems, or bucket hats from their once-regrettable, once-very tacky origins. But smocked clothes almost feel more in line with the aesthetic of the 1990s than they do with that of the 2000s. They don’t reek of body glitter or Nelly Furtado music. We can wear them without reliving the days we spent doing the “Crank That” Soulja Boy dance while wearing chain belts and way too much mesh.
Smocked clothes are a sheer delight—nothing more, nothing less. And they deserve a spot in anyone’s sartorial rotation—even (and perhaps especially) in 2019.
1. Glamorous Gingham Cami Jumpsuit, $54 at ASOS
Nothing about this gingham jumpsuit says 2000s, which means it gets a “yes” from me.
2. Dot If I Can Help It Shirred Dress, $30 at Nasty Gal
Proof smocked clothes are among the most figure-flattering around.
3. Smocked Crop Top, $12.90 at Forever 21
A going-out top that’s as fun as it is comfortable. (Plus, no risk of unintended wardrobe malfunctions here!)
4. Taffy Smocked Tiered Midi Skirt, $29.99 at Urban Outfitters
Because tops aren’t the only pieces that deserve the smocked treatment.
5. Ombre Ruffled Smock Top, $11.99 at Forever 21
Tie-dye and smocked all in one? Could this top be any more on-trend?
6. Floral Shirred Top, $54 at ASOS
Because you shouldn’t have to pick between puff sleeves, bell sleeves, ruffles, florals and smocked bodices if you don’t want to.
7. Lucca Couture Kimberly Smocked Tie-Shoulder Midi Dress, $88 at Urban Outfitters
A dress you probably owned in middle school. (Honestly, maybe elementary school.) Whatever—you probably look better in it now.
8. Smocked Ruffle Crop Top, $29 at Urban Outfitters
The most quintessential spring top I’ve laid eyes on in a while.
9. Off-Shoulder Shirred Ruffle Romper, $40 at ASOS
A romper with such thoughtfully placed smocked detailing that it’ll never ride up or fall down.
10. Out from Under Jessica Smocked Floral Cami, $24.99 at Urban Outfitters
Because dresses aren’t the only way to get your floral on this season.
11. Mabel Floral Smocked Mini Dress, $29.99 at Urban Outfitters
An ever-so-slightly smocked bodice—complemented by ever-so-slightly smocked sleeves.
12. Long-Sleeve Shirred Top, $51 at ASOS
Simultaneously comfy and statement-making—what’s not to love?
13. Lovers + Friends Monaco Top, $98 at Revolve
All-smocked-everything is my new dream aesthetic.
14. Gingham the Goods Shirred Midi Dress, $40 at Nasty Gal
Everything about this dress screams spring 2019.
15. Truly Madly Deeply Smocked Peplum Tee, $19.99 at Urban Outfitters
Because everything—even your the comfiest of black tees—can be made better with a little smocked detailing.
16. Out from Under Smocked Tie-Shoulder Cami, $34 at Urban Outfitters
Sure to play well with anything in your closet.
17. Tampa Gauze Tiered Ruffle Maxi Dress, $99 at Urban Outfitters
There’s a lot going on with this dress, and all of it is absolutely wonderful.
18. Golden Age Printed Top, $29.95 at Free People
The only thing that could make a smocked top better? Ruffles.
19. Pepita Smocked Ruffle Cropped Tank Top, $34 at Urban Outfitters
A smocked top that feels more aughts than ’90s—and if that’s your thing, embrace it.
20. Amanda Uprichard x Revolve Amara Smocked Mini Dress, $242 at Revolve
A mini you’ll never flash someone in. (All that ruching will keep it firmly in place.)
21. Amanda Uprichard Marisol Top, $164 at Revolve
Smocked tops are fun. Metallic, millennial pink smocked tops are even more fun.
22. The Fifth Label Foundation Smocked Peplum Tank Top, $74 at Urban Outfitters
Slip into this, and you’ll be happy—no matter what the weather is doing this time.
23. Amethyst Romper, $160 at Free People
The smocked trend was basically designed for off-the-shoulder action.
24. Val Velour Smocked Crop Tube Top, $19.99 at Urban Outfitters
A tube top you won’t have to pull back up every 10 seconds.
25. Shirred Mini Skater Dress, $48 at ASOS
So comfy. So cute. So delightful.
26. Fremont Smocked Contrast Stitch Dress, $69 at Urban Outfitters
I just—I can’t resist.
27. Lisa Says Gah Toni Smocked Crop Top, $148 at Urban Outfitters
Excuse me while I live in this top for the rest of spring.
28. Floral Print Mini Dress, $17.90 at Forever 21
Too fun to pass up.
29. Luca Smocked Long-Sleeve Crop Top, $19.99 at Urban Outfitters
This top is so damn fun to look at I can’t tear my eyes away.
30. Capulet Blaire Top, $79 at Revolve
A distinctly 2019 take on the classic spring bandeau.
31. Bella Smocked Slip, $88 at Free People
Is it just me, or do bow sleeves make smocked pieces, like, infinitely better?
32. Superdown Abigail Smocked Top, $56 at Revolve
Oh yeah, smocked going-out tops are very much on the menu.
33. Cami Smocked Cropped Tube Top, $34 at Urban Outfitters
Because smocked tops and lettuce hems aren’t (and shouldn’t be) mutually exclusive.
34. Cry Baby Crinkle Smocked Babydoll Dress, $79 at Urban Outfitters
Another piece you definitely owned some variation of in middle school, that you’d definitely look cooler in now.
35. Out from Under Smocked Bodysuit, $29.99 at Urban Outfitters
Meet: your new favorite comfy AF bodysuit.
36. Shirred Sleeve Top, $45 at ASOS
A smocked top fit for the office.
37. Josephine Gauze Babydoll Mini Dress, $59 at Urban Outfitters
Florals, frills and smocked details—I’m overwhelmed.
38. Lost + Wander Bloody Mary Smocked Crop Top, $34.99 at Urban Outfitters
Somehow the exposed threads make this smocked top even more delightful.
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