September 06, 1999 12:00 PM

Ruffled Around the Edges

The frill is gone? Not anymore. In fashion, dresses and tops with fluttery trim are making waves. “Fashion has been so plain, and ruffles add the right touch of window dressing to an otherwise classic silhouette,” says stylist Eric Berg, who garbs Jennifer Love Hewitt and Toni Braxton. “They are an elegant and feminine detail,” agrees Elizabeth Reid, a spokeswoman for Italian designer Valentino, who features ruffled satin cocktail skirts in his fall collection. As former TV host Daisy Fuentes puts it, “It’s a real girlie-girl look.”

For grown-ups, ruffles offer another benefit. Trimming necklines, hemlines or sleeves, “they can be a great disguise for women with less-than-perfect bodies,” says Berg. “They add a little distraction.” Keep accessories minimal, advises model Heidi Klum: “Otherwise, it gets too busy.” Fuentes, who recently paired a ruffled tuxedo shirt with slim tailored pants, seconds that. “If you go all frilly,” she warns, “you look like a dork.” Or, Berg notes, “like Carmen Miranda.”

with Steven Cojocaru in Los Angeles

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