Here's Why Everyone Is Wearing the Bubble Skirt Trend This Summer

What started as a $1,000 luxury splurge is now everywhere—for just $50.

Images of women wearing bubble skirts by J.Crew, Bally Spring 2024, Getty Images street style, Kylie Jenner, and Ayo Edebiri
(Image credit: Getty Images)

I was walking around New York City's SoHo neighborhood two weeks ago when a bright white bubble skirt in J.Crew's window stopped me in my tracks. Curious, I went inside. Could this soufflé silhouette be an easter egg? Is a bubble skirt trend about to take shape for summer? As I walked past a table of tank tops, a woman barged behind me and bee-lined toward an employee. "Excuse me," she pleaded, "where can I find that puffball skirt in the window?" The shopper had already pulled out her credit card, eager to get her hands on the skirt—resembling something like a dollop of cotton-poplin whipped cream—as soon as possible.

I left the store with more questions than when I started. It wasn't the silhouette itself that I found perplexing—style editors have been fawning over Khaite, Jil Sander, and Proenza Schouler's frothy-hemmed skirts for a while now, and I continue to spot Prada's Fall 2023 padded mini out in the wild over a year and a half since its debut.

Cherifa Akili seen wearing YSL black sunglasses, silver earrings, Arket dark grey pinstriped cropped blazer jacket, Ganni white balloon short dress, Hermès black leather Kelly belt, Fendi black leather bag and Khaite black structure leather heeled high boots / overknee boots, during the Womenswear Fall/Winter 2024/2025 as part of Paris Fashion Week on February 29, 2024 in Paris, France.

Style content creator Cherifa Akili wearing a crisp white bubble skirt during the Paris Fashion Week Fall 2024 season.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

What surprised me most was seeing the maximalist silhouette in the store window at an accessible retailer. Before that moment, I had the belief the balloon skirt customer belonged to a niche group of 'fashion people'—someone who subscribes to Substacks written by industry veterans, knew the proper "Loewe" pronunciation long before the rest of the world, and has the Moda Operandi trunk show section bookmarked in Chrome. But J.Crew's skirt—offered in white, khaki, and black and currently on sale for $50—signals a shift. After years of being a slow-burn style in the high-end luxury sphere, the bubble skirt trend has reached a roiling boil and trickled into the mainstream.

I took to Instagram to discuss my discovery and storied a question alongside a photo of the retailer's in-demand style. "Have you been influenced by this J.Crew bubble skirt? Do you own it? Are you seeing it everywhere (like I am)?"

Within a few minutes, I was reading replies of "yes *sigh* lol", "I got the longer version from Zara," and "Aritzia's bubble skirt has influenced me!" New York City-based street style photographer Simbarashe Cha sees bubble skirts "everywhere," and fellow fashion editor Jalil Johnson finds them at nearly every brand appointment he attends. Even my followers who cringed at a bubble skirt comeback—"Seventh grade is haunting me," wrote one childhood friend—couldn't deny that the cloud-like silhouette is back in a very big, undeniable way.

Nina Sandbech wears black puffy mini dress and one sleeve beige top from Di Stavnitser and black sunglasses outside Ganni during the Copenhagen Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2024 on August 10, 2023 in Copenhagen, Denmar

Fashion influencer Nina Sandbech wearing a bubble-hemmed black mini dress at Copenhagen Fashion Week Spring 2024.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Molly Rooyakkers, the data analyst behind Style Analtyics, a must-follow Instagram account sharing of-the-moment fashion insights, traces the puffy trend back to this spring. "The bubble skirt, also called the balloon skirt, started to take off in March of this year," she says over email. "Looking at the search volume data, we can see a 185-percent growth in Pinterest searches and a 155-percent growth on Google, with searches for 'bubble skirts' going from 3,000 in March to 14,000 in June." Considering brands like Miu Miu and Bally revealed ballooning bottoms in March, followed by Louis Vuitton in May, a spring start to the puffball momentum makes sense.

Bubble skirts on the runways of Bally Spring 2024, Miu Miu Spring 2024, Louis Vuitton Pre-Fall 2024 and Resort 2025

An array of bubble skirts on the runway, including Bally Spring 2024, Miu Miu Spring 2024, Louis Vuitton Pre-Fall 2024 and Resort 2025

(Image credit: Launchmetrics)

Celebrity co-signers are certainly helping fuel the frothy fire, too. Kylie Jenner posed on a yacht early this month wearing a bulbous micro miniskirt, white bralette, and approximately $40,000 worth of Cartier watches. Hailey Bieber chose a black balloon mini for her late-night dinner date with husband Justin, and Ayo Edebiri attended The Bear season 3 premiere in a magnificent beaded bubble dress first seen on Loewe's Fall 2024 runway.

Kylie Jenner posing on a yacht in front of the ocean wearing a white bikini top, white bubble mini skirt, and straw hat.

(Image credit: @kyliejenner)

But, again, what sets the summer 2024 trend apart from previous takes is that budget-friendly retailers are joining in on the fun. "The most common bubble skirt brands people are currently searching for worldwide are Aritzia and Zara, which have all seen greater than 100 percent growth in searches for their respective bubble skirts since March," Rooyakkers says.

Rooyakkers believes the mass-market accessibility helped this season's skirts eclipse previous iterations. "Interestingly, if we look at historical data, the trend has already surpassed how many people were searching for the trend back in 2012, the last time the bubble skirt was popular," says the analyst. She adds, too, that summer's bubble skirt trend is so powerful that searches for similar silhouettes like "the tiered skirt and the bubble dress" are on the rise as well.

Ayo Edebiri at the season 3 premiere of FX's "The Bear" held at El Capitan Theatre on June 25, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.

Ayo Edebiri wearing Loewe's floral bubble dress at the season 3 premiere of "The Bear" on June 25, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Satisfied with my research, I settled on my answer: the bubble skirt trend wasn't "about" to take shape—it has, without a doubt, already arrived.

And the streets don't lie: on my way home from work just yesterday, I saw a woman wearing J.Crew's sought-after skirt in khaki, which she styled with a Breton-striped shirt and ballet flats. Smiling to myself, I pledged to pop back into the retailer this weekend and pick up a bubble skirt of my own.

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Emma Childs
Fashion Features Editor

Emma is the fashion features editor at Marie Claire, where she writes deep-dive trend reports, zeitgeisty fashion featurettes on what style tastemakers are wearing, long-form profiles on emerging designers and the names to know, and human interest vignette-style round-ups. Previously, she was Marie Claire's style editor, where she wrote shopping e-commerce guides and seasonal trend reports, assisted with the market for fashion photo shoots, and assigned and edited fashion celebrity news.

Emma also wrote for The Zoe Report, Editorialist, Elite Daily, Bustle, and Mission Magazine. She studied Fashion Studies and New Media at Fordham University Lincoln Center and launched her own magazine, Childs Play Magazine, in 2015 as a creative pastime. When she's not waxing poetic about niche fashion topics, you'll find her stalking eBay for designer vintage, reading literary fiction on her Kindle, and baking banana bread in her tiny NYC kitchen.