Don’t Iron It, Flaunt It: The Rise of the Chic Crinkle

From runway to reality, the crinkle trend takes hold.

Don’t Iron It, Flaunt It: The Rise of the Chic Crinkle
Mariana Baião Santos

For decades, the iron has been a mainstay in our wardrobes, its hiss a symphony heralding crisp lines and immaculate finishes. But what if we dared to rewrite the sartorial score? For the past few years, a rebellion has been brewing, fuelled by a generation that embraces a more relaxed aesthetic. We’re talking, of course, about the crinkle.

Gone are the days when a wrinkle was a fashion faux pas. Today, a touch of crinkled texture whispers a story of effortless confidence. It speaks of a life lived, of moments embraced, and a departure from the rigidity of overly starched perfection.

This isn’t to say structure is out. Tailoring, after all, remains a cornerstone of elegance. But the silhouette loosens, the fabric relaxes, and a beautiful interplay of light and shadow emerges on the crinkled surface. Think linen suits that drape beautifully, their natural folds adding depth and dimension. Imagine silk blouses that ripple with each movement, imbued with a nonchalant sensuality.

The beauty of the crinkle lies in its inherent nonchalance. It’s the antithesis of the contrived, a celebration of lived-in luxury. It allows us to move with ease, to throw on a piece and head out the door, confident in the knowledge that we look effortlessly chic.


This shift towards the crinkle coincides with a fascinating trend: the decline of ironing, particularly among younger generations. A recent study found that a staggering one in three people under 35 don’t own an iron, whereas 90% of people over 45 do. When younger people were asked why they didn’t iron, responses varied from not owning clothes that needed ironing (a rise in wrinkle-resistant fabrics) to participants believing that ironing “is not important to me” or that they simply “did not like it.”

This move away from the iron reflects a broader cultural shift. Millennials and Gen Z prioritise comfort and ease, valuing clothes that transition seamlessly from day to night and don’t require a pre-wear press. The crinkle embodies this spirit, offering a stylish alternative to the perfectly ironed aesthetic.

The Crinkle at Cannes

The 2024 Cannes Film Festival offered a delightful surprise on the red carpet: a celebration of the crinkle. Was it a shortage of steamers that plagued the picturesque beach town? Not quite.


From photo calls to dazzling premieres, stars like Diane Kruger and Emma Stone embraced the crinkle with aplomb. Kruger kicked off the trend in a powder gray Jason Wu creation, the fabric rippling with subtle movement. Stone followed suit at her film’s premiere, her custom Louis Vuitton gown boasting a crinkled skirt adorned with playful ruffled sequins. Supermodel Sasha Pivovarova and Cate Blanchett, while opting for slightly less crinkled looks, still embodied the spirit of the trend with Blanchett’s Louis Vuitton gown featuring flouncy, cascading drapes.


This wasn’t a complete departure from red carpet tradition. Hints of the crinkle were seen earlier at the Met Gala with Michelle Yeoh’s stunning aluminium foil Balenciaga gown, followed by Greta Gerwig’s playful, Barbie pink crinkled dress from the same brand at Cannes.


Pleats, of course, remained a red carpet staple, with Uma Thurman and Lily Gladstone sporting elegant pleated numbers. Yet, the crinkle stood out for its fresh and unexpected take on texture. Perhaps the most significant takeaway from Cannes? Ditch the iron, embrace the crinkle, and rewrite the sartorial rules. Fashion, after all, is about embracing individuality and celebrating the beauty of imperfection.

The Art of the Nonchalant Crinkle

While the crinkle itself is low-maintenance, there’s still an art to incorporating it into your wardrobe. Here are a few tips:

  • Fabric Choice: Fabrics like linen, silk, chambray, and seersucker naturally lend themselves to a beautiful crinkle. Explore lightweight wools for a touch of textural intrigue in cooler months.
  • Embrace the Asymmetry: Don’t be afraid of uneven crinkles – they add to the unique character of the garment. A perfectly symmetrical crinkle can appear forced, whereas a naturally occurring crease speaks volumes about the way you wear your clothes.
  • Accessorise Wisely: Keep accessories clean and minimal to complement the relaxed vibe of the crinkle. Think delicate gold jewellery or a statement belt to cinch in the waist. A pop of colour in a bag or scarf can add a touch of personality.
  • Confidence is Key: The most important element? Owning the look with confidence. The crinkle is an invitation to embrace your personal style, to move away from rigid expectations and celebrate the beauty of imperfection.

So, ditch the iron, embrace the crinkle, and rewrite the sartorial rules. This season, fashion whispers a new mantra: perfectly imperfect. Let your clothes tell your story, one wrinkle at a time.

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