Word of the Week: Ruching

Steve Madden MystieSince it’s Monday, and it’s also the first school day after spring break for many, I decided to do a little word lesson. In fact, I just might make it a regular feature.

Today’s word is ruching, a type of detailing characterized by gathered, ruffled or pleated material. It’s pronounced “roo-shing”, and variations include the noun ruche or the adjective ruched.

Nina Button UpAlso common on the collars and sleeves of women’s blouses, ruching is often used as a decorative detail on dress pumps. Some styles, like the Steve Madden Mystie (shown at top), make ruches a central focus by plaiting the entire vamp. Others make it an accent, such as the Nina Button Up (at right), which surrounds its toe with ruching to lengthen its silhouette. In contrast, the Seychelles Silver Spoon (shown below) shows off a ruched heel for a final flirtatious element.

How about a bit of history, too? Ruche stems from rusche in Old French, meaning “beehive”, which in turn is derived from the Medieval Latin rūsca, which referred to the bark of a tree used for making beehives, Seychelles Silver Spoonand itself is believed to be originally of a Celtic origin. However, with as many dictionaries substantiate that much etymology (try googling it for yourself), I cannot for all my research determine the connection between old French beehives and today’s fashion detail. Any thoughts?

– Katie

UPDATE AUGUST 2008: Solevoice’s “Word of the Week” feature has morphed into a special section called “Shoestruction“.  All previous and future posts can be found in this category.