My friend put on a gown and then started twirling and moving around. The dress started to swirl around...

I want to eloquently explain this. Can someone please help me with this?

"My friend started twirling around and her dress was spiraling around"?

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    What's wrong with swirl? Or possibly swish? – Andrew Leach Jan 15 '15 at 15:30
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    The spin itself could be a pirouette, in which case you can reserve "twirl" for the movement of the dress. That said, why not try describing it with a simile or metaphor? – EFrog Jan 15 '15 at 15:41
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    Twirl and swirl make a nice pair. Twirl has a solid subject, but swirl is for liquids and granular materials, like the folds of a skirt. Note that anyone in any clothes can twirl, but only a full skirt will swirl. Their phonosemantics is interesting, too: TW- versus SW. – John Lawler Jan 15 '15 at 16:46

Flare? "To open or spread outwards, as the sides of a bowl, a skirt, the mouth of a horn."

(As used in a lovely analogy from a paper on the sun's magnetic field: "Accordingly, the Sun with the heliosheet is like a bashful ballerina who is repeatedly trying to push her excessively high flaring skirt downward.").

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  • "Giving herself a spinning twirl around, the full skirt of her dress flared out in a magnificent fluttering blur of brilliant red color." books.google.com/… – Wayfaring Stranger Apr 14 '15 at 20:02

As she spun and twirled, her dress billowed and rippled accordingly

billow (Oxford Dictionaries)
(of fabric) fill with air and swell outwards

  • her dress billowed out around her
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