Feminine Sophistication: How to Wear a Pleated Skirt

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A woman wearing a white mini pleated skirt on the street

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Last Updated on July 29, 2021

They are sexy, a tad naughty, and can just as easily be worn to go clubbing or as part of a Catholic school uniform. Few clothing items can claim such versatility!

So, what makes pleated skirts so iconic?

Well, for starters they have a long history of being associated with popular, cool, or edgy characters in varied media.

Do you remember Cher Horowitz’s yellow plaid pleated skirt on Clueless? Or Corey Mason’s pleated plaid skirt in Empire Records?

If you wanted to emulate their style, going for the plaid skirt is a great start!

But, do you know the many ways in which you can wear a pleated skirt? The options are pretty much endless…Read ahead to find out more!

Pleated Skirt Types

Long

A long-pleated skirt is a good place to start if you are seeking a new option that is versatile through each different season. This pleated leopard print skirt is gorgeous.

Practical for the beach and a must have for your next vacation get-away, a long-pleated skirt is also perfect for holiday dinners. Style with a crop top during the summer and with a biker jacket in the fall. A cool leopard print will create a statement.

Maxi

A maxi pleated skirt is an elegant option that is perfect for formal events such as work-related occasions or dinner plans. We recommend opting for a skirt that is also flowy, high waisted, and small consecutive pleats like this chiffon maxi skirt at Amazon.

A maxi pleated skirt in a blush or pastel tone is easy to style. Wear with small tee shirts, long sleeve knits, and a clutch. Sandals, ballet flats, loafers, and boots are all a yes.

Mini

Mini pleated skirts, also known as skater or tennis skirts are big trends now, especially among younger generations. The epitome of all that is cute, youthful, and fun, this is the perfect option for wearing a skirt for sports or casualwear. White is the best option as it is reminiscent of classic tennis skirts, like this pleated skater skirt.

Style with tank tops, blouses, or ribbed sweaters. We recommend sneakers for shoes.

A Line

A line pleated skirts feature a flattering silhouette that is girly and feminine. They boast an extra flare which gives these skirts a flowy effect in movement. We recommend choosing a skirt made from a light material such as chiffon that moves with ease.

An emerald green skirt is the epitome of sophistication and elegance, perfect for the fall and wintertime. Style with turtlenecks, thick sweaters, and knee boots or ankle boots.

Read:

How to Wear Knee High Boots the Tasteful Way

Turtlenecks – A Tactical Garment That Is Vaguely French For Some Reason

Closet Essentials: Versatile Ways to Wear a Black Skirt

Pleated Skirt Styles

Formal

An easy trick to styling a pleated skirt for a formal event or occasion, is to build outfits starting from shiny or metallic pleated skirts, like this skirt.

The length can vary, but the material is an easy way to adapt to any occasion. A shiny viscose or silk for example will make an outfit seem more elegant and formal, even as nightwear. Style with a tucked in blouse and strappy high heels.

Informal

As is the case for formalwear, material also plays a big part in building an outfit with a pleated skirt for an informal setting. For example, a jersey, cotton, or spandex material is ideal for casualwear.

Choose a skirt that is short and fun with a flared silhouette. A go-to classic that will never fail is a standard black mini flared skirt.

Wear with a tee shirt, crop top, and sneakers.

According to Seasons

Pleated skirts can be worn during all seasons.

Spring

In the spring, wear with sandals and loose blouses.

Summer

In the summer, wear with tee-shirts and slides.

Fall

In the fall, pair with a sweatshirt and sneakers.

Winter

For the winter, a thick knit top and boots are perfect.

Materials also play a big role

Cotton, polyester, and jersey variations can be used in both winter and summer, but metallics are usually kept for cooler months. Floral prints and chiffon pleated skirts are more common in the spring and summer.

A classic, black, high-waisted, midi length pleated skirt is a good option for all occasions and seasons. Style freely.

Colors & Materials

Leather

A leather pleated skirt is a fun way to wear this trend yet stand out among the crowd—these are unusual but can be very stylish garments.

The shiny leather material, whether it’s real or faux, will add edginess to any outfit and provide a grunge edge to an otherwise feminine garment. Pair the skirt with garments in other neutral colors such as white and beige for a classic approach.

Read: Grunge Style Guide: Outfits for Every Season and Look (Women’s Edition)

Satin

Satin pleated skirts are ideal for formal occasions, but can be dressed down and adapted as daytime wear too such as this lush pleated zip closure skirt.

These carry a sense of effortless elegance with them, especially because of the sheen on the satin material, the way the fabric will move as you walk, and the fall of the skirt. To dress it down, keep it casual with white sneakers and a cashmere sweater. Perfect for your next street style look.

White

A white pleated skirt is ideal if you’re younger and looking for a versatile garment you can wear every day, and style in endless different ways. Choose a mini skirt that is similar to a tennis skirt such as this one. They are very on trend at the moment.

Look for one with large pleats rather than small ones for a more flattering effect. Layer white on white garments for a cool style idea.

Black

A high waisted, black mini pleated skirt is the perfect place to start and initiate yourself into the world of pleated skirts. Black skirts are the most versatile, and a short skirt was wide pleats is ideal for the everyday, or dressed up for more formal occasions.

For a casual sportswear look, begin with a high waisted skirt, a zipper ribbed sweater in cream, a mini handbag and sneakers. Accessorize with a baseball cap.

Floral

A floral print pleated skirt is feminine and pays tribute to a famous vintage 1950s trend. Printed pleated skirts were long and flowy, and worn by pictorial film stars and as part of elegant housewife looks.

These skirts add plenty of character to any, as they take the pleated skirt one step further by including a dramatic print. Style with knee length brown boots and a thick sweater for a cool bohemian look.

Pink

A pastel pink pleated skirt is a must have for the spring and summer, effortlessly chic. Choose a darker striking shade such as a fuchsia for the nighttime or formal events, but opt for a powder pink colored skirt for the daytime and informal events. We love this Kate Kasin high waisted pleated skirt.

Wear with a white blouse featuring puffy balloon sleeves and shoulder details. A small crossbody handbag and chunky white sneakers will finish off this timeless look.

Blue

Royal blue is such a classy color, and even more so when in a long-pleated skirt. Perfect for formal events, dinner parties, or even for an office environment, a royal blue or navy-blue pleated skirt will never disappoint.

An easy style idea is to find a sweatshirt in a different shade of blue, such as a dusty variation. Pair with blue stilettoes matching the shade of your top, and an elegant clutch.

Green

A green pleated skirt makes a big statement; wear one correctly, and everyone will be staring at you for the right reasons. Choose a style that is long, with the hem at ankle length such as this gorgeous Allegra K Pleated Skirt.

Wear a cream-colored long sleeve top tucked in at the front. Accessorize with a pair of leopard print ballet flats and a leather top handlebar in a brown tone. Perfect for the day, but also for the night.

Silver

Silver or gold pleated skirts are a creative way to incorporate metallic tonalities into your everyday wardrobe.

With heels and silk blouses wear during the night. For the daytime, style with a solid-colored tee-shirt tucked inside and white sneakers. For a contemporary take, pair with a navy-blue tee-shirt and strappy summer high heels. A small clutch crossbody bag will complete this look. A pair of aviator sunglasses make the perfect accessory.

With Other Clothing

Top

There are no limits as to which tops you can wear with a pleated skirt. Just make sure that the fabrics do not clash, but merge well. Anything from blouses, to t-shirts, to button down collared shirts, to tank tops, and crop tops are a go. Versatility and ease are key to styling a pleated skirt.

Jacket

In the case of options for jackets, nothing looks better than a black leather jacket thrown around your shoulders while wearing a pleated skirt. A denim jacket is also another option to consider. For formal events, a white or black blazer is a go.

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Ever since her childhood Ana Luisa has been passionate about fashion. Ana currently studies Business of Fashion at Polimoda in Florence, Italy and is always amazed at how fashion brings people together and creates a sense of belonging for people who may feel like outcasts. Ana loves seeing reflections and evolutions of 90s trends as modern comebacks in the fashion industry today. Ana is also a fan of 90s supermodels and would wishes she could live a day in 90s Manhattan.