What to Wear with a Pleated Skirt for Every Occasion in 2023
From the runway to the streets, the pleated skirt has proven its lasting appeal in fashion.
With its endless styling possibilities, it’s no wonder the pleated skirt has earned a spot in our hearts and closets.
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Read on as we explore creative outfit combinations that showcase the pleated skirt’s versatility and flair.
Plus, learn what to wear with a pleated skirt for any event. Create stunning ensembles with ease.
Brief History of Pleated Skirts
Pleated skirts have been a staple in women’s fashion for centuries, dating back to ancient civilizations such as Egypt and Greece.
These early pleated garments were typically made from linen or wool and were worn by both men and women.
Over time, pleated skirts became more closely associated with women’s fashion and evolved into various styles, such as the Scottish kilt, the Greek chiton, and the Roman palla.
In the 20th century, pleated skirts gained even more popularity, with styles like the tennis skirt and the iconic plaid pleated skirts worn by schoolgirls.
Today, pleated skirts are a timeless and chic fashion choice for women of all ages.
The Versatility of Pleated Skirts
One of the reasons why pleated skirts have remained popular throughout the years is their versatility.
Pleated skirts can be dressed up or down, making them suitable for various occasions, from casual outings to formal events.
They can be found in a wide range of lengths, materials, and colors, which allows you to find the perfect pleated skirt to match your style and wardrobe.
See how I styled a pleated maxi skirt as a wedding guest. And here’s another way I styled a mid-length pleated skirt as a summer outfit here.
Furthermore, pleated skirts are universally flattering, creating an elegant silhouette that accentuates the waist and adds movement to the lower half of the body.
The Importance of Styling Pleated Skirts
While pleated skirts are incredibly versatile, styling them correctly is essential for creating a cohesive and fashionable outfit.
The right combination of tops, footwear, and accessories can elevate your pleated skirt look and make it suitable for any occasion.
Conversely, a poorly styled pleated skirt can make your outfit appear dated or frumpy – I don’t like frumpy, and I bet neither do you!
Keep reading for my comprehensive guide on what to wear with a pleated skirt, covering everything from choosing the right skirt to pairing it with the perfect top, footwear, and accessories.
So, whether you’re new to the world of pleated skirts or looking to refresh your styling skills, this guide will help you easily create stunning outfits.
The Importance of Styling Pleated Skirts
Mini pleated skirts are perfect for showing off their legs and creating a youthful, playful look.
They’re an excellent option for casual occasions and can be easily dressed up with heels for a night out.
When choosing a mini pleated skirt, consider the balance of your outfit and the occasion. I suggest pairing a mini pleated skirt with a more conservative top if you’re concerned about appearing overly provocative.
Midi pleated skirts are the most versatile option, as they strike a balance between casual and formal.
They typically fall below the knee or at mid-calf, creating an elegant and sophisticated silhouette.
Midi skirts are suitable for various occasions, including work, brunch, or a date night, and can be styled with a range of tops and footwear.
I’m wearing a midi-length midi skirt from Walmart. I love the proportions and the overall balance of the look.
Maxi pleated skirts provide a dramatic and flowing look, perfect for creating a bohemian or romantic outfit.
They work well for evening events or special occasions and can be paired with dressy tops or statement accessories.
When choosing a maxi pleated skirt, consider your height—petite women may need to wear heels to avoid the skirt overwhelming their frame.
I can see myself wearing a maxi midi skirt for a beachside wedding or a graduation ceremony. The way the pleats flow as you walk is like a clip out of a movie scene!
Chiffon pleated skirts are lightweight, airy, and perfect for warmer weather or outdoor events.
The delicate fabric adds a touch of femininity and elegance to your outfit, making it an ideal choice for daytime events or semi-formal occasions.
Chiffon is actually my preferred fabric for pleated skirts. This Walmart pleated skirt I’m wearing is actually polyester, but the craftsmanship is pretty good.
Satin pleated skirts offer a luxurious, glossy finish, perfect for dressing up or attending formal events.
They can be paired with silk or lace tops for an upscale look or dressed down with a simple blouse or sweater for a more understated outfit.
Metallic pleated skirts are a bold and eye-catching option, perfect for making a statement at parties or evening events.
They can be styled with neutral tops and accessories to let the skirt shine or paired with equally bold pieces for a high-impact look.
I wouldn’t recommend metallic pleated skirts if you can’t handle the attention. This metallic pleated skirt from Walmart is a vibe!
C. Color and pattern
Solid-colored pleated skirts are versatile and can be easily mixed and matched with various tops and accessories.
Neutral colors like black, navy, and beige are classic choices that can be dressed up or down, while bold colors like red, cobalt blue, or emerald green can create a striking outfit.
Printed pleated skirts are perfect for those who want to make a statement and showcase their unique style.
Choose from patterns like florals, geometric designs, or animal prints, and pair your printed skirt with a simple, solid-colored top to avoid overwhelming your outfit.
Pastel pleated skirts are ideal for creating soft, feminine outfits suitable for spring or summer events.
Colors like blush pink, lavender, or baby blue can be paired with complementary pastel tops or contrasted with bolder colors for a more dynamic look.
The Importance of Styling Pleated Skirts
A. Casual outfits
A simple t-shirt is a classic and comfortable choice for pairing with a pleated skirt for a casual outfit.
Opt for a fitted or slightly loose t-shirt to maintain a balanced silhouette. Tuck the t-shirt into the waistband of the skirt to accentuate your waist and create a polished appearance – here’s how I achieved this look.
You can also experiment with graphic tees or statement prints for a more personalized look.
Sweaters are perfect for creating cozy and stylish outfits with pleated skirts during cooler months. Choose a lightweight sweater to avoid adding bulk, and tuck it into your skirt’s waistband.
For an on-trend look, try a cropped sweater that meets the waistband of the skirt, or layer a longer sweater over the skirt for a more relaxed feel.
Denim jackets provide a casual and edgy touch to pleated skirt outfits. Pair a classic blue denim jacket with a solid-colored or printed pleated skirt, and complete the look with a simple t-shirt or blouse.
Opt for a fitted denim jacket that accentuates your waist for a more refined appearance.
B. Semi-formal outfits
Blouses are ideal for creating semi-formal outfits with pleated skirts. Opt for a silk, chiffon, or satin blouse to add a touch of sophistication to your look. If I still worked my 9-5, this is a look I would totally wear!
Tuck the blouse into your skirt’s waistband, or choose a blouse with a tie-waist detail to highlight your waistline.
Consider blouses with unique details, such as ruffles, lace, or statement sleeves, to elevate your outfit.
Button-down shirts create a polished and professional look paired with a pleated skirt. Choose a well-fitted shirt in a classic color, such as white or light blue, and tuck it into your skirt.
Try a shirt with subtle patterns, such as stripes or checks, for added visual interest. Complete the look with a statement belt and stylish footwear.
Blazers add structure and sophistication to pleated skirt outfits, making them suitable for work or semi-formal events.
Choose a tailored blazer that complements the color and style of your skirt, and wear it over a blouse or button-down shirt.
For a modern twist, opt for an oversized blazer or a cropped design that highlights your waist.
C. Evening outfits
Lace tops exude elegance and romance, perfect for pairing with pleated skirts for evening events or special occasions.
Choose a top with intricate lace details and a flattering neckline, and tuck it into your skirt for a seamless look. Complete the outfit with statement jewelry and elegant footwear.
Sequin tops add glamour and sparkle to your pleated skirt outfit, making them ideal for parties or nights out.
Pair a sequin top with a solid-colored pleated skirt, or go all out with a metallic or embellished skirt for a high-impact look. Keep accessories minimal to let the sequins shine.
Crop tops are a chic and modern choice for pairing with pleated skirts for evening outfits.
Choose a well-fitted crop top that complements the color and style of your skirt, and ensure that it meets your skirt’s waistband to create a flattering silhouette.
Opt for crop tops with unique details, such as cutouts or embellishments, to make your outfit stand out. This was the outfit combination I wore on vacation a few years ago. I got many compliments on the look!
A. Casual footwear
Sneakers are a comfortable and stylish option for pairing with pleated skirts for casual outfits.
For a stand-out look, opt for classic white sneakers or trendy platform sneakers to add a touch of sporty chic to your look.
Pair your sneakers with a mini or midi pleated skirt for a balanced and modern appearance. I played with the animal print design in the tee when I chose these sneakers.
Sandals are perfect for warmer weather and create a relaxed, effortless look when paired with pleated skirts.
Choose flat sandals or low-heeled options in neutral colors or metallic shades to complement your skirt. Wear sandals with unique details, such as embellishments or intricate straps, for added visual interest.
These sandals’ high-gloss and embossed detail were the perfect pop I needed with this outfit.
Ballet flats are a timeless and versatile choice for pairing with pleated skirts. They offer a comfortable and polished look that works well for casual outings or daytime events.
Choose flats in classic black, nude, or navy colors, or experiment with bolder hues or patterns to make a statement.
B. Semi-formal footwear
Ankle boots are a stylish and practical option for pairing with pleated skirts for semi-formal outfits or colder weather.
I suggest sleek, heeled ankle boots in leather or suede to add a touch of sophistication to your look.
Choose neutral-colored boots like black, brown, or beige, or wear a bold statement with metallic or patterned options.
Block heels provide comfort and style, making them ideal for pairing with pleated skirts for semi-formal events or work outfits.
Choose a pair of block heels in a classic color like black or nude, or experiment with bolder shades or patterns to make a statement.
Opt for heels with unique details, such as ankle straps or embellishments, to elevate your outfit. What do we think of the metallic block heel sandals I got from Walmart?
Pumps are a classic and polished choice for pairing with pleated skirts for semi-formal occasions.
Choose a pair of pointed-toe or round-toe pumps in a neutral color like black, nude, or navy to create a sophisticated and timeless look.
For added visual interest, opt for pumps with unique details, such as cutouts, bows, or contrasting textures.
C. Evening footwear
Strappy heels add elegance and glamour to your pleated skirt outfit, making them perfect for evening events or special occasions.
Choose a pair of delicate, heeled sandals in a metallic or bold color to complement your skirt. Opt for heels with unique details, such as embellishments or intricate straps, to make your outfit stand out.
Stilettos are a chic and sophisticated choice for pairing with pleated skirts for evening outfits.
Go for a pair of pointed-toe or peep-toe stilettos in a classic color like black or nude or a more daring option with bold hues or patterns. Complete your outfit with statement jewelry and a sleek clutch.
Peep-toe pumps offer a stylish and feminine option for pairing with pleated skirts for evening events. Choose a pair of pumps in a neutral or metallic shade to create a polished and elegant look.
Opt for pumps with unique details, such as cutouts, bows, or embellishments, to elevate your outfit and make a statement.
The Importance of Styling Pleated Skirts
Wide belts are perfect for creating a defined waistline when wearing a pleated skirt. Choose a belt in a complementary color or material to your skirt and top, and wear it at your natural waist.
Wide belts work particularly well with midi or maxi pleated skirts, as they help to create a balanced silhouette.
Skinny belts add a subtle touch of sophistication to your pleated skirt outfit without overpowering the look. Opt for a belt in a neutral or metallic shade, or experiment with bolder colors or patterns to make a statement.
Skinny belts work well with both casual and semi-formal outfits, as they can be easily dressed up or down.
Statement belts add visual interest and personality to your pleated skirt outfit. Choose a belt with unique details, such as embellishments, bold buckles, or contrasting textures, and wear it at your natural waist.
Statement belts work best with simpler outfits, as they can become overwhelming when paired with bold prints or intricate designs.
Necklaces are an excellent way to add a touch of elegance and glamour to your pleated skirt outfit.
Opt for a delicate pendant necklace for a subtle, feminine touch, or choose a bold statement necklace to create a dramatic look.
When selecting a necklace, consider the neckline of your top and the style of your outfit to ensure a cohesive and polished appearance.
Earrings can instantly elevate your pleated skirt outfit and add a touch of sparkle to your look. For an evening event, choose simple studs or delicate hoops for a casual outfit or statement earrings, such as a chandelier or drop earrings.
Remember the hairstyle you’ll be wearing when selecting earrings, as they can be more or less visible depending on your hair.
Bracelets are versatile accessories that can add personality and style to your pleated skirt outfit. Opt for a simple bangle or delicate chain bracelet for a subtle touch, or stack multiple bracelets for a bolder look.
Consider the sleeve length of your top when selecting bracelets, as they can be more or less visible depending on your outfit.
Clutches are a chic and elegant choice for accessorizing pleated skirt outfits for evening events or special occasions.
Choose a clutch in a complementary color or material to your outfit, or opt for a bold statement piece, such as a bejeweled or metallic clutch.
Remember the size of the clutch, as it should be large enough to hold your essentials but not too large to overpower your outfit.
Crossbody bags are a practical and stylish option for accessorizing pleated skirt outfits for daytime events or casual outings.
Opt for a bag in a neutral or complementary color, and choose a size that works well with the proportions of your outfit.
Crossbody bags are particularly well-suited for mini and midi pleated skirts, as they help to create a balanced silhouette.
Tote bags are a versatile and functional choice for accessorizing pleated skirt outfits for work or daytime events.
Choose a tote bag in a classic color, such as black, navy, or beige, and choose a size that can accommodate your daily essentials without overwhelming your outfit.
Tote bags work well with midi and maxi pleated skirts, providing a practical and stylish solution for carrying your belongings.
The Importance of Styling Pleated Skirts
A. Work outfits
For work outfits, opt for a midi pleated skirt in a neutral or muted color paired with a well-fitted button-down shirt or blouse. Complete the look with a tailored blazer and closed-toe pumps or block heels.
Accessorize with minimal jewelry, such as a delicate necklace or stud earrings, and carry a structured tote bag for a polished and professional appearance.
B. Weekend brunch outfits
For weekend brunch outfits, choose a pleated skirt in a fun print or pastel color, and pair it with a casual top like a t-shirt or lightweight sweater.
Style the look with comfortable footwear, such as sneakers or flat sandals, and accessorize with sunglasses and a crossbody bag. Add a denim jacket or a lightweight scarf for an extra layer of style and warmth.
C. Date night outfits
For date night outfits, opt for a pleated skirt in a romantic fabric like satin or chiffon, and pair it with an elegant lace or off-the-shoulder top.
Style the look with strappy heels or ankle boots, and accessorize with statement jewelry, such as drop earrings or a bold necklace. Finish the look with a chic clutch and a touch of your favorite fragrance.
D. Wedding guest outfits
As a wedding guest, choose a pleated skirt in a dressy fabric like chiffon or satin, and opt for a midi or maxi length for a formal look.
Pair the skirt with a sophisticated blouse or a dressy crop top, and complete the outfit with heeled sandals or pumps.
Accessorize with elegant jewelry, such as a delicate necklace or bracelet, and carry a coordinating clutch. Remember to adhere to any dress code specified by the wedding invitation.
E. Party outfits
For party outfits, go bold with a metallic or sequin pleated skirt, vibrant color, or eye-catching print.
Pair the skirt with a stylish top, such as a sequin or embellished blouse, and style the look with statement heels, such as stilettos or strappy sandals.
Accessorize with bold jewelry, like chandelier earrings or a cuff bracelet, and finish the look with a fun clutch or crossbody bag.
Pleated skirts are a timeless and versatile addition to any wardrobe, offering countless styling options for various occasions.
Embrace the versatility of pleated skirts by incorporating them into your wardrobe staples, and enjoy the endless possibilities they provide for creating unique and stylish outfits.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles, colors, and combinations for pleated skirts. From casual weekend brunches to elegant evening events, there are numerous ways to style pleated skirts to suit your taste and the occasion.
Mix and match different tops, footwear, and accessories to create a look that reflects your style.
As you explore the world of pleated skirts, consider building a wardrobe around these versatile pieces. Invest in various pleated skirts in different lengths, materials, and colors to create a well-rounded collection that can be easily adapted for any occasion.
By doing so, you’ll have a versatile and stylish wardrobe that will serve you well for years to come, making it easy to put together fashionable and sophisticated outfits easily.
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