How to style pleats - here are the best ways to wear a pleated skirt

How to style pleats - here are the best ways to wear a pleated skirt

Pleated skirts are popular and trendy. The cinched waist and elegant longer hemline look great on all body silhouettes. Depending on your mood and schedule, they can be dressed down with flats and a biker jacket or dressed up with traditional heels and a slimline top. It's the perfect blend of street style and feminine sophistication. We've gathered some of our favorite outfits to give you some ideas on how to style a pleated skirt.

Styling a pleated skirt for your body type

Stitched down pleats (pleats are sewn down) work great for those with a larger middle because they lay flatter and create a slimming effect. Hourglass figures should opt for accordion pleats. Accordion pleats with folds in alternating opposite directions look fuller in the hips. For those with a rounder lower half, knife pleats with folds turned in one direction have less volume and produce a slimming effect on the bottom area. Fort those with shorter legs, opt for a higher hemline to make the legs appear longer. If you're a curvy body type, pick a skirt that drapes easily, one that falls nicely over your figure.

Tips on styling a pleated skirt

Pleated skirts highlight the waist and produce a slimming effect. In many cases, it helps to tuck in the top to accentuate the effect. If the top is worn outside the skirt, a belt can be used to cinch the waist. It's common to pair a patterned skirt with a solid top and a bright skirt with a neutral or toned-down top. Heels are also commonly worn with pleated skirts but don't neglect trying sneakers for a casual look or flats for a more moderate look.

How to style a pleated skirt

Sparkles and all things shiny are trending. This metallic silvery pleated maxi skirt is paired with a tucked-in black turtleneck and faux leather jacket (which are also trending up) as an added layer. The neutral colors make the pink and green accessory pop. The pointed heels add the finishing touch to a street-smart but chic look.


Metallic silver pleated maxi skirt paired with tucked in turtleneck


The dramatic flair of this pleated skirt creates a beautiful silhouette with a casual tucked-in top to keep it from being over the top. A handbag that blends with the skirt lets the top stand out.

Dramatic flair of pleated skirt creates beautiful silhouette

This beautiful pink pleated skirt is paired with matching pink high heels for an elegant look. This contrasts nicely with the edgy look of the leather jacket over the dark turtleneck sweater.

Pink pleated skirt with matching heels and edgy leather jacket

The relaxed look of sunglasses and casual top is countered with a bold statement necklace that makes the top pop.

Casual look of sunglasses and top with statement necklace

In this smart outfit, a color from the printed shirt matches the shade of the skirt creating an outfit that's pulled together well. While the pleated skirt naturally emphasis the slim waistline, the horizontal lines in the shirt further produce an illusion of a thinner waist.

A fur coat is more formal than a cardigan and adds extra layers, color, and texture to this stylish outfit.

Fur coat adds layers and color to pleated skirt outfit

This pleated skirt and colorful top effuse a more casual look that's topped off with sandals and sheer maxi skirt. Accessories add a smidgen of elegance to the laid-back look.

Casual look with sheer pleated maxi skirt with sandals and accessories

The color scheme in this outfit is clear. What may not be so clear is the impact the statement necklace makes on the casual top and muted skirt color.

Impact of statement necklace with colorful pleated skirt outfit

Shirts worn with pleated skirts are often tucked in. After all, the pleated skirt cinches the waist which is accentuated when the top is tucked in. With this outfit, the top is worn outside with a belt cinched around the waist to pull the loose top fabric closer to the body, producing a slimming effect.

Pleated skirt with untucked shirt and cinched belt

The look of this pleated skirt outfit is kept simple with a printed jersey top and sneakers that give a cool, composed look that's chic at the same time.

Pleated skirt with printed jersey top and sneakers

This beautifully elegant, pleated skirt is paired with stylish high heels and matching accessories. The elegance of the bottom half looks surprisingly good with the casual printed top. It's a great example of a bold move that came out looking wonderful.

Elegant pleated skirt with stylish high heels and casual printed top

The flow and texture of this outfit is nothing short of perfection. Stylish high heels and matching clutch handbag complement the laced top. The statement necklace completes an elegant, sophisticated look.

Wine pleated skirt with lace top and statement necklace and purse

Proper style often requires contrast. This blue denim jacket over the neutral top adds color to the outfit. Although denim with pleated skirts would typically be paired with Converse shoes and a funky skirt pattern, the elegance of this outfit is surprisingly effective. The feminine pleated skirt is perfectly suited to the boyish denim jacket. The girlish accessories and shoes keep the outfit ladylike.

Blue denim jacket over neutral top and black pleated skirt

Eliffilyos from The Fashion Medley rocks this edgy outfit. The camel boyfriend coat, black turtleneck sweater and white pleated skirt with zip detail boots and black gloves are complemented nicely with gold accessories.

Camel coat with black turtleneck and white pleated skirt

A pink pleated skirt with a black top will always look great but notice the color pop the purse introduces. Stunning.

Pink pleated skirt with black top and color popping purse

The vertical green stripes on this jacket draw out the skirt and create a slimming effect. The yellow high heel shoes stand out in contrast.

Green pleated skirt with sporty green stripe jacket

The blush color of this pleated maxi skirt is classic. Dressed up with heels and a stylish purse, the texture of the pleats works perfectly with bold lace. The color contrast between the light-colored skirt and dark top are spot on.

Blush pleated skirt with textured lace top

The slimming high-rise knee-length pleated skirt, trendy neon-yellow blouse, and classic pointed-toe pumps in this outfit are offset with a big, bold necklace that draws the eyes upward.

High rise knee length pleated skirt and neon yellow blouse

The jacket in this outfit goes great with the pleated skirt. Everything else is kept simple and muted.

Black muted pleated outfit with white jacket

This elegant outfit uses a stylish purse and shoes contrast nicely with the solid, neutral top and blush pleated skirt. The necklace and sunglasses draw the eyes upward.

Blush pleated purse with solid, neutral top and stylish accessories

The loose top is worn outside (not tucked in) but pulled closer to the body with a cinched belt. The fashionable leather jacket adds a sophisticated edge to the outfit.

Living coral pleated skirt with edgy black top and leather jacket

The solid, neutral black top works well with the patterned pleated skirt.

Red and white striped pleated skirt with black top

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