Pleated skirts aren't just for the school playground. They are an on-trend, textured fashion piece that always brings a touch of sophistication and elegance to any outfit! Whether you prefer plaid, denim, pink, black or white, pleated skirts come in all sorts of designs, so you're sure to find one that you love! Flattering all figures with a long maxi, a knee-length midi or a short mini, there's something to suit everyone.
Think about which material you'd like - are you after something delicate and soft or a bold pattern to turn heads? There are many things to consider, which is why we've put together this handy guide to help! Then check out our ranking of the top 10 best pleated skirts, available at John Lewis and ASOS. We've got pleats on repeat, with choices from Mango, French Connection and L.K.Bennett accounting for every shape from petite to plus size.
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If you're looking to buy a pleated skirt, you've come to the right place! We've got heaps of tips that will help you find a piece that you'll love. From material to length, there are lots to think about, so let's get started!
Pleated skirts are made from all kinds of materials - from popular options like cotton and polyester to more obscure fabrics like denim and chiffon. Let's talk through the benefits of each one to help you pick the most suitable skirt for you.
Skirts made from a woven fabric of polyester and elastane are strong and durable with a slight stretch. The fabric usually contains just a small percentage of elastane which helps the material feel less rigid, improving overall comfort. Aside from comfort levels, this is a very durable option as the fibres are much stronger than many other materials such as cotton - hence why it's such a popular choice.
Polyester blends can either be textured-woven or plain-woven. Plain woven fabrics are created in a simple weave with a basic criss-cross pattern, making the skirt particularly strong and durable.
Textured-woven fabrics are created with a textured weave, which is used predominantly for looks. They often have a slightly rugged texture, which gives a plain coloured skirt a unique and interesting appearance.
Used primarily for jeans, 100% cotton denim is a comfortable option for pleated skirts too. Non-stretch denim is often a bit stiff at first, but once it's been worn and washed a few times, it begins to feel soft and light against your skin.
Denim is also a hardwearing fabric that will last a long time, even if you wear it a lot. As it's a thick material, it can easily withstand tears and rips, making it ideal for everyday wear. Denim is also less likely to get damaged through rigorous washing, unlike some other popular materials.
Polyester yarn can be used to make all kinds of fabrics, most notably chiffon and towelling. As this manmade fibre is long-lasting, it's a great option for skirts! It holds its shape and dye well, so it shouldn't lose its colour or shape when washed.
Chiffon is a popular, lightweight material, often made from polyester. This thin, sheer fabric gives pleated skirts a stylish shimmer and float that'll keep you cool in the warmer days and looks expensive, making it perfect for those special summer occasions.
On the other hand, polyester fibres can also be used to make thick fabrics like towelling. This material has a soft, comfortable texture which is ideal for anyone who often finds fabrics to be too rough against the skin.
Viscose and polyamide blends (also called nylon) are stretchy and extremely soft. Viscose is an inexpensive material that feels velvety to the touch and shines like silk. Adding nylon brings a stretchy element, with the more nylon used, the more give the fabric will have.
This material forms a knitted jersey fabric that's breathable, making it ideal for those warm summer days. It's also absorbent, meaning it won't trap in heat, and prevents sweating - no more feeling hot and sticky with this one!
The fabric flows nicely, too, making it the perfect choice for an elegant skirt. It hangs well and provides the classic floaty skirt look, creating a stylish piece that you'll feel comfortable wearing all day!
Nope, not every pleated skirt is the same! There are multiple styles of pleats, such as knife pleats, kick pleats and accordion pleats, and knowing a little about each will help you pick the right skirt.
Knife pleats are sharp, narrow, and face the same direction. They create a neat and uniform look with a slightly vintage vibe. Top-stitched pleats have the top of the pleat sewn down so that they begin a little lower on the skirt. These pleats are usually sewn between the waist and the hip to provide more definition, which stops them from bunching up around the waist, creating a flattering finish.
Accordion pleats are the thinnest type and provide the up and down movement of an accordion! They give the skirt a delicate, floaty feel as the pleats move while you walk, creating a visually pleasing rippling effect that's wonderful for keeping cool on hot days.
Do you have an hourglass shape with wide hips and a small waist? If so, you'll understand the annoyance of finding a gap at the back of the skirt! The solution is to buy a pleated skirt with an elasticated waist. This will fit the skirt to your body shape, providing a comfortable feel - all the way around!
Elastic waistbands are non-restricting and can actually improve blood circulation. Some non-elasticated skirts can reduce blood flow and put pressure on the stomach, which can cause heartburn, acid reflux or even nerve damage. However, as long as you find the right size, they shouldn't cause you any problems.
Pleated skirts have different lengths and hems, the main types being midi, mini, hanky hem and one-length. Make sure you know what each of these styles is so you can find a skirt that compliments your figure!
Midi skirts fall around the mid-calf, making them less restrictive than maxi skirts whilst still offering good coverage. This length is often recommended for tall women, as they even out proportions and flow nicely on a tall frame.
Look out especially for a midi skirt with a hanky hem. The rise and fall pattern of a hanky hem pulls attention away from the hips to the lower part of the body as it gently swishes with movement. This looks super flattering whilst also adding a creative and artistic feel to your outfit.
Mini skirts sit between your hips and thighs and are a great hack for making petite girls appear taller. Minis reveal more leg, giving the appearance that your legs are longer, especially when worn with high heels.
A hem that's all one length works especially well with a mini skirt. The straight cut hem keeps a solid structure, helping the skirt maintain its neat a-line shape. Plus, it's an ideal cut for pleated skirts.
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Mini Pleated Tennis Skirt
A Hardwearing Denim Skirt That's so Flattering
Plus Wrap Pleated Mini Skirt
Larger Sizes for Plus Size Figures
Royal Ascot Koller Polka Dot Pleated Skirt
A Thick Floaty Fabric Fit For the Races
Mini Pleated Tennis Skirt
Create a Professional Look With This Structured Skirt
Tall Pleated Tennis Skirt With Belt
Secure With a Belt for a Perfect Fit
Ali Pleated Midi Skirt
Turn Heads With a Fun Contrasting Hanky Hem
Sleeveless Blazer and Mini Tennis Skirt
A Playful Pink Two-Piece With a Button Closure
Pleated Midi Skirt
A Lightweight Accordion Pleated Skirt
Mini Pleated Tennis Skirt in Fluffy Towelling
A Super Soft Towelling Mini for Summer
Striped Pleated Midi Skirt
A Unique Skirt With a Jersey Texture
Denim skirts often come in a tight-fitting design, which doesn't fit people with larger hips. But don't worry, we've found this stand-out denim skater skirt that leaves plenty of room around the hips. The pleats are even sewn at the top to stop them from bunching up, creating a flattering finish.
It's 100% cotton, too, which will ensure that the material is hard-wearing and strong. It'll also feel nice and soft even after you've washed it a few times, and with a handy zip, it's quick and easy to get the skirt on and off.
Next, we have a plus-sized skirt that starts from size 16 and goes up until size 24, which is handy if you're curvy and struggle to find clothing that fits. It also comes with an adhesive patch fastening, making it super easy and quick to get dressed.
The beautiful top-stitched pleats and light material give this skirt wonderful movement as it swishes around while you walk. It even has some stretch to it, and the fabric will feel soft and supple, making it a stylish yet comfortable choice.
Here's a skirt that's been officially licensed for the Royal Ascot 2021, so you know this is an elegant piece fit for a lady! The fabric is floaty and slightly sheer, but it's also fairly thick, so you don't need to worry about it ripping or tearing. All in all, this pleated piece will make you look superbly sophisticated for your next special occasion!
This skirt has a gorgeous hanky hem that looks flattering and adds to the ladylike flow whilst you're on the move. It also features a unique polka-dot design that adds an interesting element, with the black and pink colours complimenting each other perfectly.
This skirt has a particularly nice shape as the material it's made from is thick, so it holds its structure, providing a neat, professional finish. The fabric also has a visible texture, making it appear more interesting as well as giving it a nice feel.
The material contains a fairly large percentage of elastane, too, which will give the skirt some stretch and stop it from feeling rigid. Plus, it's a mini-skirt, so it'll make petite girls appear taller creating a really flattering look!
This pleated tennis skirt doesn't have an elasticated waist, but it does have a belt! It's a great alternative for anyone who finds elastic waists uncomfortable, as you'll still be able to adjust it to fit your figure. This skirt also has a slightly larger knife pleat, which looks super neat, making it perfect for both smart-casual and occasion wear.
The material also contains a small percentage of elastane, making it a little more stretchy and comfortable. Plus, the fabric has a slight texture, so it'll feel nicer against your skin and adds some interest to the block-coloured fabric.
If you're searching for something a bit different, take a look at the contrasting hem on this skirt - the bottom is a light shade of blue, and the top is dark, providing a striking shape that will certainly turn heads! It also a hanky hem, which will draw attention to your ankles, which is great if you want to show off some new statement shoes.
The skirt does run a little large, so it's best to buy a bigger size so that it doesn't fall from the waist. Nevertheless, this is an ideal choice for anyone who wants to dabble in colourful outfits but prefers neutral pieces as it has a slight pop of colour without going too overboard!
If you're wondering what to wear with your pleated skirt, this outfit comes as a two-piece - you have the option to purchase both the blazer and skirt or just buy one. The pleated skirt has a button closure, so the zip doesn't go all the way up to the waistband, which adds comfort.
However, you can only wash this skirt by hand, so it's going to take a little more time and effort to look after. That said, it comes in a lovely subtle pink colour that compliments the white checks well, creating a stylish summer look.
The sheer chiffon fabric of this skirt will float in the breeze and feel lightweight, which is just what you want from a pleated midi. It has accordion pleats, which are thin and fall in a zig-zag pattern, adding to the stylish floaty effect.
Although the material is lightweight, it's also a bit delicate, which might make this skirt tear easily. But, you can also get similar versions of this skirt in the curve, maternity, petite and tall ranges, so you'll easily be able to find a good fit no matter your size.
We simply must talk about the texture of this skirt! It has a fluffy towel-like finish, which will feel gorgeous against your skin, making you feel super comfy whenever you crack it out of the wardrobe. The fabric is also absorbent, which is perfect for keeping sweat at bay during hot days!
The elastic in the waist is a bit tight, so there's a possibility that it could get twisted inside the fabric, which could cause discomfort. However, this feature will likely suit people who generally don't fit into standard dress sizes.
This skirt is a truly unique find! Most pleated skirts are made from polyester or cotton, but this one has a knitted jersey texture that feels soft to the touch. Although it's thicker than some other options, the fabric is breathable so that it can be worn in the heat as well as the cold.
Unfortunately, this skirt doesn't have particularly defined pleats, making the shape look a little messy. However, it is a light blue/grey colour with black lined stripes which is perfect for a sophisticated office look.
Now it's time to pick the shoes and accessories to wear with your skirt! Espadrilles and boots work particularly well with pleated skirts, and they come in all sorts of designs and colours. Then, top off the look with a few delicate hair clips. We've even put together some more handy guides to help you choose!
There you have it! You've read our tips and seen the best skirts available to buy online. Whether you're looking for a mini skirt or a longer length for a special occasion, we hope you've found a nice new addition to your wardrobe.
Author: Rosa Fairfield
No. 1: Daisy Street｜Mini Pleated Tennis Skirt
No. 2: COLLUSION｜Plus Wrap Pleated Mini Skirt
No. 3: L.K.Bennett｜Royal Ascot Koller Polka Dot Pleated Skirt
No. 4: ASOS DESIGN｜Mini Pleated Tennis Skirt
No. 5: Parisian｜Tall Pleated Tennis Skirt With Belt
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