10 Ways to Wear the Hot Pleated Skirt Trend This Fall (PHOTOS)

If you attended private school, you will forever associate pleats with short tartan skirts that made your bare legs itch like crazy once spring hit. It took a very long time for me to shake this memory and begin incorporating pleats into my adult wardrobe, but once I did, I found they can look magical!

If you're on the fence about trying this super fall trend -- which has popped up on major runways the last few seasons and still proved a hit this fall at Jason Wu, Chloe, and Stella McCartney -- here are a few hints on how to wear pleats and not look like a pig-tailed schoolgirl, along with fashion inspiration. 

A pleated skirt can be very flattering to all body types because it glides with the body. If you choose to wear one, avoid pairing it with boots, unless you're going for an Empire Records-retro '90s look. You'll probably find that heels, rather than flats, really complement pleats. Make sure the hem is no more than one inch above the knee to avoid looking like a young Britney Spears. Or make your look really of-the-moment and go even longer with a midi skirt or pleated maxi.

Tuck a pretty blouse or tee into your pleated skirt so that you highlight the waistband, which avoids a frumpy look.

Remember that there are different kinds of pleats and each performs its own brand of body magic. If you're self-conscious about your bottom, stay away from voluminous pleats and stick with stitched-down pleats. 

Look for pleated skirts in dresses made from grown-up materials like real or faux leather and classic wool. All the better if your skirt is a color that would have been banned at your school.

Don't limit yourself to just pleated skirts. There are so many sweet tops, formal dresses, and even shoes and coats with pleats that it's easy to dig into this trend even if you can't bring yourself to try an accordion-pleated skirt. 

For more fashion inspiration, check out the slideshow. 

Will you be wearing pleats this season? 

 

Image via Asos.com

  • Pleated Skirt

    1

    The real trick to making a pleated skirt work after age 17 is to drop the hemline, and choose one in a grown-up material like real or faux leather. 

    Mini Pleat Faux Leather Skirt ($46) by Miss Selfridge

  • Pleated Skirt

    2

    A pleated skirt is perfect for the office if you choose a classic fabric like wool and keep it young and fresh in an energetic shade like tangerine.

    Lauren Ralph Lauren Skirt, Pleated Wool ($189) at Macy's.

  • Pleated Skirt

    3

    Not too short, not too long -- this cream skirt's voluminous pleats are insanely romantic. Toughen it up a bit with opaque black tights, a tucked-in lightweight black cashmere sweater, and classic heels. 

    A Love Like This Pleated Skirt ($42.99) at Ruche.

  • Pleated Dress

    4

    A long pleated dress in a sweet rose color makes you stand out at any formal occasion. 

    Hydrangea Maxi Dress in Rose ($74.50) at Ruche

  • Pleated Dress

    5

    You can't beat a winning cocktail dress in an electric shade like cobalt that features strategically placed pleats meant to enhance your curves.

    Elegant Pleated Sleeveless Dress ($27.95) at Oasap.

  • Pleated Dress

    6

    You can't go wrong when you keep the shape of your dress classic. This black and white sleeveless sweater dress takes a timeless A-line shape and intensifies it just slightly with modern pleats. 

    Calvin Klein Pleated Dress ($128) at Piperlime.

  • Pleated Top

    7

    Wear pleats in an unexpected and fresh way. This sheer blouse in mustard is bursting with pleated details and can easily be worn during the day or at night.

    Petite Pleated Sheer Front Blouse ($49.50) at Ann Taylor Loft.

  • Pleated Top

    8

    Think of this as a poet’s blouse, but sharper. With romantic bishop sleeves and soft release pleats, this sweater effortlessly makes dark denim look more romantic.

    NY Collection Top ($22.98) at Macy's.

  • Pleated Coat

    9

    Just say yes to a pleated coat -- especially one that looks like it jumped off the pages of an enchanting storybook.

    One for the Storybooks Coat ($94.99) at Modcloth.

  • Pleated Shoes

    10

    So okay, I'm cheating a little since these loafer-style heels feature a fringe tassle and not really a true pleat -- but aren't they adorable? 

    In With the Fringe Crowd Heel ($183.99) at Modcloth.

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