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The 14 Best Pleated Skirts in 2023, Stylist

Jul 25, 2023Jul 25, 2023

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Get ready to twirl in one of these on-trend essentials

InStyle / David Hattan

Like so many other 90s fashion nuggets (slip dresses, platform sandals, and cargo pants, we are talking about you!) pleated skirts are having a serious moment this summer — and they are here to stay, says Lauren Rae Levy Vigneron, a Los Angeles based stylist, consultant and founder of the LRL Group. However, don’t think you have to go full Cher Horowitz å la Clueless with a yellow plaid mini and knee socks to tap into the trend. In fact, Boston-based fashion expert Bethany Everett-Ratcliffe maintains that most of the hottest pleated skirts this season are basically elevated basics to swap out with other bottoms, like jeans, or shorts, offering an “easy way to look seamlessly elegantly and put together, with next to no effort.”

Most of the pleated skirts that made our list will easily transition into the fall and winter seasons, and those to come. "Pleated skirts are timeless. It has been a fashion staple for decades and easily elevates any outfit," adds Veronica Tan, senior director of apparel and accessories at Quince.

Related: The 16 Best Skirts of 2023 to Welcome Warmer Weather

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What We Love: The perfect low-maintenance but refined pleated pull-on skirt available in colors and sizes for almost everyone.

What We Don’t Love: Shoppers complain that the skirt runs big, so size down.

Both Michaela Leitz-Aslaksen, a Germany-based plus-sized stylist, and Everett-Ratcliffe chose J.Crew’s perfect satiny pleated skirt as one of their top picks. “When it comes to non-drab workpieces, J.Crew is my go-to. This skirt comes in all the best colors for the office, including camel and navy. I also can’t get over that it’s a pull-on skirt,” says Everett-Ratcliffe.

Leitz-Aslaksen adds the high-rise, lightweight skirt “flows graceful,” is fully lined, and most importantly, is wrinkle-resistant, “making it a low maintenance wardrobe essential.” We also appreciate that it comes in a wide range of sizes, from XXS to 3X, making it essential for all body types. But shoppers do warn that it runs big, so make sure to size down.

Price at time of publish: $128

Size: XXS—3X | Material: Polyester | Colors: 5

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What We Love: Budget-friendly and available in endless color options, this A-line pleated skirt is universally flattering and timeless.

What We Don’t Love: Sizing is a little wonky — we recommend sizing up.

This Grace Karin style is everything you need in a pleated skirt. “It features a high-waist and classic A-line style that's incredibly flattering for most women,” says Leitz-Aslaksen. The knee-length number also comes in a wide variety of color variations, ranging from the basics to powerful prints “offering stylish options for any wardrobe.” The only complaint reviewers have about the skirt has to do with sizing — it runs small. So be sure to size up.

Price at time of publish: $37

Size: S—XXL | Material: 98% Polyester, 2% Vicose | Colors: 32

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What We Love: This splurge-worth designer skirt will never go out of style.

What We Don’t Love: It has limited sizing.

The most splurge-worthy pleated skirt on Leitz-Aslaksen’s wish list is from Alexander McQueen’s latest collection, a timeless piece worth investing in, according to the stylist. She loves the high-waist, classic cut, and dramatic flare, which “fits every shape and stands out as a very special piece in any wardrobe,” she says. While the skirt comes in a totally versatile black, she gravitates toward the “luxurious jade green color.” Unfortunately, the limited size range (and hefty price tag) makes this designer showpiece unattainable for most people.

Price at time of publish: $1,290

Size: 36—46 | Material: Polyester | Colors: 2

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What We Love: Designed to flatter fuller figures, this comfortable pleated patterned midi is eye-catching to say the least.

What We Don’t Love: While the pattern is absolutely gorgeous, we wish it was offered in solids as well.

Leitz-Aslaksen calls this Halogen midi the “perfect summer piece” offering a “flattering silhouette” at an affordable price. “It features a beautiful abstract floral design and two slits for enhanced leg movement and to prevent sliding up,” she says. Patterned in a medley of gorgeous, reds, oranges, pinks, and greens, the pattern is eye-catching and easy to match. You only need a white tank and a pair of sandals to complete your look. The only major con? Unfortunately, it is only available in one pattern and zero solid colors.

Price at time of publish: $99

Size: 1X—3X | Material: Polyester | Colors: 1

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What We Love: A cotton knit pleated mini that is anything but boring, this skirt is anything but boring.

What We Don’t Love: Unfortunately, the skirt only comes in cream, which will show basically every type of stain imaginable.

Basics shouldn’t have to mean boring, reminds Everett-Ratcliffe, “and this A-line mini is anything but.” Reformation’s pleated mini is designed out of a super soft and creamy cotton knit material, which “can be dressed up or down with ease,” she says. While the waist is meant to be fitted, the elastic band gives a little for comfort. She recommends going uber-preppy with the look, by adding a matching polo sweater.” Our only complaint? The skirt is only available in Gossamer, a creamy color prone to showing every type of stain.

Price at time of publish: $148

Size: XS—XL | Material: Cotton | Colors: 1

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What We Love: This elegant, pleated midi skirt is the “epitome of perfection” – and sustainably made to boot.

What We Don’t Love: If there is one change we could make to the (almost) perfect pleated skirt, it would be adding elastic to the waistline.

“No one does chic better than the French and this skirt proves it!” says Everett-Ratcliffe. Lined in viscose with a side zip closure, and made with recycled material “this $150 pleated midi skirt is the epitome of perfection,” she maintains. She loves all three of the dreamy color options, including vintage blue and coral, and also a blue and white pattern. If you are in-between sizes, the brand suggests ordering up. The only change we would make to the design? An elastic waist, for added comfort.

Price at time of publish: $150

Size: 2—14 | Material: Recycled Polyester | Colors: 3

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What We Love: This long, pleated skirt features a powerful print and clever design details.

What We Don’t Love: The brand doesn’t give exact length measurements, so it might be too long or too short for some people.

What is super long, designed with one of the most beautiful non-floral patterns we’ve ever seen and surprisingly comfortable? This incredible skirt from ba&sh. “Not to say that florals aren’t amazing, but this print gives the skirt a stylish look without being too overtly feminine,” says Everett-Ratcliffe. One of our favorite things about this style is the wide waistband and hidden zipper with smocking on the back for extra give. Available in two color options, both a bold, sunray pattern. While the company maintains it runs “true-to-size” they don’t specify how long it is, which might be an issue for some people.

Price at time of publish: $325

Size: XS—XL | Material: 96% Polyester, 4% Elastane | Colors: 2

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Buy at

What We Love: What’s not to love about a denim skirt with old school pleats?

What We Don’t Love: The divine denim skirt requires dry cleaning.

Alice + Olivia took the traditional denim skirt and added a twist — or, more specifically, pleats. “The fact that denim is trending makes me happy, and this skirt has been on my personal wishlist,” Everett-Ratcliff. As for what she plans on styling it with, drop the mic: “Matching denim pieces,” she says. Sizes have been selling out on some online retailer’s websites, so if you find yours order it ASAP. If you like the style, the Carter also comes in four vegan leather options. If you don’t have an account at the dry cleaners, you might want to keep scrolling: You can’t wash this skirt at home.

Price at time of publish: $265

Size: 24—32 | Material: Cotton | Colors: 1

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What We Love: This sophisticated and feminine skirt feels oh-so-silky against the skin.

What We Don’t Love: Silk has a tendency to lose its pleat and show every sign of liquid, including sweat.

If you are dreaming of an all-silk pleated skirt, you might want to reconsider: It’s actually almost impossible to find one. The problem with the fine fabric, that feels incredibly good on your skin, is that it wrinkles easily and refuses to keep a pleat. This is why most pleated skirts are made out of polyester or cotton. However, if you are willing to downplay the pleats, this Lilysilk side-zippered skirt is a great option. Made out of stretchy Mulberry silk, the elegant and feminine number falls below the knees and features two perfectly placed pleats in the front with a hidden side zipper. But keep in mind, silk wrinkles and tends to show any liquid, including sweat. Professional dry cleaning recommended.

Price at time of publish: $115

Size: 26—33 | Material: Mulberry Silk | Colors: 2

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What We Love: An elevated basic that if fully lined with a sheer chiffon twirly pleated skirt.

What We Don’t Love: According to reviewers, sizing is inconsistent.

Quince, the brand famous for elevated basics at a fraction of the price compared to the competition, nailed it with this chiffon pleated midi skirt, which Tan calls a “great closet staple.” Fully lined with a semi-sheer accordion pleated layer, it is incredibly easy. “I love that it is made with a low maintenance, wrinkle-resistant fabric that can be dressed up or down,” she says. Levy Vigneron adds that you can wear it from desk to dinner, “just by changing your top and shoes.” She suggests pairing it with a black silk or stain cami and a strappy heel, or for a casual look, “go for a fun printed boxy tee [or a cool old/ vintage concert tee] and tie it in a knot in the back or on the side right where the skirt starts and pair with some clean white sneakers or flat sandals to complete the look.” The under-$50 pricetag also makes it a must-buy. Sizing seems to be inconsistent, with reviewers split on whether it runs large or small.

Price at time of publish: $50

Size: XS—XL | Material: Polyester | Colors: 2

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What We Love: This vegan leather pleated skirt comes in a long and short version, and both are perfect.

What We Don’t Love: Unfortunately, the skirt only comes in black.

Everett-Ratcliffe says that Mango nailed it with their vegan leather pleated skirt, which is “long, sleek, super stylish, vegan-friendly, and is size inclusive for under $100.” The skirt is so good, it also comes in a mini version for $20 less. “I feel like I need both, and you might want to consider them both too,” she says. Another plus? You don’t have to bring it to the dry cleaner and can hand wash it instead. Unfortunately, the skirt is only available in black.

Price at time of publish: $90

Size: XXS—4XL | Material: Polyester, Polyurethane Coated | Colors: 1

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Buy at

What We Love: The perfect tennis skirt for wearing on or off the court, you are going to want it in every color.

What We Don’t Love: The size range is limited, only going up to a large.

This season there are tons of cute tennis skirts to wear on and off the court, but Alo has pretty much perfected the trend with their Varsity style. Offered in five colorways, including black, white and brand new limited edition pink, “this skirt is a MUST for the athlete and the athleisure lover alike,” says Everett-Ratcliffe. “With inner shorts and a hidden pocket, you can actually wear this to play tennis.” Or not. I have been wearing mine nonstop this summer in lieu of shorts, and I am hooked. Not only is it insanely cute but also comfortable, and goes with pretty much everything. As for length, the skirt hits mid-size but length varies by size, so it’s best to check the Alo website for details. Our only gripe? Like most Alo products, the skirt only sizes up to a Large.

Price at time of publish: $72

Size: XXS—L | Material: Nylon and Spandex | Colors: 5

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What We Love: With one of four fun patterns, this laid-back pleated skirt will brighten up your look.

What We Don’t Love: Because of the airy cotton material, plan on pulling out the iron after laundering.

Pleasantly casual, the Boden pleated cotton skirt shines as the best pleated skirt with print, says Leitz-Aslaksen. “This airy skirt boasts a fun, uplifting, and slightly artsy colorful abstract paisley design,” she says. She also appreciates its “truly size-inclusive range from 2-22,” crisp cotton fabric, and above-knee cut. “It's perfect for both everyday wear and holiday occasions,” she adds. The only negative about the material? You will likely have to iron after washing.

Price at time of publish: $96

Size: 2—2 | Material: Cotton | Colors: 4

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What We Love: With a clever hemline and comfort-focused details, this killer skirt is perfect for working girls.

What We Don’t Love: The material is very delicate, so keep away from pets and sharp objects.

Leitz-Aslaksen selected The LilySilk Pleated Handkerchief Skirt as her top pick for the best overall pleated skirt, an essential for anyone who is no longer working from home. “This pressed pleat skirt stays in shape without requiring extra care and can be effortlessly worn in all seasons, making it a fantastic addition to any wardrobe,” she says about the polyester-spandex blend skirt, lined in silk. She also appreciates its versatile matte pleat design and the fact that it comes in a size range from XS to 2XL. Be forewarned: The delicate material is prone to snagging, and the brand warns to keep it away from pets and sharp objects.

Price at time of publish: $149

Size: XS—2XL | Material: 97% Polyester, 3% Spandex, Silk lining | Colors: 2

Everett-Ratcliffe explains that most pleated skirts are made of polyester, and for good reason: Flimsier fabrics (including linen and silk) are less likely to keep a pleat. While a lot of the polyester styles on our list are machine washable and low tumble dry, she recommends hanging them to air dry “which will help them keep their shape,” she explains. If they do start to lose their pleats, you can carefully iron them on a low setting.

Leitz-Aslaksen adds that can also find pleated skirts in wool, cotton and even silkier blends. If you do settle on a silk or silk blend, you might have to splurge for dry cleaning, she says. Whatever fabric you choose, she notes that you avoid wringing or twisting the fabric to keep the pleats in check.

Length plays a significant role in the style of a pleated skirt, says Leitz-Aslaksen. “Mini pleated skirts exude a playful, youthful vibe,” she says. Midi, on the other hand, “strikes a balance between comfort and sophistication.” Maxi pleated skirts “create a dramatic, flowing silhouette,” she adds. “Each length offers unique styling opportunities, allowing you to express your personal style while enjoying the timeless appeal of a pleated skirt.”

As for styling, Everett Ratcliffe maintains that the options are endless with most. For example, sneakers and a graphic sweatshirt or a high-neck bodysuit and sandals work with most lengths. However, when it comes to styling a maxi, she typically encourages wearing heels with a maxi, “to keep the hem off the ground.”

While many of the expert picks have higher waistlines, Levy Vigneron maintains that like the new denim trend, some designers are dropping their waistlines. “It has been a hot minute since we have seen low riders, but this year we are seeing both midi and maxi pleated skirts that hang just above, and from, the hips,” she says.

Styling a pleated skirt depends on the occasion and your personal style, says Leitz-Aslaksen. “For a casual look, pair a mini or midi pleated skirt with a graphic tee or casual top, sneakers, and minimal accessories,” she says. For a more polished ensemble, style a midi or maxi pleated skirt with a blouse, camisole or sweater, heels or ankle boots, and statement jewelry. “Experiment with patterns, textures, and layers to create a unique outfit that suits your taste.”

Yes, pleated skirts can lose their pleats over time, especially if not cared for properly, Leitz-Aslaksen. Some materials, including silk and cotton, are more prone to losing pleats.

Pleated skirts can flatter various body shapes, depending on the length and style. “Generally, midi and maxi pleated skirts create a balanced silhouette, suitable for most body types,” says Leitz-Aslaksen. Mini pleated skirts work well for petite figures, while high-waisted pleated skirts accentuate the waist and create a flattering silhouette for hourglass or pear-shaped figures. “The key is to find a pleated skirt that complements your body shape and makes you feel confident and comfortable,” she recommends.

Leah Groth is a commerce writer-slash-former style and beauty editor and lover of pleated skirts. In order to find the best pleated skirts she tested several styles and also consulted top stylists (Michaela Leitz-Aslaksen, Bethany Everett-Ratcliffe and Lauren Rae Levy Vigneron) and brand director Veronica Tan.

Related: The 14 Best Tennis Skirts of 2023 to Wear On Or Off the Court

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