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How Do I Choose the Best Pleated Skirt?

Alex Tree
Alex Tree

To choose the best pleated skirt, determine what kind of pleat, skirt length, and fabric quality best suit you. The type of pleat used can affect the fit of the skirt; for example, kick pleats are often used on slim skirts for both aesthetics and proper fit around the lower legs. Length is also important, but depends on where you intend to wear the skirt; for example, professional business offices sometimes have dress codes that require knee-length or longer skirts. Lastly, quality affects the overall appearance and longevity of all clothing. Sometimes purchasing a high-quality pleated skirt can be a better investment than three or more low-quality skirts.

There are different kinds of pleats, though not all of them are used for skirts. Look at pleated skirts or pictures of pleated skirts to see the sometimes subtle differences between pleats. Knife pleats and kick pleats are commonly used on modern skirts.

Length is an importance consideration when choosing a pleated skirt.
Length is an importance consideration when choosing a pleated skirt.

To choose the best pleated skirt, know the appropriate length to purchase. If you cannot try on the skirt in the store to determine whether you like the length, measure a skirt you already own. Start measuring from the waist and end at the bottom of the skirt; do not stretch the fabric, but make sure it is straight. Use this measurement to determine what length is best for you when ordering online or by phone.

There are several different styles of pleats.
There are several different styles of pleats.

If the pleated skirt is business-wear, knee-length is ideal and appropriate in many countries. The skirt should easily cover the thighs when in a sitting position. Longer skirts are also appropriate in many business environments, but the garment should not hinder your movement. Dark, solid colors are usually best for the office or job interviews; think navy blue, black, and gray. You can deviate from this somewhat; for example, a pleated skirt that has a subtle weave or is light blue rather than dark might also look professional.

Choosing the best pleated skirt also involves paying close attention to quality. A hefty price tag does not guarantee a high-quality skirt, but generally quality is not cheap. Purchasing a low-quality pleated skirt can quickly lead to pilling, which is when the fabric encounters friction and forms little balls on its surface. Some fabrics, like certain synthetics, are more prone to pilling than others. Pilling can happen during the first wear and make the second, third, and following wears look like you are wearing a garment purchased years ago.

Discussion Comments


To me this question seems quite simple.

Shopping is supposed to be fun, so have fun! If it looks good on you, and you like it, and it fits the appropriate guidelines, go for it!

If you are thinking of showing the whole world your world, with a skirt that could be a napkin, please do not go for it. Everyone, including yourself, will be happy that you didn't.

The more money you spend the better quality you will get. This is true only to a degree though. If you go to a majorly expensive store, you are paying for the name brand more than you are the quality. There is a happy middle ground. Don't spend your entire paycheck on one article of clothing, but don't spend your last two dollars on something you plan to wear more than a few times.


Here are my best tips for choosing a pleated skirt:

First, you have to figure out what your personal style is.

Second, where and when are you going to wear this pleated skirt, or whatever it is that you are buying?

Third, make sure if you are wearing the skirt, or any article of clothing, somewhere formal or that has a particular dress-code to make sure it fits into the specific criteria.

Fourth, determine what colors/patterns you want based on what you like, what you can wear with it, and what is most appropriate for your life and lifestyle.

Fifth, if you care about what is in style, make sure it is in style. If you do not care as much, do not worry about it.


A pleated mini skirt can look really nice, though some that I have seen lately can look way too short. The wind blows, and your entire bottom is showing. I think that pleated minis can still look cute a little longer, like mid thigh, and then you don't risk showing off too much...even on schoolgirls, that look isn't innocent and cute, it's too revealing. On grown women, it's just sort of desperate, to me.


These days there are a lot of pleated skirts in solids and other patterns besides plaid. I really like the ones with lots of tiny pleats, because they have that neat look without billowing out too much, which is especially good if you are curvy, and pleats risk just adding extra bulk to your front.


I do remember when pleated skirts were really in style. I had a white pleated skirt that I wore with many things. I always took good care of it and sent it to the cleaners when it needed to be cleaned.

This way the pleats always stayed looking like they were supposed to. I haven't seen any adult pleated skirts in the clothing stores for a long time.

I was recently browsing Lands End online site and saw an adult pleated skirt. I was a little surprised when I saw this and wonder if I will start to see more of them again.


@starrynight - I bet to differ. I don't think plaid pleated skirts will ever go out of style. Now, they may not be that cute when they hit below the knee, but that's another issue! In my opinion, there's something about a short pleated skirt that looks cute, but the long ones just look frumpy to me.

So maybe a short pleated skirt isn't an appropriate office look, but I think it's fine for women to wear on weekend or for going out.


I really don't think any kind of pleated skirt is appropriate for an adult woman. I think we should just leave the schoolgirl look to schoolgirls. Especially if you work in an office! You should be dressing like an adult, not a child.

Also, I'm pretty sure pleated skirts aren't even in style anymore, and haven't been for a number of years. I can't remember the last time I saw a pleated skirt in the adult section at the store. I'll take a nice pencil skirt any day of the week!


I am a little overweight and I have to be careful with most pleated skirt patterns because they tend to make me look wider which is something I try to avoid.

I really can’t wear anything with a plaid pattern because it does make me look bigger. I usually stick with A line dresses and skirt patterns that make my waist look smaller and deemphasize my hips. I always were longer skirts that are well past my knees.


At the office I work for long pleated skirts are one of the things on our approved work attire list. I honestly don't mind the restrictions on our wardrobe because a black pleated skirt goes with just about anything.

I think there was some trouble in the past with women wearing inappropriate clothing to work, which lead to the head office putting in such a strict dress code. I have to agree, if you want to be professional, wearing a short pleated skirt to the office is just going to get you in trouble. I think a good rule of thumb is just a bit below the knees.


I absolutely love a plaid pleated skirt because they look fantastic and can really help you pull of that sassy school girl look that is so popular. In Japan they actually sell oodles of pleated uniform skirts, to students and non-students alike, because the school girl look is always a big hit.

For myself I have a variety of plaid pleated skirts in a wide assortment of colors. I think a longer cardigan and simple white blouse go great with them.

Also, if you really want to capture the look from Japan you have to make sure you have the loose socks that make your legs look extra trim.

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    • Length is an importance consideration when choosing a pleated skirt.
      By: Denis Aglichev
      Length is an importance consideration when choosing a pleated skirt.
    • There are several different styles of pleats.
      By: Paul Vinten
      There are several different styles of pleats.