I present to you a pleated kaleidoscope.


The word ‘pleats’ may call forward images of stiff, canvas-like skirts with large, unattractive panels, because admittedly pleats from styles-past weren’t always the prettiest. But if I say ‘micro-pleats’, your mind should be eased by images of billowy, cascading layers of satin, poly and silks. Micro-pleats, or often referred to as just pleats nowadays, are forgiving and easy to dress up or down, but elevate an outfit all the same. They also work for every season, so your future Fall, Winter, Spring (and NEXT Summer) self will thank you for incorporating pleats into your wardrobe.


Shown from left: 1.State Colorblock Pleated Blouse, Zara Matching Pleated T-Shirt, H&M Pleated Top, A New Day Pleated Cami, Zara Pleated Ruffle Top, BCBGMaxazria Colorblock Blouse

Pleated tops come in all kinds of styles and sleeve lengths. Some styles are 100% pleat, and others have pleated detailing like the casual but crisp white Zara T-Shirt. Pleated tops pair just as well with jeans as they do with dress pants, but no matter what you pair them with, the top will pretty much do all the talking for your outfit.


Shown: Express High Waisted Pleated Cropped Pull-On Pant, Sanctuary The Everyday Pleated Skirt, Max Mara Pagode Pleated Georgette Pants, H&M Pleated Satin Skirt, H&M Pleated Skirt, Maeve Paulina Pleated Midi Skirt

While I typically pair a pleated bottom with a formfitting top and blazer, you can get creative with your pairings! A chunky knit is a fun twist for the cooler months. One thing to be cognizant of when wearing maxi anything including dresses *up next*, is your shoe selection! Although stiletto heels look killer with pleats, they can snag the hem. If you’re going to do a lot of walking (or dancing), stick to block or wedge heels to avoid snagging.


Shown: Scotch & Soda Pleated Midi Dress, BCBGMaxazria Satin Plisse Day Dress, Ted Baker Edra Masquerade Pleated Maxi Dress, Express Pleated Color Block Maxi Dress, H&M Striped Button-front Kaftan, Zara Pleated Dress With Belt

The easiest of them all, pleated dresses are a one-hit-wonder that are constantly in my outfit rotation. Slip on a pleated dress with a great pair of sandals or heels, blazer or cardigan in case you get cold or need to hide straps for a meeting, and you have nailed the simplest outfit in a majorly chic way.

The world of pleats is endless. Pleated styles I didn’t touch on, but that are very much available, include jumpsuits, handbags, shoes, scrunchies and more! New and fresh options are released seasonally, but with the right (for you) color and pattern selections you can get wear out of separates year-round, for years on end, which is why this is one of my wardrobe essentials. It’s a versatile and polished style that’s easy to incorporate in any outfit. What more could you need?

What are your favorite pleated looks?

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