How to Style Skirts, According to Fashion Experts

I'll be twirling into spring.

woman in white pleated skirt, blazer, and boots
(Image credit: Melodie Jeng/Getty Images)

From midi to maxi to micro, teeny-tiny, "that's more of a belt than a garment," let's talk skirts. While certain silhouettes result from viral fashion phenomena (looking at you, the Miu Miu mini), the garment itself is immune to the comings and goings of the trend cycle. It's perennial; like a good pair of jeans or a well-loved tee, the skirt is a forever favorite for all wardrobes. Ahead, two fashion stylists, Heather Newberger and Mickey Freeman, elaborate on why the item will always be pertinent and offer insight on how to style skirts of all lengths and materials—including, yes, the oft-debated mini skirt. You'll find a slew of skirt outfit ideas and an edit of options to shop for the upcoming spring and summer seasons.

What to Keep in Mind

  • Pay Attention to Proportions

"When styling skirts, always remember to opt for one that accentuates your unique silhouette," Freeman, a celebrity stylist who works with the likes of Keke Palmer and Sierra Capri, shares with Marie Claire over email. "It is, in most cases, a good idea to choose the garment that elongates, but you also want to consider that the overall look is relatively proportionate."

  • Consider Your Footwear

"More so than pants, I think skirts are a place where footwear can shine," Newberger expresses. "It’s super easy to dress up or down any skirt with the perfect shoe; Pairing a skirt that may feel too elevated can easily become cheeky with the right sneakers or chic with a pair of cream ankle boots that have a pointed toe," the stylists illustrates.

  • Break the Rules

Newberger urges you to, yes, consider a few styling guidelines but also that you throw the rulebook out the window on occasion. Experiment with a few skirt outfits featuring "two items you think would never go together [because they] might just go together—especially if one is a skirt," the stylist says. Her go-to unconventional combos are those that "become exaggerated versions of themselves: Pairing an oversized sweater with a micro mini; Finding a top that shows off your underboob and wearing it with a flowing maxi; Dressing down your midi with a pair of combat boots."

How to Style Maxi Skirts

woman in maxi skirt and white shirt

(Image credit: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)

"I feel like I’m always pushing a front tuck, but, for me, it’s the chicest way to style a maxi," Newberger expresses. "Whether it’s an oversized sweater, blouse, or tee, tucking the front into your maxi will highlight your curves and make sure you still read as sexy or adventurous, even if there isn’t a lot of skin showing." 

Freeman offers another approach to styling a long skirt: "An interesting way to style a maxi skirt is to go with a tastefully split one. The split will allow you to bring attention to a pair of intricately strapped sandals with a peek-a-boo effect, finished off with a top close to the body."

How to Style Midi Skirts

woman in brown midi skirt and colorful sweater

(Image credit: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)

"Midi skirts can be difficult to style," admits Newberger. "They don’t always end at the most flattering place and, if styled incorrectly, can quickly make you look much shorter and/or stouter than desired. Making the right choice in footwear can become extremely crucial at this juncture, and I urge anyone styling a midi not to wear shoes that feature ankle straps. Why? By creating a line of demarcation, they steal inches from your legs regardless of height," she explains.

Freeman, though, does have a fool-proof midi skirt outfit for you to try: "Wearing a cropped jacket, a softly tucked t-shirt, and a pair of statement trainers is a method that is easy to achieve while simultaneously playing up the skirt itself."

How to Style Mini Skirts

Gabriella Karefa-Johnson in a blue mini skrit, tee shirt, and yellow jacket.

(Image credit: Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images)

"When it comes to styling a mini skirt, you want to take into account how much of your body you're comfortable sharing," Newberger advises. "Mini is in the title—and, to me, many of the outfits that look best with one are often of the same variety. Crop tops and form-fitting shirts you can tuck into your skirt feel pervasive. However, I'm more inclined to suggest an oversized sweater as it's visually more interesting to pair pieces that work in opposition to one another," she admits. 

"I also love to style a mini with an oversized blazer that brushes right at the bottom," Newberger adds. "The intentionality of the oversized blazer both elevates and desexualizes the mini with ease." Freeman echoes her, saying that "mini skirts tend to have a youthful vibe that, when juxtaposed with a finely tailored blazer, results in a sophisticated yet hip look."

How to Style a Denim Skirt

woman in denim maxi skirt and sweater

(Image credit: Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images)

"When working with denim skirts, styling them with a delicate lace or silk top always creates the desired effect for me," Freeman says, adding that he enjoys the "rustic feel of denim seamlessly balanced out by the elegance and femininity of silks and/or lace." 

As for Newberger, she recommends test-driving a denim maxi skirt this spring. "There are so many great versions of this skirt hitting stores that play with texture and tone by using different types of washes and distressing." As for styling a long jean number, she advises choosing "a top that’s either oversized or cropped," as she's partial to "pieces that come prepared with their own points of view." 

How to Style a Pleated Skirt

woman in pleated skirt blazer and boots

(Image credit: Melodie Jeng/Getty Images)

"I like to play on the already striking texture pleated skirts naturally possess," Freeman describes. "A chunky and luxurious cable-knit sweater, paired with reptile-embossed boots seems to always to do the trick. Adding an element of sexiness is easily accomplished by way of the highest-heel boot one could pull off," the stylist of the stars advises.

How to Style a Leather Skirt

Lois Opoku in a leather skirt, tee shirt, and pink fur jacket

(Image credit: Christian Vierig/Getty Images)

"Leather skirts are usually easy to pair with other natural fabrics and textiles, for example, cotton and wool," details Freeman. Newberger echoes her fellow stylist on calling on contrasting textiles here: "There’s nothing that screams 'cool girl' louder in 2023 than having a deft hand at mixing textures, especially within the same color families. For instance, pairing a camel sweater with a walnut-colored leather skirt and caramel-colored snakeskin boots is...chef’s kiss."

Meet the Fashion Experts

Mickey Freeman
Mickey Freeman

Mitchell Freeman, also known as Mickey, is a fashion stylist born and raised in Philadelphia. Mickey currently works with the likes of Peyton List, McKenna Grace, Landry Bender, Aldis Hodge, Tobias Harris, Sinqua Walls, Dylan Sprouse, Azealia Banks, Keke Palmer, and Dascha Polanco. His work has been featured in publications such as GQ, Vogue, Marie Claire, Grazia, and L'Officiel. 

 Heather Newberger
Heather Newberger

Heather Newberger is a fashion stylist, author, and television commentator. Her mission is to help people find joy and self expression through clothing. An imaginative and discerning creative, Heather’s inspired point of view uniquely reflects her commitment to championing all genders, shapes, and sizes. She is devoted to creating inclusivity within the fashion industry. Heather’s first book "How to Date Your Wardrobe" is available for purchase wherever books are sold.

Emma Childs
Fashion Features Editor

Emma is the fashion features editor at Marie Claire, where she writes deep-dive trend reports, zeitgeisty fashion featurettes on what style tastemakers are wearing, long-form profiles on emerging designers and the names to know, and human interest vignette-style round-ups. Previously, she was Marie Claire's style editor, where she wrote shopping e-commerce guides and seasonal trend reports, assisted with the market for fashion photo shoots, and assigned and edited fashion celebrity news.

Emma also wrote for The Zoe Report, Editorialist, Elite Daily, Bustle, and Mission Magazine. She studied Fashion Studies and New Media at Fordham University Lincoln Center and launched her own magazine, Childs Play Magazine, in 2015 as a creative pastime. When she's not waxing poetic about niche fashion topics, you'll find her stalking eBay for designer vintage, reading literary fiction on her Kindle, and baking banana bread in her tiny NYC kitchen.