Layering necklaces and scarf

Spanning 40 Years: Outstanding Black Pleated Skirt Outfits

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There are so many options to create outstanding black pleated skirt outfits, and I have not just one but two options that span 40 years. It’s basically the modern vs. classic look as shown by my friend, Cathie, and mother, Charlotte.

Quote of the day: “Fortune does favor the bold, and you’ll never know what you’re capable of if you don’t try.” Sheryl Sandberg

Black Pleated Skirt Outfits
1-Casual Version
2-Dressy Version

Did you know that full skirts are one of the spring trends for the season? And there is no reason you shouldn’t have one in your closet. Today, both Cathie and Charlotte are showing you how they can transition from being worn for casual or for a fancy occasion.
In all reality, both Cathie and Charlotte styled the same outfit. Black pleated skirt with a white top and then a jacket as a third layering piece. Yet the details make it all look so different.

One of the fabulous things about black pleated skirt outfits is how it’s an outstanding base for any other color. Since we were taking photos in February the popular colors are pink and red, yet you can imagine how any color would work.
Just think of your black pleated skirt like your basic black pants.

As I’ve explained in a previous post, there are many advantages to wearing any skirt over pants. While so many women have given up wearing skirts and dresses for some reason, I hope I might be able to twist your arm to embrace them.
I always say it’s nice to have variety in our closets.

And if you prefer the more basic black skirt, then check out how Lesley styled hers or see a tulle skirt outfit.

You’ve met Cathie on the blog before when she joined us wearing navy. If you think the three of us are good thrifting shoppers, you will love Cathie. She has introduced me to many of my thrifting haunts and is an amazing deal shopper.
She also showcased some distressed denim jeans.

Black pleated skirt outfits for midlife women

Skirt: Notations ~~Jacket: Time & Tru-thrifted ~~ Top: no label~~ Shoes: Adidas -thrifted ~~ Purse: Rebecca Minkoff-thrifted

Casual Version: Black Pleated Skirt Outfits

Notice too that Cathie’s black pleated skirt is midi length. Yet the length of a skirt does not necessarily make it fancy or casual. It’s all about the other details that give off that kind of vibe.

Cathie went with a plain, white tee and pink denim jacket. She is wearing a delicate gold necklace, yet her crossbody Fuschia purse also acts as an accessory.

And then for her footwear, she is wearing her white sneakers. Sneakers are not just reserved for working out, leggings, or joggers. It’s a modern approach to comfy footwear that women can wear with anything, including your black pleated skirt outfits.

Red blazer and black pleated skirt outfits

Skirt: Love Fire -thrifted~~Jacket: Chaus ~~ Top: Mom made it ~~ Shoes: Caparros~~ Purse: Rue 21-thrifted

Fancy Version: Black Pleated Skirt Outfits

My mom is still in the way of thinking that a skirt is for dress-up. I understand it’s hard to change our thinking when we have done something for so long.

Reality Check: Stagnation doesn’t look good on anyone. For example, we want all kinds of changes in how women are treated in the workplace. Possibly a 70-year-old man would think that women shouldn’t be in the workplace because that’s how he had grown up. We want change when it’s convenient to us, right?
Yet change is constant and that includes our style and fashion.

Yet there’s nothing wrong with wearing the black pleated skirt outfits for the fancy events, and Charlotte has that idea down pat.

As discussed above, the fundamentals are the same with both of these black pleated skirt outfits. A black pleated skirt, white top, and jacket as the third piece. Now let’s dissect how Charlotte created her favorite kind of look.

Woman over 80 in pleated skirt outfit

A Red Jacket

Charlotte is definitely not shy about wearing red. It’s a bold color that can be worn with any other color or neutral.
Red is such a wonderful color to incorporate in the winter months, since it’s so appropriate for the Christmas holidays as well as Valentine’s Day. It’s also heart health month in February, so you could be sending a message wearing your red clothing.

Accessories to Work with Red and Black

My mom’s birthday is in January, so she has a lot of garnet jewelry that she has gifted to herself. Even though the garnets tend to be a darker red than a bright red, they work wonderfully paired together.

Notice how my mom not only wore one garnet necklace, but she layered 2 of them with this outfit. And then just hung a scarf around her neck to tie in the dark skirt and red and white of the top half.

Insider tip: Too many times we stress over HOW to tie our scarf, when in fact, it’s the beautiful fabric of the scarf that is the focus. Sometimes all you need is to hang it around your neck for it to be a wonderful focus. By doing this, you also keep the front open to be able to see the necklace party.

I love that my mom brought her boho style purse to pair with this look. In fact, the design of the purse mirrors the scarf pattern. Yet you’d never call the scarf boho. This is why it’s always better to stop categorizing our clothing!!


Since we have four examples to compare with our black skirts in the group photos, let’s shine a spotlight on porpotions.

Insider tip: As much as I have been taught and believe in “flattering” proportions, it’s not the end-all in your outfits. So if you don’t understand it or have an outfit that is half and half with proportions, don’t stress. Remember, sometimes the rules are made to be broken.

You can see with Cathie and Charlotte standing next to each other that their waists are about the same.
The difference? Cathie’s look is the smaller proportion on the top half of her body and showing off the skirt more (and the skirt is longer). Charlotte’s look has the top half being the bigger proportion and you have more visual of the blazer.

Now let’s continue to compare the propotions. My skirt is basically the same length as my mother’s but I’m copying Cathie’s idea with a shorter top half.
And then Lesley’s black skirt is the shortest of them all, and she’s copying Charlotte’s longer top proportion.

Do you have a favorite?? Maybe sometimes what you like or dislike about an outfit is how the proportions even out? It’s something to consider because the more information we have, the more it all works together easier.

Metallic black skirt and hosiery

Metallic Pleated Skirt and Black Heels

We were laughing when my mom showed up in this pleated skirt because it’s not exactly black. It’s what I would call a metallic with dark accents, but not the black pleated skirt that I knew she had from years ago (see her wearing it here).
I showed her the photo from years ago, and she thinks possibly she purged it when we moved.

Since Charlotte was styling the dressed-up version of the pleated skirt, she also wore hosiery. This pair is a metallic shimmer pair. Not as “wild” as my printed pair of tights that I styled recently, but still a little extra compared to the normal black hose.

Insider tip: Many times we see our clothing up close and personal and obsess over the tiniest details. Yet when you wear them out and about, very few people have the time or gumption to observe all those particulars.
Therefore, don’t let something like a metallic shimmer stop you from wearing an item just because you think it might be too much.

In fact, if you look closely at Charlotte’s black shoes, the heel has some sparkle at the base of it. It’s a fun detail, but don’t let the sparkle make you think you can only wear them for fancy events. I bet most people never noticed this sparkle when we were out and about, so don’t let the details lead you astray!!

Longer blazer for older women

Do Pleats Add Visual Weight?

Who cares? Don’t worry that a pleated skirt could make you look bigger. That whole idea that being smaller is better has been brainwashed into our society WAY too much. Instead, it’s a fun style that moves and is easy for anyone to wear.

Sure, we should strive to be healthy. Yet loving our bodies as they are is the most freeing thing for our minds. Whether that means your body has some scars, dimples or any such sort of “extra” on it (I refuse to call them imperfections anymore).
For myself, growing up with pale skin in the 80s no less, was always a struggle. I would try to tan, burn, and work SO hard on not being pale. I look back on those days and think what a waste of time and energy. I have pale skin. Does it bother you? If so, then you can make fun of me. But I embrace it and I only hope to inspire others to love themselves.

Want to hear the best story from Reader’s Digest about this subject? It’s in my post all about my journey embracing my pale legs.

Black pleated skirt outfits

Photo credit: Rob Filogomo

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