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How to Style and Wear a High-Low Skirt


High low skirts
Photos Courtesy of ELLE

After my last post, I received several requests for a post on how to style a high-low skirt. So this week, I’m working with an asymmetric hemline skirt that has a busy pattern and is made from a very light material, like most high-low skirts we’re seeing in stores now.

With these types of skirts, it can be difficult to decide what to wear on top. Of course, the obvious choice would be a fitted top, tucked in, but I’m here to show you that you can combine a high-low skirt with a multitude of different tops to create many distinct looks. Even though they might not look it, these skirts are extremely versatile. Check out how I styled my high-low skirt below:

1. Break the rules

Normally, when wearing a high-waisted, voluminous, flowy skirt, “the rules” say you should wear something fitted on top, to maintain a balanced and flattering silhouette. I wanted to see what would happen if I did the complete opposite, so I grabbed a casual, loose t-shirt and tucked it in the skirt. 

How to wear a high-low skirt: Casual

I was very pleased with the result. This is the type of outfit that is casual and comfortable, while still looking pretty and put-together. I’d probably wear this outfit for a casual day of college classes.

Now, of course, you can modify this to fit your style! If you have a belt that goes with the rest of your ensemble, I would suggest adding it, but if your skirt — like mine — has an elastic waistband, a belt isn’t necessary (though still cute). And don’t keep things too minimal; you’re allowed to go over the top with such a fashionable skirt! Graphic tees, and multicolored or patterned t-shirts would work just as well as my basic one. Experiment!

2. Girly as girly can get

Since high-low skirts are usually made from lightweight fabrics, they often have a very delicate feel, which inspired my next outfit.

For this look, I went with a very light color palette, even though I usually go for darker colors. I put on a pair of white tights to help fight off the cold, and also layered a wool vest over my pink top. I think that vests are underestimated: the right one can keep you as warm as a light jacket, and as long as the sun is shining, there’s no need to worry about your arms freezing.

How to wear a high-low skirt: Girly outfit

3. Try a risky combination

In my case, this meant trying the mixed prints trend – I am not a print-mixer by nature!

I decided to pair my skirt with this blouse after taking a good look at both pieces: Not only were the colors similar, (white and red on both pieces) but the polka dot pattern was also more subtle, which nicely balanced the bold print of my skirt. Rather than competing with the skirt, the polka dot top ended up complementing it nicely.

How to wear a high-low skirt: Mixed prints

As for the shoes, what can I say? Doc Martens are always my go-to shoe. However, I think that these skirts are extremely adaptable as far as footwear is concerned, so feel free to wear whatever you love to wear. I’m sure it’ll work out perfectly!

One more thing: if you go with mixed patterns, try to keep the accessories to a minimum: tiny earrings, a simple watch — things that don’t run the risk of becoming overwhelming — are key.

4. Are you cold?

When the temperature drops, you have to cover up! But just because it’s chilly out there, that doesn’t mean that you can’t wear a flowy skirt. You just need to style it right.

The key here is to protect your legs by wearing some warm tights. (Add some over-the-knee socks if you have to.) Also, don’t underestimate the power of warm shoes here: The sun might be shinning, but trust me, your feet will be frozen by the end of the day if they aren’t covered.

How to wear a high-low skirt in cold weather

While simulating being chilled to the bone, I opted for a symmetric silhouette — as you can see, the volume of the skirt is balanced by the bulky scarf. I also chose relatively dark colors on top since my tights are so light and bright. If you wore dark tights, I’d recommend going lighter on top for contrast.

5.  Play with fabric textures

I mentioned this concept when talking about outfit number 2, but this time I took it further: A very light piece can work great with a bulkier one, but it all depends on how you wear it.

This time, I wondered if I could pull off this cream sweater, especially considering that it wasn’t something that you could tuck in nicely, like the other tops I tried. However, contrary to my expectations, it definitely wasn’t impossible to wear. The pullover hung nicely over the skirt, which I then combined with black tights and boots.


As you can see, this outfit looks balanced. That’s because the darker bottom half is contrasted by a light top, creating a visually pleasing effect.

This outfit ended up being my favorite of the bunch because it fit my personal style the best. I cannot stress this enough: It is important to know what you like if you want to create good outfits! Because I thought this outfit looked too plain on its own, I chose a not-so-delicate necklace and wore my hair in a side fishtail braid – changing your hairstyle every once in a while is fun and can contribute to your overall look!

3 More Tips for Rocking a High-Low Skirt:

  • Outerwear: If it is colder outside, you’ll want to wear a jacket, which can be tricky with this kind of skirt because even though the outfit might look great form the front, from behind, it can seem be a bit off. My suggestion would be to either go for a cropped, waist-length jacket (leather is my favorite!) or choose a trench or long coat that is the same length as the longest part of the skirt.
  • Solid colors: If you have, say, a red or a bright blue skirt, it can be tricky to style, but that doesn’t mean that you can only pair it with muted colors. Dare to choose a piece of clothing that is also colorful, but not competing with the skirt: Pastels can work well or – if you want something bolder – go check out the color wheel and opt for complementary shades. (See our guide to matching colors in your outfits for tips!)
  • Style: This skirt proved to be highly adaptable for any style. (Rock, hippie, girly, preppy – you name a style, this skirt works with it.) You just need to be creative and have faith in your own judgement. If you think it looks good, and you feel good in it, chances are everyone else will think the same!

Now, let me know what you think!

Overall, I found this high-low skirt to be quite easy to style and adapt for many types of weather and multiple occasions. As always, I am anxious to hear what you think of it. Did you like the outfits? What would you have done differently? Also, if you have any suggestions for my next post, leave a comment and I’ll try to make it happen!

Posted on on April 10, 2013 / Filed Under: Fashion Tips / Tags: , , , ,

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24 Responses to “How to Style and Wear a High-Low Skirt”

  1. 1
    April 10th, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Those are fantastic outfits! I’ve always been sort of neutral on these skirts, but these show that they’re more versatile than one would think.

  2. 2
    April 10th, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Ooh good, I have a pale pink high-low chiffon skirt and I have no idea how to make it into an everyday outfit! So far I’ve only worn it to a wedding. I must be more brave!

  3. 3
    April 10th, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    I have to say that I just love your posts Maria :) they are wonderful,this definitely helped as I have seen so many cute high low skirts recently and wondered how I would wear them! Dankeschön!

  4. 4
    April 10th, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    I usually never comment on this site despite being a long-time reader, but I really love your posts and the fact you actually take photos of yourself and show how to put together the outfits from your own closet. The creativity is excellent while encouraging readers to do the same (versus directly going out and buying article X to complete the outfit). Kudos!

  5. 5
    April 10th, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Great look, I love the skirt :)

  6. 6
    April 10th, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    Awesome job, I honestly love every outfit. I don’t have a high low skirt, but I’ve been thinking about buying one. I like yours a lot actually, there isn’t such a dramatic difference between the two lengths as some of these skirts have.

  7. 7
    April 10th, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    I love these outfits! Now I really want a high-low skirt like yours!

  8. 8
    April 10th, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    love outfit no4.nice post

  9. 9
    April 10th, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    Great Post. I can tell you put a lot of time into this post!

  10. 10
    April 10th, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    Thanks so much! I love wearing high-low skirts. We call them fishtail skirts here though :) They are so versatile!

  11. 11
    April 10th, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    Maria, I absolutely love your posts! Keep it up.

  12. 12
    April 11th, 2013 at 1:29 am

    I often feel like the pleats of most high low skirts add a lot of bulk to my hips!

  13. 13
    April 11th, 2013 at 1:50 am

    Great post! I’ve always wondered what to do with hi-lo skirts, even though I thought they were pretty!

  14. 14
    April 11th, 2013 at 2:19 am

    I was never a fan of them….but all you’re outfits are awesome
    I especially love outfit 1, 3 and 5

  15. 15
    April 11th, 2013 at 5:02 am

    Great post! You’ve written it really well and shown some really inspiring ways to rock a mullet skirt. Unfortunately for me, the one I have is extremely feminine and flowy so its not very versatile!

  16. 16
    April 11th, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Great post. I really really hate light tights, as I’ve almost never seen anyone that actually looks good in them (unless you are extremely skinny)… but here they seem to work… Have to reserve my judgment tho ;)

    Love 3 and 4, those I have to try!

  17. 17
    April 11th, 2013 at 9:22 am

    You have amazing clothes and a great sense of style! =)

  18. 18
    April 11th, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    I think all of these look great. They’re all different, so they definitely show how it would work with different styles. Unfortunately I’ve never found a skirt that, I feel, is short enough for me in the back. I’m not a fan of the ones that touch my ankles in the back.

    Ahh, shortness.

  19. 19
    April 11th, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    love look 5, that jumper is so cute!

    I think it’s really nice that you’ve made it a bit personal too.

  20. 20
    April 11th, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    this is one of my favorite columns in CF, you should write more often!

  21. 21
    April 11th, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Thank you very much for the kind comments! I was doing some brainstorming for my next post and I was wondering, how do you guys feel about the sheer trend? I love sheer tops but they might be tricky to wear on campus. Or do you have other suggestions?

  22. 22
    April 12th, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    The 3rd, 4th, and 5th outfits actually make me want to go try a high-low skirt, and I’ve never been fond of the look.

    I also love your filmy polka-dot blouse- so cute! Sheer blouses are one of my favorite things :)

  23. 23
    April 14th, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Love all your posts!! Could you do one on how to wear cigarette pants? I just bought a retro-looking pair with this really cool pattern from h&m, but I don’t know what shirt to wear it with…or what shoes.

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