How to Style a Gathered Skirt – Featuring the Made by Rae Cleo Skirt

A gathered skirt is a great wardrobe basic but can present styling challenges if you are petite. Mac shows 4 ways to style a gathered skirt.

    If you follow us on instagram you will know that I was thrilled to make this skirt, but also a little self conscious about how the silhouette would work for my figure.  I took the time to experiment with different tops and found so many different ways to make the skirt work – hopefully you will be inspired to give at least one of the styling options a try!

      Confession Time

      My shape has been in flux recently (I picked up 2 inches in my waist and 3 in my hips), and I am definitely feeling the pressure to find garments that help me feel good about where I am size-wise right now.  Given that, selecting a full skirt pattern (the Made by Rae Cleo) – and pairing it with a stiff seersucker fabric – perhaps doesn’t seem like the best idea; but, I was determined to figure out how to crack the code on making it work for me.  I think I have figured it out and have shared lots of tips/styling ideas below that you might find will work for you!

        Fabric Selection and Proper Construction are KEY!

          Gathered skirts work REALLY well with light and drapey materials (think rayon challis).  It helps you to reduce the bulk at the waist line, which is exactly where most of us DO NOT want extra bulk!  When sewing the skirt, I found that properly trimming and grading my seam, AS WELL AS pressing the gathers, helped to really get the profile of the skirt to look as clean as possible.  I would also add that in the future, I might select a drapier, darker fabric, and perhaps make the waistband slightly taller so that I can wear the skirt a little lower and make my torso/waist look longer and slimmer.

            Show Off The Waistband

                With a gathered skirt, the waistband will ALWAYS be smaller than the gathered skirt portion below it!  HELLLOOO – insta-WAIST!  In the pictures above (paired with the Fancy Tiger Crafts Fen Top), my waistband is completely covered – which means that all you see is the gathers.  It’s a MUCH more relaxed look.

                  If you want to create a more streamlined look, make sure that you are not covering the waistband up with the top.   In the pictures above and below, I paired the skirt with my Seamwork Astoria (previously blogged here)

                          Nothing WRONG with boxy, per se, but if that is not the look you are going for, be sure to select tops that end at the waistband or tuck the shirt in.  Below is a more clear comparison of the difference tucking makes!  Below – I have paired this skirt with the True Bias Ogden Cami.

                                  Play with Color

                                  I was amazed to see how DIFFERENT the outfit looked when paired with different colored tops.  I broke out my favorite denim button up and a fitted white button up to see how color (specifically colors lighter and darker than the skirt) will look.  I think the darker color draws your eye, so in this case the skirt actually felt balanced with both tops, but if my top was significantly larger than my bottom half, then I could see this looking very top heavy.  Below, both tops are ready-to-wear, but I hope to sew a proper button up in the near future!

                                          Show a Little Skin

                                            As you can see from the outdoor pictures, the True Bias Ogden Cami won out for me.  It was light and breezy, and showing off some skin lightens the feel of the whole outfit on a VERY warm day.  But you can be certain that I will be trying out the rest of these looks in the near future!  So now tell us, which look/experiment will you give a try?


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