Skirts with ruffles, flounces, pleats, and flares tend to exude a pretty, playful, elegant, precious and soft integrity as opposed to a hard-edged, strict and no-nonsense vibe. That’s fabulous if you like to wear soft and pretty outfits (which I personally do). If it you don’t, you can easily toughen up the pretty skirt by adding a black support act and toughening up the shoes.

Here are four examples.

1. Nod to the ‘90s

Combine an oversized pullover with a flared midi skirt and finish of the look with tailored black heeled boots. They can be short or tall with any style of heel. But keeping them tailored is key because it adds structure to the look. A pullover with a welt adds a little structure too.

Zara Fabric Heeled Ankle Boots

2. Combat Bombshell

This straight skirt with ruching and gathers is more bombshell than the rest because it hugs the figure and showcases the contour of the body from waist to calf. The addition of the roomy cropped pullover and flat combat boots relax the bombshell vibe and add some tough. The black items add the harder edge. Feel free to add black hosiery to the outfit.

PREEN BY THORNTON BREGAZZI Tracy Ruched Printed Stretch-crepe Midi Skirt

3. Classic Fabness

This is my favourite of the three because it’s the prettiest and most tailored version to my eye. Combine a fitted black turtleneck or crew neck with a fit-and-flare midi skirt. Tuck or semi-tuck the top to showcase the waist. Add black tailored mid-calf or tall heeled boots. The heels can be low or flat as long as they’re very tailored. Patent black boots add a bit more severity too. Note that there needn’t be black in the pattern of the skirt because a black top and boots creates a complement that pulls the look together despite the colours in the pattern.

Topshop Check Pleated Skirt by Norr

4.Eclectic Plaid

This mix is unique and juxtaposed. A ruffled top with a sporty zipper is combined with a ruffled A-line plaid skirt. The glitzy flat black boots add the tough and hard edge, as does the black and silver hardware in the outfit. On the other hand, the sparkly socks throw back in some playful softness. Black opaques and black shooties could work too.

Scotch & Soda Lumberjack Check Skirt