14 tutus and tulle skirts that look chic, not costumey. Here’s how to wear tulle skirts to dress up or down.
Tutu Skirt & Tulle Skirt
There’s a reason the Sex and the City opener is an iconic piece of pop culture. From the addictive little jingle and the oversaturated snippets of ‘classic New York City things’ to the bus poster (which sees Carrie Bradshaw in the naked dress), it’s one of the more memorable TV intros. But one could argue that it’s Bradshaw’s frothy white tulle skirt, which she wears casually and unapologetically, that really solidified its cult status.
Despite the many daring looks Bradshaw wore throughout six seasons, her tutu skirt moment feels the most significant because of the garment itself. With roots in classical ballet, tutus feel costumey at their core. Though they can be made of fabrics like silk and nylon, layers of sheer, stuff tulle are commonly used, projecting horizontally off the waist. It’s an admittedly tricky piece to pull off, but given the rise of #balletcore and designers like Christian Siriano, Brandon Maxwell, and Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton sending their own unique versions of tutus down the runways this year, the garment clearly has a place off the stage—and fortunately, it’s much easier than you think to embrace the look. While you could certainly opt for a tutu in its traditional, head-turning form, consider a tulle skirt as a way to achieve that whimsy with more sophistication. Whatever you prefer, we’ve got something for you.
Below, shop 14 of our favorite tutus and tulle skirts, from bubble-gum pink minis to boho-chic maxis.
OUR TOP PICKS
This slinky, pleated number, which costs about the same amount as an Uber ride, just feels right for fall. We’re loving the muted pink and beige tones, which look undeniably chic combined in a mesmerizing diagonal pattern. With a comfy elastic waist and a breathable tulle layer, you’ll feel light as air in this tulle skirt.
Plaid is a pattern that’s practically synonymous with autumn, and while a tulle skirt may not come to mind when you think of the checkered pattern, this A-line number blends the two perfectly. We’d pair this emerald-green one with a pair of heeled, calf-length boots and a chunky cable knit sweater in cream or ivory. It’s a uniform worthy of taking in the breathtaking scenery of Scotland, where tartan—plaid’s close sister—reigns supreme.
If you’re craving a little drama in your wardrobe, it’s wise to look to Comme des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo for guidance. This monochrome show-stopper features contrasting tulle layers, stopping just below the knee to really emphasize the voluminousness of the silhouette. We like this tulle skirt with a cinched blazer or bodysuit (maybe a combat boot, too) for a whimsical-yet-moody vibe. Save this one for a visit to a tony city like London or Tokyo.
Witchy black roses adorn this otherwise cheerful pink pleated skirt, making for an alluring sartorial juxtaposition. What’s more, layered tulle skirt with a sheer lining give it a mesmerizing 3D effect that’ll garner looks (and questions about where you got it). We like it with a sexy patent boot or even a strappy heeled sandal for a dinner somewhere sophisticated and dimly lit. We’d pack this for a trip to Europe, where back-alley strolls and wine tastings rule the agenda.
The floral embroidery on this high-waisted tulle skirt number adds some welcome femininity, but the monochrome color palette prevents it from feeling too juvenile. A loose, easy fit and elastic waist make it easy to throw on in a pinch. Wear it with a black turtleneck if, say, you’re traveling somewhere chilly, or opt for a bralette if the locale calls for slightly more daring garb. Either way, at $20, you can’t resist.
If you can’t shake the sticker shock of this fresh-off-the-runway piece, imagine sporting it somewhere like Lake Como, Sardinia, or Capri, where the seaside breezes and scenic coastlines call for a wardrobe that’s unfussy yet tasteful (and definitely a bit romantic). Layer it over a bodysuit or a pair of high waisted shorts; shoe-wise, an easy sandal will do, though we wouldn’t scoff at a fun heel.
Comfort is in Norma Kamali’s DNA, and this ruffled tulle skirt—in buoyant bright blue, no less—is practically begging to be twirled in. An elastic waist and stretchy spandex make for a delightful, easy fit, while the multiple layers feel playful. When the vacation’s itinerary calls for more exploring and less relaxing (and lots of wrangling of the kids), consider throwing this piece in your luggage.
Save this whimsical maxi for an especially picturesque locale (Santorini, perhaps?), where the layers of frothy, white tulle skirt will make you feel like you’re living in a literal fairytale. The fitted satin waist adds elegance, for sure, but pairing this with a casual tee or fun bralette would work equally well (and lessen the ‘bridal’ factor).
A sheer, tulle layer of polka dots makes this pastel-blue maxi a solid option when you’re traveling somewhere particularly dreamy: a vineyard, maybe, in Tuscany, or the sun-soaked, picturesque parks nestled throughout Lisbon. A simple white tank top and interesting jewelry would work well, though the beauty of pastel blue is in its versatility.
Even if you don’t have a specific event to wear this to, this lively tulle skirt, which features glittery, gold polka dots and layers of creamy French tulle, will give you all the feelings associated with a really good party: joy, humor, glee, bliss. Take this one on a girls’ trip, where you can laugh and dance freely (and let the glitter applique shine brightly in the moonlight).
The asymmetry of this bright red tulle skirt is striking: the layered hemline and ruffles on the back really make it stand-out. At the same time, the high-waisted, fitted silhouette lends a subtle sexiness to it. We’d run with that and wear it with a tight, black bodysuit or cropped top and a tall, skinny heel to create an outfit worthy of wearing somewhere far-flung and seductive.
In striking tangerine, this semi-fitted tulle midi demands double-takes. The orange is certainly vibrant, but somehow, it works with practically any color. Keep the fiery palette going with a red or yellow top, or balance it out with something moodier. We like this for a locale that’s got warmer temps (something about this tulle skirt makes us want to throw on a strappy sandal or espadrille), though we’d just as easily wear it with a leather jacket and white sneaker.
The balletcore vibes are strong here, yes, but there’s a way to rock this bubblegum-pink tutu without looking like you’re auditioning for The Nutcracker. For starters, in lieu of a leotard, go for a graphic tee or a cashmere sweater—heck, even a sweatshirt will do. Combat boots or sneakers feel especially cool, but a fun heel works too. We see this piece in Paris, but it’ll do anywhere that calls for a more playful wardrobe.
Uneven layers of black tulle and a voluminous silhouette make this mini skirt feel decidedly punk, especially worn with a relaxed tee or cool jacket. Accentuate your gams with a tall heel or opt for a sturdy boot to keep it extra casual. We like this playful tulle skirt for cocktails at the hotel bar or a fun night out in an unfamiliar city—really, any setting where pure, unbridled joy is on the menu.
Look, tutus demand attention — they just do — but there are so many ways to style them to suit your own personal preferences. Play with different lengths, colors, and patterns; chances are there’s a tutu out there for you. And if you simply can’t shake the feeling that you’re cosplaying as a ballet dancer, tulle skirts are equally fun (albeit slightly less dramatic).
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