Styling an embroidered tulle skirt

embroidered tulle skirt outfits

While I love the look of sumptuous embroidered netting on couture gowns, that just is not something that works for my budget or lifestyle. BUT I can still get some of that whimsical fantasy aesthetic into my life by incorporating embroidered mesh in a more wearable midi skirt.

Today’s post shares some ways I’ve worn mine, as well as some hits and misses of new outfit combos that I brainstormed for this post and my own future reference. The photo quality and lighting isn’t the greatest, but this was more to serve as a quick idea sharing + reference for myself for days when I just want to pick a pre-styled outfit instead of come up with something. Nothing too inventive, but I did enjoy playing dress up and coming up with some combos that I don’t think I’d have come up with under the time pressure of dressing in the morning.

Style notes

Some context on personal preferences and why I styled my outfits the way I did.

  • I want to avoid a childish look (either in the toddler or 13-year-old-who-frequents-hot-topic direction – for more on this see How to Look Older in Casual Clothes)
    • –> no round toed flats, sneakers, sport sandals, t-shirts, hoodies. e.g. prefer right side outfit styling to left side styling. I do think embroidered midi skirts could work with sneakers, but I find that IRL unless you also have a fashionable purse and sunglasses like you’re angling to make it into a fashion week street style gallery, it tends to read more “I picked some random stuff” rather than “I am interested in fashion involving sneakers”, especially with skirts in more crisp vs relaxed silhouettes.

how to look older 9

  • I want something with a relatively relaxed vibe. Shouldn’t feel like the photo caption would be “SEXY CHIC LADIES EMBROIDERED BALLERINA ELEGANT PRINCESS TULLE MESH BRUNCH PARTY WEDDING SKIRT”
    • –> basically just avoid the combo of v-neck camisole + high heeled sandals, or bodysuit or crisp button down + pumps
      • This is point is more particular to the A-line cut of my skirt. I find that fitted tops or heels don’t tend to have quite the same WASP-y Pinterest model effect when the skirt is a more relaxed shape or even just a little longer. e.g. I dig this

    • more than this:

  • But still a well balanced outfit in terms of proportion, detailing, texture, and color, and while I’m not trying to look as slim as possible, the first descriptor to come to mind shouldn’t be “frumpy”

An aside

It’s entertaining looking through image search results for embroidered tulle skirts, because it becomes clear that there are a few very similar patterns used in a lot of items under “floral embroidered tulle:

My H&M skirt (grabbed from some Poshmark listing which appeared to have taken it from somewhere else):

An Anthropologie skirt:

Some Zara dress:

So if you’re mostly into the particular fabric rather than silhouette, you can almost certainly find something that incorporates it. There seem to be a lot of this type of skirt on Poshmark. I guess it’s a slightly less wearable item so a lot of people end up purging theirs, which is good news for any of y’all who were thinking of getting one since it means there’s a pretty nice selection in the secondhand market. Note with these to always clarify if the waistband is stretchy or not! Stretch bands are more common but not universal.

Fall / Winter

I got two words for you:

tall boots.

One thing that can be tricky is finding a good pairing of footwear and midi skirt. Does the spot where the boot shaft ends and the skirt hem ends too jarring? Does it look too busy? Cut off your legs at an awkward spot? It gets frustrating sometimes and I’ll wish I had like 8 pairs of boots in each style/color in different shaft and heel heights to get them to work with all my bottom pieces. Often you can get yourself some buffer room on footwear proportion by adding a sock or tights (contrasting or same color, depending on what you’re going for), but then that becomes another variable to worry about / item to deal with during the day.

Fitted over the knee boots is like the cold weather visual equivalent of high heeled minimal sandals, because it makes an uninterrupted leg line. You don’t have to think about how to proportion three pieces (skirt, negative space of the leg, shoe), just two pieces (skirt and leg/boot). Plus it’s warm! But on the other hand, sometimes you might want a break between the skirt and shoes if you feel your outfit is getting too visually or literally stuffy.

Topshop “Carly” coat, Free People “Softly Structured Tunic” sweater, Jeffrey Campbell x Free People “Joe” Boots (in taupe via Poshmark, though they have this for the current season in different colorways)

This with the coat on was my favorite look in this post! I love the warm color palette, coziness, and earthy but not too boho style.

embroidered tulle skirt turtleneck sweater

I did think the oversize fit of this sweater, particularly on the sleeves, was a little sloppy for this skirt. I disguised it a little by pushing the sleeves up, which also made the whole look less stuffy.

embroidered tulle skirt turtleneck sweater alt

Madewell balloon sleeve sweater, Topshop coat, JC x FP boots

This sweater which has a conventional fit feels a lot neater. I liked the 70s feel the balloon sleeves inject. The chunkier knit and rougher yarn gives this look a more rustic vs luxe aesthetic.

I think a hat would have been nice because the main outfit was getting pretty voluminous, but it wasn’t make or break.

embroidered tulle skirt balloon sleeve sweater.jpg

Ideally I’d have some cross between these two sweaters and look like this (reverse image search did not turn up the source)

H&M green long sleeve top, JC x FP boots, Forever 21 drapey herringbone coat (a dupe of the All Saints “Monument” coat)

Pretty simple formula here with the basic fitted top. The camera didn’t pick it up after the sun went down, but it has a rib knit texture so it wasn’t extremely plain textured compared to the rest of the outfit.

I think this was bordering on too dark+busy due to the irregular coat hem over the statement skirt but I liked it overall. I think the taupe boots here instead of black one (I like these boots so much I have them in two colors) were a good choice to at least incorporate a medium color value and prevent the walking-pile-of-dark-fabrics look.

embroidered tulle skirt drapey coat ankle boots.jpg

Anthropologie beret, Halogen petites taupe balloon sleeve cardigan, Madewell velvet camisole (got the straps shortened), Steve Madden “Jaclyn” bootie (old season)

This one was fun! Comfy artsy vibes. But after a day or so I’m not sure if this one is really quite my personal style as it’s veering a bit too far into the eclectic older woman in an art gallery aesthetic.

embroidered tulle skirt long cardigan beret ankle boots.jpg

Outtakes:

First tried this after keeping the crewneck top on, which made the volume feel too bunched up around the top part of the outfit, creating a stuffier look.

It’s interesting to compare to the outfit with the green long sleeve top and drapey gray coat, which is similar, but the tall boots instead of the ankle boots create a more continuous vertical flow in the outfit. Having the break before the shoes ends up making the whole look feel more heavy because of the contrast to the minimal shoe and bare leg.

embroidered tulle skirt long cardigan outtake.jpg

I actually knew the below combo wouldn’t work before photographic it for this post due to previous attempts of styling it, but I thought I’d include an outfit with docs, a standard black moto jacket, and a v-neck cami because that seems like it should be a foolproof cool outfit formula.

My skirt hits right above the widest point of my calf. The docs have all their visual weight in the sole, so the lower heavy necklines, long boxy silhouette, and heavy boots make entire outfit feel more squat, like everything’s been pulled downwards. With the lighter value longline outerwear, even though it’s still a straight silhouette, is broken up into vertical columns which feel lighter.

embroidered tulle skirt docs moto jacket outtake.jpg

Halogen square neck velour top, Marc Fisher patent leather boots, Forever 21 coat, Anthropologie headband

I LOVED this at the time that I wore it, but looking back it feels a little too busy for my taste. Might try it again without the headband or maybe with tall boots and with different outerwear. Starting to think this post may actually be about tall boots instead of skirts…

embroidered tulle skirt velour square neck top

H&M green long sleeve top, Anthropologie petites suede moto jacket, Marc Fisher boots

This was from the old photo setup! Simpler feel to the outfit than the previous ones. I’m a little iffy on the brown suede with the patent leather, I think standard black faux leather might have worked better, but I guess you could also frame it as a refreshing pairing.

embroidered tulle skirt suede jacket ankle boots.JPG

Spring / Summer

Pretty simple looks here, just clogs and a top with the skirt. The more textured tops (the yellow one is a stretchy cotton and the cami is linen) and wooden platform clogs give everything a more grounded and earthy feel vs a lot of the satin camisoles you see in Pinterest looks.

Anthropologie yellow square neck top, MIA “Madeline” t-strap platform heel clogs

I really don’t know what happened to the quality of this photo. Maybe it was out of focus and I tried to sharpen it and didn’t realize how grainy it became on the tiny Instagram UI? I don’t think I have the original images anymore either :/

Despite being made of a very wearable stretchy fabric, the princess seams and square (trapezoid?) neckline make the top feel more like a blouse than a basic tee.

embroidered tulle skirt yellow square neck top.jpg

BP linen camisole, Franco Sarto “Coralie” pump, New Look petite faux leather moto jacket

Closest I got to the ISO Pinterest look. I don’t think I like this quite as much as the version with my ruffle hem midi skirt which I’ve worn out before on fancy date nights. That skirt’s drape, asymmetrical hem, and movement broke up the silhouette a little better. This one is starting to feel boxy from the straight cut hip length black jacket + black skirt, though I still like it overall.

embroidered tulle skirt linen camisole pumps moto jacket.jpg

BP linen camisole with rouleau buttons, clogs

Tbh any spring/summer styling post of mine will probably include an outfit with this cami, clogs, and straw tote. The warm neutrals in different values and all the earthy textures just work so well together, and the texture of the bag and t-straps and button details keep things from feeling too minimal.

embroidered tulle skirt linen camisole clogs.jpg

In the summer I pretty much just rotate between clogs, Birkenstocks, and sneakers, but I think some other kind of platform sandal or a pointed toe flat/loafer/mule would also work well with this skirt as they’re on the more polished and structured side.

And that’s it for now! If you have a similar piece, how do you like to style it? Do you like to save it for dressier occasions or do you prefer to dress it down?

2 thoughts on “Styling an embroidered tulle skirt

  1. Thank you for this post ! I think I might sew myself a tulle skirt, I already own the fabric, it has gold stars on it (much like the Maje one you showed at the beginning of the post). 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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