By Caroline Cherry

Sometimes, there are items of clothing that wear you, instead of the other way around. Such as this skirt of mine.

Ruffled Tiered Skirt

All of my natural fashion urges are to pair it with a pretty black top and some nice black shoes and call it a day. Maybe add a corset if I’m feeling extra fancy, perhaps a nice hair-do, possibly some interesting stockings. But sometimes you need to look beyond the obvious ways of wearing a piece of clothing, and that’s what I’ve done here; explored five very different ways of wearing a single skirt.

tiered ruffle skirt

This first outfit started from a simple concept, and that was to use both the black of the skirt and the white of its pinstripe pattern to create a more three dimensional outfit than just wearing it with black. Layering seemed to be the perfect choice, and who can resist puffed sleeves and waistcoats? The octopus necklace brings in a hint of steampunk, the beret a touch of hipster and the wristcuffs a kawaii lolita element. It is actually a very simple outfit if you were to strip away the accessories, so it goes to show how much impact accessory choices have on a final outfit, making it more than simply just clothes.

tiered ruffle skirt

Following on from the outfit that drew both colours present in the skirt into the outfit, here is an outfit that runs with my primary urge of black, black and black. However, I try when sticking to a single colour to incorporate different textures such as the PVC gloves and the piping on the corset, torn lace-top thigh highs and a studded collar. These different textures bring more depth to the outfit, and make it look cohesive. Unlike the first outfit, this one doesn’t feature much by way of accessories which gives it a strong and sleek look, letting each piece be a statement unto itself. This outfit could feasibly work with any black corset and pair of black boots, but again the trick to making it more interesting is textures! A PVC corset with buckled boots or a brocade corset with lace-up boots would be interesting pairings to achieve a look like this.

tiered ruffle skirt

And now for something completely different! This outfit is the simplest so far but, like how the textures in the all-black outfit amp up the styling, here introducing a new colour does the exact same thing. This outfit is something you could easily throw on in the morning and look suave in all day; Victorian enough to be elegant, but not so dramatic enough to be in your face about it. My only rule for things like this is that if I get a top in an unusual colour I must get shoes to match, or if not shoes then either socks or stockings and some kind of head accessory. Generally you need at least two items in an outfit of the same colour to keep things balanced, preferably three if the outfit is heavy on accessories or layers, and that’s why I have my matching tops and shoes rule!

tiered ruffle skirt

How can you have a Victorian style skirt and not go down the steampunk path? Really, how can you not? But, as many of you may know, full-blown steampunk is not really a style that can be worn out-and-about too easily. So this is my interpretation of casual steampunk: using a t-shirt with a steampunk motif, boots that are steampunk-y but not too dramatic and a very obviously steampunk hat! Since the skirt itself, the hat and to a lesser extent the boots are all pretty heavy on the steampunk vibe I chose to go without accessories to keep it casual. It’s a very wearable outfit as well since the boots have a thick heel and the t-shirt is, well, a t-shirt and that as well is in keeping with what I define as casual steampunk fashion.

tiered ruffle skirt

I can’t decide whether this outfit should be classified as neo-Victorian or EGA or perhaps steampunk again, but whichever label I choose I like it anyway. Like in the outfit with the green blouse, this outfit makes use of the fact that as well as bustling up the front of this skirt, you can also let it down. Lengthening the front makes the skirt look a lot simpler, as well as making it more modest, which in this outfit I used to elongate my figure. Simple heels, tucked in blouse and a tall top hat all contribute to this lengthening vibe. The top hat also makes it seem a little ringmaster-y, but let’s all just agree that that is a good thing!

So those are five different ways to wear a pinstripe Victorian-esque tiered bustle skirt, ranging from the casual to the extravagant. Obviously some of these outfits are very specific to that skirt, but hopefully I’ve sparked some styling ideas if you happen to have something similar in your closet. Even if it’s a piece of clothing that seems like it can only be worn a single way, I promise there are more options to it than that!

The bustle skirt is available in the Tragic Beautiful store here.