Photo: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images
Face it: If you have the moxie to wear a tutu in public, you can pair anything with the short skirt. If you want to knock the tutu look out of the fashion park, however, a bit of planning helps pull the tiny skirt from camp into a classic -- if somewhat but wacky -- look. For the fashion-uninspired, a tutu is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as a projecting skirt.
The folks at Merriam-Webster also provide the backstory of tutu and date the costume to 1913. The dictionary claims the term, a variation of a French baby-talk word, means your backside. This history inspires another piece of clothing to complement your short skirt tutu -- the bicycle short. Since the tutu fabric extends the dress out from the waist, there's always a concern that you're flashing more in the back than you care to expose. Wearing contrasting bicycle shorts, cut mid-thigh, solves that problem and adds a dash of contrasting color to your ensemble. Think black shorts and a see-through pink tulle fabric tutu. Oooh-la-la. #1
It's a no-brainer to match a tutu with tights, but don't go with plain old-fashioned tights. Select tights cut just above the ankle, and look for some real bling with glow-in-the-dark tights or an overall pattern such as an argyle. Since everything is covered, you can elevate your tutu to greater heights. Bringing the top layer of the tutu up to waist level provides enough room to add layers of softer fabric thick enough to fill in the area between the tutu and your legs.
Although some fashion mavens pair tutus with high heels or even boots, tutu skirts also look fashionable with flats and -- wait for it -- ballet flats or soft slippers with flat heels. If you're looking to expand the ballet theme, attach ribbons inside your flats and wrap the flat ribbon, a la pointe shoes, up your legs. The key to coordinating a tutu skirt and shoes is to tie the outfit together with matching tights and shoes. The match extends the line and makes your legs look longer than they probably are. Taller tutu wearers should break up that line and match your shoes to either the top or the skirt.
Match your top with the tutu to mimic a dress, or break things up with a contrasting top for a more casual look. Summer tops that feature sleeveless or short-capped sleeves and winter tops with tight sleeves make your tutu pop. Only the extremely tall and thin have the capacity to do fluffy on the top and tutu poofy on the bottom. Everyone else looks rather chunky in this look. Giovanni Bedin's collection used corsets as a topper for tutu skirts in 2010. Celebrity tutu stylistas such as Kim Kardashian feature a tutu under a designer dress to add body. Arguably the most notable tutu wearer is Sarah Jessica Parker playing the role of Carrie on "Sex and the City." Carrie sports a sports jersey and a sleeveless tank top with her long and short tutu ensembles.