How to Wear The Exposed Zipper

Woman wearing dress with exposed zipper

You’ve seen it, and you either love or hate it. The exposed zipper had its big moment back in 2014, and it remained on the fashion radar for quite a while before quietly losing steam.

It’s not that the exposed zipper has fallen away entirely—rather, it’s become kind of like a typical cast member of “Dancing with the Stars.” You don’t think about it much, you haven’t always liked it, but still you remember when it was an A-lister.

And just as DWTS gives yesterday’s star a second shot at fame, we’d like to do the same for the exposed zipper. Here’s what you need to know to pull off this number and score a perfect 10.

Styling the Exposed Zipper

Monitor your zipper count

By all means, wear the exposed zipper—but please don’t wear more than one at a time. There’s such a thing as overkill, and you run the risk of looking like you’re about hop on your Harley instead of just navigating your regular schedule.

You should have no trouble finding something that fits neatly into your itinerary—even if you happen to spend all day at the office. Case in point: the polished Zip-Front Gramercy Tee from Express.

The zipper draws the eye right in—as it should—but doesn’t compete with anything else on this simple top. It’s perfect for work or play, so long as you toss a blazer on top when you’re at the office.

Never go full crotch

The full crotch zipper recalls visions of circa-1980s hair bands. You know what I’m talking about: sweaty guys with hair reaching for the heavens, in all their shirtless glory, bearing nothing but a pair of skin-tight zippered leather pants. I can’t think of a single situation outside a costume party where the full-crotch zipper is appropriate.

Try the zipper in a different way—slipping into a pair of pants with zipper edging, for example, or as an accent around the waist. Simple and understated is the way to go, as these Premise Studio Slim Leg Woven Pants show. The zippered pockets are stylish, and won’t put your life at risk every time you head to the ladies room.

Stay classy

An exposed zipper looks very chic on a piece that otherwise leans towards elegance.

This Dress the Population Ivy Dress is sleek and sexy—and ideal when you want to rock a brilliant exposed zipper in a more purposeful way. It serves a functional role, but also adds a little flair to the design.

Catherine Brock

Owner and Editor at The Budget Fashionista
As a Southern California transplant now living in the Midwest, Catherine has turned layering into an art form and accepted that UGGs actually do have a place in the stylish lady's wardrobe. She's been featured in Woman's World Magazine, DrLaura.com, Refinery29, Wellness.com and has made appearances on ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis, KCAL9 Los Angeles, Fox19 Cincinnati, WGN TV Chicago and WCPO TV Cincinnati.
Catherine Brock