Fashion & Beauty

The Lowdown on Skirt Lengths

April 8, 2014

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REMEMBER THE MIDI of the mid-80s? Store buyers banked on it, but consumers balked, refusing to wear shapeless sacks. Like just about everything else in fashion, though, the mid-length skirt is back and reinvented.

“The swing of the pendulum started about a year ago,” according to Audrey Slater, fashion director at Redbook magazine. “From the moment I noticed this trend, I loved it,” says Slater. “It’s extremely easy to wear and flattering.  The length, which ranges anywhere from below the knee to above the ankle, works on everyone.”  The most versatile, she adds, is right below the knee where the indent is.

Pair it with a structured, boxy sleeveless or short sleeve shirt, a button-down or T-shirt you can tuck in. The important point is to put the focus on the waist, more easily accomplished with a skirt that has some flow. A longer pencil skirt is harder to wear because it’s going to highlight the rear end and hips. When the focal point is higher, the look is much more forgiving.

Mid-length pleated skirts in chiffon are very popular, but Slater also likes materials with body, such as faux leather, neoprene (yes, that scuba fabric) and denim.

“You need to wear this length with some sort of heel — a kitten heel or a square heeled sandal– says Slater.  She doesn’t like platforms and says flats are tricky. “The look starts to wear you if don’t balance it with something light and delicate on your foot,” says Slater.

By all means avoid the long sheer skirt with mini skirt underneath that several designers have favored for spring. It may be okay for 15-year-olds, but it’s not flattering on anyone else.  Look for designer labels including Tracy Reese  (“who has a real body and sells to real people, “ says Slater) and Michael Kors (for his spring print dresses and pleated skirts). If you’re not sure you want to go low, experiment for less at chains such as Zara and online at Asos.

All in all, a nice alternative to form-fitting sheaths and skinny pants for a more care-free and sensible spring season.

—Janet Kelly



2 thoughts on “The Lowdown on Skirt Lengths

  1. Jura Koncius says:

    Enjoyed your piece on skirt lengths!

    Disappointed though that Tracy Reese, who has that “real body and sells to real people” only goes up to size 12.:-(

    It’s hard to even find a plain black skirt below the knee that is size 14 or 16. Even Talbots doesn’t really have them. A problem!!!

    1. Kay says:

      Keep trying with Talbots; they at least online have sizes up to 20. At bigger mall stores that include Talbots Woman, I’ve taken the same skirt or dress in regular and W sizes to find just the right fit. Same goes for Petites (I’m an odd petite; short-waisted but long-legged).

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