Fashion Skirts 101

"Guidelines to Selecting the Best Skirt Style and Hemline Length"


How to select the right skirt for your body figure
Courtesy of Macy's

Fashion skirts definitely add instant chicness to your style. Ranging from maxi skirts to minis, you're faced with a lot of choices. Some skirt styles look better on you than others, and vice versa. But of course, there are ways to style the skirt to make it look great on you, which I will talk more about further down this page.


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This page will focus on how to select the best skirt styles for your body shape as well as finding the best hemline length for your legs.

Get fashion advice and tips on:
I believe that fit and hemline are the most crucial factors in choosing the right fashion skirts that look fabulous on you. The skirt style (shape and details of the skirt) on the other hand can easily be styled to work for your body figure.

Let's check out the guidelines to looking chic and gorgeous in womens skirts:

Fashion Skirts 101: The Right Fit

Make sure you know your accurate size.

Skirts (and garments in general) that are too tight or too large feels uncomfortable and can look unprofessional.

This means that if your skirt is too tight it will cling around your hips, butt and thighs. And if you carry extra weight around there, it can make you look curvier. But not in a good way - think bulky and stumpy!

On the other hand, if it's a bit large for your size - it will swallow up your hips, making your body look shapeless and your outfit sloppy. Or call it unsexy.

So before you start buying skirts, make a realistic assessment of your size. And compare the sizes with the store's chart.

How to do it:

Right skirt fit. Skirt measurements

  • Measure around your waist, at the point where your natural waistline is. Make sure you keep the tape measure pulled firmly to get an accurate measurement.
  • Measure your hips (a great trick when buying fitted skirts) by standing with your feet together and putting the tape around the fullest part of your hips. This should be about 8" below your natural waistline. In some instances, you may have to measure your upper hip as well.

Click here to learn how to take your full body measurements.


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Fashion Skirts 101: The Right Hemline

The right hemline is crucial in making your legs (and your whole body figure in general), look their best. This is also important when you want to look appropriate for the occasion.

Some fashion skirts look too much on short legs and on Petites. So make sure you select the correct hemline to give your legs the best shape possible.

How to Find Your Hemline:

  • Stand in front of a full-length mirror while wearing the shoes you typically wear with a skirt.
  • Hold a piece of long fabric and experiment with different lengths.
  • Starting with the hemline near the feet, progressively raise the fabric, observing which heights are the most flattering to your legs.

If you're in doubt, take a look at this:

Best and worst fashion skirts hemline


The most flattering skirt length no matter height or shape, curvy or slim, is right above or at your knees. This is also a very versatile length that is appropriate for most occasions.

Let's have a closer look at the 4 basic hemlines:

Mini's and Short Skirts Are Your Best Friends

Why? Because they show a lot of skin and legs, and it visually elongates your whole body figure. The thing with most fashion skirts and dresses is that they hide half of your legs and visually "cut" them up.

Short/mini skirts are ideal for:
As well as for showing off your hosiery and shoes.. and for simply feeling sexy!

But not the best for:
  • Women with a fully stomach (Apples or anyone who carries a lot of weight around the midriff-midsection area)
  • Anyone who wants to look professional and sophisticated
  • Women who don't like showing off their legs

If you feel uncomfortable in short skirts and find it tacky, but you want to gain the slimming benefits from them - stick to the right-above-the-knee-length or add a pair of hosiery that blends with the skirt and a more covered top/sweater to make your outfit look less daring.


Knee-Length Skirts

Knee-length skirts are universally flattering on most body figures and are unversally occasion appropriate
Courtesy of Peacocks.co.uk
Around the knee-length hemlines are versatile and look good on all body shapes, and are appropriate for most occasions, especially office work.

However if you're short or have short/full legs, I recommend you to show more skin by raising it up to above the knee - which helps you look taller and leaner.

Also make sure it fits snugly around your hips and thighs to avoid a boxy look. Adding a pair of heels will also help!


Oh Midis

Midi skirt for slim calves
Courtesy of Dorothy Perkins
Midi skirts are a bit tricky - that's because they tend to fall right on the widest part of your calves.

The thing with mid-calf skirt styles is that they draw attention to the thickest part of your legs, and the hemline cuts it up, making them look shorter and well, stumpy!

Of course there are exceptions, because it depends on the length and shape of your legs along with your overall height. And also in how you style it.

Midi skirts work better on:

  • Lean calves
  • Average to tall height

For petites, wearing a midi requires you to select a style that fits snugly around your hips and thighs, creating a sleek Mermaid silhouette. And you should work on that adding extra leg length with heels, especially in a color that blends with your skin tone or hosiery.


What About Long Skirts?

Fashionable maxi/long skirt
Courtesy of Romwe.com
It's about selecting the right style for your body figure and height.

Long skirts can swallow up Petites and thin-boned body figures, making you look smaller and it can also make you look stumpy. The trick is to choose a maxi skirt that fits snugly around your hips and thighs to maintain a sleek line.

Taller women can pull off the long gypsy skirt better than petites because they can handle the extra fabric - it looks more streamlined on their height.

Guidelines to Wearing Long Skirts:

  • Make sure the length falls long enough to touch your ankle bones (the tiny rounded bone at the sides of your ankles) which are right below the thinnest part of your ankles, or at least long enough to fall right above the thinnest part of your ankles. Showing off the thinnest part of your ankles creates the illusion of slim legs.
  • I also suggest that you show off some skin on top with a low'ish V-neck tee to avoid the old-fashioned matronly look. Fitted and shorter tops look best with long skirts.


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Dress Your Body Shape

Knowing your body shape helps you gain insight into what skirt styles complement your body frame. The fashion skirts style basically balances out your body figure - by either creating or minimizing your lower body so that it it's more in-line with your upper body.

Details, colors and textures are also great ways to create the illusion of more curves or slimmer hips. However, you can wear any skirt you like as long as you work with the proportions of your outfits. Learn more about how to improve your outfit's proportions

But if you need ideas and suggestions, here are skirt examples for each of the main body shapes:

Your Horizontal Body Shape

Hourglass
Your focus is to flatter your curvy hips and avoid looking boxy.

Your best fashion skirts are:
    Best fashion skirts for Hourglass body shape
    Courtesy of Welikefashion.com
  • Skirts made of soft knit or drapey fabric
  • A-line skirts
  • Flat-front to keep your hips from looking bulky

Wear pencil and tulip skirts if you want to accentuate your alluring curves, or simply downplay them with skirt styles that flare out from your hips.

Learn more on how to dress your Hourglass body shape




Pear
Your goal is to balance out your hips, thighs and legs by making them slimmer or camouflaging them.

Your best skirt styles are:
    Best fashion skirts for Pear body shape
    Courtesy of My-Wardrobe
  • A-line shape - it perfectly skims over your curves, and looks very elegant on your body too
  • Full circle skirt
  • Vertical details such as darts, pleats, visible vertical sticthes, elongated pockets, etc.

Any skirt style that flares outwards at the hem works for your - this helps draw attention away from your hips.

Learn more on how to dress your Pear body shape




Inverted Triangle
Focus on skirts that add volume to your hips which in return draws less attention to your shoulders.

Your best fashion skirts feature:
    Best fashion skirts for Inverted Triangle body shape
    Courtesy of Karen Millen
  • Outwards flare from your lower hips, thighs or knees
  • Details that add volume. Eg. pleats, pockets and zippers
  • Bias-cut to add volume but at same time highlight your great legs

Tapered skirts make you look toppled. Stick to full to flare hem cut.

Learn more on how to dress your Inverted Triangle body shape




Apple
Your goal is to highlight your great legs, and/or fill out your hips and thighs a bit more to help draw attention away from your midsection.

Your best fashion skirts are:
    Best fashion skirts for Apple body shape
    Courtesy of Miss Selfridge
  • Bias-cut
  • Asymmetric to bring attention to your legs
  • Styles with details around the hips and thighs, such as pockets and visible stitches

To downplay your full tummy it's very important to select skirts that flare outwards and/or atleast bring the eye down to your legs and away from your mid-section.

Learn more on how to dress your Apple body shape




Rectangle
Your focus is to create curves from waist down. This means you can wear most skirt styles that are difficult for the rest of us to wear - lucky you!

Your best fashion skirts feature:
    Best fashion skirts for Rectanlgle body shape
    Courtesy of Forever 21
  • Tapered hemline
  • Various details such as pockets, visible stitches and zippers, distressed texture
  • Volume such as tiers and bubble hem

You might want to avoid straight cut skirts and skirts that don't taper at your thighs - they emphasize your straight waist.

Learn more on how to dress your Rectangle body shape



Your Vertical Body Shape

This is the proportion of the bottom half of your body compared to your top half.

Long Legs

A short waist usually means you have long legs. Long legs are appreciated because they make you look taller than you are.

However if you’re not happy about your short waist, here are some skirt styles recommendations and styling tips to help elongate it:

    Best fashion skirts for short waist and long legs
  • Low-rise. But if you have high hips or a muffin top, you need to opt for mid-rise and work on the top instead
  • Simple waistband. Faded wash, multiple button and visible stitches only shorten your waist
  • Dark colored top and light colored skirt. The light color bring attention to your legs
  • Blending the skirt with the color of your top.

Learn more on how to style your short waist




Short Legs

A long waist looks very elegant but your short legs might take too much of the attention.

If you're self-conscious about your long waist or short legs, here are the fashion skirts and styling recommendations that will help shorten your waist and make your legs longer:

    Best fashion skirts for short legs and long waist
  • Mid to high rise
  • Decorated waistbands such as faded wash, button and stitches shorten your waist
  • Light colored top and dark colored skirt. The light colors draws the eye away from your legs
  • Blending the skirt with the color of your skin or hosiery

Learn more on how to style your long waist





Balanced

If you're curvy (Pear or Hourglass) or short, or carry most of the weight around your hips and thighs (muffin top, anyone?), then I suggest working on elongating your legs because this can make you look taller and trimmer.

How to style a balanced body shape with a skirt
Courtesy of Jemal Countess/Getty

But no matter how you style your balanced vertical line, a pair of heels will always fix this problem! :-)

Learn more on how to style your balanced vertical body shape


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Time to Shop for the Latest Fashion Skirts

Now that you've gone through my tips and shopping advice on fashion skirts, it's time to shop!

PS: Make sure you've also read my tips on how to wear a skirt.

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