As you are no doubt aware, I am a huge fan of long skirts. I love minis, too, for completely different reasons, but a flowy, forgiving maxi skirt is my go-to piece when I’m feeling self-conscious, silly, or less-than myself. Floor-length skirts and dresses are going to be popular again this spring, and although the looks I’ll be showcasing in this post are from the wintry months, I think they’ll still be helpful moving forward.
CAVEAT THE SIZE OF ANTARCTICA: These are the guidelines that have worked for me. Floor-length skirts look an absolute mess on many women, depending on proportions, height, and personal taste. And some just don’t like them or don’t feel comfortable in them. So, as always, take my advice with several tablespoons of salt and decide for yourselves!
For ages, I bought long skirts made from stiff materials and that tapered a bit toward the hem. These made me look like a smiley bowling pin with a mop of brown curls. It wasn’t until I started looking for extremely long skirts that FLARED at the hem, that I found my magic formula. This style of skirt works for me because the flare balances my behind. And just as bootcut jeans are almost universally flattering, skirts with a bell shape will work for the majority. A floor-length skirt with a flare is like an a-line that’s been streeeeetched out.
The only other style I can endorse is the column:
This style requires more careful styling to balance the behind and de-emphasize the tum. It’s elegant and refined, but overall I look FAR better in a flared skirt. And so do most of the women I’ve seen wearing long skirts.
This leather skirt is pushing the boundaries of shortness for me. I vastly prefer a skirt that is truly floor-length, about a half-inch from the ground when I’m standing. Any shorter than this and I run the risk of looking like I accidentally shrunk my skirt in the wash. Additionally, hack another three inches off this hemline, and the skirt will hit at the widest part of my calf. I mitigate length with this skirt by wearing boots in the same color. But I frequently wish it were just a hair longer.
A skirt that is truly floor-length does many things for your figure: It leaves your legs completely to the imagination, it creates a very elegant silhouette, and it balances your hips right at foot height. For someone with my shape, all desirable traits.
I’m a huge fan of vibrant colors, but you’ll notice that nearly all of my long skirts are dark, dark, dark. Most are black, with a few grays and navies thrown in. A long, voluminous skirt is an attention-grabbing piece. And while I’d snap up a red one in a heartbeat, I’m sure it’d get worn far less than the dark neutrals.
Especially if you’re curious but not sure about this look, start with a basic black skirt.
A floor-length, flared skirt in denim will weigh about 15 pounds. It will also move with grace equivalent to a greased piglet on ice, and potentially cause its wearer to move similarly. Part of the fun of wearing a long skirt is watching it flow and move around you. So I err on the side of drapey knits, heavy rayons, and the occasional cotton voile (pictured above). Obviously, this is down to personal taste, and heavier long skirts can be quite elegant. I do love my leather one … but I generally prefer lighter, more movement-prone materials.
I wish I had some magical formula that would help every last one of you create balanced, proportional, flattering outfits with long skirts as the base. But I cannot. Both because that balance will depend strongly on your own figures and proportions, and because I really enjoy mixing up the figure balance when I wear these skirts. Sometimes I put the waistline up by my armpits, other times down at my hips.
Which brings me to the discussion-opening questions, and I have many: Any petite women out there who love long skirts? Everything I’ve read says they shorten you up, but is that true across the board? Who loves non-flared, non-floor-length long skirts? How do you wear them? Anyone just hate long skirts with a passion, no matter their shape? What makes you feel that way?