Lovely April wrote with this question:
I’m in the process of cleaning out my closet, and I found an adorable skirt that I really want to wear. It’s high-waisted, which works fine for me, but it’s also very, VERY short. I never realized how short it was before, possibly because I used to wear it quite a bit lower on my waist than it was really intended. At any rate, it’s shorter than I’ve ever worn a skirt before (I’m usually a below-the-knee or just-above-the-kneecap girl). So, my question is this: How short is too short? Are there any style guidelines that I could follow that will keep me out of the red zone when it comes to skirt shortness?
OK. So. I do love me a mini skirt. Nothing makes the legs look longer and the Sal feel sassier. Well, unless the mini is a little too mini and I spend more time yanking it ankleward than enjoying how long and lithe my gams are looking. And I’ve had to jettison several teeny skirts because I didn’t run them through these tests before buying:
- Sit in it. Is there any chance of crotch-flashing when seated? Do you find yourself worrying and tugging at it to make sure it’s covering the top 6″ to 10″ of your thighs? If so, it is likely too short. As in too short for you, and you might want to give it away.
- Ask yourself: Self, how do you feel about your legs? How do you feel about your upper thighs? If you like them and have confidence, a shorter hemline is nothing to fear. No matter your age, build, or height a skirt that hits just above the knee is almost universally flattering. If you feel good about how you look in a shorter skirt, don’t let anyone’s style rulebook stand in your way.
- Have an impromptu measuring session. In my opinion, a skirt can be about one hand’s width above your kneecap and still be safe for work. That’s when you’re standing straight up and the skirt is falling where it naturally would. (As opposed to artificially hiked down or up.) Anything above that, and it’s a true miniskirt. And while miniskirts are fantastic for making your legs look a mile long, but they are generally best saved for weekend/casual wear. (Unless you work in a super casual or creative office. Use your judgment, as always!)
And here are a couple of potential workarounds in case your skirt truly tiny:
- Leggings make super-short skirts less revealing. That nice, thick cloth does a lot for your coverage level – much more so than tights or hose. You may have to wedge a short slip in there to keep the skirt from bunching, but see if leggings don’t make that itty bitty mini more manageable.
- Depending on the style of skirt, you could try layering it over another skirt or a dress. Check out lovely Audi’s tips on skirt layering, if you’re interested.
- For short skirts that are big in the waist and as a total last resort ONLY, you can hike those babies way down to your hip bone and wear a long, loose top. I can only imagine doing this for a truly gorgeous, unusual, or sentimentally significant skirt as so many things could go wrong. For example, make sure you won’t be reaching for anything on high shelves or taking any jump shots.
Image courtesy Idhren, whose skirt is NOT too short, in my opinion. Not for weekend wear, anyway!