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Skirts are a Women's Fashion Basic:
Tips on Length, Styling and Flattering Shapes


If you're looking for a slightly dressy look, skirts are a good way to start. Not as formal as a dress, but a clear upgrade from pants (as well as a nod to fashion history--women have only been wearing pants in public for forty years or so), skirts give you more flexibility in your wardrobe without dressing it down.

Wearing a Skirt to the Office (nothing too sexy, please!)

It's hard to be specific about skirts because there are so many styles, but I'll try to give a basic overview. In general, daytime career looks for the office should be moderate, or even on the conservative side, with hems lengths just above or just below the knee. In fall and winter, you can get away with long skirts at work as long as they are in nice looking, lined fabrics and colors that are definitely not evening style. Tweed, slub or natural silks, cotton and wool are fine: velvets or refined silks are too dressy for the office.

How to Wear and Style a Skirt for Warm Weather

Skirts for spring and summer can be lighter in color (whites, creams and pastels) and fabric than those for fall and winter, but depending on where you work, pastel cotton or flowery skirts of any kind may be too ingénue. If you work in a professional wardrobe environment, skirts need to stick to the straight and narrow in lightweight wools, linen blends (to avoid the wrinkles of 100% linen), or lined broadcloth.

If you're looking for cool clothing in hot, summertime weather, skirts may not actually be your best bet. If you don't wear hose because of the heat, there's nothing to stop the sweat from pooling behind your knees and gluing your legs together. You might stay cooler in a pair of linen pants (we're not even going to discuss gauchos here: they never hang right).

--Editor's Note --------------------------------------------------------------

Here are some of my favorite stores to find cute, figure flattering skirts for day and evening occassions


Skirt Clothing Stores Women's Skirts Plus Size Skirts Junior / Teen Skirts -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Styling a Skirt for Cold Weather

In winter, you can get a slightly retro look without looking weirdly old-fashioned by wearing a wool skirt and sweater combination with a pair of knee high swede or leather boots. The plaid skirt and complementary single-hued sweater never completely go out of fashion, but you do have to be careful about not looking like a Catholic schoolgirl. Grown-up shoes like pumps or knee high boots help the modern look.

I like skirts in cold weather because I can layer tights or even long johns underneath longer skirts, add boots and still look pulled together. An extra layer under the sweater can be a long-sleeved leotard that fits snugly and keeps you warm. I find that even in very cold weather, tights and a skirt can keep me warmer than a pair of pants, because pants are too bulky to layer under them. Skirts work just fine.

Universally Flattering Skirt Shapes

Skirts fit most women best if they flare slightly around the hips, making a little extra room for sitting and bending. Slightly A-line or belled skirts are usually most flattering and hide any aspects you may not like about your buns, hips and thighs. This is a problem area for many, many women, so don't think you are the only one. If you're thin, you can take advantage of slim hips to wear pencil skirts, but if you are thinner than you'd like to be, you can add a little substance by wearing a skirt with heavier fabric and a more generous cut. As long as it fits your waist, you can "swim around" a little bit and round out your figure with rounder skirt style.

Dress Up or Down a Skirt with Your Top

Knit tops look nice with skirts, but may be more casual than the look you want. Sweaters, twin sets or jackets dress up the look. The right blouse can look good, but you have to be careful to find one that tucks in neatly or looks good left out. Avoid blouses with frills or bows: prettifying a blouse often makes it look frumpy (another of life's mysteries).



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