Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fashion: Skirt the Issue

When you have mile-long legs, finding skirts long enough to be flattering is a guessing game. Let’s demystify the skirt chase:

Mini-skirts: Some commentators say that tall women shouldn’t wear short skirts. I call B.S. It all depends on your level of personal comfort and your venue—yes at the bar, no at the office. In my opinion, the ideal place for a short skirt to hit is mid-thigh (not so short that when you bend over you give the actual skirt chasers a heart attack). Here’s an example from ASOS:

Screen Shot 2011-12-16 at 10.02.36 AM

Bear in mind that this is an average height model, so you have to mentally raise the hemline another couple of inches if you’re above 5’8”-9”.

Pencil skirts: When I wear pencil skirts to work I find myself constantly scooting them down to avoid the skirt version of “waiting for the flood.” There’s some debate about the proper length for this style—I’ve seen skirts anywhere from an inch or two above the knee to completely covering the knee. I try to aim for a length that just grazes the top of my knee. Here’s an example from the “tall” line at Banana Republic:

Pencil skirt 1

Pencil Skirt 2

Calf-length skirts: I love this cut, especially since I tend to look for vintage-inspired styles. This really is a length that only works on tall women; if you don’t have long enough legs to carry it off, you could wind up looking stumpy. But even tall girls have to be wary of “stumpifacation”—the easiest way around this is to pair the skirt with heels. Here are some great examples from ASOS (notice the platform heels on the models):

Screen Shot 2011-12-16 at 10.31.14 AMScreen Shot 2011-12-16 at 10.31.33 AM Screen Shot 2011-12-16 at 10.31.24 AM

Asymmetrical skirts: Another great thing about long legs is that you have a grand canvas on which to try some unusual cuts. Long, flowing skirts with dramatic slits or interesting wraps add dimension and movement to your silhouette. Here are two styles I’m dying to try from Urban Outfitters:Screen Shot 2011-12-15 at 4.48.56 PMScreen Shot 2011-12-15 at 4.48.43 PM

And then there’s the ever-elegant maxi-skirt, which I’ll be covering soon in a post all its own!


  1. Thanks for demystifying the world of skirts, Femme Fatall!

    Just out of curiosity, what's your take on the A-line?

  2. I read one of your poems on - what a beautiful and astute way to describe San Francisco: "The Fantasy they’d built/Saigon electric lines, French courtyards, British edifices, but/spirit, life, all its own./As the city explodes, it smells of baking bread, fresh-cut grass, patchouli, sweat/to the sound of ever-beating drums."

    On a much less ephemeral note, I love and would recommend A-line skirts, but unless Belle is your fashion icon, I'd keep them knee-length or higher. Thanks for reading!

  3. Thank you! this is great! You have inspired me to try a shorter skirt; I've always been afraid they'll look beyond scandalous, but i think it just takes some hunting.

    1. Thanks for reading Karen! Don't ever be afraid to try something new - you're right, it just takes some searching to find the right cut for your body and your level of comfort. I'm sure you'll look fantastic.

  4. Hi Heather, I find your blog very interesting! I usually wear pencil skirt at my office and I think it's more better comfortable than Calf-length skirts. But anyway, thanks in advance for starting this topic as I learned new things from your site.

    Laurice Anderson ❤ ♡ ❤