A flattering lengthIn the case of full skirts, a short length can look juvenile as not streamlined enough (apart from the fact that you can look like you wearing a tutu), while longer styles are difficult to wear, as you can look decidedly frumpy or be overwhelmed by the amount of material. Just above or just below the knee skirts are the two perfect lengths for anyone but, if you are going for a midi, the hem should still hit the slimmest part of your calf. High heels are a must too,
unless you are very tall and thin.
My recommendation: for a sure bet, keep it just below the knee, with the hem hitting at the slimmest part of it.
Full Skirts: Dowdy by Caroline Grant. Although none of these items in itself wrong (although the midi skirt will be really difficult to wear for most), it's the combination that is wrong, and it would remind people of a nun out of uniform. It would definitely be a 70s reenactment moment, what with the blue eyeshadow and soft pink lipstick makeup. Just terrible.
Monsoon Midi Sirt / Orla Kiley Crêpe Blouse / Long Tall Sally Crew-neck Cardigan / Hispanitas Handbag / L.K. Bennett Taylor Wedge Shoes / Yves Saint Laurent Lipstick in Rose Aphrodite / MAC Eyeshadow in Stars N' Rockets.
The right fabric
- As always, my recommendation is to buy the best natural material you can afford.
- Choose a material that will drape. Although undoubtedly edgy, leather and other heavy materials are not a good option unless you are thin and tall. Same goes for neoprene, which is quite a frightful thing to see or wear, let me tell you, and only fit for the slimmest and tallest.
- Avoid dated styling details like dated florals, full skirts, especially in the ladylike version, are already retro enough.
Full Skirts: Too Girly by Caroline Grant. There is nothing wrong with this outfit if you are under 30, it's fun and flirty (polka dots plus stripes in sunny yellow, navy and gray) and right on trend with the peplum top and jacket. The proportion and the volume, however, make it less than optimal for over 30s.
JCrew Pleated Polka-Dot Skirt / Topshop Sleeveless Boucle Peplum Top / BQueen Texture Jacket / MARC by Marc Jacobs Baxter Handbag / Tory Burch Printed Beverly Pumps / Etro Earrings / Witchery Enamel Bangle Set / NARS Lipstick in Heat Wave / Tom Ford Nail Lacquer in Scarlet Chinois.
The right cut
- Choose a shape that fits close to your hips and then gradually fuller for the most flattering all-round silhouette.
- Avoid excessive pleating.
- Avoid dated styling details like ruffle hems.
- Avoid all-flounce or all-ruffle skirts or girly prints, you are stepping into girl territory. No tutus (not even Carrie Bradshaw can pull this one off, sorry). If it would look good on an infant, DO leave it on the rack.
Full Skirts: Right on by Caroline Grant. Although sometimes Orla Kiely's dresses lack hanger appeal, they are immensely flattering when worn, always ladylike and often quite demure, although very versatile in terms of accessorizing. A dress like this can be accessorized up and down and is a definite staple.
Orla Kiely Heavy Wool Dress / Hobbs Unlimited Shrunken Tuxedo Jacket / Hobbs Harriet Handbag / Söfft Annabeth Shoes / Pucci Silk Twill Scarf / Daniela Swaebe Dragon Agate Earrings / Anton Heunis Ring / Tory Burch Opera-length Gloves / Dickins & Jones Flower Trim Cloche Hat / Tom Ford Lipstick, Nail Lacquer and Compact in Black Orchid.
In the changing roomMove around in your full skirt in front of the mirror and decide:
- Does the material hang well? What silhouette does it create for me?
- The age factor: do I look dowdy or girly or like a grown-up woman?
- Check that the waistline is not too tight, it will crease immediately and it will be hard to make it recover its shape, if ever.
- Check the hemline: it has to be perfectly straight. "Ant roads" (as my mother calls such imperfect hemlines) are not an option. Don't reward lazy brands with your money.
- Do I have things that go with this item or do I have to buy everything that will go with it?
- Check the shop's return policy and whether it includes alterations, if you are going to need them.
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This is the fourth post in the series dedicated to Full Skirts.