Tuesday, January 28, 2014

How to style a full skirt


The right top, jacket or coat
  • Volume is a key factor: any top worn over a full skirt should be fitted. Bulk plus bulk makes YOU look bulky.
  • Proportions are also very important. Unless you have a long torso, any neckline in V or U will make you look short-waisted. Go instead for a ballet neck or a crew or a turtleneck.
  • Cardigans or jackets need to be cropped, i.e. hit at waist level (or just above or below), because you will be all volume if that is not the case.
  • Monochromatic or tonal combinations between a jacket or cardigan and are the best option to create a long, unbroken line, especially with full skirt. Additionally (or alternatively), you can also create that same line between the skirt and the shoes, wearing knee-high boots in the same shade of the skirt, or shoes and tights in the same shade of the skirt.

Gray and Coral

Full Skirt with Fitted Top by Caroline Grant. I have created a silhouette that provides a very long unbroken line from the shoulders down to the tip of the shoes in shades of gray. Notice that the different textures and subtle prints contribute to add character to gray, while the coral makes both really pop. Nude or pearl gray tights (not darker, tights should ideally never be darker than the shoes).
The ballet neck (from side to side) in the sweater provides a nice counterbalance to the fullness of the skirt.
A snake print in shades of gray is always an elegant option for pumps.
Urban Decay's  Naked eyeshadow palette (the original one) is full of interesting nude shades plus a couple of accent ones that allow you to experiment with natural or more striking eye makeup styles.

Karen Millen Graphique Skirt / L.K. Bennett Lyra Top / Hobbs Chiam Jacket / Söfft Moselle Shoes / Marni Woven Leather Handbag / Douglas Rosin Modernist Gold Hoop Earrings (vintage) at 1stdibs.com / Marni Flower Brooch / Urban Decay Palette in Naked / Tom Ford Lipstick in True Coral / Tom Ford Nail Lacquer in Coral Flame.

Green and Red

Ladylike in Green and Red by Caroline Grant. The dress is from Lindex, one of those shops that produce 95% of their products in polyester, unfortunately, but occasionally do something nice in cotton that seems to have been designed, cut and sown by someone who knows what s/he is doing. Occasionally. This one was in cotton, but they produced so few I never actually got to see it in person until I got a glance at a girl who was wearing it... Sigh...
The competition from China has made that a lot of European and American retail clothes ands shoes shops (H&M, Mango, Esprit and the like) try to compete by relocating to the East (where the labour force is virtually unprotected) and reducing their quality both in materials and cut. The result is the all but wholesale destruction of the industry in Western countries and of most of the know-how, especially about shoes, and a high street full of shops virtually impossible to distinguish one from another. Well, maybe in degrees of shabbiness and vulgarity. It's the reign of polyester out there.
The T-strap shoes are quite ridiculous in their height, but the colour is simply wonderful. Consider the combination of your best green and best red in a spring or summer outfit.

Coast Teri Jacket / Lindex Dress / Tory Burch Everly Pumps / Essentiel Antwerp Drouton Handbag / Trina Turk Cocktail Rings / Etro Hammered Brass Earrings / Nars Lipstick in Heat Wave / Nars Nail Lacquer in Dovima.

The shoes and handbag
  • Dainty, ladylike shoes like with kitten heels are natural allies of full skirts. Details like bows are a good idea, but keeping lines clean.
  • Pointy flats are also a good option, but with just above or just below the knee lengths, not longer.
  • Booties are a less traditional option but great for mid season and winter, in the same colour as your hosiery. Choose a pair with a nice cut in the upper part: avoid those that create a straight line across your ankle and go for a pair that create a nice V.
  • Handheld or over the shoulder bags work best with the volume a full skirt provides. 

Black and Grey

Black and Grey by Caroline Grant. This is one example of new materials used in fashion nowadays: a mix of neoprene and wool. The end result is undoubtedly warm, although bulky, so you need a very small waist (in relation to the body), to be able to wear something like this. The thin belt also helps to accentuate the smallness of the waist. As the skirt flows from the waist and has a waistline, it is better to choose a turtle neck top, to keep the torso from looking short.
The turtle neck top keeps the torso from looking short. Choose either short or three-quarter sleeves (consider a nice bracelet or two, in that case) to keep you from being too covered up.

The booties or shoe boots, by Clarks, are great, with a wonderfully balanced heel and a nice platform and cut to keep the line of the leg nice and long with black tights. You can still find them on eBay. In any case, booties and a leather jacket are a good balance for the femininity of the skirt and bow belt.

J.W. Anderson Pleated Bonded Neoprene and Wool Skirt / Reiss Bryony Leather Jacket / Ralph Lauren Black Label Cashmere Top / Marissa Bajra Lace Print Fringe Shawl / Hispanitas Handbag / Clarks Asha Booties / Kate Spade Gathered Bow Belt / ZSiska Twist Ring / Miss Selfridge Beret / Tom Ford Lipstick, Nail Lacquer and Compact in Black Orchid.


  1. Reenactment moment, unless it's Halloween or a ballroom dance contest.
  2. Paired with boyfriend jackets or oversized coats: great idea if your objective when getting dressed is to be all volume and hide your form completely. In any of these you would loose all definition at the waist, the main reason you chose the full skirt to begin with. Best avoid.
  3. Exposed midriff. Oh my, this is an option only available with those with not even an extra half inch around the waist. Even slim people have to suck in their stomachs continuously while straightening their backs to the limit when they sit down in these... it's quite painful to witness.
  4. Socks or mid calf boots. Oh my.


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