Some women’s wardrobes are based almost entirely on skirts, and others maintain 100% skirt-free closets. Which makes total sense because when it comes to skirts, most of us either love them or absolutely loathe them. If you know which skirt styles work with your figure, sliding one on is guaranteed to make you feel like a million bucks … and depending on your build, pants may fight your body in 15 different ways. But if every skirt you’ve ever tried has made you feel like you’ve stuffed your lower half into a potato sack, you might hate them with the fire of a thousand suns.
And that hate is legit: I would never try to talk you out of it because you are the one who knows your body and taste and personal style best. No one should make you feel like you must learn to wear styles that make you miserable.
That said, if you’re a lifelong skirt-hater, learning about skirt fit might help you understand why this garment does cruel things to your body and silhouette.
And once you know how skirts should fit, you’ll be able to hone your skills as a skirt shopper.
Here are tips for making your skirt-shopping excursions fruitful and painless.
Make Sure the Waistband Sits Flat
Squeezy waistbands are virtually never a sign of good fit, and when it comes to skirts they can absolutely make or break how you feel about a certain style or cut. A skirt waistband should sit at your natural waist – where your torso is narrowest – and, ideally, it should stay put without too much sliding around. But sliding is preferable to squeezing! If you’ve got a soft midsection, look for skirts with WIDE waistbands since they are less likely to dig.
When trying on skirts, check waistband fit when standing and also when sitting. A little bit of squeezing or digging when seated is natural, but if that band cuts in uncomfortably, try a size up, a waistband in a more flexible material, or a different cut of skirt.
Minimal Pulling in Front
Just like pants, many skirt styles will pull a bit across your pelvis and crotch area. Unless you plan to stand up all day and remain totally motionless, your skirt is probably going to get a little creased. And unless it’s a full skirt style with lots of pleats, it might pull just a bit across the front. But if it pulls constantly or creates giant smile lines from hip to hip, it’s just too tight. End of story.
Pick Styles That Follow Your Curves
Like dresses, you want your skirts to caress your curves without pulling … but also without bubbling. A skirt that fits properly should skim your curves without creating any lumps or bumps in the fabric. (Back-zip skirts are especially prone to this issue.) Fuller skirts should sit against your lower back and glide off your backside, pencils should fit to your bum with a little bit of wiggle room.
Understand How Length Impacts Your Silhouette
Minis, midis, and maxis all have their charms, and if you’re a skirt gal, by all means experiment with every length you can find! But if you’ve always felt like skirts throw off your proportions, try this rule of thumb: Pick a length that hits somewhere between the center of your kneecap and about one inch above the top of your kneecap. Show some knee – even if it’s just the bottom half! – and you’ll balance your figure easily. This works for women of virtually every height, weight, and shape.
Don’t Ignore Comfort
Skirts should be a joy to wear, ladies. They should make you feel carefree and stylish, feminine and happy. And if you’ve only ever tried pencil skirts, it’s worth your time to experiment with less structured styles: Flared and A-lines aren’t as confining and may be totally perfect for your figure.
But if you’ve tried with all your might and failed to find a skirt that feels good on your unique body, invest in pants you love instead!