Category Archives: Skirts

How to shop for skirts

Full skirts on the brain

I was in Bloomingdale’s today and spotted these two darling looks. I’m kind of loving the fuller skirt for spring! It’s ladylike, comfortable, and generally flattering. While I would probably shorten both of these to be more knee-length, I’m still really into them. And check out those pops of yellow. Perfection.

Full skirts have a cool retro feel to them. And they’re considered flattering because they create the illusion of a small waist, while blossoming out at the hem (which helps to cover any below-the-waist areas you’re not too keen on). If you’re going to rock one of these, keep in mind this general rule: when you have volume in one place, keep it slimmer elsewhere. Therefore, if you’re going with a fuller skirt, the top should be more slim-fitting, and probably tucked in. And a belt never hurts!

Other than that, anything goes. These look fantastic with heels, chic summer sandals or simple ballet flats.

I’m still e-searching for the skirts above, but in the meantime, you can browse some fun full skirt options here,  here, and here.

Pretty from Eileen Fisher

Today’s email from Eileen Fisher really caught my eye. I love the pretty color combo of light grey (or smoke as they call it) and pale pink. The monochromatic skirt and top combo creates such a chic backdrop for a lighter-colored cardigan.

I’m also feeling that skirt! The draping is a beautiful accent, while the shape and at-knee length are so flattering.

Just thought I’d share.

The misbehaving maxi skirt

According to just about every summer fashion-related article/post/tweet/etc., the maxi skirt is thee perfect flaw-hider this season. I keep hearing over and over about how it’s flattering on all figures.

Well, not quite.

Yes, maxi skirts can be flattering, but it’s not just one single maxi style that does the trick. There are many different cuts and silhouettes out there, and only a select few of them will actually work on women with curves.

Allow me to demonstrate…

Scene: Marshall’s dressing room

Bottom half: mine


I tried on a bunch of maxi skirts that looked deceivingly similar. Long, black, cotton. It’s an easy mistake to make, thinking they will all fit the same way. But check out the pics of me in the first skirt. It does NOT fit.

Notice the unflattering pulling at the lower hips. This skirt makes me look larger than I actually am, which is something a garment of clothing should never do, let alone one that’s supposed to be forgiving.  (And completely unrelated, the sign above my butt is pretty randomly amazing, yes?)

Now on to skirt #2. Same size, same color, but totally different cut. This one (which I happily went home with) is a fuller, slightly flared style, which is KEY. Just look how smiley it makes me.

Straight up-and-down cuts can pull in places you don’t want highlighted. However, a skirt that goes out ever so slightly out from the waist all the way down to the hem will almost always make you look long, lean, and bulge-free.

Side-by-side butt pics just to drive the point across:

So remember, all maxis are not created equal. Ones with slightly fuller skirts will almost always trump those with a straight cut. Unless you have zero hips, then you don’t have a whole lot to worry about.

TRS on Lady and the Blog

My closet cleaning session with Vera Sweeney was just posted on her site, Lady and the Blog–which, by the way, you should be reading/following/checking in on regularly. It’s funny, smart, honest… the list goes on.

The experience was great fun, so read the play-by-play from Vera’s point of view!

And here’s some video footage of me discussing spring skirt lengths. Check it out and watch me single-handedly alienate Mormon wives who read fashion blogs! And there’s a really cute dog at about 0:36. Her name is Jill and she steals the show.

Stay tuned to my brand spankin’ new YouTube channel, where I will begin adding videos of helpful fashion tips every week. As soon as I get over my awkward in-front-of-a-camera stutter.

My no-nonsense shopping day with Karen, 59

I shadowed Karen, a special ed teacher, (also, my mother) on a recent shopping trip to one of her favorite haunts–Nordstrom Rack. I was there not so much as an adviser, but more as a fly on the wall.

It’s always helpful to see how someone shops when left to their own devices–with no one there to bounce opinions off of. I wanted to get in the mind of Karen on the hunt for the perfect something.

This is a woman who knows her body well, and after a lot of practice–and some daughterly guidance–has come to know exactly what clothes look and feel good on her. I was hoping a little guided walk-through could help some readers with any shopping hang-ups they may deal with.

There was nothing in particular she was looking for that day, except a bargain. Karen is a self-proclaimed sucker for a steal. She said it’s the number one thing she looks for when shopping. And within five minutes, we found this…

A Hanna & Gracie pencil skirt for 60% off. This got us going into the whole skirt issue. She pointed out that she looks for well-tailored with a little bit of edge. The muted tweed was spiffed up by a cool zipper and black ribbon. She also noted the perfect length–always at or just below the knee.

Karen’s new favorite brand when it comes to skirts and pants is Atelier. It’s a lower-priced line that can be found at Nordstrom stores, but oddly enough not on their site. As far as I can tell.

Again with this skirt–tailored with a bit of edge.

Next we moved on to basic shirts, where she singled out two tees specifically for their necklines. The white long-sleeved tee boasted a deep scoop, while the putty one had an intriguing twisted V neck. These cuts show off just enough skin to elongate the neck, without dipping too low into unwanted cleave zone.

Blazers, according to both Karen and me, are one of the most important staples a woman could own. We happened upon this punchy one from Tahari, which, again, filled two of her requirements: well-tailored with edge. See the trend developing here?

Karen looks for blazers that fall a little longer, with a subtle flare at the hem. I couldn’t agree with her more. This creates the appearance of a waist, while not pulling at the hips. A straight or boxy cut can make a body look square.

“You can never have too many white shirts.”

I swear I didn’t pay her to say that, although I have been hawking this advice for what seems like an eternity. Karen zeroed in on a classic white button-down from Tahari, pointing out its longer length and looser fit. The second one (from Laundry by Shelli Segal) was a bit trendier, but she liked the neck and the length.

We covered shoes as well, but that’s posted in an update to my suggestions for attractive flat shoes. Check it out for Karen’s personal pics!

Oh and that zip skirt came out to a whopping 9 bucks. Gotta love the Rack.

How to shop for: skirts

Skirts create a huge obstacle for women who are past the age of mini-skirt wearing. Therefore, we tend to shy away from wearing skirts, because we don’t know which ones will fit right and look good. You don’t have to be afraid of skirts. Just stick to the right ones for your body.

If You Have Hips

Look for either A-line or flared skirts. The fit won’t hug you tightly, and will create the illusion of a smaller waist since it gradually angles out from the waist downward. If you are ok with showing some leg, choose ones that hit at or right below the knee. If you don’t feel comfortable showing skin, then find one that is still flared, but hits at the ankle. Either way, try to avoid ones that hit mid-calf – it’s not flattering for anyone since it cuts off the leg at a weird place.

Eileen Fisher A-Line Skirt ($150), Style&co Flared Skirt ($15), J.Jill Long Skirt ($60).

If You Have A Straighter Bottom Half

Seek out pencil skirts or straight-cut long skirts. These will follow the line of your hips and legs in a tasteful way. Just be sure to be mindful of your waist– tuck in your shirt or cinch with a belt. Creating a waist creates the illusion of some curve.

Giambattista Valli Black Pencil ($995), Michael Kors Green Pencil ($995), J.Jill Long Sweater Skirt ($79).

PS…Michelle Obama knows the deal – check out how flattering the flared skirt looks on her curvy body.