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Skirt lengths - frumpy or foxy?

(55 Posts)
aarghhelp Sun 09-Aug-09 18:20:57

I was interested to read people's accounts of different desired skirt lengths on ahem, the Boden threads.

I am 5ft 9 tall but have about a 30-31" inside leg. So tall, long body, relatively short legs. I have generally felt I looked better in a long skirt and in the past have tended to opt for suits with long skirts. I haven't thought of long skirts as frumpy.

I was a bit surprised that some people do see long skirts as frumpy and are very keen to avoid skirts below knee for that reason. However, when I've been buying clothes recently, I just haven't been that keen on the longer skirts that I've managed to find.

Maybe when I was a bit younger the skirt-to-the-floor look managed to give off a different vibe, a hopefully-cool quasi Goth sort of thing.

I have been buying trousers as bottom halves for outfits more recently as they seem to hit the right note much better.

Has anyone got any opinion or advice on this?

SilentBob Sun 09-Aug-09 18:25:40

I too am 5ft 9" and rarely wear long (floor length) skirts these days- although I did in my yoof- complete with beads and Doc Martens! Nowadays, for me, a skirt below the knee has to be a pencil skirt and make me wiggle otherwise I'm afraid I do think of frump. Mind you, my inside leg is 34" or 36" (in jeans) if I wear heels so maybe that makes a difference?

Having read this back, I see I have been of no help here. As you were smile

TrillianAstra Sun 09-Aug-09 18:29:00

Skirts below the knee = frumpy unless:

-very long (covering the bone on your ankle)
-wiggle-making pencil skirt
-ballerina-type skirt (and that's the look you are going for)

There are probably a few more exceptions too.

It also depends on how good your calves are. Anything that ends at the fattest part of the calf is good only for people with very good calves (unlike me).

traceybath Sun 09-Aug-09 18:33:25

Agree with Trillian.

And extra frump points for long a-line denim skirts.

Just on the knee is my fave length but i'm short.

sarah293 Sun 09-Aug-09 18:39:13

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mrsdisorganised Sun 09-Aug-09 18:39:46

I think as long as the skirt fits well, (for me avoiding waistbands and elastic is essential!) Also agree with Trillian.
Personally I like either floor length, 5ft 11 with a 34/36 inch inside leg with jeans too, or something on the knee.

aarghhelp Sun 09-Aug-09 18:47:25

Hmm. I have slender elegant ankles but chubby podgy knees. If a skirt ends just above my ankles- just above the bone- and shows them off, I rather like that.

I have v podgy thighs but less podgy calves so maybe just below knee would work.

I have one or 2 v long denim skirts which I quite like (floor length). My fave is tight across hips and has massive slit up front. With opaques, I think it works at weekends.

I haven't thought of tight pencil skirts as somehow being less frumpy. I'm not sure I have the figure for a very tight pencil skirt (see podgy thighs) - somehow I feel okay in long, tight denim though.

TrillianAstra Sun 09-Aug-09 18:53:30

I haven't had this many people agreeing with me since, well, ever grin

TrillianAstra Sun 09-Aug-09 18:55:41

Big thighs but slim neat calves and ankles is prime for ballerina-length floaty type skirts. I had a few of them (so pretty) before I realised that although they are lovely they are just not flattering to my legs.

Pencil skirts would work even with larger thighs, the thighs can become part of the 'I have womanly hips' thing.

aarghhelp Sun 09-Aug-09 19:10:08

Trillian, I don't know what you mean by "ballerina" skirts. This sort of thing came to mind. Or this. Neither of which I can work to work (although, if I had the figure for the first one, it would considerably liven things up).

Do you mean a long, floaty skirt, perhaps in chiffon? I have one like that and, in particular, was wondering whether I should abandon it as frumpy.

TrillianAstra Sun 09-Aug-09 19:16:03

"Ballerina skirt is a full skirt that reaches to just above the ankles. It was a popular style during the 1950s." (wikipedia)

I mean like anyone designated as a 'good girl' in Grease. A full skirt that would swirl out if you did a twirl, below knee length but above ankle length. Floaty is an option.

You have to wear a little cardigan of some kind, and either flat pumps or delicate-ish heels.

fishie Sun 09-Aug-09 19:19:39

i have good legs but fat body. i look nice in a long straight / slim skirt but really i think they are just terribly out of fashion atm.

Oooh, I've been wondering about skirt lengths for a while now, so this is v. appropriate.

I used to (in my good-figure-slim-legs youth <sighs nostalgically > ) wear either very short skirts, or very long ones.
Now it's all gone a bit all over the place, and I no longer know what length suits me. Short pencil-skirt looks bizarre and doesn't feel comfortable. Long straight also no longer works. Long gypsy skirt I can just about get away with (though I always feel it makes me look ginormous).

Then, the other day, in a moment of desperation while trying to find an outfit for a night out, I tried on a just-below-knee lenth a-line skirt (so basically ballerina, but made of a jersey material, so not really very swirly) and it looked wonderful (wore it with a stretchy black halter-neck top and medium heeled court shoes).

I'd always thought this length came with a large FRUMP sign tatooted on your forehead, but I am now re-thinking the whole skirt length re: frumpiness thing, as I received numerous compliments that night, and I haven't had anyone compliment what I'm wearing for years!

I should add that I am very tall, with ok-ish figure and ok-ish legs, but a bit on the sturdy side, iykwim.

Oh my, I think that's one of my longest posts on MN ever!

aarghhelp Sun 09-Aug-09 19:46:49

Thanks Trillian! However, I don't want to wear little cardigans for work. I want to wear suit jackets So I want something that is flattering but also rather smart and senior-looking.

I do wonder whether the fifties look (or a watered down version of it) would really suit someone in her 40s trying to look professional.

(Sorry Don't mean to sound snooty).

There were some dresses from Vivien of Holloway linked to on this board some weeks ago and I rather liked the look of them, especially on the slim younger models with sailor tattoos, but I fear I am too aged for that look now, even out of the office.

OrmIrian Sun 09-Aug-09 19:47:26

I wear shin length skirts for work. Slim/pencil shape. They are quite slimming on me as I am so tall. I have only just started wearing shorter skirts to work and still feel like the office tart hmm DH recently told me that he hates the 2 dresses that I wear to work so my wardrobe has shrunk somewhat sad I have to rely on him as I have no confidence in my own taste. DH tells me I am a natural scruff.

TrillianAstra Sun 09-Aug-09 19:50:54

"someone in her 40s trying to look professional"


Not snooty, just committing the MN crime of not giving out all the info at the beginning wink

fishie Sun 09-Aug-09 20:03:18

well she did say suits trillian, but yes aargh you haven't specified the occasion for your skirts.

actually i think all skirts unless that odd peplum / tulip thing are completely out of fashion, i cannot find anything which isn't denim mini.

aarghhelp Sun 09-Aug-09 20:05:14

Oops sorry, doing 2 threads on this sort of thing at the same time.

Did mention in the OP re buying suits with longer skirts, and having been a skirt-to-the-floor would-be trendy person but when I was younger.

Am trying to find a personal style that is true to my inner funky person while not ridiculous for outer older person.

I have felt in past that skirts suited me a lot better (see chunky thighs) but currently find it easier to buy trousers (don't have to worry so much about hem length).

Also, body shape has changed from pear to hour glass with beastfeeding (though is liable to change back with heart sinking inevitability when I stop). Waist is still smaller than rest of me but bottom looks proprotionately smaller than pre DC.

Possibly trousers relatively more flattering at the moment therefore.

aarghhelp Sun 09-Aug-09 20:07:09

For beastfeeding read breastfeeding (although has teeth now and has been biting)

TrillianAstra Sun 09-Aug-09 20:09:25

Are pencil skirts not recommended as the ideal for hour-glass? And they do tend to come as part of suits, whereas you don't really see long-skirts-that-match-suit-jackets in the shops so much.

Pencil skirts are supposed to be wide at the top and narrow at your knees, so if you get one made of a thick-ish (not clingy) material no-one will think you have podgy thighs (even if you do).

aarghhelp Sun 09-Aug-09 20:23:35

Have waist at least 1 size smaller than bust hips so is difficult to get pencil skirt to fit (trousers usually easier to rein in with belt).

Also, when I was a bit younger and skinnier, I really liked cinching in my waist with a wide belt. Now I am older and curvier it feels a bit Bette Lynch to try and emphasise my assets in the same way.

I used to buy long loose skirts coming tightly into the waist, and buy the size to fit my waist. But I suspect that would not work so well now.

Instead, I find myself buying loose leg trousers, so that they fit my waist, even though they are not so loose on the leg.

CMOTdibbler Mon 10-Aug-09 10:07:51

I've got a couple of suits which have long skirts (slim, come to maybe an inch above the ankle), and they look really nice IMO. I am sometimes working with people for whom I need to be dressing modestly in order for both of us to be comfortable, and they are smart and fit the bill nicely.

When modesty is not critical, I usually wear them with kick ass shoes that would look tarty otherwise

anniemac Mon 10-Aug-09 11:48:55

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anniemac Mon 10-Aug-09 11:52:21

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MrsBadger Mon 10-Aug-09 12:03:07

anniemac is generally right

but I think a fat-kneed skinny-calfer would look very good in a 1in or 2in below the knee pencil with a kick pleat

I am a thin-kneed fat calfer and need a-lines to make them look slimmer.

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