Party Skirts for Every Figure
If You Are Petite
Look for: Hemlines that hit at or above the knee. Styles with a high waist or vertical details also have an elongating effect, says Simon Kneen, the creative director of Banana Republic.
Avoid: Longer skirts, which can make you look shorter. “Beware of voluminous silhouettes or heavy material, which can weigh down your frame,” says New York City–based costume designer Jenny Gering.
To buy: Anthropologie beaded wool skirt, $298, anthropologie.com. Chaus top. Colour Me earrings. Rosena Sammi bangles.
This skirt is perfect for petite frames; it’s 18 inches in length.
To buy: The Limited lace skirt, $70, thelimited.com.
To buy: Guess by Marciano cotton-and-satin skirt, $128, guessbymarciano.com.
If You Have Thick Calves
Look for: A flared cut that hits at the knee to accentuate the slimmest part of the leg. Frilly details or a chiffon overlay softens the look of wide calves, says Jacqui Stafford, a style expert in New York City.
Avoid: “Tapered or below-the-knee skirts, which emphasize the fullest part of the calf,” says Kneen.
To buy: Coldwater Creek polyester skirt, $100 (available up to 3X), coldwatercreek.com.
For Thick Calves
To buy: Robert Rodriguez polyester skirt, $325; similar styles available at robertrodriguezcollection.com.
If You Have a Tummy
Look for: Structured or textured materials and dark-colored prints, which mask the midsection. Fabric that loosely drapes over the middle is also forgiving. If you have great legs, redirect attention to them with a mini, suggests Gering. The waistband on this skirt hides a pooch.
Avoid: Horizontal stripes, pleats, and flimsy silks, which highlight the stomach.
To buy: Eva Franco polyester skirt, $215, evafranco.com.
To buy: Shin Choi acetate-blend skirt, $245, 212-921-8223.
If You Have Full Hips and Thighs
Look for: Slightly flared, not poufy, skirts that streamline the hips. “Dark shades, like navy, charcoal, and chocolate, help slim your bottom half,” says Stafford.
Avoid: Bulky pockets, horizontal designs, and peplum waists, which exaggerate curves. Steer clear of pencil skirts that cling and boxy shapes, which don’t play up the waist.
To buy: Jill Stuart lamé skirt, $398, 212-343-2300.
For Full Hips and Thighs
To buy: Banana Republic cotton-blend skirt, $98, 888-277-8953.
How to Solve an Annoying Party Skirt Problem
“I Never Know What Shoes to Wear”
First of all, make sure your footwear is as dressy as your outfit. (Everyday black pumps will make your skirt feel everyday.) Have a little fun here. Seek out sparkly accents, big bows, or a luxurious fabric, like satin, velvet, or suede. And follow these no-fail pairing suggestions.
1. Above-the-knee skirts become more grounded once you add flats with a bit of embellishment at the toe. Enzo Angiolini leather-and-fabric flats, $69, macys.com for stores.
2. Knee-length cuts look particularly glamorous with opaque black hose and open-toe sandals (as long as they’re a strappy style that covers the feet somewhat). Charles by Charles David suede-and-fabric heels, $125, amazon.com.
3. Midcalf-length skirts demand high heels, like peep-toes or pointy pumps (with or without a platform), to lengthen the legs and keep you from looking dowdy. Loft suede heels, $89.50, 888-563-8444.
“Basic or Fun Tights?”
Check out these guidelines to figure out if you should step it up or toe the line.
With a printed skirt, it’s safest to stick with a pair of trusty black opaques. Try: Hanes Silk Reflections tights, $12, haneshosiery.com for stores (near right).
With a dark-colored skirt, create contrast with a jewel tone, like plum, teal, or indigo. Try: Hue tights in Aubergine, $13.50, hue.com (center).
With a black skirt, you can be more daring and add patterned stockings (fishnets, dots, or stripes). Try: Commando lace tights, $36, herlook.com (far right).
“Where Are All the Plus-Size Party Skirts?”
You’re bound to find full-figured evening dresses galore, but glitzier bottoms can be a rare commodity. Save yourself some trouble by heading to these stylish resources first.
Asos Curve: Sizes 16 to 22, asos.com.
Encore Department at Nordstrom: Sizes 14W to 24W, nordstrom.com.
Igigi by Yuliya Raquel: Sizes 12 to 32, igigi.com.