Fashion Tips: Advice On Choosing The Right Skirt Length For Your Age And Body Type

Fashion tips and guide on selecting the most flattering skirt length for your age and body type.

Skirt fashions change from year to year with flirty, bouncy, straight and long all playing a role in today's fashion.Depending on their design, skirts can accentuate or camouflage certain body areas.Use this guide to select a skirt style that flatters your shape with an age appropriate, comfortable fit.

First, know your body by carefully taking these measurements:waistline, full hip and fullest part of your stomach.

To measure your waistline, pull the measuring tape snug around your waist and then let out a breath.This measurement, after exhale, allows you to breathe, eat, bend over and sit down in a skirt.

To measure your full hip, either measure your hips, which are about 7-9 inches below your waist or if your upper thighs are very full, take this measurement instead.

Finally measure around the fullest part of your stomach.

These measurements will help when purchasing skirts.Don't be afraid to bring measuring tape with you to the department store and measure the inside of the skirt to find the best size.Once you've found a size in a particular designer, it should remain constant but don't assume that a size 8 with one designer equals a size 8 with another designer.

Second, find the best length for your body type, be critical of yourself or, if brave, ask other people's opinions.Stand in front of a full-length mirror in shoes with the average heel height you wear.Hold a piece of fabric (a pillow case or sheet works well) in front of you, draped to the floor. Gradually raise the fabric to different locations on your leg and notice as you raise it up or down that your leg will look thicker or thinner.No length should hit your leg at the fullest part.A safe length for most people is the shadow of the knee, where the calf curves in toward the back of the knee.Don't be concerned with sticking with one length, either, your figure may suit two or three skirts length and look great.Keep in mind that if your heel heights vary, you should repeat this procedure to determine the best lengths with each pair.

Lastly, decide what style you like the best.Full, pleated, fitted, straight or wrapped.Check fashion magazines for the latest and greatest but keep in mind the age of the models.What looks appropriate and fun for a teenager will seem immature and silly on a forty year old.Use common sense; if your initial reaction is "that's too young for me," it probably is but don't paint yourself into a corner either, try on a few current fashions to be certain.

Some basic rules of thumb for finding the most flattering skirt with common body area complaints.

Small Waist. Fitted waistlines are best; select a waistband width based on whether you're short- or long-waisted. Short waisted equals a thinner width waistband while long waisted equals a thicker waistband.If waistband options are not open, try pairing your skirt with a think or thick belt.

Large Waist. Choose elasticized waistbands or smooth-front waistbands with elastic in back, but avoid too much fullness; have just enough for a comfortable fit over the hips and waist. Narrow waistline widths minimize the focus at the waist.

Short Waist. Select a narrow waistband or a faced waistline to make the upper body look longer and more proportional to long legs. Skirts with dropped waistlines also achieve this effect. Avoid high-waisted styles and gathered or scrunched waist treatments.

Long Waist. Choose wider waistbands and belts and high-rise waistlines, unless you're full- or low-busted. Mid-calf-length skirts help visually lengthen the lower body. Avoid mini skirts and styles that begin below the waistline.

Large Tummy. For the most comfortable fit, choose narrow, elasticized waistbands or those that are smooth in front and elasticized in back.Wrap and A-line skirts are easier to fit, as are soft fabric skirts without too much fullness through the waist and hips. Avoid pleats from the waistline and fly front closures--they add bulk to the tummy.

Wide Hips. Choose skirt styles with slenderizing, lengthwise details--a side-front seam for example. Front or back zippers, and side pockets are also slimming details. Avoid bulky fabric or layer skirts.

Large Derriere and Waist. Elasticized waistlines with gentle fullness and softly gathered skirt styles will camouflage rather than accentuate your curves. Rather than pencil-straight skirts, steer toward A-line styles with a little more fullness for easier fitting. Avoid skirts with flared trumpet styling or ruffles at the lower edge that only accentuate body width.

Flat Derriere. Back fullness and detailing such as yokes or pockets will camouflage the lack of curve in back. Gathered waistlines, and full skirts also add some fullness.

Long Legs. Layered skirts and those with hemline ruffles will suit you best. Mid-calf and longer styles are proportionate while mini skirts will make legs look even longer.

Short Legs. Short skirts visually lengthen legs and re-balance proportions; however, short, full styles only make legs look shorter. Other lengths can be worn if they're in correct proportion--try mid-calf styles with heels, and knee to floor lengths. Steer toward slim, trim skirt styles and position skirt details close to the waistline to draw attention away from short legs.

Lastly, don't sacrifice comfort for style.Elastic waistbands, hidden zippers, and lined skirts are personal preferences that can make or break a day.If needed, hunt for them, have favorite skirts tailored or adjusted to your liking and when you find that perfect fit, buy more!

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