If you dress modestly, you know that modest skirts are the workhorses of your everyday wardrobe. But do you really know how to shop for skirts? By paying attention to just a few basic principles, you’ll have an easier time when you next go skirt shopping at the mall. You’ll also have an easier time finding the look that matches your body – and your lifestyle.
The Hips Have It
The drape of a skirt begins at your hips. That’s why – when it comes to skirts – your particular hip-shape is crucial to making the right fashion choice.
Fuller-hipped, curvy women should look for A-line skirts that flare out toward the hemline. This de-emphasizes the mid-section, and creates a more streamlined, elegant line.
Straight-hipped women who wish to emphasize their curves are better served by pencil skirts. Gently hugging the hips and becoming narrower toward the hemline, pencil skirts define an hourglass silhouette that – if it’s not taken to an extreme – can be elegant, tasteful and 100% modest. If you want to further accentuate the pencil skirt’s hourglass effect, try tucking in your top, or wearing a cinch belt at the natural waist.
Hemline – How to Decide?
Skirts that fall just below the knee are universally flattering. But if you choose to go lower – to a midi or maxi length – here are some things to keep in mind.
While undeniably modest, for some women, midi skirts can be a fashion failure. That’s because they tend to fall right on the widest part of the calves. If your legs are thick rather than lean, or if you’re of below-average height, midi-length skirts may not be the best choice for you.
How about shopping for long skirts? Again, short women – as well as Petites – should be extra careful, because maxis can make you look even smaller than you are – to the point of even looking “stumpy” (and nobody wants that!). To avoid this pitfall when shopping for maxi skirts, choose one that fits snugly around your hips and thighs. This makes it more likely that you’ll achieve a look that is both modest and elegant.
When shopping for long skirts, remember: your goal is to dress modestly, not to disappear! Rather than choosing skirts that fall to the floor, try a hemline that reaches to the thinnest part of your ankles. This creates the flattering illusion of slim legs in the context of a modest outfit.
Modest dressing looks good on every body type, but it has some distinct advantage for those of us with fuller figures. This is not because we want to cover up and “hide” – heaven forbid. Rather, modest cuts give us the freedom we need to make a beautiful fashion statement that embraces our size… and our lifestyle.
Tight Doesn’t Make Right
Plus-size women have natural presence, and the right skirt choices can help them make the most of it. While it’s certainly true that “real women have curves”, it’s also true that when women’s curves are the focus of attention, modesty tends to go out the window. In other words, if your mid-section is encased in tight, slinky material, it doesn’t matter if your elbows and knees are well covered – the total effect is eye-catching, and not in a good way.
Let’s look at some of the fashion secrets that allow plus-sized women to choose a skirt that shows them off to their fullest advantage.
Flowing and Fashionable Skirts
Maxi, midi or to-the-knee, every skirt length can compliment the more generous figure.
Skirts that go to the ankle or even the floor are not just for formal wear. Long skirts can add elegance to everyday dressing, creating a line that draws attention away from the hips and tummy. Ramp up this “camouflage” effect by choosing a skirt with flowing detail in the lower leg area – or dramatic pleats that begin at the knee.
Mid-length flared skirts can also create an elegant line. A generous cut that includes lots of extra material creates a flowing, attractive drape that moves with you. Alternatively, you can look for a “tiered” skirt that offers a wider silhouette, while providing visual interest all the way down.
Classic, to-the-knee skirts come in a variety of styles that can work for plus-size women. Whether you’re looking for a stretchy pencil-skirt, or a more structured design, your skirt should make you feel confident about the leg you choose to show. Don’t forget to “test drive” your choice by sitting down – even in front of a mirror – and verifying the knee-coverage before you make your purchase!
Waist Not Want Not?
Women of generous proportions tend to pair their skirts with tops designed to de-emphasize the waist, by hiding it altogether. But remember: a waist is a terrible thing to mind! So keep an open mind while shopping for your next skirt, and consider waist-conscious designs that dare to define your shape. Who knows – you may decide to tuck in that tee shirt after all!
Starting a new grade in elementary school? Heading off college? No matter what stage our daughters are at, they want to have fun, make new friends, and… look fabulous.
And why not? There’s nothing wrong with making a fashionable statement based on eye-catching outfits that express your daughter’s spirit within the boundaries of modesty. So moms, when you head out to the mall to update your daughter’s wardrobe with some back-to-school shopping, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Let your daughter take the lead about colors and styles – while you set the tone about what constitutes “kosher” coverage. You’re sure to find solutions that will make you both happy, and have a good time shopping, too.
Back to School With A Smile
Here are ten tips to get you started:
- A flattering jean skirt is essential for every girl’s wardrobe, but skirts don’t have to be boring, or look like a stuffy school uniform. Look for fun appliqués or flounces (for younger girls) or a sophisticated drape (for high school and college students). Because they go with everything, jean skirts are the foundation of flexible and modest dressing.
- Stock up on casual pencil skirts in a variety of solid colors. This will give your daughter inspiration in the morning, so she can mix and match to create fun new looks.
- Even non-dressy girls appreciate a comfortable dress that slips over the head and gets her out of the door fast. Whether it’s made of tee-shirt material or a more substantial fabric, look for a dress that’s simple enough to be dressed up with some jewelry or a wide belt, or dressed down (a baseball cap worn fashionably backwards and high-top sneakers?).
- Speaking of flexibility, you’ll want to buy more tops than bottoms when you’re shopping with your girls. Pair your school skirts with elegantly casual tees with ¾ length sleeves, or a boat-neck collar. Button-down shirts that skim over the skirt’s waistline are crisp and fashionable choices for fall days on campus.
- If your daughter’s looking for fun fashion, relax – you can afford it. Along with simple colored shirts, stripes and plaids, stock up on bright and inexpensive logo tees that will give your daughter a chance to express her personal style.
- Want to vary the look? Add more interest to a basic top by adding a stylish vest – denim is a good choice to match those jean skirts. Every girl should have two or three outer garments for layering as fall turns to winter, whether it’s a hoodie, pullover, or long sleeve button down cardigan.
- Don’t forget workout clothes. If your daughter’s school has a specific policy about “Phys Ed” fashion, you can probably rest assured that the girls will be steered toward appropriate and modest active wear. But if the school doesn’t supply the dress code, you can step up to the plate. From long basketball shorts to covered sports skirts with leggings, there are a lot of options out there. Find something colorful and comfortable, and your daughter will probably find fashionable uses for them outside of gym class.
- Accessories are make-or-break items for casual back-to-school fashions, but you don’t have to break the bank. Set limits and ground rules with your daughter, but let her do her own shopping in this department. You’ll be surprised how many hair ornaments, belts and bangles she finds that bring her in under budget!
- Shoes, did anyone mention shoes? Before you head out to the store, take a back-to-school inventory. For growing girls, a new pair of school shoes is essential. Your daughter will also need sneakers for gym, boots for wet/snowy weather, and a pair of Mary Jane’s or dressy flats.
- Finally, find the accessories your daughter needs to keep organized. For younger kids, consider purchasing a roller backpack or a backpack with straps. A cute lunchbox will make your daughter feel special, and might even encourage her to eat her vegetables!
Modest fashion is attainable while on a budget.
In truth, most of the time you only need a few items to refresh your wardrobe. I am a bit partial to basic pieces, because I am always on the run with my 4 kids. I have to be in and out of the house in a hurry, and the last thing I want to worry about is what I am wearing. I own a few must have items that not only look great all year round, but are also affordable!
- Long black pencil skirt – The knee length black pencil skirt is a great versatile piece in your wardrobe. It is a staple item that is classic because it can be worn anywhere at anytime. The great thing about this modest fashion item is that you can wear it with a variety of shirts and it is a style that is never outdated. Celebrity mom, Victoria Beckham, often opts for this modest fashion choice and looks extremely confident and chic. Designers also like the knee length pencil skirt and was featured in Christian Siriano’s fall 2010 collection, Gap’s fall 2011 collection as well as Ann Taylor’s collection.
- Knee Length Straight Denim Skirt – I just adore straight knee length skirts, especially in denim! The knee length straight denim skirt is great for winter and summer and can be worn to many occasions. You can dress it down with a pair of flats or dress it up with a pair of heels with the right accessories. The denim straight skirt has also been a favorite among celebrity moms such as Courtney Cox and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Long Black A-line Skirt
- The scarf – When you are wearing basic modest fashion items, have some fun by adding colorful scarfs! The scarf is the easiest way to update your wardrobe and it is also the chicest way to cover up. It has been spotted on many 2011 runway shows, such as Yigal Azrouel, Kenzo, Just Cavalli and William Rast.
- Long Black A-line Skirt – The long black A-line skirt is also a great fashion basic item! I have several long black A-line skirts because they are so comfortable without looking sloppy. Whatever shirt I put on always looks better with a long black A-line skirt.
- Basic ¾ Sleeve Shirt – The ¾ sleeve cotton ribbed shirt is a definite must have in your closet! This basic T comes in a variety of colors, and looks great with a long black A-line skirt and a knee length straight denim skirt.
I have a confession to make. Even though I hold my own where style is concerned, my 12-year-old daughter is the resident fashionista in my house. Not that I don’t pay attention to what’s new and exciting, but let’s just say that she is the one who follows the latest trends. So when she came running into my room today and shouted that we ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY must go out and buy a pencil skirt (or two or three) because ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY EVERYONE is wearing them!!!, I was a little nervous. In my mind, I had immediate visions a barely knee length pencil skirt; very tight and very revealing. Not to mention unbearably uncomfortable! This did not bode well for the preference to dress modestly that both my daughter and I share.
Ughhhh! How uncomfortable does THIS look???
But, I was intrigued, so I did some research. Here is what I found: the knee length pencil skirt actually evolved from the hobble skirt of the early 20th century. The hobble skirt was a full length skirt, gathered at mid-calf, which, although nice and modest, seriously impeded the wearer’s ability to walk. Well, if you ask me, that sounds like fashion hell. Thankfully, the French uber designer Christian Dior re-introduced a much shorter version of the hobble skirt that also included a slit in the back for ease of movement. Thus the modern-day knee length pencil skirt was born. But could I find long pencil skirts that would appeal to my discerning, modest daughter???
Long Pencil Skirt
So my daughter and I hit the mall for some serious shopping. As she tried on pencil skirt after pencil skirt, I had to admit that although I very much liked the silhouette they created, most of these skirts where waaaay too short and tight. So back home we went to try and find something more suitable online. To our delight, we found some great stuff: a decent selection of long pencil skirts that hit well- below the knee, which meant they were both age-appropriate and modest. We decided that the slenderness of the long pencil skirts would be nicely balanced with a loose tunic top or a flowing, soft jacket. We found a couple of terrific denim pencil skirts that would look really cute with leggings underneath, and elegant black pencil skirts that would be great for more fancy occasions.
The added bonus was that these long pencil skirts were made in nice stretchy materials that made them incredibly comfortable to wear. Oh, did I mention that I found some amazing long pencil skirts for me, too?
Even Posh often wears classy, modest long pencil skirts!
So at the end of the day, my daughter ended up with a new wardrobe replete with long pencil skirts that completely fit our modest way of dressing, and I ended up a way cooler, fashion-forward mom!
My oldest daughter just started first grade, and let me tell you- I’ve completely forgotten the rules and regulations that accompany attendance at elementary school. In addition to purchasing a very specific type of notebook, a backpack with a certain number of pockets, a precise number of pencils, markers and crayons, I also had to fill her closet with a sufficient number of school skirts that cover her knee but still give her enough mobility to play actively- and to look adorable at all times.
I guess I should mention that we have 3 daughters, so I was hoping to find quality school skirts that would service my girls for the next few years. After failing at the most obvious chain stores, I began to ask around about specialty stores might carry the treasure I was hunting. One of my friends suggested Kosher Casual…and, I’d like to say that the rest is history.
Velour School Skirt
I loved the black velour school skirt so much that I actually bought one for my second daughter as well. And at $10, a probably should have bought one for daughter #3! The girls love wearing them to school and for special events because the fabric can be dressed up or dressed down. (I just love them because they’re easy to wash and don’t pill or tear even after dozens of uses).
Another favorite of the girls was the knee-length tiered denim skirt, which makes a great girls school skirt because it keeps their legs warm during the winter and is loose and cool in the summer. My daughter loves the tiered denim skirt for another reason as well- it enables her to wear pants under her skirt on gym days without having to change for gym during the day.
Although the girls schools skirts that I purchased from Kosher Casual are only a few months old, I’m thrilled that they are still looking fantastic- and that the girls still love wearing them. I know that next year when I need to buy skirts in the next size I’ll know exactly where to go. Which, of course, will give me more time for finding the exact writing implements that my children’s teachers request!