How to Wear a Full Skirt

The current trend for full skirts has The Fashion Police jumping for joy: with their dramatic silhouette and retro-inspired feel, this is one trend we can definitely get behind. Although full skirts have been around for a long time,  however, they can be tricky to wear without feeling like you just stepped out of a 1950s costume drama. Here are our tips on how to wear a full skirt…


How to Wear a Full Skirt

Full skirt: ASOS

How to Wear a Full Skirt | Choosing your skirt


Many of the full skirts we’re seeing in stores right now are midi length, for that full-on, retro effect. This can be a great look, if you get it right, but that much fabric,and that much length, can totally swamp some figures. If you’re petite, or just wondering how to wear a full skirt without feeling too over-dressed, consider choosing a skirt that hits right on the knee, rather than under it (or having one hemmed, if you can’t find the right length), for a more proportional, and easier-to-wear silhouette.

Structured or floaty?

Skirts like the one in the image at the top of the page use stiff fabric and/or box pleats to create built-in structure, i,e. the skirt will stick out from the body and look very full, without the need for a petticoat or other underlayer. Again, this can be a fabulous look, but it can also be a little too much for some tastes. If you’re looking for something a little less dressy, choose a floatier fabric (chiffon or jersey, say) with a softer drape to it, like the one below:

how to wear a full skirt

Skirt: ASOS

What to wear with your full skirt

Once you’ve picked out your skirt, the next question is what to wear with it. This will, of course, largely depend on your own personal taste, but as a general guide, we’d advise:

A fitted top

Full skirts are all about emphasising the waist, and for this to work, you’ll need something fitted on top, whether it be a sweater, shirt, or other top that’s reasonably form-fitting. At the moment we’re seeing a lot of people wearing oversized or loose sweaters with full skirts: this makes for a very “fashiony” kind of look, and definitely makes the look more modern, but it’s also incredibly hard to pull off as the saggy top half and full bottom half will swamp most figures, and can very easily turn your body into a large rectangle. If you can pull it off, go for it, but an easier, and more classic way to wear a full skirt is to choose something that emphasises the waist and doesn’t create extra volume on the top half of the body: let the skirt provide the focal point of the outfit.

Non-chunky shoes

If your skirt is adding a lot of volume to your body, it’s a good idea to make it the ONLY thing that adds volume, so as well as choosing a fitted top, you might want to choose shoes that aren’t too chunky. Pointed courts are the classic option, but peep toes or sandals also work well, whereas clumpy flatforms or slouchy ankle boots can make the skirt look frumpy or sloppy. On the subject of frumpiness: if your skirt is midi length, consider wearing heels if possible, although pointed flats can be a chic alternative – there are some more tips on how to wear midi skirts/dresses in this article.

full skirts at Topshop

Full skirts at Topshop

Styling a full skirt

How to wear a full skirt without looking overdressed or “costumey” is a question that comes up a lot in relation to this style, and the answer lies in how you style it. Keeping the rest of your outfit contemporary will go a long way towards making a full skirt more wearable, so try wearing something fairly casual, like a t-shirt or casual sweater and  keep hair and makeup simple: very rigid or elaborate hairstyles will add to the retro skirt of the look, which is great if that’s the look you’re going for, but a little harder to pull off if you’re looking for something less formal looking.

Some other tips on how to wear a full skirt:

  •  Crop tops are a great way to update the look of a full skirt, and add extra emphasis to the waist.
  • Want more waist definition? Add a wide waist belt.
  • Stripey sweaters are classic and casual, and work perfectly with a block-colour skirt.
  • Leather (or leather-look) skirts are a good option for those wondering how to wear a full skirt in a modern, slightly edgier fashion.
  • Slogan sweaters or tees also give a contemporary, slightly cheeky feel, to a classic look.

Got any suggestions on how to wear a full skirt? We’d love to hear them!

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