She Wears Skirts – Flattering Styles for Every Shape and Size

One goal I had when considering this series was to make sure FRUMPY was not part of it.

At some point in our culture, the word MODEST got all mixed up with the words FRUMPY and BORING and even UGLY.  Somewhere along the line we began to believe the only way to look modest in the Lord’s eyes was to wear shapeless uncomfortable worn-out things that made us feel less like women and more like sacks of potatoes.

In many ways, this has been a knee-jerk reaction to the culture at large who has deemed it appropriate to go out in one’s underthings, showing as much skin and curvature as possible.  She Wears Skirts is a call to stop jerking knees and start dressing in a way that honors you as a woman rather than degrades or denies.

So, with that said, let’s dig in!

I have been just about every size under the sun.  Until recently, I was a plus size, so let’s start there.

PLUS SIZE

When you are a larger women, it can be difficult to find skirts and dresses that are kind to your figure.  So, what you have to do is consider your trouble spots, which for most plus size women, is your middle.  That’s where the “frump” will collect.  You will want to keep attention AWAY from this area.  There are several styles of skirts that will do this for you:

Riding Skirt
(from OneStopPlus.com)

A-line
(from LaneBryant.com)

Ruffle Skirt
(from TheModestMom.com)

Boho Skirts
(these are either tiered – like mine – or flared like the one below)

The worst style of skirt I have found for my size is a crinkle or broomstick skirt.  I have NEVER (even when I WASN’T overweight) looked good in this style.  It just made me look short and fat.  Looking that way will make you run from skirts as fast as you can!

I’ve seen this skirt on very thin women and very tall women and it looks great, just not on me.

As for finding tops, this too can be a challenge.  Here’s what I have found to be modest and flattering on my figure:

*A shirt that rides below your waistline several inches.

Don’t overdo the length, but again, the goal is to keep the fabric and the eye away from your middle.

*Layering and accents at the neckline


This can be real layers or this can be layers built into a single shirt, like the one above.

This is where not discounting low-cut styles will work for you.  LAYER THEM!

The reason this type of shirt is flattering is because it brings the attention to the face since the underneath layer is showing at the top of the shirt.  This concept is also why accents toward the neckline of a shirt are flattering.

* Twin sets

Because twin sets button at the neckline, your eye goes there.  You can either purchase a twin set that is ready-made or you can piece it together yourself as I did in the picture above.  These also work very well for a woman who is top-heavy.

Short or Tall?

Often, women who are short are told they CAN’T wear long skirts.  That just isn’t true.  A skirt like the ruffle skirt that elongates and then has a nice accent at the end will actually help you look taller.  In fact, the idea of putting accents at the top and bottom of your outfit as we talked about in the Plus Size section will help to keep you, as a shorter woman, from looking squaty.

Taller women can get by with lots of interesting color and contrast on their skirts, including the broomstick skirt!  3/4 sleeve shirts like the one below look great on taller women as well.

Thin Build

I’ll let Caroline from The Modest Mom speak to this…

While everyone thinks that thin people have no problem finding clothes – and looking nice in those clothes – we have our own set of difficulties.  It’s difficult to teeter between not dressing too revealing and not dressing like a sack.  Here are some tips for dressing modestly if you are on the thin side.

*Blouses that do not have any sort of dart to it can tend to look baggy.  A side dart at the bust, or two darts in the front can flatter the figure without being skin tight.

 

ruffled shirt from appleseeds.com

*The long jumpers that are classified as the “homeschool mom look” are not flattering on smaller ladies.  Especially if you are smaller busted, the jumper will just hang on you, thus creating the “sack” look.  If you really want to wear a long jumper, try finding one that actually has a waistline on it or pleats at the top to create some sort of form.

 

cotton corduroy jumper from shopnational.com

*Avoid skin tight knit tops.  While it might be tempting to show off how thin you are, the only person that truly needs to know every line of your body is your husband.  The is the problem I run into the most when I’m out shopping, as so many outfits that are a size small tend to be skin tight.

*****

I know we’ve just glossed the surface here, but there’s really no way to cram all there is to say about dressing in flattering styles into one post…or even several posts!  This is where I’m going to rely on you, my readers!

All of you have been so great about offering input {and if you haven’t read the comments on the other posts, please do so, they are WONDERFUL!}!  If you have anything to add about different sizes and flattering styles, please feel free to add them here.

I’d also encourage you to head over to The Modest Mom blog where Caroline shares a secret to concealing a Mommy Tummy! (and you KNOW how near and dear THAT topic is to me!)

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52 thoughts on “She Wears Skirts – Flattering Styles for Every Shape and Size

  1. I have been enjoying this, but I find this time the information kinda …lacking? I guess I got my feelings a little hurt by the “There are two kind of plus size women…” comment. Its hard to be accepted anywhere when being plus sized and even though you where just trying to address yourself with that one it just kind of offended me. Yes I’m fluffy everywhere, but I didn’t want to think of myself in a negitive light either. I’m sorry if I’m coming across wrong I just wanted you to know because I really believe your heart is chasing God in this area and I don’t want Satan to use this to hinder it. And please don’t think I’m trying to discourage you either.

    • I’m sorry I offended you, Shonda. I meant no negativity in that comment. I will take a look at it and see if I can reword it.

  2. I love A-line skirts because they give me room to move and altho most would call me thin, I also look awful in a broom skirt. It makes me look wide.

    I gotta disagree w/ you about the twin set. My eye was immediately drawn to your middle b/c that’s where the contrast is. Black and white.

    I think a very important part of looking good is knowing what colors you look good in. If you wear all the right shapes but wear a color you look drab in, what good is that? My daughter once said: You look good in every color.
    I laughed and said: That’s because I only buy the colors I look good in.
    I found it funny how she interpreted it.

    • We will be addressing colors as well later on. For me, this has been a challenge because I used to be a blonde and now I’m not, so my colors have changed and it’s been difficult for me to remember that!

    • I have to agree with Ginger about the twinset issue. I think, other than the color contrast, it is the fact that the vest top opens in an upside-down V-shape (or, well, A-shape). That seems to “widen” the space across the tummy. My guess is that it would work better if the sides of the vest were more like parallel to each other – sorry, I have a hard time describing my thoughts! :-)

      • This outfit was not the one I wanted to show, but I didn’t have a good picture of the other. I do agree after looking at it. The one I was thinking of is a solid color and covers better. If I do find that picture, I’ll replace it!

  3. Thanks for the information! I love this series. I am a fluffy, heavy on top, 5 ft 6 in. woman and I love the flared skirts that are ankle length with pretty colored tops. The layered approach with tops helps me a lot. I have a 3 yr old who still grabs at my top at times when I bend over to pick him up…so the V goes lower than I expect at times. Solid skirts and bright colored tops look best on me. I find that the bright floral skirts tend to emphasize my “back side” a lot more than I like.

    Can’t wait for the next post in this series! Great job. We all have to find what works best on us. Thanks again for the encouragement! This series has helped me a lot! :D

    Building Home with Him,

    Mary Joy

  4. Thanks for sharing this series, it’s been interesting to read. I’ve been wearing skirts all the time for close to 20 years now (wow, it makes me feel old to say that!) and well remember the days when being modest meant wearing a denim jumper that was a couple sizes too big:-(

    I agree with this statement – “At some point in our culture, the word MODEST got all mixed up with the words FRUMPY and BORING and even UGLY. Somewhere along the line we began to believe the only way to look modest in the Lord’s eyes was to wear shapeless uncomfortable worn-out things that made us feel less like women and more like sacks of potatoes.” and think this is why a lot of women are nervous about wearing skirts.

    Though I love thrift store shopping, my favorite place to buy skirts is at Cato. They have long, modest, flattering, and pretty skirts. Most of them have a little bit of spandex in them which I love, very comfortable and easy to work in as they move with you well. They aren’t too expensive either, most new skirts are about $20, and I’ve found several nice ones for $10 – 15 on their clearance racks.

    I look forward to reading the rest of this series!
    Stefanie

  5. Great post! I switched from jumpers and denim dresses to skirts a couple of years ago. I know the stereotype jumpers and denim dresses brings up for most people, but mine were clean, comfortable, and worked well for me, I didn’t care what other people thought. However, it seemed the larger I got, the more shapeless I became! Too frumpy! Switching to skirts gave me a more flattering shape, and it turned out, far more utilitarian then a jumper/denim dress. I could change the skirts or tops if dirty, a skirt could be everyday or nice depending on what top I put with it, and I had decent pockets! Most dresses don’t have pockets or if they do they are huge on your front and if you bend over all your stuff falls out.

    Now, what you need to talk about in a skirt are all those ridiculous buttons in the front and front slits. If I have a skirt with buttons in the front I have to sew it up, otherwise they all pop open on me even if the skirt is new and isn’t too tight. I avoid front slits all together. There is no way for me to sit for a long period of time without crossing my legs one way or another and a front slit skirt does not accommodate for modest sitting very well.

    • I’ve been able to sew up the front slits on some skirts and cut a slit in the back and add a kick pleat. This also works for skirts with high side slits… some pretty embroidered fabric in a denim skirt is really nice and quickly makes an unworkable skirt modest! :)

  6. Thanks for the advice on different sizes. I agree with you about the style of skirts that fit different varieties of body styles and also that short people can look great in skirts. Two of my sisters-in-law are short and look great in the long skirts that I have seen them wear, because they have chosen ones that were flattering for their figure. If you don’t think it looks good on you, try a different style, maybe that would make a world of difference in how you feel about how you look in a skirt.

  7. Noticing the irony of this post, with a big ad for GreatGlam.com right next to it, which is a website of obscenely immodest clothing!

    Love the skirt tips, though. Thanks!

  8. Did you know that wearing a skirt means TSA will pull you out for a pat down at airports. I was this week, even though I did not alarm. The headline for my next post will be mother of 5 pat down while kids look on because she dressed to modest.

  9. I’ve recently started wearing more skirts and dresses, not just to be modest, but to be more feminine and try to honor God by celebrating that He made me a woman, and to be the example of femininity to my kids that I want to be. I still do wear pants, and don’t know if I’ll ever give them up completely, but have been amazed at how I feel in skirts/dresses and how it has already changed me.
    My problem is that I had a baby six weeks ago and am nursing, so not much fits me well bottom or top :/
    So, I am wondering if you have any tips for postpartum dressing in skirts/dresses without spending a lot of money and buying an in-between wardrobe.
    Thanks ;)

    • Sarah, I would go read the blog post Amy has linked to my blog where I’m talking about hiding your mommy tummy. If you google postpartum tummy wrapping, it actually is supposed to be really good for ladies to wrap their tummies after giving birth. It would help pull in some of the loose stomach area, and then maybe you could fit in some of your clothes better….

      Also, if you wear a little bit longer shirts, maternity skirts can still be worn after you have a baby. The panel can be pretty comfortable also!

  10. I agree with the Cato comments, they are awesome about having nice skirts. My girls and I were there last week and they had a terrific clearance on their winter skirts, some as low as $5.99 and others $9.99. I love A-line skirts, I don’t know what figure they don’t look good on. I am more of a pear shape, with a little bit of a belly…although I have lost weight, I have loose skin issues, sorry if that’s TMI. I understand completely what you mean about different types of plus sized women…Marilyn Monroe was a plus sized woman but she wasn’t “fluffy”. In today’s society, more women are plus sized than not, since I read one time that a size 12 or 14 is considered plus. I am a size 12 but don’t really think of myself as plus sized but I’m not skinny either….I think I am average but that just may be my opinion. I love the series and today’s post! I think it was great and agree you can’t post everything, some of it the commenters can help fill in. Thanks again.

  11. I am so thankful for this series! I ‘woke-up’ to the fact that I am female, and have been wearing dresses and skirts for 3 years now. I have enjoyed the candid posts, the pictures and the real issues that are getting addressed, like being fluffy and still wanting to dress in a feminine way without attracting undue attention!
    My husband is so encouraging of me, sometimes even helping me find things that are modest in prints or colors he finds attractive on me. He has even encouraged me to take up sewing, which I love, so that I can make my own clothes (which I am learning!).
    I like the tiered skirts and dresses! They flatter my shape, (pear) without compromising standard.
    Thanks again for being real in these posts, and being full of gentle words. It edifies us as the body, especially when the body that is near to me doesn’t seem to find this issue important. It also shows much love for our brothers in Christ, they have enough to deal with in the world, never mind in the pews as well!

  12. I have been enjoying your posts. I do not wear skirts exclusively. I always wear them to church and in the summer I wear them pretty much all the time. However, I do wear my jeans and often. I have repeatedly asked my husband if he wanted me to only wear skirts and he has always said no. I always make sure what I wear out of the house is alright with him and I never go out of the house in something I have not tried on and modeled for him. His opinion is very important to me! A big reason he sees no need for skirts is that we live in a rural area with three religions that always wear skirts. We also have five children and so to see me and our daughters in skirts the automatic assumption is to put us in one of those three religions. None of which we are or want to be associated with. I hope that does not sound snobby they are simply not in line with our beliefs and we do not wish to unwittingly advertise for them. :) That being said we all love our skirts and enjoy getting dressed up in them. I would echo those comments about smaller women. It is very very dificult to find small modest sizes. Apparently the assumption is if you are that small you automatically will want to show it off. Sorry but no. :) I love Ann Taylor’s button down blouses good darts and very feminine details. I have found that the department store brands just are over all too big Penneys, Sears, etc. however Gap Old Navy, Banana Republic are more true to size but some of their styles are “interesting” to say the least. I love goodwill and my thrift shops! :) I also shop ebay a lot! We have four daughters and my oldest is 10 and starting curves and it is very difficult to find age appropriate clothing for her. Never ends. Good topic! Hope I have not offended with my slightly different opinion I was hoping for a respectful tone hope I succeeded! I am enjoying your blog Amy I found it when you guest posted on Raising Olives.
    Elizabeth

  13. Great post; where did you find that very cute white short sleeve sweater in your twin set picture? I need that for my wardrobe; it is so nice!

  14. Thank you for your good information. You seem like a sweet person. Its gutsy to post your picture up online and have people critique it. I wear skirts to look more feminine. Im short and fat to put it bluntly lol. I really like the broomstick skirts, but I wear a cardigan and a wide belt. I dont have to dress modestly according to my beliefs but I want to look well put together and decent. I dont know where bright colors fall into place with modesty but I think wearing the right colors makes what God gave you really shine. I love thrift stores and yard sales. I used to feel guilty about buying clothes but I need them for work and I dont think spending a whole lot less at yard sales and thirft store is being too wasteful. You just have to mix and match correctly. Thank you so much for your delightful blog. The only negative thing I have to comment on,and its not really about you but I cant wear horizonal stripes.
    Im short waisted and chunky.

  15. So it isn’t just me who can’t make a broomstick work?;) I had 1 and then my husband banned them from my wardrobe;). And this is a man who barely notices what I wear at all. They seem so popular that I thought it was just me;).

  16. I’ve just discovered this and am loving every read. If I could add that as a larger woman having something that fits nicely makes all the difference. If you need to buy a size larger and have it tailored to fit well, that would be better than stuffing your body into something that didn’t fit well, thus making you look larger.

  17. Great post, I like your tired skirt, and wondered how many tiers it has? would 5 or 6 be slimmer if I were to make or buy one? Or would 3 be better?
    Someone just took the diaper cream and used a soother to paint everything including the diaper bag and contents.

  18. I am average height (5’6″) and, well, fat. Recently my mom gave me some size 22 jeans and tho slightly loose and have to be pulled up a lot, they pretty much fit! My daughters and I used to wear exclusively dresses/skirts. Then I began to plump up and my husband informed me that yes, I began to look like I was wearing tents. Not in a mean way, believe it or not. He said it very tactfully. Anyway, I would live to get back to dressing in modest, feminine skirts/dresses. All that being said (tmi?) I need pictures I guess of women my size wearing the kind of skirts and all that don’t look like tents! Can you recommend a site or link or something? Thank you so much!! Love all the info here!!

  19. i am a tall skinny girl with a long thin frame and i have a horrible time finding long sleeved blouses that work or skirts that hit where they say they are supposed to i found it really helpful to get a size bigger skirt in a broom stick or peasant skirt the tiered flowey look and take in the elastic or pick a skirt that is supposed to be almost ankle length and take it up to a mid-calf one if it needs editing, rarely does. you have to love the three quarter tops or re-do the mandarin hems on some shirts to make them three quarter or one half length or redo a shirt where the arms are a little tight as a cap sleeve blouse in my experience men don’t really tend to find our arms sexy our collar bones, maybe, our arms no and i love having long boots that i can put with a pair of tights under skirts that may be a little too thin in winter.

  20. Thank you for this!!
    I have 3 kids under 4 and started off already obese at 5’2″. God has been working on my heart with this modesty issue, especially since I wore the typical fare during pregnancy and ended up flashing my cleavage to most of the free world during that time. (T_T)
    My biggest take-aways from this post were the links to One-Stop Plus and Women Within online stores! I’ve been looking everywhere for longer tees which cover my belly and bottom better. Not to mention affordable long skirts!
    THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

  21. Thank you ! for your blog. It really helped :)
    Well, I need your help. I have purchased a free size, traditional style broomstick skirt, Its very pretty with small golden prints all over it. The thing I am confused upon is what should I pair it upon. What should be my top or tunic basically look like keeping in mind the heavy design of the skirt and its monotonous gold designs! I am really confused what type of top or blouse or tunic should I pair upon it!
    Please Reply
    Thanking You!