On Wearing Skirts

One of my friends wanted me to write about how to wear skirts habitually… it’s fairly straightforward.  Wear a wide hem, and you’ll have the same range of motion you have in pants.  People who don’t like wearing skirts for daily wear are probably 1) not used to it 2) are thinking of the fitted skirts that one wears to the office 3) thinking of dressy skirts or short skirts.

I wear skirts nearly all the time.  I don’t like pants.  I think they’re uncomfortable, and I know they look terrible on me.  Frankly, most women look better in skirts than in pants – suiting the skirt to the woman, of course.  They offer a measure of grace – covering the lumps and bumps in life, giving a bit of motion to your movements, reminding others of your femininity.  A skirt is automatically a notch or five dressier than the comparable pants.   Many consider skirts inherently more modest than pants.  I say that depends on the skirt… and what you’re doing in it.

When do I wear pants?  I wear pants when it would be counterproductive to wear a skirt.  I don’t wear a skirt to the gym – I do floorwork in mixed company.  That would be counterproductive.   If I did much in the way of brush clearing, where there were thorns to get caught in my legs, I’d wear jeans.  When I do gardening, I wear my skorts.  When function overrides form, I go with function.  Oddly, the modern woman seems to be ready for clearing brush or doing situps at the drop of a hat, when their lives are spent in cars and behind a desk.  I don’t find that my life requires pants, and I’ve gone years without wearing them at all.

I’ve hopped over rocks at the jetty in my long skirts.  I’ve hiked in them.  I do chores in them, including the heavy cleaning where you’re on your hands and knees.  I’ve done plenty of kid-chasing in my long skirts.  I’ve taken the dog to the vet and gotten pretty filthy… all wearing skirts.  Long skirts occasionally get in the way on stairs – but other than that?  It’s all good.

There are many items that have flitted through women’s fashion that reduced mobility, but you can’t pin that on the skirt itself.  (And if you do, can I have some popcorn while you explain it to the Scottish and Samoan men?)  Most women, from most cultures, since the dawn of time… they wore skirts.  (And many women around the world still do – including those who do manual labor).

Exhibit A:  If I were able to do the splits, I could do them in this skirt.


Personally I find the ankle-length skirt the happiest marriage of coverage and flattery.  Calf-length skirts don’t work on most women, only tall women and women with particularly slender calves and ankles look well in them.   Longer than ankle-length and you’re tripping over the hem, unless you have a spare hand to hold it up over curbs and puddles.

If your skirt is knee-length or shorter, you have to think about the dreaded bend-over view.   If the skirt is full enough, it’s not a problem, but you rarely see a really full knee length skirt.  But if you won’t be chasing toddlers or picking things up off the floor, go right ahead.  Near the knee (+/- 2″) seems to be the best skirt length for most legs.  (We’ll discuss proportions elsewhere).

Anything shorter than that is strictly in the land of high-heels – for wearing when you won’t be moving your body much beyond a walk, and certainly isn’t under discussion in a conversation about how to wear your skirts practically, comfortably, and every day.

I hope that helped – if you have questions, please ask them.


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