How to Wear Modest Skirts (Without Looking Frumpy) by Kristine

Monday, February 13, 2012
Living in Japan, I was always in awe of everybody's fashion choices. Everyone looked so kawaii (cute) in their knit sweaters layered over button up shirts with shorts, tights, and heeled boots. I have envied Japanese fashion since I was in junior high school, and seeing it in real life was an absolute dream.

Just one problem:  the fashionable Japanese girls that I admired were very keen on showing A LOT of leg. We're talking short-shorts and mini-skirts galore. And it looked great on them. Somehow, they found a way to balance out the amount of skin they were showing by covering up their top half. (I really saw zero cleavage while I was in Japan, which I very much appreciated.) However, because I was surrounded by these amazingly stylish, beautiful, leggy women, and because I have very high modesty standards when it comes to showing skin, every now and then I would find myself feeling so, so frumpy.  I'd look at myself in my seemingly matronly knee-length skirts in the mirror and just frown.

But then I thought, just because I don't show a lot of skin, doesn't mean my body doesn't look good. Showing skin and being leggy does not automatically equal womanly. Sure, I may not ever be sexy...but I don't want to be seen like that anyway.

Over the years, I have figured out ways to wear modest skirts without looking frumpy. These ways work for me, but I'd love to hear your tips in the comments as well!

IMG_3782
H&M shirt (similar); J.Crew belt (similar); vintage skirt (similar);
Forever 21 shoes (similar)
1. Wear heels.

If you're petite like me (I'm 5'2''.), this is definitely a must. Lengthening your legs is a must to fight the frump, especially when wearing skirts! I'm talking 2'' heels or higher. I can't tell you how I feel when I put on heels after dressing up for the day:  I finally feel complete.
IMG_6550
J.Crew cardigan (similar); J.Crew Factory necklace;
Urban Outfitters top; Crossover skirt from Japan

2. Wear skirts at the waist, not the hip.

Wearing skirts at the waist definitely elongates your bottom half, which is what you want! I also feel as though it creates a very 1950s silhouette, which is very, very feminine. I have some skirts that actually fall at my hip naturally, but I belt them at my waist so they'll stay up. Just a trick of the trade ;)
IMG_6174
Forever 21 hat (similar); Forever 21 top (similar);
Uniqlo skirt; We Love Colors tights; c/o Blowfish
3. Pay attention to where the hemline falls.

Supposedly, just above the knee is the ideal length for making your legs appear longer. I don't necessarily follow this rule, but it's good to keep in mind. For me, I usually wear skirts somewhere around the knee area.

What tips have you got to wear modest skirts without looking frumpy?

26 comments :

  1. It's frustrating, but it's true that heels really help the frump factor. It's really important for me to dress modestly, and heels really a lot to still keep the look stylish and modern. Here a couple of looks, where the skirts SHOULD be too long for me, but I think the heels help:
    http://natashafatah.blogspot.com/2011/11/time-to-twirl.html 
    and
    http://natashafatah.blogspot.com/2011/11/contrast-featured-working-wardrobe.html 

    What do you think?
    xoxo
    www.natashafatah.blogspot.com

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  2. thanks for this! i totally agree with everything. I'm short too (5.3) and find that I often need to wear heels to look put together. i'm forced to wear flats sometimes but prefer heels to help me look taller. Thanks for the advice. 

    www.urbanstarlings.blogspot.com 

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  3. I'm 5'2" as well and can feel frumpy wearing flats with skirts.  I like ankle boots to add some edge to a knee length skirt - they're still more comfy than full on heels, and I can still chase my 2 year old around :)

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  4. Aww, I love Kristine -- thanks for featuring her! Like her, I love wearing long dresses/skirts but it's so hard for me because I'm short (5'3) but I hate wearing sky-high heels all the time. My trick sometimes is to wear nude shoes/heels to help give the appearance of leg elongation. I also tend to go with shorter sleeves on my top to balance out the skirt's length and fullness. Great tips all around from Kristine :) 

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  5. love the skirts!

    http://forallthatjas.blogspot.com/

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  9. I love skirts, but I never wear them to school because I do feel frumpy!  And I can't wear heels because of my flat feet.  Thoughts on sandals?

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  10. Thanks for the tips! <3 i love your first outfit!! i want it :)

    Lizzy

    http://prettymodestbffs.blogspot.com/ 

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  11. I love the colors you used! & I'm on the shorter side too (5'3"/4"ish) so I think these looks would work really well for me too :).

    Judy
    SecondGlimpses.blogspot.com

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  12. AH yes, nude heels are a life saver! Victoria Beckham said so in her fashion book, too, so you know we all can't be wrong ;)

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  13. Way cute Natasha! Definitely great examples of how heels truly matter!

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  14. A good sandal can look really chic and bohemian with skirts, I think :) Just stay away from the super clunky ones with really thick straps - those just add more weight to your bottom half, in my opinion!

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  15. so cute! great tips as well...it is hard not to feel frumpy & modest sometimes but there is a balance :)

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  16. thanks so much for this post, i really enjoy your blog. i have a couple of questions and perhaps you can point me in the right direction.

    i only wear skirts and they need to be below the knee for modesty. (i am a mama, constantly having to squat and bend over, so the length keeps me covered without having to worry about who i am flashing!)  i wear a lot of maxi skirts but i like tea length as well. do you have any posts on how to wear longer skirts well? 
    personally, i am very tall and 'average' build and cannot walk in heels to save my life. also not very practical chasing a toddler! haha  i also like wearing skirts at the waist, but sometimes feel that looks old fashioned in a bad way. do you have any tips on doing high waist without accentuating a poochy belly and without looking too outdated? i need some fashion help. i am mostly at home as a stay at home mom, so my day to day look is pretty casual and practical, but when i do go out, i have no idea how to pull off modesty in a way that i dont look like a total dork. you make it look so easy! :)

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  17. Brilliant!! I don't know why I never thought of wearing heels or my skirts on my waist! Thank you so much!! 

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  18. This is perfect.. I'm the same height and haven't worn may skirts for that reason haha!

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  19. REALLY like this post :)

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  20. Britt * secondhand magpieFebruary 24, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    I LOVE the first two photos!! Striped tops with printed skirts is one of my favorite combinations. One of my favorite posts of yours! 

    www.thesecondhandmagpie.blogspot.com

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  21. I love the tip for wearing the skirt at your waist, not your hips! Thanks!

    http://standardfit.blogspot.com/

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  22. I have been looking for modest fashion but couldn't find anything until I found your blog! I'm loving it and so many tips, it is so hard to find modest skirts now, where do you reccomend looking for some?

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  23. I find this interesting because I'm very interested in Japanese fashion. I particularly love alt-styles like Lolita (not what it sounds like) and Mori-girl. They're elegant, feminine, and always err on the side of modesty.

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