Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Great Skirt Hunt- Part I: Theory

When I ask most of my curvy friends about the clothing item that terrifies them most to shop for, "skirts" are the main offender. This is funny, since skirts are iconically feminine. Most of the major woes with skirt buying stem from two basic elements- cut and fabric. But do not fear, today I am going to address what we, as Curvanistas, can do to combat some of the fashion industry's skirt faux-pas and tips for finding a skirt that works for your awesome bod.

I'm going to focus mainly on cut for now and throw in some fabric sense along the way. Though skirts can come in any of a number of bizarre, asymmetrical shapes lately, I'm going to focus on the "skirt standards" today: a-line, pencil, tulip, balloon, mini. All of these skirt cuts have their uses and are curve-complimenters for some of us.

The A-Line

The name says it all- the "A-Line Skirt" is, quite simply, a skirt that tapers at the waist and then increases in a regular angle to its termination, usually at the knee or floor. Besides being one of the most simple cuts, it is also the most universal. A good A-Line skirt is a MUST for any woman, as long as it's the right length. I repeat, it must be The Right Length! One of the biggest faux-pas in A Lines is the what I call the "Matron Cut" (see image on Right). Please, please PLEASE do not wear A-Line skirts that end anywhere below the upper calf unless they're floor-length (and you should only wear floor-length for semi-formal and black tie affairs). The rule of thumb for selecting a good A-Line skirt is as follows. For shorter gals, the A-Line can terminate just above the knee to give your sexy gams more exposure. For beauteous amazons, you may have the A-Line terminate just at the knee or just below. Please no A-Line minis! These defeat the entire purpose of the mini skirt, which is to flatter and show off your awesome tush (we'll get to that in a moment). The only, ONLY way that an a-line mini is acceptable is if it's a very SLIGHT A-Line. As for fabrics, here's the rule- no stretch material! An A-Line should be made in a mid-heavy weight cotton, rayon, courderoy, twill or canvas material. What I'm getting at here is to think "bottom weight!" A heavier fabric will allow the A-Line to keep its signature shape and not hug to your booty at one end and slup like a wet towel at the other.

The Pencil Skirt

Easily my favorite skirt cut because it is curve-hugging! The Pencil Skirt is form fitted to follow the awesome lines of your thighs and tapers tightly to the knee with a slit in the back *sometimes in the front, but gah! please no!* for mobility. Many of my Curvalicious friends shy away from the pencil skirt, saying it's "too tight" or "shows all of my badonkdonk.." This is a problem HOW? Look, you need to embrace your awesome curves, not hide them! And a good pencil skirt will do just that.

Now, the trick to buying a pencil skirt is again, length and fabric! A good Pencil skirt should, like the A-Line, end at your knee with the same rules for shorter/taller gals applying. It should NOT end at your mid-calf or mid-thigh. Also, I'm not a huge fan of patterns and busy fabrics- the Pencil skirt serves best in black, deep brown or a va-va-voom red, to bring out your inner starlet. Fabrics on the Pencil skirt should be stretchy but not thin! A good mid-weight stretch fabric gives you just enough room to move about comfortably and will mold to your awesome tushy and BadaBOOM thighs. Note: Pencil skirts can also be great in denim, just make sure they're stretch denim! Note 2: you will simply HAVE to buy some awesome retro mary jane heels or stappy shoes to show these girls off! Big black combat boots also work to give you that Meowww Don't Mess With Me look.

The Tulip

Think of the Tulip as a bizarre meshing of both the A-Line and the Pencil skirt. This skirt cut derives its name from its, well, tulip-esque shape that starts tapered and fitted through the waist and hips and then flowers out at the knee. This shape can be very nice, feminine and flirty... it's sort of the Josephine Baker of skirts- soft, sexy, sassy. However, this skirt get out of hand and can be extra yucky if not constructed correctly. Also, eek.. this is one of the hardest to get a good fit on. But DON'T give up! It's a simple obstacle to overcome and you've already got the tools to do it- since this is a marriage of the A-Line and the Pencil skirt, where should the flowering start? You got it, at the knee! If it starts any higher or way lower, toss it back on the rack! This skirt can be constructed with either bottom-weight fabrics (though it should not be as form-fitting as the pencil, you need room to move!), though I prefer it in a flirtatious, airy fabric like rayon or georgette. Think of a nice, flowy, swishy fabric. Patterns are allowed as long as they're not too busy, bright or harsh/geometric. It's all about curves!

The Balloon Skirt

Ok, I need a moment to breathe here, as this skirt gets me a bit worked up. I'll level with you- I think most balloon skirts are HIDEOUS. Why? Well, because they're Balloony! Unless you get one in the perfect cut and fabric, these can make you look lumpy, frumpy and dumpy. I avoid balloon skirts like the plague- mostly because I feel like their mission in life is to deprive us of the shape of our beauteous curves and make us look like frumpy sacks. My rule for balloon skirts is to keep it short- anything at or below the knee is too and will lead everyone right down to your knees and away from your cute tushy. If you MUST wear one, do it above the knees or, better, mid-thigh length in mini form. This way you're following complimenting your bum, not hiding it! Also, make sure you get this in a mid weight fabric so it retains its shape and in a lighter hue so it looks light and airy, not big and frumpy (I highly approve of the one pictured above and the bow is a nice, tasteful element). Try this one with kitten heels or light, strappy shoes.

The Mini

Stop it. Do not be scared of a good mini. {whispers} The Mini Skirt, you may not know this, is a BUXOM gals best friend. Seriously! A well-done mini, especially in denim form, will make your BadaBOOm butt like awesome and give you gams a mile long, no matter your height! I know these can be scary, because we're taught that women shouldn't wear minis unless they're wafer thin and have calves cut from marble, but to hell with that! Show it off, be sassy and proud! Cut note here- your mini should not be a coochie-chiller. To do the test, have a seat in the changing room and make sure that your hoo-ha isn't hanging out. Remember, a mini is about being flirty and foxy, not trashy. A good rule of thumb is to keep it to mid-thigh. Also, fabric should be a bottom-weight or stretchy denim. Please no light, stretchy material... ugh!

That's if for The Great Skirt Hunt- Part I: Theory. Remember, it's not about any one cut not working on you- they ALL can. It's about being an astute Curvanista and getting the right length, fabric and sass appeal!

Join me soon as I take it to the streets and search for a fabulous summer skirt. Wish me luck!


mabjustmab said...

actually, I have just returned from shopping for pants during my lunch break. that was a nightmare.

skirts are no problem for me.

Anna said...

I <3 pencil skirts, and this is the best one I've ever owned. Shows off booty and legs very well. Plus, I'm just a sucker for laces and grommets. It's like the skirt version of my favorite pair of boots.

Also, you forgot the flowy hippie skirt... It *can* make us wide-hipped ladies look even wider, but it can also look great when paired with a long, fitted top to minimize the skirt's scrunchiness at the hips.

And, I love seeing big girls in well-cut, well-fitting minis. Because really, I'd rather see some shapely legs exposed, not toothpicks!

the ineffable b said...

WHOA that torrid skirt is HOT anna! Good job!

methinks I'll take a look at Torrid's site for future shoppin!

Ladybug said...

Torrid is one of my favorite shops!