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Fashion for the over 50s with books and beauty

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Wednesday 31 May 2023

Find the Best Skirt for Your Shape

 & #WowOnWednesday 

Is This Mutton the style blog for the over-50s on how to choose the skirt shapes that flatter you the most
Dear friends. I'm a big fan of skirts and today I'm focusing on how to find the best skirts for your shape and style personality.

I would describe my shape as straight:  I don't have much of a waist, although my shoulders and hips are pretty equal. I want skirts in styles and fabrics that help to create a waist, avoid a muffin top, and make me feel good.  

You may have an entirely different shape to me, and I'll come on to that, but my reasoning and logic for why certain styles work on me and others don't may also be valid for you. 

In the collage at the top, the purple skirt (Kettlewell) is very flattering on most shapes. The ruching skims over lumps and bumps, and the gently elasticated waist hugs you and creates a waist. If you're self conscious about hiding your tummy, you could wear a longer top and belt it over the skirt. 

My preferred length for skirts is about knee level, but it's not easy to find so I also wear midis.  The patterned skirt, second on the left, is longer but balanced by the cardigan.  If I had chosen a short jacket, the look would probably have been too unbalanced for my short 5'4 shape, and made me look short waisted. 

I prefer a flowing, silky material for longer skirts as it drapes better - like the peacock skirt, second from right.  This also has an elasticated waist.  I've chosen a shorter top because I wanted this skirt to make a statement on its own, but giving it a tuck helps to balance the proportions.

A favourite "uniform" for winter, and one I used to wear a lot, is a knee length skirt with tights and boots in the same colour, and a short tie wrap that fastens at the waist and gives the coveted hour glass shape  (far right).

Skirt Styles that Don't Work on Me 

Left to right: if you're short waisted like me, this style accentuates the fact. (The accessories are also a bit "try hard"!). Centre:  there's nothing wrong with this skirt in principle, but it's not my style personality. Too noisy a print and a bit too frou-frou. I sold it. On the plus side, you can see the waist creating effect of a wide belt. Far right: the fabric of this yellow skirt felt too heavy and stiff, particularly with the cotton blouse. Tucking the blouse in created additional bulk at the waist where it isn't needed.

Your Best Skirt Shape

  • Apple shapes have a large bust, narrow hips and a full midsection. Try to disguise the wider mid-section. Skirts that hit at knee length or right above the knee, or at the calf, are best. Knee-length bias cut, A-line and pencil skirts are all good. Pleated and A line skirts should start at a point below the tummy and be side fastening and flat-fronted.
  • An Hourglass shape is characterized  by hip and bust measurements nearly equal in size, with a narrower waist measurement and bigger thighs. This shape looks best in knee-length skirts that have belts or are nipped-in to accentuate the waist. Wear darker colours around your waist area - such as a dark belt. Avoid straight cuts and boxy styles that hide the waist.
  • Inverted Triangles have broad shoulders and / or bust that narrow down to the hips. Here the objective is to add curves to the hips and bottom while creating a more defined waist.  Look for any type of skirt style that flares from the hips, or adds visual width to the hips. Straight, full, A-line, ballerina, bias-cut or tulip skirts are great. Tiered, volume or dropped waistlines also work well.
  • Pear Shapes have curved hips and thighs. The arms and waist are smaller than the legs, hips, and buttocks. Skirts are your best option. Tulip skirts, fit and flare skirts, A-Line skirts, pleated skirts, and bias skirts are good for a pear shape body. Belts and scarves can create the illusion of an hourglass figure when worn over clothing. 

Find celebrity inspiration

Skirts are often dismissed as a bit staid or frumpy. Well, take a look at Tilda Swinton, who makes a skirt look sensational. She's 5'10 tall  (178cm). 
Acxtress Tilda Swinton looks very elegant and sometimes edgy in her skirt looks
Melissa McCarthy is 5'2 (1.57m). She looks her best in skirts just below the knee and brights next to her face. Like many of us, her weight fluctuates and when she is larger she tends to wear longer tops over her skirts, but chooses a bold pattern for the skirt and toning shoes  (yellow in the case of the picture on the right).  Melissa McCarthy knows how to flatter her hourglass shape in the right skirts

Style Personality

Many women are quite happy to buy what's in fashion and don't worry about their "style personality." But others gravitate towards a particular style. Think of Audrey Hepburn:  we nearly always saw her at her gamine best in neat fitting styles and mostly monochrome looks.  She would have been swamped in  ruffles, big patterns or lots of layers. 

Having a style personality gives you a set of guidelines for shape and cut of clothes, the size and type of patterns that suit you best, and the style of jewellery.  It's very useful for older women who sometimes feel they've lost their way with clothes, maybe because of weight gain or loss. Plus the retailers are not particularly helpful in showing good examples of older women in their clothes. 

The cost of a style session with a company such as House of Colour may seem high but if you're happy with the outcome, and most are, it saves you money in the long run - and you'll always look good.

I hope you found the skirt guide useful.  Are you someone who avoids skirts altogether?  Do let us know in the comments. 

Disclosure: Nothing was gifted for this post.  Links are given to aid your shopping. They are not affiliate links. Is This Mutton is not monetised to give the best reading experience. 

Sharing this post with: Weekday Wear at Away from the Blue, #AnythingGoes at My Random Musings, Rena at Fine WhateverTurning Heads Tuesday at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish,  Confident Twosday at I Do Declaire, Style with a Smile at StylesplashTalent Sharing Tuesdays at Scribbling BoomerCurated by Jennifer (Wednesdays), Chic & Stylish at Mummabstylish, Thursday Fashion Files at Doused in Pink, #Neverendingstyle at The Grey BrunetteFancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion Style,  Traffic Jam Weekend at Marsha in the Middle Senior Salon Pitstop at Esme Salon

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Join the Link-Up

It's time for the #WowOnWednesday link-up, where readers can find new blogs to read and bloggers/vloggers can find new followers!  I feature the 3 favourites each Wednesday on Instagram, and my five or six top picks at the weekend on Twitter and Facebook. 

Last Week's Favourites (Most Clicked)

There's a theme to the two fashion favourites this week! Cheryl from Cheryl Shops is reviewing a new version of Spanx Thinstincts girl shorts:

Kellyann from This Blonde's Shopping Bag suggests some flattering tops to hide a tummy.

Non-Fashion Favourite

22 Years and Counting by Joanne at Slices of Life, on her wedding anniversary - with fun facts about how they met

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


  1. I love to wear skirts too. My preferable lenght now is ankle lenght. It seems to get longer the older I get, lol. I like your skirt styles, beautiful colours!

  2. Super choices and information. I have a few skirts, but tend to wear dresses more. Thanks for sharing and hosting the linkup. Jacqui x


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