Types Of Skirts: Our Guide to the Long and Short of It All

Ah, the skirt. How is it possible that this unassuming wardrobe wonder is the obvious option for so many occasions? If you’re heading to the office, a pencil skirt offers a dose of professionalism in a flash. Have you received a wedding invitation to witness your nearest and dearest recite their vows? A midi skirt with a hint of volume will have you twirl-ready for the dance floor. Trying to decide on a new uniform staple for a lecture on campus? Reinvented plaid minis are always a fashion do. The question isn’t whether you can wear a skirt. It’s where can’t you? Let us be your style guide as we break down the most popular types of skirts.

Skirts are defined by their hemline, from thigh-grazing minis to calf-hitting midis and floor-sweeping maxis. But it’s not only about where your hem hits. Silhouette, fabrication and unique detailing are also essential in determining the type of skirt you’ll want to reach for. It’s all in the details. Skirts are the blank canvas to dress up or down any ensemble. Here are our top styles that have year-round appeal. 

  • Length
    -Midi skirt
    -Maxi skirt
    • Silhouette
      -Pleated skirt
      -Pencil skirt
      -Skater skirt
      -A-line skirt
      • Fabric
        -Denim skirt
        -Leather skirt
        -Silk skirt

        Types of Skirts by Length: Outfit Inspiration for Every Hemline

        Let’s start the breakdown of our skirt guide with length. The defining detail for different types of skirts starts with where your hem hits. From short to long lengths, the options are endless. You’re in charge and get to decide how much leg you want to show. Opt for a skirt to put your signature spin on everything from activewear to formalwear.

        The Miniskirt

        The miniskirt hit the scene in swinging 60s London and has been an integral part of our wardrobes ever since. Initially starting at the knee, hemlines inched higher and higher as the decade progressed. While there’s debate about its origins, designers Mary Quant and André Courrèges reimagined this iconic staple for generations to come. There are a few different types of miniskirts to keep on your radar. From plaid and pleated to leather and tulle, the miniskirt truly does it all. 

        This type of skirt works well for activities of all sorts. It’s well-suited for the wide range of movements that sports demand. Ready to pick up pickleball? Style a white pleated tennis skirt with a performance polo and sneakers. Pop on a cable-knit sweater for an après-tennis lunch date with a preppy twist

        Or, perhaps you’re looking for an option to wear for a night out. Channel your inner Carrie Bradshaw and give balletcore a whirl in a tulle miniskirt. Consider a dose of edgy style when thinking about what type of tops to wear with a miniskirt. Pair your little tulle number with a fitted ribbed knit tank, combat boots and a vegan leather jacket. Round out your nighttime ensemble with colorful enamel hoop earrings and a crossbody clutch. Serving up this look to paint the town red gives a whole new meaning to attitude.

        The Midi: Meet in the Middle with this Type of Skirt

        Next up is the midi skirt. This fashionista go-to style has an ideal length that hits at mid-calf. Originally a 70s fashion essential, modern interpretations of this skirt are making a comeback and are here to stay. The mid-length makes it a dream for all seasons. On a balmy day, rock a midi over a swimsuit for a trip to the beach. Or, for chilly winter weather, wear a flared skirt in a midi length to the office with a knit turtleneck sweater and knee-high boots. This demure length is a match made in heaven for bohemian trends like cottagecore or cabincore. Universally flattering on every shape, this type of skirt is a must-have in every closet.

        While a midi is the type of skirt you can reach for any time of year, this silhouette gives us serious warm-weather vibes. When the mercury rises, choose lightweight fabrications like linen, cotton and poplin in an array of vibrant colors. Balance bright hues like scarlet and tangerine with soft neutrals and pastels. Take the summer by storm in a tiered-hem midi with ruffle details. For a laid-back look, add a graphic tee and lace-up sandals. This ensemble does double duty, giving vacation-ready vibes fit for sandy beaches or city streets. Wherever your travels take you, pack a midi. 

        The Maxi Skirt

        In fashion, everything old is new again. This spring and summer, the minimalism of the 90s is having a major moment. While the maxi skirt has been around for quite a while, it reached icon status in the late 90s. This ankle-grazing skirt never looked so chic as when styled with a simple white button-down by Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. This type of skirt is seasonless and continues to be reinvented. It’s the perfect anchor for any ensemble. From breezy, printed and tiered boho styles to streamlined silhouettes, the maxi can do it all. 

        When considering what type of tops to wear with long skirts, let the maxi be the star of the show. Opt for tops that highlight the shape and intricate details on your skirt. For a voluminous skirt, a fitted shirt works best. Bodysuits and ribbed T-shirts come in a variety of colors and do double duty. Not only do they allow your maxi to shine, they’re the perfect base layer for layering and accessorizing. 

        Are you ready to put your sartorial spin on this classic? Trade in your trusty lounge pants for a soft knit maxi for sofa Saturdays or running errands. Final flourishes? Add platform sneakers, a boxy tee and a denim jacket for a casual-chic look. On the other end of the spectrum, make your mark in a maxi for formal occasions. Are wedding invitations piling up? If you’re pondering what attire to wear to all the weddings you’ll be attending, start with a skirt. Style an elegant jewel-tone maxi skirt in flowy silk chiffon for weddings with any number of dress codes. Keep it simple and elegant for a formal or semi-formal event with a matching skirt set. Go ahead and make a statement with cascading drop earrings for the finishing touch. 

        Types of Skirts: How to Style Swoon-worthy Silhouettes 

        Now that we’ve covered your hemline options, it’s time to move on to silhouettes. From sleek, body-hugging pencil styles to breezy a-line skirts, the shape is where form and function meet fabulous. Take skater skirts for a swirl and say yes, please to pleats. These swoon-worthy types of skirts add a touch of whimsy and are equally effortless and elegant. 

        Pencil Skirts: Put a Fine Point on Your Ensemble in This Sleek Skirt 

        A pencil skirt has clean, hip-hugging lines with a crisp structure. This type of skirt typically falls at the knee, although an inch above or below adds instant style points. A business casual wardrobe essential, this style can easily go from the corner office to the café. Look for fitted — not skin-tight — silhouettes to highlight your shape. From corporate-approved pinstripes to leather-like fabrications, there are a plethora of pencil skirt options available. 

        If you’re debating what type of blouse to wear with a pencil skirt, we’ve got you covered. Wondering how a blouse differs from a basic top? Often made with flowy fabrics, they offer a little drape that adds proportion to a fitted skirt. Wrap blouses highlight the waist, and the neckline is ideal for a few delicate layering necklaces. Or, complete your look with a tie-neck blouse. Tailor your top with a billowing bow or a simple knot and let the ties hang just so—a styling match made in heaven. For a more streamlined approach, wear your pencil skirt with a tucked-in Oxford. From plaids to floral patterns, pick a shirt that packs a punch and makes a statement. 

        The Pleated Skirt: Try this Type of Skirt

        One of the most classic types of skirt is a style with pleats. Before we get into all the different types of pleated skirts, let’s start with the basics. A pleat is a fold in the fabric that is stitched or pressed into place and provides a garment with its shape. These rigid folds allow the skirt to flow and have a voluminous look amid the tight structure. There are many kinds of pleats, and some of the most popular are accordion, knife and box pleats. 

        An accordion pleat skirt has narrow, parallel folds that extend from the waist to the hem. This quintessential style has a graceful and sophisticated feel and looks best when dressed up. Pair an accordion pleat skirt with a soft cashmere crewneck sweater and kitten heel slingbacks. This ensemble works well for everything, from meeting the in-laws to your next job interview. 

        A knife pleat is the most common type of pleated skirt. The folds here all face the same direction. You’ll see this style of pleats in activewear, like tennis and golf skirts. It’s also found in kilts. If you’re looking to try the dark academia aesthetic on for size, start with a plaid pleated skirt. Head to the library in your trusty tartan, a button-down, sweater vest and boots. Have we piqued your interest in pleats yet? 

        The Skater Skirt: Standout in Style with this Type of Skirt

        What’s next on our list of types of skirts you should know? Skater skirts. This style is also referred to as a circle skirt and adds a slight sway to your strut. With inspiration from ice skaters, this fitted at the waist style flares into an a-line silhouette. You’ll most often see these skirts in short lengths, hitting above the knee. This style works on every body type and, as you’ve probably already guessed, for any occasion. 

        For spring and summer, include floral and gingham prints in your repertoire. Try your hand mixing prints and patterns and style a ditsy floral skater skirt with a striped knit T-shirt. Thinking about what tops to wear with this type of skirt when the seasons change? Don a plaid version with a pullover and cute sneakers. Dress up this simple, flirty style with knee-high boots and a sweater with cut-out details. Pop on a corduroy blazer for a professorial layer that will add a little prep to your step. 

        A-line Skirt: Get Back to Basics with this Type of Skirt

        A-line, so fine! The name for the A-line skirt simply refers to the shape the skirt makes, resembling the letter A. Fitted at the hips, this silhouette gradually widens toward the hem. We have the iconic French designer Christian Dior to thank for this liberating fashion evolution. Allowing for movement, this type of skirt comes in all lengths. From mini to pencil and midi to maxi, with pleats and without, the A-line gets an A+ in our book. 

        When styling your A-line skirt, look for tops that are sure to draw attention to your waist. With the drape of the skirt, a fitted top is often your best bet. Reach for soft knits or tucked-in Oxford button-downs for a chic look. Don’t be afraid to play with proportion and don a slightly oversized sweater or blouse. Just be mindful of your waist. To keep balance and proportion, you’ll want to choose from cropped sweater styles or do an elegant French tuck with your top. This will ensure a harmonious aesthetic and lengthen your overall look.

        Types of Skirts Depending on the Fabric: Styling Tips for Must-Have Materials 

        When deciding what type of skirt you want to wear, you’ll also want to pay close attention to fabrication. The skirt’s materials are an essential styling consideration, from durable denim to slinky satiny silks. While you can dress up denim and dress down silk, allow your occasion to be the guide. Some materials, like linen and cotton, are ideal for warm weather. Tweeds, corduroy and faux leather options are a dreamy delight in fall and winter. There are even fabrications that go the distance and are seasonless. Let the skirt’s fabric create the canvas for occasions of all kinds. 

        The Denim Skirt: The Type of Skirt to Spend Your Days In

        Denim is always in style in our book. Why not trade in your tried-and-true blue jeans for a denim skirt? No breakdown of different types of skirts is complete without this wardrobe workhorse. The perfect blend of casual cool and elegant sophistication, the jean skirt has undoubtedly had a glow-up. While raw hem and distressed details are still de rigeur, more refined styles are now available. From versatile dark washes, button-front details and topstitch embroidery, these skirts are ready for anything. In mini, midi and maxi lengths, there’s nothing this skirt can’t do.

        Style an ecru midi denim skirt with a striped knit top and heeled ankle boots for a fresh fall look. Volià, instant chic French style to wrap up the workweek on a casual Friday at the office. For a more laissez-faire option, wear a raw hem mini with a regencycore inspired blouse. We’re talking puff sleeves, empire waists and pastel colors. Add loafers and slouchy socks to give this denim skirt a modern makeover fit for a queen.

        The Leather Skirt

        Look no further than the leather skirt if you’re ready to have a type of skirt that makes a statement. Donning this fabric is a refreshing power play and comes in all lengths and silhouettes. Let vegan and leather-like skirts in a kaleidoscope of colors take center stage in your skirt rotation. Wondering what type of tops to style with a leather skirt? Timeless shirts and sweaters allow your skirt to be the leading lady. 

        With a heavier fabric weight, go ahead, get cozy. A cashmere turtleneck is ideally suited for a vegan leather pencil skirt on a chilly day. Add an on-trend shacket for a slouchy, yet sophisticated layer. For a more refined ensemble, dress up your leather skirt with an elegant wrap blouse and a pair of stacked heels. On a mild fall or winter day, leave your long-line overcoat unbuttoned to give a peek at what lies beneath. Don’t be afraid to let your skirt steal the spotlight.

        The Silk Skirt: Slip on this Types of Skirt in an Array of Colors

        Ready to lighten things up? The versatile type of skirt next on our list is the slip skirt. From refined silks to satiny, recycled polyesters, this skirt is a figure-flattering choice for fashionistas everywhere. In a variety of colors, prints and patterns, the slip skirt works for all of your weekend excursions. Dress it up for date night, or dress it down for a morning at the farmer’s market. Curious how? We’ve got you covered.

        For a night on the town with friends, choose a slip skirt with a midi length in an eye-popping color. Go bold when deciding on what type of tops to style with skirts—pair jewel-tone hues with complementary colors. Think sapphire blues with emerald greens. Not feeling the fierce color pairings? Put it in neutral and wear bright tones with creamy whites and gorgeous greys. If your weekend calendar calls for more laid-back events, you can still wear a slip skirt. Be ready for whatever the day brings with a playful pattern. Choose from tried-and-true options like ginghams or stripes to fun fruit and animal prints. Simply pair your printed skirt with a fitted ringer tee, denim jacket and espadrilles to let the slip skirt shine.

        Ready to get a skirt that’s just your style? Take your style quiz, schedule a Fix and let your stylist know you’re looking for skirt and blouse combos. Searching for just the right skirt to match tops already in your wardrobe? Head over to Stitch Fix Freestyle™ to instantly buy pieces that catch your eye. We’re making it even easier to explore your style from the comfort of your home. Shipping, exchanges and returns are always free. 

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