Skirt lengths vary from the micro-mini to full length and everywhere in between. Fashion is constantly changing and evolving with skirt lengths included. There is certainly a wide choice of skirts available today and something to suit every height and body shape. Here I will show you the most common terms used to describe skirts lengths.
Length is Relative
There are many skirt lengths to choose from but it is important to note that to a certain extent these will be relative to your height and weight. The length of your torso and legs will play an important part in the skirt lengths as will your weight.
Curvier women will find that skirt lengths tend to sit slightly higher than the designer may have intended. Brands catering to plus and curvy sizing generally tend to take this into account. Length can also be determined by where the skirt sits at your waist. If you are smaller in the waist and the skirt sits lower, then the length will end up longer than intended.
I am fairly short so always find that skirts tend to be a bit long and maxi skirts, in particular, have a tendency to touch the ground and need shortening.
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Designers often blend these descriptions together for the sake of simplicity. For example, any ankle-length skirt or longer is often referred to as a maxi rather than breaking it into tea, maxi and full.
Choosing Skirt Lengths
In terms of the most flattering skirt for your shape, a general rule of thumb is that it should end at the proportionately smallest part of your legs. This is often below the knee or above the ankle.
But fashion rules are also meant to be broken and you should wear what makes you feel comfortable and feeling your best.
Different lengths may also be suitable for different situations. Skirts that are suitable for your weekends may not be the same that you would wear to work.
Shortening Skirt Lengths
If you need to shorten the length of a skirt you can easily do so with a sewing machine, hemming tape or by hand. Here are some articles that will help you shorten your skirt lengths.
Types of Skirts
There are many types of skirts and within each category, the skirt lengths can vary considerably. I have a more detailed article if you would like to know more about the types of skirts.
Types of Skirt Lengths
Here is a guide to the 11 skirt lengths.
Micro Mini Skirt Lengths
A micro mini skirt is really short, coming to just below the bottom on the tops of the thighs. Micro minis are best worn when there is no chance of you needing to bend down. They can be worn with tights in winter.
Mini Skirt Lengths
The term “mini skirt” was made popular in the 1960s even though short skirts have existed throughout history. British designer Mary Quant and French designer Andre Courreges were widely credited with the modern mini skirt design in the 1960s. Mini skirts typically end mid-thigh, around 4 inches (10cm) from the bottom. Mini skirts tend to make legs look longer so are popular for shorter women. If you have great legs then proudly show them off regardless of your size. Mini skirts can be tight and fitted, flared or even very full. Denim mini skirts will always be popular.
Short Skirt Lengths
Often the term short skirts are used interchangeably with mini skirts. A short skirt is generally considered to end at mid to high thigh.
Above Knee Skirt Lengths
As the name suggests, an above the knee skirt this sits just above the bony part of the knee. These skirts tend to be popular for straight skirts and office wear.
On Knee Skirt Lengths
On the knee skirts end at the center of the knee bone. If they are tight, they will either need to be made in a stretch fabric or have a split at the back so you can still walk. On the knee tight and tapered skirts are considered flattering giving you an hourglass figure look.
Below Knee Skirt Lengths
Below the knee skirts offer more coverage and are flattering to many body shapes particularly when worn with heels. In tighter skirts, a split usually placed at the back, will be needed to ensure freedom of movement.
Midi Skirt Lengths
Midi skirts end at mid calf and generally tend to be fuller in design. Straight skirts at this length may have a split in one or both sides.
Tea Skirt Lengths
Tea skirts are very similar to midi length and fall 3-4 inches below the knee. This term was made popular in the 1920s when this length dress was worn to tea parties. When this term is used, it generally refers to a full or circle shaped skirt and it is commonly used to describe formal styles of skirts and dresses.
Maxi Skirt Lengths
Maxi skirts finish just above your ankles but there will be some variation depending on your height. It may finish below your ankle or even at the ground. The longer the skirt, the more your height will become a factor in its final length.
Full Skirt Lengths
Full skirts or floor-length skirts finish at the floor and are popular for wedding and formal dresses. For everyday wear, they can be harder to walk in and risk tripping you up.
Asymmetrical or High Low
Of course, not all skirts have even hem lengths. Some skirts go up and down at the sides or back and front. This can add individuality to a skirt and is a great way to highlight your best bits. A skirt which is higher at the front and lower at the back is referred to as a high-low skirt.