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Message Board > Sewing for Petite Sizes > flattering skirt length ( Moderated by MissCelie)

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flattering skirt length
finding the right proportions
USMCMom
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USMCMom  Friend of PR
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Date: 2/24/12 1:01 AM

My nephew is getting married in June and I've been shopping (OK...I've been poaching ideas from stores I like but cannot afford to shop at) for something to wear. Saleswoman was sort of stalking me, which I'm pretty thick skinned about. After all, they have to make a living. I was looking at a rack of long skirts, which I just love to wear in the summer. Cooler than pants, not as revealing as shorts, and can be dressed up or down. But the saleswoman jumped in right away and told me in no uncertain terms that I'm too short to wear long skirts. She said "Those long skirts will only make you look shorter and dumpier". I only hope she doesn't work on commission. But customer relations aside, is she right? I confess to embracing the 80's big T and holding on for far too long, so I'm not always the best judge of what looks good on me. But I'm trying to learn. So what say all you other vertically challenged ladies out there? Are long skirts a no-no for us? Is is a question of getting the proportions right? Would balancing it with a shorter top make it more flattering? Maybe stay away from the really full skirts and opt for something more tailored? Can you tell that I really want you to say I can wear a long skirtAnd, just for the record, I'm 5 ft. tall and on the ample side, but with an hourglass figure.

Lena Merrin
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Lena Merrin
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Date: 2/24/12 1:22 AM

Yes there is a rule based on Golden section. I have an article on my blog about it, but I can't post a link because my server is down lol. I have all proportions listed there, where you take your height and multiply it by a ratio and get a perfect skirt length for your height.

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www.iconicpatterns.com

Gilraen Surion

Gilraen Surion
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Date: 2/24/12 1:23 AM

I disagree with the sales lady using those general terms. It depends on the shape of the skirt, the rest of your body and outfit whether it suits or not.
I wear long skirts usually with a heel - not stiletto, but tiny. My wedding dress was floor length and I looked far from short and dumpy in it.
I have seen short ladies with flats and looking immaculate.
The only way to see is to try it on, with somebody whose opinion you trust and to be honest with yourself.

Gilraen (5ft3")

------
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.
Confucius (551 BC - 479 BC)

USMCMom
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Date: 2/24/12 1:48 AM

So, we're so far getting a definite maybe! As for shoes, I will probably wear either a wedge sole sandal, about 1.5 inches, or kitten heels...also pretty low. I had foot surgery last summer and heels higher than that are permanently off the menu. Any opinions as to whether a long dress would be more flattering than a skirt and top?

Choco Pie
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Choco Pie
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Date: 2/24/12 4:11 AM

That's really ridiculous. In the summer, long skirts look and feel great and might be a better look than shorts for many people. You know, even if you wear a long skirt and it's not the absolute best style for your frame, it can still look good. Just look around at what some people wear in the summer. Even if you're two feet tall, a long skirt will look better than what 80% of people are wearing. A lot of people need to stop with the shorts, already, and find a different look.

That sales person is awful. "Shorter and dumpier," seriously? Wow.



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Date: 2/24/12 4:37 AM

With an hourglass figure, you may want to wear a dress, since it's supposed to do more for highlighting your figure's assets, and even if the skirt length isn't the best for your figure, the rest of it will draw the eye to what is. (Hope that was clear as mud, and not intended to be rude.)

You can, of course, find separates that will also work well, regardless of the length of the skirt, but I would make it at least somewhat fitting to highlight the shape.



Lena Merrin
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Date: 2/24/12 5:27 AM

My site is finally up! here is the link

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tourist
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Date: 2/24/12 10:09 AM

Full length is fine on everybody, otherwise all those centuries of women wearing full length dresses would have had a LOT of "shorter, dumpier" women. What sales person worth their title would use those terms?

Lena is right (of course ) that it all has to do with proportions. An ankle length skirt on a petite is very risky - everything about it has to be just perfect for it to look good - but if it is just right, it can look wonderful.

Aside from rushing off to read that article, which I am about to do, my best advice is to look at things like hem length from a good distance. If you don't have a mirror that gets you 10 - 12' away, get some photos. You don't get good perspective from 2 - 3' away from a mirror. You need to see yourself as someone across a large room might see you.

As for heels, if this is a summer wedding and any time will be spent outside, find yourself some nice wedge heels. They look great and you will not sink into the grass when you walk. I did this for DD's outdoor wedding and it worked very well.

ETA - 5'2" here. I get tons of compliments on a knee length DKNY pleated skirt. If I was smart I would copy those proportions to wear daily!

Also - the math for the Golden Ratio? I am seriously math challenged. What numbers do I have to plug in to figure out the best bodice/skirt ratio for a full length gown?
-- Edited on 2/24/12 10:31 AM --

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http://bgballroom.wordpress.com to follow the progress on my next ballgown.

SheBear0320
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Date: 2/24/12 10:19 AM

Because I have very full upper calves, I tend to wear my skirts longer (lower than mid-calf) even though my height would dictate by convention that I wear shorter skirts (I'm 5' 3.5"). I wear heels but nothing higher than 2" and for my casual longer skirts, I quite often wear flat sandals.

The style of the skirt can make a big difference as can the top you are wearing. If you have a very defined waist then be sure to accent that. I personally love long, flowy skirts and wear them every chance I get.

I totally disagree with what the sales person told you -- every body is different and no one rule applies to them all. Yet another reason to sew my clothes and avoid rude sales people.

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Sheila
"sewing very slowly to fill an empty closet"

2014 Stash Busting Sew-Along:
27.5 yards sewn (as of 04/17/14)
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Vintage Joan
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Vintage Joan
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In reply to USMCMom


Date: 2/24/12 10:20 AM

I disagree with the way she worded it ("...and dumpiER" -- nice...). But that is the effect long dresses or skirts have on me, at 5'1". I don't think this was so much the case when I was young, but when you're older for some reason anything even slightly imbalanced stands out more. Not sure why.

My longest "nice on me" length is 2-3" inches below the knee. But everyone's a bit different!
-- Edited on 2/24/12 10:23 AM --

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my shield and my very great reward ~ Gen. 15:1

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