Friday, January 3, 2014

Reader Q&A: How to Wear Jean Skirts

Reader Q&A: How to Wear Jean Skirts


Earlier this week, I Kelley posted a question for me in the comments section of my post about fresh ways to wear jeans, and I loved it!

Hi! I've not been following for a real long time, and I immensely enjoy your great advice and tips.
I don't wear jeans, but I do wear jean skirts. Could you do a post on jean skirts?
Been wearing more belts, Kelley

I love this question because  I think jean skirts have the potential to be a very versatile piece of clothing for every age, but I also think they can go downhill fast. Here's why.

Too much of this exists. Not only is it very short, this skirt doesn't fit very well! And even they couldn't figure out what to put with it, the poor model had to go topless.

Via (although I'm not recommending that you buy this!)
Typically I don't say what not to wear, I prefer to focus on what to wear. Here, here's a cuter skirt (despite those strangely high butt pockets) from that store so I don't feel like I'm picking on them. I could also include a picture of the old college standby, that cut-off jean skirt that is from American Eagle or Abercrombie. That's also not what to wear after if you want to look polished while also wearing a denim skirt.

On the other hand, a denim skirt can, in many ways, be treated like a regular skirt. Here are what I think of as the basics:

  • it should fit well, 
  • it should highlight the parts of your legs and body that you want to highlight, and 
  • it should not feel like a cliche. 

First, it should fit well, which is sometimes hard since the denim can be stiff.  Stiff fabric can stand off of your body and leave you drowning in fabric. If you're shopping online and can't feel the fabric, look for words like "light denim" or "soft" in the reviews. This Woolrich skirt is described by a commenter as "not as heavy as a winter jean." Perfect.

I like a denim skirt with some visual interest to it so that the only thing carrying it isn't just its denim-ness. Here, it's the red stitching and the built-in belt.

Via Etsy
Here, Lane Bryant did a cute smocked waist with buttons. Make sure to get a size that's small enough that the wait hits you at your smallest part, even if that's quite high.
Via Lane Bryant
I love a good paper bag skirt, and one in denim is very nice. I worry a bit about the shortness of this skirt, though, since I'd want that waist to sit nice and high. This might be a better length for a petite woman, but the concept of the paper bag waist would be nice in a longer skirt for anyone.

Via Etsy

Now that you've got a skirt that isn't too stiff and maybe has some visual interest, put something with it that's not a cliche. What I mean by that is: not a graphic t-shirt that looks like what a college girl would wear it with but also not anything too western. Boots excepted! I love tough boots like cowboy boots with denim skirts, especially longer ones. However, on the top part of your body, I'd tend to avoid anything with rhinestones (unless you are an actual cowgirl or going to a rodeo), fringe, or Navajo prints. Think of things that contrast with the stiffness of denim, just like I talked about with jeans.

What about some colors and softness that ooze femininity?
Found Via
What about a bright contrasting color tucked in that is just as stiff as the skirt? Love those cuffed sleeves!
And yes, t-shirts naturally love denim skirts; you don't need to avoid them entirely. However, it should be a t-shirt that fits you well and is stylish, something you'd enjoy wearing with jeans. For winter, add moto or cowboy boots to this look. I love a full skirt like this for winter because you can layer up as much as you need to under there! Put on some fleece leggings-no one will be the wiser!


I know that some of you likely have long denim skirts that you like. I searched near and far for pictures of great long jean skirts, and I just didn't find any that I personally liked. Most of them are so shapeless. However, for those who have modesty standards or who just like the feel of the longer denim, here's what I'd advise. 

Consider a midi length that feels a bit retro. You could always cover up the legs with tights or even boots, but she doesn't get as lost as she would in something all the way to the floor. The vintage print top is very in keeping with the drawstring waistband and the entire vibe. I love this. And if you are really hoping for longer skirt ideas, please email me. I'll think about it more!

Think beyond the jean skirt even when you're styling one. What do you like wearing with other skirts? Could that also work in this case? For example, here she's wearing black on the bottom with jean on top. What if she swapped it so that the skirt were denim and she had a black cardigan or black leather jacket on top with that same white t-shirt (or go wild with a pattern!), shoes (or tights and low boots for winter), and hat?  

Via Kiyonna

Thanks for the question, Kelley! I hope this helped!

1 comment:

  1. I lived in denim skirts in the 90's and still love them :) It's fun to see how you can modern them up!