Chasing the Elusive Skirt

I’m on a mission to find cute works skirts that aren’t too short. Though I still feel young, my physical container has changed over the years – there are wrinkles, scars, noticeable veins, and the effects of gravity on my flesh. This means my knees are no longer prime body parts to show off. I have nothing against short skirts but they’re no longer for me unless I’m in a very casual setting or if I’m wearing tights, which I don’t do if it’s warm. (Yes, I’ve been in Portland too long- I’d have never gone bare legged to work in Texas.)

My search for just-below-the-knee skirts has not been very fruitful. I typically buy my work clothes at chains like Ann Taylor or J. Crew but they don’t often sell skirts long enough to wear to work, and haven’t for a few years. I love boutiques and vintage stores, but not much luck there either.

Dresses are likewise just too short. I’m about 5’8 with long legs and a short waist. I have no interest in dirndl skirts, elastic waist skirts, or tee shirt material skirts. I don’t mind skirts that reach my knees but really, 3 inches above the knee for work? I don’t want to look like a hoochie mama.  Maxi skirts are fun for casual times but not for work. I have a professional job, and as much I like wearing pants, I also want to wear skirts that are attractive, well-made, and  just below my knees. And not matronly. Is that so much to ask?

Professional librarian that I am, I decided to research this issue of short skirts. Am I just being whiny or unobservant? Is there there an insidious plot to sell more self-tanning lotion? (I’ll save my why-is-pale-skin-so-horrifying rant for another day.)

I decided to check the websites of the places I shop for work clothes to see  just how pervasive this short skirt trend is. I browsed the skirt category on each website, counted the total, and looked at those that definitely come below the knee on the model:

Ann Taylor– Out of 37 skirts, there was only one casual maxi skirt.

Banana Republic – Out of 34 skirts, there was only one casual maxi skirt.

J. Crew – Out of 29 skirts, there were 2 formal long skirts.  Pretty but not work attire.

Anthropologie – Better odds here – out of 51 skirts, 11 are long maxi skirts; alas, they are not work appropriate.

Talbots – Out of 29 skirts, 2 are below the knee and look work appropriate. That is, until I click on the navy blue one  which is made of terry cloth! The other one, shown below, looks cute but it’s linen and I have to think about the work ironing linen entails.

Linen Skirt from Talbots

There were three other skirts that just graze the middle of the knee but I’d have to try them on to really see if they’re long enough. I used to think of Talbots as matronly but I found the cutest tweed skirt this winter there, and realize they’ve been improving their style. Really!

So, out of about 180 skirts, only 4 or so are work appropriate for me? Listen up, retailers. You could make some serious cash if you paid attention to your customers. I don’t like shopping online, so don’t point me to your website with tall sizes. How about carrying a few of them in your brick and mortar stores?


4 thoughts on “Chasing the Elusive Skirt

  1. I was going to suggest Talbots but looks like they’ve failed you too (altho the shoes with the linen skirt are very cute).

    Have you thought about ebay? Sometimes if I’m out of ideas I find the clothes I love and then search them on ebay- someone may have bought and never wore a skirt you love. And if it’s a company you know, you know it will fit. Sorry, it’s a last resort!

    • I think Talbots sells tall sizes online, so I could try that. Ebay is a great idea – I browse their vintage jewelry section pretty regularly.

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