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The classic midi skirt is making a comeback! How to style it for summer



Patricia Bailey - published on 07/10/17

Styling ideas for women who are ready to take a ride into the Midi Zone.

For the nostalgically minded, midi skirts recall the 1940s glamor of Ingrid Bergman on the tarmac in Casablanca, or the playfulness of Marilyn Monroe’s iconic “flying skirt” photo during the filming of The Seven Year Itch. Not to mention those vintage Dior gowns with wasp waists and full skirts that turned women into exotic butterflies. With time, that glamorous midi length gave way to the mini and the maxi, but in 2015 it made a smashing comeback. Ladies, it appears that the midi is here to stay.

Fashionable Woman

Read more:
Stuck in a style rut? Try these tips

The pre-fall 2017 collections of Philip Lim, Oscar de la Renta, Erdem, Diane von Furstenberg, and Valentino all put the spotlight on mid-calf lengths. As Forbes recently observed, “Midi cuts are becoming less modest and more modern. Longer hemlines no longer need to be associated with conservative dressing, and long skirts don’t always signify formal, red carpet looks anymore.” In other words, the midi skirt is a versatile, fun, and playful piece of clothing – the very opposite of dowdy or frumpy.

Dressed up, a midi skirt with pumps is a polished and sophisticated look. It doesn’t scream sex; it declares class, femininity, and quiet confidence. Dressed down, it’s easy breezy – cool and fluttery in the summer heart, but not so long that you trip over the hem.

Ready to take a step out of your comfort zone and into the oh-so-chic Midi Zone? If so, the following styling tips can help you start off on the right foot this summer.

1. Balance proportions with your top

Proportion is key! If your skirt has some volume to it, consider a slim-fitting top that doesn’t take up too much space. There are lots of ways to get that slim fit, but one of the most current trends is to pair a midi skirt with a slightly structured crop top.

Never fear: you don’t actually have to show your abs, or lack thereof. A crop top can hit at exactly the top of the skirt so that it shows a millimeter of skin or none at all.

2. Find your favorite texture

Midi skirts in 2017 are exciting affairs that come in tons of different textures, from ruffles and pleats to lace and broderie anglaise. Bear in mind that if your skirt has a lot going on, then you’ll want to balance it with a simpler, more streamlined top (unless you are attending Fashion Week, in which case … go crazy). The idea is to let one part of your outfit do all of the talking.


Ruffles are a great summery option for women who are not afraid to show a more feminine side. They can be exaggerated or more subdued, but they add a touch of movement, drama, and even romance.


Knife pleats are another textural trend. Again, they add movement and visual interest, plus they give the skirt a lightweight, floaty quality that is so appealing in the summer. Formal or informal? Both! Aside from the “safe” option of a simple white top, you can also wear them with a graphic tee or with a soft, cropped sweater or with a denim or leather jacket… the possibilities are endless.

Broderie anglaise

Broderie anglaise is pure summertime garden party. By the way, don’t you have an afternoon tea to be getting to?


And let’s not forget lace for evening sophistication, wedding guest, or Sunday best. Go for a matching lace top or pair with a smooth knit or silk top.


For a modern-day princess, tulle is elegant, timeless, and extremely feminine. Pair with a slim-fitting, tucked-in top for the best effect.

3. Explore unconventional shoes

One of the most important styling elements for a midi skirt is actually… your shoes. What you wear on your feet can add an unexpected touch of playfulness and creativity to the whole ensemble. Match the formality of the shoes to the formality of the skirt.

For summer, ankle-tie sandals are a great complement for casual or daytime midi skirts. They come in skinny straps or in more substantial suede, in flats, heels, and wedges.

Let’s also talk about heeled sandals and pumps. For formal looks, go for stiletto pumps or heeled sandals with ankle straps. Both are glamorous options for a matinee event or a night out. And while a nude or black pump is always a safe bet, a bit of metallic can make the outfit more interesting.

For daytime, a more walkable block heel can still give you that boost of leg-lengthening height without sacrificing too much comfort.

For cooler days, ankle boots are also très chic, although they tend to look best on long-legged women.

Styling note: if your skirt is center stage with fun textures, keep the shoes simple and minimal in style – although the color can be punched up. If the skirt itself is fairly basic or has a neutral pattern, shoes with more interesting and unique features will shine. In some cases, a little bit of wild and crazy is just an expression of joie de vivre. Enjoy the eye candy below!

Pink heels with red pompoms, perhaps?

Or pink-purple heels with a green and blue outfit. Just because.

And now you know that deep teal belongs with leopard…

So there you have it: from casual to formal and from sure homerun to pure fun, the midi skirt can be whatever you want it to be.


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