To wear a skirt in great style, get a perfect fit. If you have skirts that spin around and shift when you walk, you have a skirt that doesn't fit you. A properly fitting skirt will anchor itself at your natural waist and stay in place all day. If the waist is too large or the cut of the skirt is too cylindrical, the skirt will anchor on your hips, which is why it spins around with every step you take.
Women with bigger hips have a bigger problem with this. A skirt that is large enough to fit their butt and thighs will have a waist that is too large. There won't be enough friction between the skirt and your waist to keep it from spinning.
Your natural waist is located where your waist is narrowest, which may or may not be where your navel is. Everyone is different, and everyone's waist is in a different spot. If you're not sure where your natural waist is, stand and bend from side to side while nude. The deepest part of the bend is where your natural waist is. Some people's waists can be very high - even right below their ribcage!
An OTR solution that sometimes works is to only buy bodycon skirts and ignore any measurement but the waist. Hopefully, the material will stretch enough to work on your thighs and behind. This means a steady diet of miniskirts and tight-fitting pencil skirts, but that's not the worst thing in the world. But if you are amazingly curvy, you might not be able to find a skirt with enough stretch to make this work.
A better and more general solution is only using your hip and thigh measurements when buying skirts. This will make the waist too big, but a sewing machine or a trip to the tailor to add a couple of darts will fix that.
If you add the darts yourself, space them evenly in the back, placing them over the fullest part of the butt, one on each cheek. The darts will take in the most fabric at the waistband and go down to zero where your hips begin to widen. It's not a tricky alteration, but it takes a bit of skill. A tailor will probably charge you around $25.
Common skirts and how to fit them
Below are some common skirt types and some of the issues you might run into. If you have one I don't mention here, remember that any skirt needs to fit you perfectly at the waist and hips to work right. The rest is just your taste.
- Pencil skirts are the toughest ones to fit. Their silhouette is a cylinder, which is the problem. You might be OK if your hips are narrow, but the dart trick is the only solution that works if you are curvy.
- A-Line Skirts look like the letter 'A .' They are usually knee-length and don't usually have pleats or slits. A properly fitting A-line skirt will be wider at the lower hip than the waist.
- Skater Skirts are also called circle skirts. These are made in a circular shape that flares out at the hem and has no darts, pleats, or gathers. The properly fitting skater skirt will fit very snugly at the waist and flare out from the body. This is an excellent style for boys who want to be girls because you get a full-skirted look without additional bulk, making your hips look fuller.
- Maxi skirts are long skirts that drape downwards to the ankle. The right hem length for a maxi depends on your height: For tall girls, it should be right at the ankle. If you are small, it should just brush the floor.
- Mini Skirts have a hemline way, way above the knee. Typical miniskirts are 10-14 inches from the waist to the hem. You want a miniskirt to hang lower on your hips if you are tall. Otherwise, it might not cover your butt. Shorter girls can choose styles that hit their natural waistline.
- Wrap Skirts are simple garments, usually made of thin cotton, that wrap around your waist and have ties to fasten it. If your wrap skirt splays open at the knee, it's probably too small. A properly fitting wrap skirt will have enough fabric to cover the front and tie at the side, which allows more coverage.
- Midi Skirts date from the 1970s. Not everyone likes them. The midi skirts hit just at or slightly below the knees these days, but the original midi stopped right in the middle of the shin (hence the name).
- Tulip Skirts are an invention of Dior and are quite beautiful. They are fitted at the waist and have extra folds of fabric at the front and a hem that makes them look like the petals of a tulip. If the folds are not secured at the front, it can be tricky since this will let the two sides separate and make walking and sitting problematical.
Dealing with Zippers.
Some skirts have zippers on the side or back. These zippers sometimes develop a big bump that looks horrible. The most common cause of this is using different materials for the skirt and the zipper tape. If the skirt is cotton and the zipper tape is polyester, the cotton will shrink when you wash the skirt. This causes the polyester tape to bunch up and wrinkle. The only fix is replacing the zipper with a cotton tape version. Here's some more zipper info for you.
Another cause of bumpy zippers is manufacturing defects or using the wrong zipper. I've seen both. Manufacturers sometimes use invisible zippers on skirts, and there couldn't be a worse choice. It might look great disappearing into the side seam of a skirt, but side seams are major stress points, and invisible zippers are too weak to handle them. They will forever pull, wrinkle and bunch up. So unless you are planning on paying to have it replaced, don't buy a skirt with an invisible zipper.