What is the right dress or skirt length to wear at work?
Although most people would say that a miniskirt is probably too short and something around the ankles too long, fashion delivers several styles in-between that create shades of gray when deciding what to wear in professional environments.
The guiding principle is that if you feel a dress or skirt is too short, it’s not appropriate for the environment. If you’re unsure, the knee is the guidepost to use.
Anything that falls to the knees is generally appropriate for any personal or professional setting.
How Long Should Your Skirt Be for Work?
Skirt length should be two inches or less above the knee to be considered a professional look for the workplace. Specific employer rules override this advice, and a person’s body proportions can play a role. Individual choices for work should factor in these two principles.
What is considered appropriate for a workplace environment depends on several different factors. Since each situation is unique, you’ll want to review each focus point to ensure your skirt or dress hits the right length to make you feel comfortable.
|Length Factor to Consider:||Why the Factor Is Important:||Professional Implications:|
|Body Proportion||People with longer or shorter arms often need to make an inch or two of skirt adjustment to ensure the visual proportions of their fashion are satisfactory.||Feeling out of proportion with skirt length can impact personal self-esteem and confidence. |
It can draw attention to specific areas of the body.
|Workplace Rules||When an employer functions with a business professional dress code, the skirt length typically needs to be longer than in other settings.||Clients and coworkers could see a short skirt as a sign that you don’t take your job seriously or that the rules don’t apply to you.|
|Skirt Style||Some skirts and dresses come with extra flare. This style allows for some extra versatility when designing a look at the appropriate length.||Something that works for workplace length requirements could come up higher than desired when outside the office.|
|Slit Length||Longer skirts often come with a slit to make movement easier. |
This element is sometimes included in corporate dress codes to ensure its length meets with professional expectations.
|A long skirt without a slit or a minimal one can restrict movement, making it difficult to walk or drive. |
Long slits might show off more than desired while sitting at the office.
|Slip Incorporation||Slips help to protect the skirt’s fabric, add extra warmth, and improve how the material drapes while moving. |
It also makes it more comfortable to have all-day wear.
|Having a slip visible at work could be considered a violation of the dress code. |
It might be more comfortable to wear Spanx or leggings, especially on a cold day.
Although many people believe that dress codes for skirts are meant to keep the wearer from being inadvertently provocative, how someone else reacts to your fashion is on them – not you.
Each person is responsible for their own thoughts and choices, whether they spot a little cleavage or see your legs with something that comes to a couple of inches above the knee.
It doesn’t take much effort to find well-meaning people who say that “sexy isn’t a corporate look.”
People can be attracted to someone in a full-length dress in the same way they see someone in a mini skirt. Your credibility isn’t dictated by skirt length. It’s based on how you approach each project or task with professionalism.
What Is the Problem with Modern Fashion?
The issue that we face when deciding what to wear for work involves Hollywood.
I know it’s easy to blame movies and TV shows for everything from societal violence to a desire to eat sugared cereal, but we are responsible for the choices we make.
It’s the influences that shade our decisions that come from Hollywood that we need to consider when making fashion choices.
When you see a female detective chasing a suspect, is she wearing five-inch heels? Is that really a practical way to arrest someone?
What we see on TV is a glamorized version of what dress codes are, especially when looking at skirts and dresses. Things are more provocative on the screen because those looks capture a person’s attention.
If you’re having trouble finding the right dress for the workplace, here are some ways that can help you find something comfortable without needing to deal with the stares or inappropriate comments that people love to offer if they think a dress is too short.
1. Pay attention to how the skirt or dress fits.
Clothing should fit appropriately for the workplace. Think about what your duties require each day.
Are you sitting and standing a lot? Do you need to walk down the hall to the printer about five thousand times per day (or so it seems)?
A dress or skirt fit for those specific requirements will keep you more comfortable throughout the day.
Buttons can pull if it’s hard to fit into the item, or worse – give you that muffin top that other fashion choices need to manage.
2. Think about your leg length.
Everyone notices a set of long legs in a short skirt – not just the guys. Your skirt length should reflect what the dress code requires while thinking about what happens when sitting.
It’ll move up the thigh more while you’re in a chair working on a database or stuck in a boring meeting. How much do you want to show?
That’s why the best practical advice is to think about the knee. That length is a good compromise between showing off those long legs while keeping you comfortable.
If you have shorter legs, a short skirt can make your torso seem out of proportion with the rest of your body.
3. There’s always an issue with underwear.
When thinking about what to wear for work, the one problem that skirts cause is exposure to garments that you don’t always want someone to see. That includes bra straps.
The best undergarments should support your work activities while wicking sweat away. Some skirts might show an underwear line based on how they fit. That’s when a slip or another item can help to create a smoother look.
What Does Society Say Skirt Length Means About You?
Have you ever given some consideration to what people might perceive about your choice of skirt length at the office?
Although their opinion is unimportant to who you are as a person, a supervisor who sees your fashion choices as inappropriate for the office (or in violation of the dress code) might not put you up for a promotion that you might have earned.
That’s why it is still important to think about what society says about you behind your back based on the skirt length choices you select.
- Just Above the Knee. This option works well for women with shorter legs because it gives the illusion of more height. It says that everything about you is appropriate for the workplace, especially when paired with a comfortable blouse and matching blazer.
- Mini Skirts. People see this fashion option as being rebellious and for the young. If you’ve got long, great legs, you can still get away with wearing one – but not necessarily at the office. You’re seen as being willing to take risks in places where that might be inappropriate.
- Middle Knee Skirts. You’re seen as being conservative, well-thought, and practical with this length choice. It can be worn by almost everyone, and it fits with virtually every dress code requirement out there in the corporate world.
- Just Below the Knee. If you’ve got longer legs, you can get the same benefits with this option as those with shorter legs going with an above-the-knee option.
- Midi Skirts. Younger people with above-average leg length and heels can get away with this look in business casual environments. It tends to look old-fashioned once you reach a certain age, which can cause people to wonder if you have trouble letting go of things.
- Mid-Calf Skirts. This option is often viewed as being frumpy. It communicates that you don’t like dealing with change, prefer everything traditional, and that you have no time for current expectations. It can still be pulled off with the right personality, but you’ll always be stuck dealing with that first impression.
- Maxi Skirts. You’d wear this option in a casual environment. It’s suitable for a creative workplace without much of a formal dress code, but you won’t typically see it in the corporate world. They work well with sandals or wedges, although some heels out there look great with this look.
Dresses and skirts are fantastic alternatives to pants and suits in the office. Choosing one that meets length expectations makes it much easier to make the right first impression.
How to Choose a Skirt for Work
Skirts are a fantastic wardrobe option. They’re feminine, attractive, and dressy in unique ways.
You’ll find that some skirts look better on specific body types than others. When you’re shopping for something new to wear to work, you’ll want to think about your shape while shopping.
What option will look flattering on you?
|Skirt Type:||Why It Works:||Best Choice to Consider:|
|Pencil Skirt||Anyone with an hourglass figure can show off their curves while wearing this skirt type. |
It fits your form while wrapping around your body to create a professional look.
|The Helene Berman Aztec Paneled Pencil Skirt delivers an element of style while providing a comfortable wearing experience.|
|A-Line Skirt||People with a petite figure benefit from this skirt type because of how it flares out slightly. |
That function allows the material to create more of an illusion of natural curves. Longer and shorter styles are available.
|With the Hard Tail Forever Pull-on Velour A-Line Skirt, there’s a flattering fit that doesn’t require dry cleaning. |
It provides the right amount of flair to create beautiful results.
|High-Waisted Skirt||Individuals with an apple figure benefit from this skirt style because it works to emphasize the smallest area of the torso. |
That highlights a slimming effect while putting more attention toward the legs, even if the cut reaches the knee.
|From Making the Cut, this linen/combo painted maxi skirt provides a high-waisted look while offering a product that is machine washable. |
The zipper closure is also remarkably easy to use.
|Trumpet Skirt||Anyone with wide hips can benefit from this style because it creates more outward flare at the ends. |
The look produces more symmetry to balance out the lower body from the torso.
|This skirt option isn’t common in the corporate world, but you’ll still look fantastic in the Le Suit Petite 4-Button Skirt Suit. |
It creates a clean, sophisticated look that’ll help you stand out in the crowd.
Does Color Matter When Choosing a Skirt for Work?
Solid colors are better for professional skirts for anyone with an hourglass figure. Everyone can select that style or choose a pattern to express their fashion with a length they feel appropriate for the setting.
People with slimmer figures typically benefit from having lightweight fabrics when choosing a skirt for the office. Something that weighs heavily on the body will create a clingy effect that can interfere with one’s duties.
Lighter fabrics also tend to provide some lift with wear while making one’s hips look slightly more prominent.
People with an apple figure would want to choose the opposite to create something closer to an hourglass shape. Embellishments can add some flair while delivering the benefits of satin, denim, or flannel.
When you accept a position, you’re also acknowledging that you’ll follow the rules of that workplace. That means the skirts you wear to the office must meet the expectations of the environment.
By taking these key points into consideration, you’ll come away feeling confident and fantastic about what you see in the mirror.