Style + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle: Tips for a Body-Con Skirt

Dear Belle,

My extremely fashionable 21-year-old niece recently made me buy this skirt in black, telling me I have the body and should be showing it off (I sort of disagree, which is why it has not yet been worn, I guess).

But the bigger issue is I can’t wear really high heels due to a foot injury many years ago. Boots I can manage, but not a high pump. And you certainly can’t wear this kind of skirt with flats, can you?

Also, I have no idea what kind of blouse to wear with it. I have a small waist but generous hips, so I want something that tucks in in order to accentuate the waist and draw the eye away from my hips. I have scoured a few possibilities on the Zara website but can’t make up my mind. Blouse with a tie at the collar? A Peter Pan collar? Three-quarter sleeves? Long sleeves? With boots? I just don’t know.

Your avid fan, Francine

Wearing a body-conscious skirt, especially one that is below knee-length, is a challenge for any woman.  Add a foot injury that makes high heels impossible to the mix, and you have a recipe for impending doom.  Or do you?  After all, I like a challenge.

Because it’s an easier problem to solve, let’s start with making this skirt into some easy three-piece outfits (Skirt, blouse, accessory).  (Editor’s note: Francine’s skirt is actually a BCBG one, but for the purposes of this set, we’ll be using a very, very expensive L’Wren Scott skirt.  This is solely for esthetic value.) 

Polyvore Set Here.

Look No. 1: A bit parisian chic with the stripes and the red earring.  I’d also add a messy, wavy updo and a pair of big sunglasses.

Look No. 2: Tuck the nude blouse into the skirt and let it poof out (a technical term, no doubt) just slightly.  For this look, I’d recommend stick straight hair and lots of eyeliner.

Look No. 3: Wrap blouses are great for emphasizing small waists or hiding a bit of a belly.  Wear this one with a stack of bracelets, a low bun and berry lipstick.

Look No. 4: More of a conservative look.  Layer a nude cami with a strapless bra under this blouse.  Then, belt the look at the waist.  Wear simple jewelry and hair lightly waved, half up, half down.

Now, it’s no secret that a skirt like this would look best with a minimum 3″ heel.  But that seems to be out of the question, in this case.  So what to wear instead?


Polyvore Set Here.

I honestly don’t think that I would wear a boot with this.  The reason is, I think the top of a tall boot could screw up the line of a snugly-fitted skirt.  But if you could find a pair that fit whisper close to the skin, maybe.

With a skirt like this, you want to lengthen the leg as much as possible.  This means that you want to see as much of the top of the foot as possible.  So don’t choose anything–a bootie, for example–that would would cover you up to the ankle.

Flats:  Not ideal, but if they must be worn, choose pointed toe flats to give the illusion of elongation.  It’s also possible that you could wear an open toe.  Just remember to try them on before you wear them out, and ask your most honest friend how it really looks.

Kittens:  Kitten heels are an on trend choice for people who can’t or won’t wear high heels.  They give a bit of lift, and the pointed toe lengthens the leg line.

Wedges:  If you can wear a boot, maybe you can wear a wedge?  A simple, black, pointed toe wedge could provide the lift that the skirt needs and the long line to go with it.

Good luck finding an outfit that works for you. 


    leave a comment

  1. Francine says:

    Sob! I think I love you! This is so, so helpful.

    October 20, 2011/Reply
  2. BB says:

    Wait, wut?

    Are these looks intended for work? Given the choice of work attire, I would choose teal-colored tights over a skirt that accentuated my ample assets, regardless of if I wore a conservative of a sheer blouse on top. But this is why I don't take advice about work-appropriate fashion from a 21-year old.

    October 20, 2011/Reply
  3. KC says:

    Get over the tights. Although teal tights would complement texting spelling like “wut”…

    October 20, 2011/Reply
  4. Txting Trrry says:

    LOL, wut?

    October 20, 2011/Reply
  5. Francine says:

    Not necessarily for work. Although I could wear it to work. I don't work on Capitol Hill, I'm a journalist, and I could get away with that skirt in my profession quite easily. I just kind of regret buying it because I really think it demands a high heel and I cannot have any weight on the ball of my one foot. Kitten heels would work well, though, and I can wear them, so thanks Belle! Much appreciated.

    October 20, 2011/Reply
  6. Belle says:

    She said she wanted some ways to wear the skirt, she didn't say where she wanted to wear it to.

    October 20, 2011/Reply
  7. KC says:


    October 20, 2011/Reply
  8. Valerie says:

    One thing that I've found useful for these types of skirts (in my case it was an Herve Leger dress I got from Rent the Runway for a formal event)…Spanx! Or tights with a slimming upper. Even if you're skinny, these kinds of skirts tend to emphasize parts of the booty in an often strange way.

    October 20, 2011/Reply
  9. Tina says:

    Great post, as always. What about a pair of high-heel ankle boots in the color of tights?

    October 20, 2011/Reply
  10. not the grammar police says:

    @KC – I'm pretty sure it's 'complement' in this case since inanimate objects can't 'compliment' each other. But that's a tricky one. I like in a pinch. Who knew grammar could be so hilarious? 🙂

    October 20, 2011/Reply
  11. K says:

    This is really pretty! As someone who loves heels but sadly can't wear them (also due to prev injury), the shoes are especially interesting to me. 🙂

    October 20, 2011/Reply
  12. Ellie says:

    I'd just like to say that recently I've really been enjoying the hair & makeup tips that are now accompanying the outfits you post! Thanks for the extra suggestions!

    October 21, 2011/Reply