Tim Gunn’s Wardrobe Essentials: The Skirt

Impeccable man. I hope he can’t see me now. Source.

It’s been a long while since I wrote about Tim Gunn’s List of Wardrobe Essentials. I’ve covered the Day Dress, the Trendy Indulgent Item, the Little Black Dress, and the Mythic Trench. His choices are classic, of course, and a bit corporate for my style. But I never disrespect the Tim, he is made of class and taste.

For a quick review, here are Tim’s Top Ten:

• Little black dress
• Trench coat
• Classic dress pants
• Classic white shirt
• Skirt
• Blazer
• Day dress
• Cashmere sweater
• Jeans
• A comfortable alternative to a sweatsuit
. . . And one trendy, indulgent item.

I  pay tribute to The Skirt today. Tim originally wrote this: “A skirt is womanly and can be flirty or businesslike. Nowadays women do not wear many skirts or dresses, which makes a lot of them fall into a rut of dressing sloppily or like men.”

I do take issue with his last remarks: a woman can live her life in jeans or trousers and never look “sloppy”. And what’s wrong with dressing “like a man”, if that’s your style? But the larger point is taken: skirts are versatile.

A skirt can get you through a Florida summer, if it’s light and breezy, like this:

Breezy summer skirt, MANGO

That same skirt can go to work with a polished knit top and cardigan. All sorts of fun sandals and open-toed shoes will flatter.

A classic pencil skirt can be worn every day to the office, it that’s your choice. I wear mine once a week, at least. They work well with every topper, from button-downs to silk blouses to graphic tees.

Of course, black and taupe are classic, but I’m loving this floral pencil skirt. Zara.

The denim skirt! I would not have survived my 20’s – 40’s without you! I still love a denim skirt and choose a more refined style now. This denim skirt suits my mostly-grown-up vibe and is fun to wear:

Great details! Nordstroms.

I also have a tulle skirt, a knit maxi skirt, two 70’s wrap skirts, and a cool reversible full skirt (thanks Megan!). They serve as wardrobe anchors for work days and terrific shorts/jeans alternatives for casual days. They inspire creativity, you can buy one for a song at the thrift, and they let the breeze caress your legs. Hooray for skirts.

On my wish list (this one is $500, I will find a similar at Etsy ☺):

Burberry Silk Skirt, Nordstroms

Over to you: do you wear skirts a little or a lot, or not at all? Have a large collection or just a favorite few?

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  1. Except when walking the dog – I love wearing skirts – and so sometimes wonder if I'm out of date among jeans/pants/trouser wearing peers. I just find that skirts can often look better, and you can breathe in them. The one I particularly love, with the cooler weather now in Australia, is a longer, straight, black knitted skirt. Worn with boots, or comfortable slip on shoes, I never tire of this simple style.
    Blog: 50 Shades of Unemployment

  2. I wear skirts a lot and have a large collection but mainly of 2 shapes, pencil and A line to the knee. They're just very easy and versatile for me and I wear them all through the year. Love the floral, stripes and denim choices!

  3. New here, like what I see….as soon as weather permits I wear skirts. (can't stand tights). Preferably knee-length, any color in the rainbow, at best with pockets. Love them! My uniform through spring, summer and warm autumn. Enter ugly weather, switch to my other uniform, jeans. And I realise I have……thighs!
    Off to hopping through your archive, see ya!

  4. I'm a skirt gal. LIke Pink works better for my shape. Like the Tim. Thanks for this. Will revisit this post.

  5. When I worked in the Corporate World I was definitely a skirt girl because it allowed me to stretch my wardrobe. Pieces vs. dresses always worked best for me and if I had to do it all over again I would. I rarely wear them now since having retired 10 years ago.

  6. Yes, I love skirts, but I don't need Tim Gunn to tell me to wear them, or anything else, thank you! I like most lengths, most styles. You know I don't like those lists, Patti, I can't help wanting to rebel against them! xxxx

  7. Have you tried tights and/or tall boots with your skirts? Limits the leg exposure. (And I'm also willing to bet your legs are actually quite nice 😉

  8. I love a good skirt- I'm a fan of the A-line cuz it's mobile (I'm a walker) and flattering to my figure. But you've got me wanting to master the pencil skirt. So chic! So classy!

  9. Denim skirts, I have to agree with you there. I like the nautical style of the one you show here

  10. I love skirts and have quite a lot of them: of different colour, length and style. Sometimes I have difficulty to find a suitable top though. Love the flowery Zara skirt

  11. I'm a newby to your blog and love it! Thanks so much for addressing professional and fun fashion needs for those of us hitting the crest of middle age!

    I'm afraid I'm going to be the odd person out on this discussion – I don't wear skirts at all anymore. My legs, which were never very good. look worse for the wear now that I'm older. I would love to though – and the ease of tossing on a dress is the stuff of daydreams. I recently started working full time as a consultant and I wear dress pants. They are tougher to fit, it's true, but my pasty white and blue pegs are hidden, and I can still look professional and feminine. This summer I'm thinking about loose cotton palazzos . . .

  12. I have a pretty decent collection of skirts I think. I do love them. I find that I vary between mini, midi and maxi but have an affinity for each of them depending on my mood. I really adore this selection you found…especially the first one from Mango! It's so feminine, flirty and in such a pretty color!



  13. I wear skirts every now and then, but certainly a lot more than pants! Love your choices, particularly the pink and the blue stripy ones 🙂

  14. I wear skirts a lot! They are so comfortable in Spring and work really well with layers like a shirt and cardigan, tights and some pretty heels. I also love them as you can wear the same one in two totally different stylings two days after the other and you will still look polished and no person will notice, much easier than with dresses. I also love skirts as I have a very long lower part, but short torso, dresses never fit well and often look weird on me. Skirts can be altered easily and there are so many different lengths, just great. Wearing skirts two -three times a week at work and at least once during the weekend (Spring – late Autumn – In Winter it gets a little too cold.

  15. Over recent years I've leaned more towards dresses, but now I find myself longing for skirts and separates again because I think they allow a wider range of looks.

  16. I am njot sure who Tom Gunn is but I like his list. I have lots of skirts and have just bought a lovely new striped pencil skirt.

  17. Dearest Patti,
    Tim is right in some way. It depends what jeans and trousers one wears for escaping the 'sloppily' style. Love Tim Gunn's way of Wardrobe style! Long time ago I listened to him when on a flight to work as consultant and it was always interesting. Sweatsuits are NOT my style. We have tried them as they looked convenient and most US travelers would wear them. It was the ONLY time that we had our luggage searched, especially at the Singapore airport so we never again did wear a sweatsuit. We donated it… You can look very casual and still be polished, wearing nice jeans with a blazer!
    Skirts I do like too and I have several Escada skirt suits as well as Escada jeans skirt suits. Their quality garments wrinkle a lot less than cheaper brands (even though I buy my Escada at Outlet stores) and they are made of the finer silk like (wrinkle resistant) tropical wool or fine quality cottons. They keep their shape, color and quality for decades thus it is always a great investment; provided WE keep our shape too!
    Always great postings; keep them coming.
    Mariette's Back to Basics

  18. I love Tim Gunn but he does live in New York. You live in easy breezy Florida so flowy skirts are perfect for you.

  19. I love skirts – maxi length and as loudly patterned as possible. I don't like the look of Tim, he looks like a politician and I never trust them! x

  20. Oh how I love skirts and dresses! From a practical point, skirts are just easier to fit than pants. From an aesthetic point, skirts are the quintessential feminine garment. I know so little about Tim Gunn, but have read more about him since you first mentioned him. I'm really warming to him…..kind of no nonsense and practical, but seems to be very gracious too! Hugs girly! Serene

  21. I am a skirt girl – I probably have over 40 skirts, but only 3-4 pairs of pants! I love any shape, size and length…and colour!

  22. I wear skirts constantly. They are an easier fit for my shape than jeans and perefct as far as being cool enough for our hot weather. LOVE that printed Zara pencil skirt!!
    Becky 🙂

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