Alternatives to the skirt of controversy

So....I am going to return the skirt of controversy...not because it is controversial but because I fear it won't really earn its keep in my closet, alas. 

I would dearly love an alternative, both for the coming trip and for afterwards. I love my tube skirts, but I think they would be too hot in China, and sometimes a girl feels like a change. 

Here are a few options I'm considering. Please tell me what you think (esp. if you have seen in person) or if you have others in mind, let me know. 

1. The skirt ElizabethP has. Problem -- it is probably going to be too big for me (no XS) and it looks very high contrast. 

2. EF skirt Diana recommended. I like it and it is linen, and I have a Nordstrom's Reward to use up so the price would be less. BUT...it might not get to me in time using Border Free. ARGH. 

3. Club Monaco Doanie -- silk and an unbelievable price. I am not usually a fan of handkerchief hems but it might be a fun summer addition. 

4. Club Monaco silk shorts. Kind of an interesting alternative, maybe? 

5. Zara culottes -- but they are viscose, which can be hot. 

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.

55 Comments

  • carter replied 5 years ago

    I like the Club Monaco skirt quite a bit. I think it can either be the star or the foundational piece, depending on how you style it. I'm also totally surprising myself and liking the culottes as well.

  • replied 5 years ago

    I like the Club Monaco, Suz. I'm also not normally a fan of handkerchiefs either, but there's something special about this one to me. I think the length will be good on you, too. Only downside I see is silk doesn't normally pack well, but the print will detract from any wrinkling. Another thought: Have you considered looking for a skirt in China? Silks are probably beautiful there.

  • Astrid replied 5 years ago

    I love that Eileen Fisher skirt in #2. Linen lined in silk? Sounds like heaven for high temperatures. Maybe there's a solution to the shipping problem? I also like the Club Monaco Doanie skirt, but I wonder if the lining is also silk. It says it's lined and that it's silk above, but I've often seen skirts where only the outer layer is silk and the lining polyester. I don't like the print of the Zara shorts and the elasticated waist of the Club Monaco shorts would be a dealbreaker for me. Same for the waist on the first skirt.

  • annabelle replied 5 years ago

    I've had the Zara culottes on and off my wish list since they first appeared, so I'm partial to them :)  They look versatile, and if I can get a bit specific... sometimes when one is hot and sweaty, one doesn't want a skirt. I'm not sure the Zara is "your" color palette, Suz (or mine). The close up on the fabric promises that each color in the print is vibrant, while the overall look from farther away looks softer. I believe that with neutral tops (white or ivory or light blue or aqua, without a lot of doodads on them) would be a very cute look with any flat, walking sandal or shoe.

    I think you'd wear the Club Monaco shorts on your home base, for years. They're a classic. 

  • Sveta replied 5 years ago

    I like CM silk skirt a lot - handkerchief hem and all. Worth a try I think...although some silks can be hot in a humid weather. I think you need to see it in person while your size is still available.
    I think skirt #1 has a potential. I don't think it is too high contrast for you - especially on the bottom. But if your size is not available then it is a moot point.
    EF skirt looks and sounds nice - what about picking it at the border? It is pretty expensive too but EF quality is usually good - but don't you think XS is too big for you? I have heard EF runs big.
    As for the culottes - they are nice but won't be they pretty close to your CM long shorts in color and style? If there is no danger there I would order them as well. After all the shipping is free! :-)

  • Staysfit replied 5 years ago

    Handkerchief hems don't bother me. I think they're interesting, and I like both club Monaco items. I would like the EF skirt except it has an unfinished hem and I think that's asking for trouble with the loose weave linen. I think that skirt will be fragile and not very durable for the price (even if on sale).

  • Jeweled replied 5 years ago

    Would you be OK with the wrinkly-ness of the linen skirt while traveling?

  • Peri replied 5 years ago

    I can so see those blue shorts on you! But then again, as per my points on the other thread, maybe that is reason not to get them!!

    Just for the record, the skirt of controversy has become almost as much fun as the demon spider shirt.

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    The demon spider shirt and my butt-vest. Oh, the games we get up to here. 

    You are all raising excellent points here. I just did a quick round of our downtown to see if I could find anything bricks and mortar, but no such luck. I tried on a dress like Dee's GAP one except the lighter blue (only one they had) and it looked awful. Tried on another dress that looked even worse. And didn't see a single other thing that looked remotely tempting or useful. 

    Staysfit, I was also worried about that raw edge hem. What the heck? But EF tends to make durable things, so I wondered if she had a special method for that. 

    Interesting you like that CM skirt, too, Sveta. I might just give it a try. But I also know that you're right -- some silks are hot in the humidity. 

  • Sveta replied 5 years ago

    I do like the skirt a lot but I would p[refer it a longer length than on the model - which it can be for you. Sometimes it is a bit of luck not to be tall! :-)

  • Joy replied 5 years ago

    Suz, I like all your picks. For this trip, I would try the CM skirt and/or shorts or the Zara skirt. An unlined silk skirt with some movement should be cool and will pack like a scarf, wash in the sink and dry quickly. I have thrifted silk skirts in the past just for summer travel. However, if it is lined, it will probably have to be dry cleaned. Often the lining is acetate.

  • replied 5 years ago

    I'm getting confused about this skirt issue. If it's a trip piece, I don't understand silk and linen for that kind of a climate.  But - for general use in your wardrobe sure, all of these pieces are nice. I thought you had a pair of cobalt shorts from CM though?  For something different, the Zara culottes are really cool - but again, wouldn't viscose be a bear to travel in ?  

    Is the goal to find a dressy piece to take with you?  Or can the skirt be more casual?   I'm trying to imagine myself in that heat, humidity and smog, and thinking about what would be most comfortable for travel and walking, and had the ability to be dressed up or down.....and it would be a skirt like these two  from Lululemon.  Perfect travel fabric, good length, easy care, and you can wear whatever you want with it.Pockets, stretchy, yet polished looking.  That's what I'd wear.  

    Ignore me if I've totally missed the mark here. I think I'm projecting my extreme discomfort in heat and humidity and general climate grossness :)  

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    Lisa, those are excellent ideas.  Thank you! Do you think they'd be as short on me as on the models? And is that fabric truly sweat wicking? I wonder if they will not be too heavy. The heat will be killer. 

    But I like the colour options and the price is decent. I am going to check them out. Thanks!

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    Although, on second thought...the one skirt has a hideous waistband, and the other one gets bad reviews for the way it flips out in back...not a good look to me. But I could try on in store since we have a Lulu here. Will still check them out but with less hope. Hmmmm. 

  • dakotacheryl replied 5 years ago

    Suz that Club Monaco skirt is dry clean only...would that be a deal breaker for a vacay in China?

    My second preference is the Zara culottes / trousers. Really nifty pattern that would go with a lot of toppers.

  • Astrid replied 5 years ago

    Did you have a look at Ebay? Maybe you could find an inexpensive and practical skirt for your travels there. I had a look and you can filter so that you only get Canadian sellers (so you wouldn't have shipping problems).

    ETA
    Or what about Etsy? Lots of natural fibre clothing on there.

  • elpgal replied 5 years ago

    Suz, why not look for some skirts when you get here?

  • replied 5 years ago

    I've seen them both in person - and yes, that waistband is weird, but I didn't think of it when I posted the picture. It never registered because it would never show with the styling I'd give it. The straighter one will be long enough - you can wear them down on your hips too if you like. And it's long enough on me, so would be knee length on you easily. I didn't buy the straight one because it was a little too body con for me, but you're half the size I am so that wouldn't be an issue for you.

    Anyways - check online to see what Lole has, and what other golf/athletic brands have for skirts.  You might find something cool at Golf Town. They have a brand - Jamie Saddock - which has really cute golf skirts that are a good length.  A bit pricey but really well made and with cool details. Here are a few.

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    Cheryl, I rebelliously ignore all instructions to dry clean silk. It's nonsense. Silk loves to be washed in water. I have a lot of silk tops and all of them go in my washing machine on delicate (or I hand wash). Hang to dry and iron as needed. 

    Lisa, I am not sure...I'll try the Lulus, but women around my size said they were too body con. So I am doubtful. Will check the golf skirts -- never thought of that. 

    Astrid, that is a good point. I have not yet checked there. 

    Elpgal, I don't think I will have any time to shop -- I'll be taking a course and going on tours day and night. 

  • replied 5 years ago

    I think the handkerchief hem looks the freshest for hot weather. The linen is pretty but might be heavy looking and the dark solid color might not wear very well. Also it will likely wrinkle very easily.

  • Astrid replied 5 years ago

    How about this one?
    http://www.nicolebridger.com/c.....hten-skirt

    It's silk and a classic. Pretty much timeless. Dark navy, one of your neutrals. And by a Canadian designer.

  • replied 5 years ago

    You're right. The reviews on that skirt are brutal. But I'm glad it wasn't just me feeling fat in it :)  Yes , I know we're not supposed to say the "f" word, but it is what it is.....

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    Ha! Well, I looked at that back hem and thought of my bum...and I just knew it would be flipping up like crazy and looking weird. Still, I'll go into the store and check it out. You never know. 

    Astrid, that skirt is beautiful, though even pricier than my original...alas...

    I did hop onto ebay and so far have not found anything, but I still have some looking to do. Haven't yet tried etsy. 

    ETA -- another issue -- modesty. People are not super hung up about this in China and it is fine to wear shorts. And I will wear them. But those, and the dress I'm bringing, are above the knee, and ideally it might be nice to have one below the knee or at least at the knee alternative, you know? Just in case. To be honest, my biggest body complaint is with my knees, which is where I seem to store most of my fat. 

  • Astrid replied 5 years ago

    Oh, did you have a markdown? I thought it was 200 too. I guess this would definitely be an investment, but I think it's the kind of item where you get your money's worth back. It's ethically produced as well btw. I think it's rather long on the model, I guess it would be over the knees on you.

  • shevia replied 5 years ago

    We recently had a mini-heatwave with temperatures of 107F/42C. You don't want anything synthetic next to your skin in that weather. I like the EF skirt for you and the CM shorts, assuming they could be washed in the sink and you are the sort who would do that (I am not sure I am, but haven't been put to the test). I do like the Zara culottes for other purposes but am still holding a grudge against them for not getting you the striped ones.

  • Cococat replied 5 years ago

    I love the Zara divided skirt even though I don't usually like divided skirts. The print is amazing and looks like it shouldn't crush, so great for travel. Also great for breezy days! I hate that nervous feeling when I'm wearing a fuller skirt....

    I liked your controversial skirt too though....so perhaps don't listen to me...lol

  • jackiec replied 5 years ago

    Posting and running here - but have you checked Simons (la maison Simon)? I've had success with some linen crops from there that I've been wearing like crazy this summer. Pull on elastic, elastic just below the knees, and super comfy and cool. In fact, I'm going to re-order them in grey tomorrow. But check out the skirts too. I like this grey linen one - pull on and go - seems nice and cool. Is it the best length? Who knows, but it seems cool and totally wearable. I'm going to order it in grey. I wear a small in the crops so I bet you're an XS. Free returns and I had no issues with the shipping.

    http://www.simons.ca/simons/pr.....8;catId=...

  • kkards replied 5 years ago

    as much as i like the skirts that you've offered, from what i've gathered from co-workers who travel to China, i think i'd so for something easier to care for, and lighter to wear. i'm thinking something more in line with what Lisa added.  what about these llbean styles?

  • donnat replied 5 years ago

    I like those llbean ones, if you can get it in time.

  • jackiec replied 5 years ago

    Chiming back in bc I used to have one just like the first LLBean one (mine was Joe Fresh) and it's the first thing I thought of for a skirt in hot weather. I always brought it on tropical vacations. It was the coolest skirt by far. Mine was soft, cut on the bias, and didn't stick out at all. Loved it. I'd give that a try too (personally would prefer a navy but blk could work).

  • Elizabeth P replied 5 years ago

    Forgive me is this has been answered here already, but what exactly are you wanting the skirt for?  Every day site seeing?  Evenings out? 

    I personally would be very hesitant to travel with anything that was dry clean only.

    Back to read properly later... trying to get some tennis in before the rain starts....

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    Thanks for all these ideas and thoughts, everyone! 


    Elizabeth, I want the skirt to serve a variety of purposes.

    I would like it for daily wear (perhaps) -- as a cooler alternative to shorts. I won't wear it for hiking up the Great Wall or anything like that, but I would wear it within the city. I don't know our itinerary exactly -- but I imagine I will be spending part of each day in the classroom and part touring the city/ local sites. 

    I would like to be able to dress it up if necessary. I sincerely doubt there will be any extremely dressy events, but again, they haven't told us much, and I would hate to be caught out without a suitable outfit if there is a banquet or something of that nature. 

    I won't have time to shop while there, so even though I am sure I could (theoretically) find something, this is moot. 

    I never bother with dry cleaning. I always wash by hand (or actually machine in the hand wash cycle -- but on the trip it would be literally by hand.) The only things I dry clean are my wool coats and jackets. So the fact that a label says dry clean is meaningless to me. 

    I'm usually sized out of LLBean but Joe Fresh might be an option. Also, Jackie, I'm very intrigued by the Simons option. They have a grey linen skirt that might work at least for daytime wear in lieu of shorts. It wouldn't dress up all that well, but that's okay...

  • Gaylene replied 5 years ago

    Suz, I was walking by Aritzia yesterday and they were featuring quite a few longer, fuller skirts this summer. The YLF collect doesn't work, but here's a link to their page:
    http://aritzia.com/en/clothing.....38;start=3

    The skirts are lycocell/linen and washable. Aritzia usually is well stocked in smaller sizes and the prices are lower than CM. Might be worth a look since the store seemed to be stocked with lots of blues and taupes. For the US fabbers, Aritzia is a Canadian chain much like Zara.

  • Elizabeth P replied 5 years ago

    Gotcha.
    Just an FYI on the sizing of the Bay one... I wear an M in the VC tube skirts, and kept the L in this one.  While the M's probably fit similarly, the fact that this one is unlined, and I want it for summer, meant I felt more comfortable with a bit more looseness around my middle.  The M was almost a bit too body con for my liking.  So if you wear an XS in the VC, the Small in this MIGHT work. 

    A bit of a segue, but I admire your non-drycleaning philosophy.  I'm always scared to attempt cleaning on my own, esp if the item was expensive.  But I hate drycleaning.  So I either don't buy, or seldom wear, items which say that.  Maybe I should be more adventurous...

  • tulle replied 5 years ago

    I like the look and sound (and price!) of the Club Monaco skirt best. The shorts would be neat on you, but I find shorts bunchy and warm in hot, humid weather (though most would disagree, I know.)

  • tulle replied 5 years ago

    Just one more consideration re the CM skirt:  I have found silk to be surprisingly practical for travel, especially traveling with minimal luggage.  It's lightweight, takes up very little space, drip-dries quickly after washing, feels airy and comfortable on the body, and can be dressed up or down better than any fabric I can think of. The Chinese know all about this magical material, of course!

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    tulle, this was my thinking exactly. It's shocking how easily silk travels -- it takes up the space of a scarf. Hmm. 

    Elizabeth, I totally encourage you to wash in your machine. I use little mesh bags and throw it all in and then air dry and iron as needed. Works like a charm. Quite seriously -- silk LOVES to be washed in water and gentle soap. Mine do not wear out or fade with this treatment. It does take a bit more time, of course. But that just makes me appreciate the luxury a bit more. 

    Gaylene -- I checked Aritzia earlier and didn't find these skirts -- I wonder if they are a new addition?!  I'm going to check again. I like the top I got from them. 

  • Diana replied 5 years ago

    Well, unsurprisingly I like the EF skirt best. I wonder if you're sized out of them though. I wear a small in EF and I'm a lot bigger than you.

    The silk cm is nice too, but you have to see what the lining is. In this case I feel like you might be better off going cheaper since I don't think you want a lining or anything thick! Have you checked h&m? I don't know if they have anything in natural fibers but in the past I have gotten thin, unlined linen or cotton skirts there.

    I don't think the shorts options would work for the potential banquet situation but they are nice otherwise. For another dressy alternative, would your loft trapeze dress work with something layered over it ( like a buttondown)?

    ETA: I hand wash all my silk too! Only thing to be careful of is not to wring it.

  • Elizabeth P replied 5 years ago

    Still on the segue...
    Funny, I never used to be worried about silk... I remember my mother saying that silk was actually pretty tough, they made parachutes out of it in the war after all!  I started hand washing all my "dry clean" sweaters years ago, or machine washing (front loading, on delicate) all my hand wash only ones, as I realized I just wasn't wearing them and it was worth the gamble.  And they survived just fine.  But the modern woven shirts have these finishes on them that make me nervous. 

    It's the other fabrics I'm more concerned about.  You've had luck with them too?  Viscose?

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    I don't own a ton of viscose, Elizabeth, but I do have modal items and those get the same treatment. Cheap rayon can shrink, I believe. But again, it hasn't happened to me. My only laundry mishaps have been a few shrunken sweaters because Mr. Suz missed them and popped in the dryer, and the infamous dying of the J. Crew tee, thanks to my stepdaughter's skirt. 

    Thank goodness it wasn't one of my silk shirts in there at the same time, LOL. 

    Diana, I also worry about being sized out of the EF. My weight is up a bit from before, but even so, I am definitely on the small end for her stuff. 

  • dakotacheryl replied 5 years ago

    Thank goodness I'm not sized out of EF...I'd be naked LOL.

    Suz, I usually hand wash items that are marked "Dry Clean", but when they say "Dry Clean Only", I don't take a chance.

  • Elizabeth P replied 5 years ago

    Thanks Suz.  And Cheryl.

  • Laura (rhubarbgirl) replied 5 years ago

    If time/shipping weren't an issue, I'd agree with the LL Bean rec, or something from Title Nine or similar. I just ordered two skirts from Eddie Bauer with a travel/practical vibe. I'm on my phone but will try to add links later. Or what about Athleta? They're a Gap company and I know Gap ships to Canada...

  • Laura (rhubarbgirl) replied 5 years ago

    Suz, these were the two skirts I ordered from EB. They're on sale right now...

  • Glory replied 5 years ago

    well just to throw a wrench....now that you have searched around does the original skirt appeal a bit more? I think it is a perfect travel item in terms of weight and fabric - and it looks terrific on you. I wonder if it might be worth considering. 
    I am also throwing in my vote for the shorts. I think they might prove their worth on your upcoming adventure.

  • Maneera replied 5 years ago

    I like the skirts Laura suggests, particularly the striped option.

    From someone who actually lives in hot humid climate, you want something that breathes. No viscose or synthetic, nothing Georgette or silk that has a lining. Cotton works best! Linen a close second because I find they wrinkle too much when packing.

    Don't you have a cotton A-line or sheath dress that can be dressed up with a gauzy scarf and soft clutch and worn with minimal accessories and comfy shoes for the day? I saw a few in Zara on Sunday. I'll find those links or images for you.

    It's a shame you can't shop in China. Clothes will be far cheaper there plus ire weather appropriate. And you'll get a nice momento to carry home from there :(

    But let's keep looking for options!

  • Maneera replied 5 years ago

    I love this dress: http://m.zara.com/ca/en/sale/w.....14038.html

    I also like this skirt: http://m.zara.com/ca/en/sale/w.....02013.html

    And this
    http://m.zara.com/ca/en/sale/w.....70033.html

    This striped one is all cotton. http://m.zara.com/ca/en/sale/w.....72501.html

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    Thank you, Maneera -- I will check our Zara online to see if they have. Now that the time for my leaving is getting closer, I'm thinking I am just going to do without anything new...I will try to show a travel capsule this weekend! 

    Thank you all for your help -- and I will return that skirt, but thanks for the sweet compliments, Glory....

  • Astrid replied 5 years ago

    Suz, I think that's a good idea - you have so many great clothes. I know that planning a trip often makes me feel like I really need xyz for it, but I think in the end it's just anxiety and the fear of being unprepared that makes me want to shop so much before trips.

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    Yes, Astrid, I agree, although in this case I am pretty sure that I might not have suitable things for real heat. But if that turns out to be true, I will figure something out for sure. In the meantime, at least I have the little dress, and it should work pretty well for me. 

  • Vicki replied 5 years ago

    Very late here and I love skirts and dresses in the summer and for travel. While I'm not a handkerchief hem lover, I do love the silk CM one along with the CM silk shorts, although the latter one looks very similar to the blue ones you (and Angie) have.

    I'm wearing a black skirt today with a cream and black bow J. Crew s/s tee and black sandals for a day trip to three-digit Palm Desert. I'm very comfortable in it (can't recall material). I also love dresses and just bought a sleeveless jersey Boden dress that I can wear with a denim jacket.

    I agree that the tube skirts would be too warm and body-con. That's why I like A-line, knife-pleat or looser, flirty skirts that you can dress up or down.

    How exciting you're going to China, Suz. Have fun.

  • Maneera replied 5 years ago

    Suz, the pictures and links I sent to you are from Zara Canada. You'll have to check sizes, if you still want something new.

    When do you leave? Maybe once you have your travel capsule out, we'll get more ideas.

  • Thistle replied 5 years ago

    So, not reading the other replies to not be swayed :)

    If you can get the EF skirt, that would be my first choice. My second would be the club Monaco one. I think the EF skirt fits your closet better, is lower contrast, works with more as it isn't patterned, and is a silhouette you don't have to gamble on before a long trip.

  • Thistle replied 5 years ago

    PS In China heat, at least when I was there, linen and silk are your friend. Avoid synthetic. There's a reason for the silk trade in China ;)

  • lyn67 replied 5 years ago

    Suz, for your life (and soon to travel) I like all from the first row you have posted in your thread! esp. nr 1 and 3. Nr 2 seems a bit dressier, if you need it.

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