Skirt season

I've been much enamoured of Brooklyn's skirt formula for summer over the past few years, and thought a version of it would work well for me -- except, with a few exceptions, I have not been able to source the skirts that would work for me as well as she has done. :(  This year, I was especially interested in her basque style skirts (with the dropped waist). Despite being slightly short legged or at least long in the rise, it is a style I like a lot and think can work for me. 

I ordered two from Zara to test this out. 

1. Is navy with a slight built-in crinkle and sheen -- not like satin but more like a less shiny taffeta. It is some kind of polyester blend, lined in poly. It has a lot of body and heft -- it will not wrinkle more than the intentional wrinkles. 

As BrieN mentioned, Zara now gives exact garment measurements. I took my normal Zara size, based on measurements given and previous experience. I would say this is on the generous side of TTS. The waist is a bit large on me, but not to the point that the skirt would twist around (I don't think) as some skirts do, when they are on the larger side. The quality is surprisingly nice. Fabric is unusual and a bit distinctive; it has a depth to it. 

Pros: I like the fit, the length, it feels like a ballerina skirt! Swishy and glam! Could be an excellent dress up item and could be worn in early spring/ fall/ winter -- could also be dressed down with boots, denim, etc. 

Cons: It won't really work for summer for me at all except perhaps for evening wear of some kind. And is a bit too dressy for my regular daily lifestyle. 

So I am debating it.  Do you think the style has staying power? I might try to style it up a few ways before making a decision -- here, I just tossed it on with my silver Zara top to try on. Not properly styled, though I do like with the silver slingbacks. 

2. Off-white cotton. Also not really styled -- just a try on. This one is the same style, and 100% cotton and had lots of potential as casual summer wear, but I am sending it back. It's a little too see-through (even though it is lined in cotton), a little fuller than the other skirt, and also longer. I suppose I might consider dyeing it to some colour that would prevent the see-through aspect, and hemming it a bit....but I think it's not quite right, regardless. 

I hope these reviews are helpful to others who may be considering the style and of course I would appreciate your thoughts! 

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.


  • Angie replied 3 months ago


    Suz, why don't you dress it down for daily wear! Knotted tee, cropped shirt, sweatshirt, tie-top, denim, sneakers, sandals, crossbody - IYKWIM. Like our inspirational Brooklyn does :) 

    Pity the white skirt is too see-through :( - also awesome! Are you sure?Doesn't look it in the pics.

  • Brooklyn replied 3 months ago

    The first skirt looks lovely. Fits you beautifully. My only caution would be the poly. I bought the printed skirt shown in Finds last Spring. It is poly. I thought it would be ok because of the fullness but I stopped wearing it after December when the humidity got going. It will still work for me as a Spring/Autumn skirt but is limited. So it depends on how well you tolerate synthetics and your climate.

    I agree with you about the second skirt. The devil is in the detail.

    My skirts have smocking at the back. And the original Zoe Kratzmann version has smocking at the front too. This makes it easy to wear. It just pulls on and sits flat on my hips. With zip up styles I think you are more likely to experience issues with fit. And fullness is the other variable. COS had a version here last Summer, but it is quite full. Gives more of a fit and flare 50s vibe.

    The other version you might keep an eye out for is the flat pleated skirt. I have seen a few around. Zara has a blue denim-ish version that could work for Summer (I tried it but the fit wasn’t right for me). I noticed Angie collected a white version from H&M too, which I collected too and am keeping an eye out for.

    Lots of dress versions around here too. Often in linen. I would wait a while because it might be too early for linen at retail where you are.

  • sarah replied 3 months ago

    Oh, thanks for starting this hunt, Suz. I've been admiring those skirts of Brooklyn's as well. They looks so EASY for summer. I think she makes a really good point about fabrication. I'd noticed that a lot of hers were linen, which would be so nice and cool. I've mostly given up poly for summer as well. It's just too hot for my lifestyle/age/etc. Keep us posted.

  • sarah replied 3 months ago

    And thanks for informing me that these skirts are "basque style". I've never heard of that before.

  • Suz replied 3 months ago

    Thank you all! Sarah, let's keep each other informed about what we discover. Below, for example, is one I just found on Uniglo -- cotton linen. But as Brooklyn says, the devil really is in the details. With this one -- I know the fabric would be perfect for me. The gingham is fine (fun, even) and the grey and white colour scheme work for me. seems rather full and looks almost like a 50s dirndl. It comes across to me as quite a girlish look, which isn't what I want. 

    I feel the Zara skirts are on the full side, too -- especially the white one. It's not hopelessly see-through, Angie -- I can imagine wearing it -- but the cut just feels like too much. The blue one, less so. I could certainly dress the blue one down, and would in fall/ early spring/ winter -- just has a dress up skirt feel to me (fabric) and it would be too warm for summer wear -- it's quite substantial fabric. 

    But I will do a try-on session in the next few days with options for styling. 

    Brooklyn, what you say feels exactly right to me. I *can* wear the skirts with pleats all the way from the waist, but they sometimes feel too puffy at the waist, or just too girlish in their fullness. I feel as if most of yours achieve a lovely balance, with enough fullness for ease of movement, airiness, and a satisfying silhouette change up from the old pencil skirts we used to wear, but not too much fullness (or fullness in the wrong places) to be sophisticated. 

    I need to be mindful because I already have a few near-orphan skirts in the closet and skirts that I quickly tired of. thinking cap is on....

  • Brooklyn replied 3 months ago

    Coming back to say: I think linen could be preferable for what you (and I) want because it has a certain soft, limp quality. Cotton poplin can be stiffer and have a fuller effect. That said my ZK skirt is a cotton silk blend. Drapes beautifully and feels lovely against the skin.

    ETA: Viscose or a viscose blend could work too.

  • Sal replied 3 months ago

    I like the navy skirt - to me it would work during the day as well as at night.  The white looks good but if you have hesitations then I would return.

    I purchased this navy skirt November last year - it has got a lot of wear, mostly casually on vacation or in the weekends, but I did wear to work on casual days.  It has a shirred basque.

    I found it flattering enough- sometimes I would cover the basque and on other days I would tuck.

  • Joy replied 3 months ago

    It is indeed skirt season. I am confused. Should short people wear long skirts? I like that they cover legs but feel they make me look really short.

  • Dee replied 3 months ago

    My sense is that the navy skirt seems rather dressy for everyday wear even if styled down and its perhaps a little different from your usual style persona. I find it quite a full skirt and I agree with Brooklyn that a natural fabric in a softer drape lends itself to a more casual vibe and it might be easier to wear more often during the summer if that’s the goal. 

  • Runcarla replied 3 months ago

    The navy skirt is a beauty, but I agree with Brooklyn’s comment above, that linen would serve your purpose better.  

    FWIW, I think full skirts started trending last summer, and continue to be a thing.

  • Jaime replied 3 months ago

    Suz I just love the blue skirt on you and agree with Angie that it could be styled casually. I see what you see with the white skirt and don't think it is worth keeping.
    Whether it is sensible to keep a polyester skirt is another question entirely. I am only commenting on how fab it looks :) .

  • Roberta replied 3 months ago

    Wow, I love the navy skirt on you too, and I think it would be very versatile in your closet. i love a crinkle fabric because it looks intentional, not like you couldn't find your steamer. 

  • BlueJay replied 3 months ago

    I like how the navy skirt looks on you, Suz, but I agree with everything Brooklyn says. Yes, I would return the white skirt. 

  • anchie replied 3 months ago

    I think you look great in both skirts, but if they are not what you are looking for better to return them. It is still early in the season, hope you find exactly what you want.

  • pirouette replied 3 months ago

    I like the navy skirt on you but feel it’s not a casual skirt as I have seen it in Zara and it looks more evening wear to me. I agree that linen would be a better material for a casual summer skirt.

  • Jenni NZ replied 3 months ago

    Suz, I actually like best your photo in your later reply partway down the thread, of a gingham skirt! What’s that one?
    The navy skirt is really pretty on you. I echo your caution though as I have several skirts I barely wear, especially if dressy. I just find pants more practical, both for work and home.
    So at this stage I have sworn off buying any.
    You do have a better plan than me, though…

  • Val replied 3 months ago

    Thank you for sharing these, I love the white skirt with a wide yoke , will get one for myself (or sew one, if I finish other projects before...)
    A word of caution about dyeing - there is very high chance that cotton skirt was stitched with polyester thread, so the stitching will not dye and stay white and will show on hem etc

  • lyn67 replied 3 months ago

    Love them both and indeed Zara has great options for skirts and dresses again this Spring. Nr 2 is no brain a great skirts and I very much love the fabric you described for nr1, too-seems indeed more of a special or  dressy kind- but that would not be a concern for me. My concern would be rather the dark  color(navy).
    I have had dark UNI skirts  in the past for S/S but as soon as the heat hits I just cannot wear them with that joy like I thought when buying them (perhaps earlier in the season).  All I crave in big summer is some pastels,  lots of whites and prints-where I love  dark background for them   but UNI dark in a skirt especially screams too harsh and too serious for me-but that is only me.

  • Dana replied 3 months ago

    Suz, are you sure that white skirt is too sheer? I LOVE it on you! I feel like it doesn't shorten your legs at all, because it's so long...super cute! It feels kind of retro, reminds me of a bright yellow skirt I had in the '80's. I love skirts but gosh, it's so hard to find tops that don't need to be tucked in! 

  • MsMary replied 3 months ago

    I love the navy one and although I think the white one looks nice, I can imagine feeling like it's just "too much skirt" so I get why you're inclined to return.

  • Angie replied 3 months ago

    Suz, here's my two cents!

    • Return the white skirt. 
    • Casual Outfit Lab with the blue! It's a broomstick pleat, so really - more casual than it appears. Return if you feel it's simply not right.
    • As for the blue's heavy fabric - may I remind you of Juneuary here in the PNW ;)
    • Cellulose plant fibres like tencel, rayon, and viscose-BLENDS are worth a look too. 

  • Firecracker (Sharan) replied 3 months ago

    Both skirts look fab on you, Suz. Especially the navy, with its special-looking fabric. I can relate to your hesitancy about adding skirt orphans, though, and I wonder if your tulle skirt already serves a similar purpose.

  • Joyce replied 3 months ago

    I went in hunt for this style also and settled on two dresses from J Crew.
    I am still waiting for them to arrive but plan to treat them as either dresses or skirts depending on the temp of the day.

  • Roxanna replied 3 months ago

    Ugh I hear you on polyester - I agree, not ideal for summer, and feels to cold and clammy in cold weather. Also if you feel it's too dressy then it will likely be orphaned, even if you try dressing it down (or you won't get enough wear out of it bc you won't reach for it.)

    Don't love the white either bc it does look see-through and I don't like how you can see the outline of the tucked-in top.

    I *do* think this style of skirt works for you and I'm envious because my belly will not let me go anywhere near this style!

    Gap sometimes has softer cotton skirts that drape well...maybe you can look there?

    also meant to comment on your merino wool top post - have you tried Costco? I got two pretty good ones there last year, 100% merino. Not sure how long they ill last but at $20 a pop, I don't mind!

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