I’ve been a long-time reader of your wonderful blog, and it’s definitely helped me in gaining a pretty good fashion sense!
The transition from that rock, tomboyish style to a more feminine style was long and difficult, and I’m still working on it. I have purchased some pieces that I want to rock in, however, I just don’t know how to wear it!
I bought a mid-length black tulle skirt (that poofy, ballerina style). I think it’s cute, but my co-worker would tell me she can’t see me in it. I’m 5’3, so I’ve never really worn anything that’s mid-length because it makes me shorter, and I don’t care too much for heels. How would I pull off that skirt? I don’t know my body measurements, but I’m small-busted and have slightly wide hips.
Also, I bought a black, floppy hat. I don’t usually wear hats, so I’m not sure when is the perfect time to wear them without feeling too much like a try-hard.
Juni, 25/California, USA
Darling, I think your coworker probably just got used to your rock-tomboy style and that’s why picturing you in a skirt seemed odd to her. Don’t let that stop you, though. A ballerina skirt is a good investment especially for spring as it fits with that airy and carefree mood after being bundled in layers of bulky winter clothing.
When it comes to ballerina skirts, which are always poofy, contrast is key. Fitted tops are the best match with such an expansive silhouette. With your lower half looking wider because of the layers, looking slim on your upper half is essential. A small bustline isn’t a problem here. You can wear simple textured knit sweaters, slim-fit tees or tops, or even cropped tops when the weather is warm enough. Always keep in mind that your goal is a visually proportioned silhouette.
A mid-calf skirt can make you look shorter. If you know a good tailor or someone handy with a sewing machine, have the skirt altered so that it hits your knees or a couple of inches above instead. Otherwise, look for wide belts! The belts, when wrapped around your waist, will visually shorten the skirt. Get them in various textures: patent, woven, leather, sequined or feathered if you wish.
Daytime Casual Chic
You can still put your tomboy pieces to good use, Juni. If you have a cropped denim jacket and trusty Converse kicks lying around, they’ll be perfect with the skirt. Team these with a simple white top, printed tee or a gingham shirt in sky blue, coral pink or red for something just a little more feminine. You can switch to flats to match the girly flair of the skirt.
All that charming poofiness deserves something a little extra though, as Elle Woods would say. Go beyond your comfort zone and swap the tee for a lightweight knit sweater that also hugs your curves (wear a T-shirt bra underneath), or a classic button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Contrast the skirt’s black color with tops in pastels and brights, as well as florals, botanicals or any other small patterns. Finish with a wide belt, a pointelle cardigan or open-front jacket. Classic ballet flats will look perfect but it wouldn’t hurt to try kitten-heel pumps or ankle-strap wedges either.
Time to let your inner rock star shine! Whip out that leather moto jacket with all those studs, a striped sleeveless top, or perhaps a double layer of distressed graphic tank tops in eye-catching contrasting colors like neon. Don’t forget the belt and your tough combat boots. Finish the ensemble with ripped sheer tights or funky socks peeking out on top of the boots and a fedora.
The great thing about your ballerina skirt is that it’s easy to dress it up or down. Transform it for the evening by pairing it with a long-sleeved lace top, under which you could wear a corset top for added sexy vibes. The difference in textures – lace versus tulle , denim, leather or knits – draw attention to how each piece plays off each other, and accentuate your best assets. You can also opt for illusion netting for the sleeves or the shoulders for something equally alluring but still classy. A faux fur vest or cashmere shawl can serve as a cover-up, and heels are definitely a must for this look.
Don’t forget that your ballerina skirt can also serve as a petticoat under regular A-line skirts! For accessories, chunky jewelry is ideal with your ballerina skirt. Just make sure they aren’t too big to overwhelm your best features. With your floppy hat, it’s the ideal sun hat for summer to go with flowing, shoulder-baring maxi dresses. If you want to channel Audrey Hepburn’s iconic Holly GoLightly look, rock it with a short and flirty sheath LBD for an alfresco date.
Good luck and let me know how it turns out, Juni!