Obviously, miniskirts are not office-wear. However, about a week ago, we asked when — and if — miniskirts become inappropriate even on the weekends if you’re a serious, professional woman. As always, the poll is still open, but the initial results are in:
- 40% said the miniskirt question came down to a woman’s legs: if she has the gams, go for the miniskirt; if not, avoid
- 28% said that anyone in their mid-30s or beyond should only consider wearing a miniskirt with dark tights, leggings, or pants
- 18% said anyone in their 30s or older was pushing it
- 7% said it was inappropriate as soon as college was done
- only 4% said that a woman could wear whatever she wanted on the weekends, regardless of age
In comments, readers weighed in on the issue. CityGirl suggested — and others agreed — that one should remember that you may run into a professional colleague over the weekend and, while not wearing business casual 24/7, you should dress appropriately. MJ noted that miniskirts look less trashy with flats or wedges, and that as long as one knows how to “keep everything ‘important’ covered,” there was no reason why a woman couldn’t wear them out and about. K thought that it was asking for people to judge you poorly if you wore a miniskirt while lugging kids around.
Readers were undecided as to what constituted a “mini” skirt, but most agreed it’s a skirt that hits mid-thigh. Some said it was anything shorter than one credit-card above the knee; others said it was anything they had to be careful in, explaining: “if you have to make sure to smooth the skirt behind you when you sit down or otherwise actively monitor what’s going on, it’s short.” Interestingly, people agreed that there are skirts that are too short for the office, yet are not miniskirts. (Let’s brainstorm a name for these too-short-yet-not-minis skirts in comments! It seems weird to us that we have distinct names for pants that hit at a different points on a woman’s leg — floodies, capris, bermudas, et cetera — but just the word “skirt” with adjectives. Maybe something like brunchers (a skirt one wears to brunch) or … uh, we’ll keep thinking.)
Thanks for the shout out! So true that skirts are skirts and pants have all sorts of sub-genres. I think naming skirt styles has more to do with context. The only skirts I wear to work hit at the knee or half an inch below (I work in a very conservative office). So for me. a too-short-for-the-office-but-definitely-not-a-mini means weekend skirt to me, but weekend skirt also includes a skirt long enough for the office, but just too casual a material or color. So, for example, a black pencil skirt just above the knee and a knee length pale blue pencil skirt would both go into the weekend skirt category, even though they are inappropriate for work for different reasons.
Here’s a question for you on the skirt issue. I’m a mid-level associate at a firm. There is a female first-year associate who I’m friendly with and wears skirts that are WAY too short for the office — I’m talking halfway down her legs, E or F length. She does have great legs, and usually wears opaque tights with them, but I still think it’s totally inappropriate. I only wear skirts that hit right above the knee, which I think is the right length for the office based on what the women partners here wear. I also, however, don’t think it’s my place to tell her what she should and shouldn’t wear. Any advice on what to do?
My skirt categories – work (obvious), play (casual/short), dressy (too formal for work, but generally the same length and appropriate for an evening work event).
I think the “E” line above is exactly the not-mini-but-not-for-work length people were talking about. My “play” category runs from D (which I will also wear to work; some of my skirts are good for both) to F (all mini). My work/dressy skirts range between B and D; A is nowhere near my closet due to the dreaded calf-length stumpy leg zone.
Really? I should be careful what I wear on the weekend “just in case” I unexpectedly run into a co-worker? Wow. I tend to be pretty hardheaded style-wise, and that just smacks of self-repression to me. Apparently it’s just me, though.
Nancy: I had a similar experience. One of my female co-workers wore pants with such a low rise that when she sat down, there was visible crackage. You know what I mean.
I took her aside privately and asked her if she realized what was happening (she didn’t), and told her that I was concerned because some of the senior staff had commented on the, um…lack of coverage. I also recommended a few stores that carried higher-waisted styles and offered up an open invitation to join me on an upcoming shopping trip.
The idea is to convey concern for her position/image within the workplace–as opposed to plying her with your personal ideas about what’s appropriate and what’s not–in a friendly way.
I think a lot of skirts that don’t work for the office are what I would deem TV/Movie office attire. Think Dr. Cuddy from House or Ally McBeal. They’re professional-looking, but not quite appropriate for the real world.