Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

October 17, 2007

The Skirt Marathon for the Teenage Girl!

Filed under: Fashion,What Should I Wear?,You Asked For It — Francesca @ 9:00 am

A young internet friend writes:

I absolutely adore your blog. I’m fifteen, and I need some cute skirts that I can wear to school this winter. I’m looking for something that hits around my knee, maybe a little above to wear with tights and flats, or heels. I have pretty short legs, and I can never find skirts that will actually fit me. They’re all made for tiny little stick girls! (BTW, I’m around a size 10 to 14.)
Can you help me?
Thank you so so much


Just 15 and already superfantastic! She is eschewing jeans and baggy sweatpants for skirts! Heels to school! Francesca is so proud (and, a leetle beet scared).

This question gives Francesca an opportunity to post links to many, many different sites which sell clothes for the non-tiny-little-stick-girls! So, when clicking, please look around for other things you might like at the same store.

Francesca asked Emily a few questions and learned that we must search for petite sizes or skirts that run short, which are suitable for the artsy high school girl (though Francesca is wondering how to reconcile “artsy” with “heels” and “cute”), and which are under $75. Oh, and dear Emily does not like denim! Wow! This girl is a diamond to be treasured.

First, Francesca, who is also a Short Girl, advises Emily to learn to sew or to make friends with a nice seamstress who can bring up hems and take seams in, for a perfect fit. These things are quick and inexpensive to do, and make a big difference in how things look. This plan frees Emily to try all sorts of skirts which may in the past have been certainly too long. Of course, skirts with interesting detailing at the hem cannot be shortened without disturbing the pattern, so this plan works best with skirts that are all of one color or one continuous print.

Unless otherwise noted, all of the skirts which Francesca is about to suggest will have to be shortened by Emily. Some also start at size 14, so they might have to be taken in, too. But! The prices are low enough that Emily can bring several skirts to a seamstress and have them altered, without going over budget! And this way, you know they will be exactly the length which Emily wants.

We start with flirty skirts from

Red plaid pleated skirt

Please, leave the patterned stockings at home!

Black pinstripe pleated mini-skirt(which would fall longer on the Petite girls)

And now, from Lane Bryant, a fuschia floral-print gored skirt, very psychadelic meets conservative! Some of the pattern would be lost upon shortening, but Francesca thinks this would be OK.

Above-the-knee pencil skirt from JC Penney, very pleasing to Francesca!

If Emily is willing to try longer skirts, there are several very cute, and very artsy, styles at

For example, here is their tie-dye skirt (available in 4 colors, starting at size 14; easily shortened or taken in)

And, for days when you want to look more conservative because you have a meeting with your stodgy math teacher, who is a throwback to the 50’s himself, here is an adorable number, called the Urban Renewal skirt, which can be shortened in a wink:

And SWAK Designs also has several mid-length skirts which Emily might like. However, Francesca worries that the smallest size available there, 14/16, would be much too large for the teenage Emily who wears up to 14. But I mention it in case you wish to try.

Believe it or not, the Home Shopping Network has lots of great skirts in a range of sizes. Just go to and do a keyword search for “skirt.” The prices are mostly higher than for the skirts above, but often there are clearance discounts.

This skirt at HSN is on clearance sale and would come to Emily’s knees, since it is not a Petite size:

And this orange dessert is on deep clearance:

Finally, this would not be a post by Francesca without a skirt from Talbots. Here, from their online outlet (73 percent off!), is an adorable skirt available in petite and women’s petite (and in brown)

Happy shopping!

xoxo, Francesca


  1. Francesca –
    You have stolen my advice completely.
    For the superfantastic non-stick teenage girls, sewing fashionable things is the way to go.
    However, the question is HOW will our intrepid girl sewist learn to sew?
    My daughters are just out of adolescence and I can tell you that the days of the dreaded Home Economics sewing teachers are gone, I tell you, gone.
    Home Ec teachers now teach checkbook balancing and how to sew on buttons.
    If there is a 4H sewing club associated with her local Cooperative Extension, this may be a possibility. Or finding the grandmother of a friend who would be willing to teach.
    If she were near me in any sort of way (within a couple of hours’ drive), I would do the duty myself. Such superfabulousness must be nurtured.

    Comment by Toby Wollin — October 17, 2007 @ 11:16 am

  2. I would suggest learning how to sew – since a nice skirt with an elastic waistband may be made quite easily and cheaply. Also you have more control over the fit, color and pattern! Knowing how to make your own clothes is indeed superfantastic!

    Comment by Alexandra — October 17, 2007 @ 11:55 am

  3. Francesca is wondering how to reconcile “artsy” with “heels” and “cute”

    As a short girl who worked exactly that look for a while (and some of that time in between regular and plus sizes), please allow me to add to your excellent suggestions.

    1. Fashion Overdose. Currently, they only have plus-sized skirts, but straight sizes are apparently coming soon. Way cute, artsy, and youthful — though be warned that they might be longer than they look.

    2. Made with Love by Hannah. Just go look.

    Comment by Kate Harding — October 17, 2007 @ 1:06 pm

  4. Sorry to comment twice in a row, but I didn’t want to put 3 links in one comment. Here’s my last suggestion, and perhaps the most useful

    3. Especially if our superfantastic teenager is a pear shape, I cannot recommend the interlock high-waisted skirt from American Apparel enough as a basic wardrobe staple. Flattering, just the right weight to be wearable year-round, can be very casual or a little bit dressy, and it comes in a zillion colors. And the right top can take care of the artsy/girly requirements. I’m about a 16W on the bottom, and the XL is very comfy on me, so she’d probably be able to wear the L or maybe even M.

    Comment by Kate Harding — October 17, 2007 @ 1:07 pm

  5. Wow, so many choices, I love them all! Thank you soooooo much!!

    Comment by Emily — October 17, 2007 @ 3:28 pm

  6. Bear in mind that a border print skirt can absolutely be shortened without killing the bottom detail – you can also shorten from the waist! This generally requires that the piece be taken in a little bit, however, but that is easily fixed with just one or two well-placed darts!

    Comment by Scarlett — October 17, 2007 @ 5:12 pm

  7. I

    Comment by Angel — October 18, 2007 @ 9:33 am

  8. I would recommend the Ann Taylor Loft for skirts – although they will be rather upscale for school attire. I’m a 20 something borderline big girl (same size range basically) and SWEAR by skirts. I have a super fantastic one that I got from the gap – tulip shaped and it has an ELASTIC WAIST FOR HEAVENS SAKE. One of the best things in my wardrobe.

    Comment by BlondieBimbo — October 18, 2007 @ 10:05 am

  9. I’ll second the recommendation of Ann Taylor Loft for skirts. I’m also a borderline big girl (usually a 12), and I bought two fantastic knobbly wool skirts, knee-length, for $5.99 each two years ago. I wear them all the time in winter, with tights and fabulous boots. The problem is that you have to buy things out-of-season to get the really good deals–wool skirts in June, spring things in October–and then wait for months to wear your pretty new thing.

    Comment by JaneC — October 18, 2007 @ 11:15 am

  10. Cool post on Manolo for the Big Girl!!

    Comment by Same-Store Sales — October 18, 2007 @ 6:46 pm

  11. As for learning to sew:

    Is there a community theatre in your town? Or better yet, professional theatre! Either of these will almost certainly have a costume shop or at least a costume coordinator, and they nearly always need helping hands, in return for which you will learn a huge amount about everything from sewing buttons to drafting patterns. This is how I learned to sew originally, along with The Reader’s Digest Guide to Sewing, which is the finest reference available.

    And once you know how to shorten your hems and take in (or out) your waistlines, don’t stop there! Making skirts is one of the simplest sewing projects, and means you can combine your favorite look with some adorable fabric to make something that *no one* else at your school will be wearing!!

    Comment by Cate — October 20, 2007 @ 10:02 pm

  12. As short as skirts always are at Torrid, Emily should have lots of luck shopping there. What is “too short” on me might be “just right” on her.

    However, my only-just-turned 30, video game playing, internet joker of a math teacher husband takes umbrage at your suggestion that math teachers are, by definition, stodgy throwbacks to the 50s. He would be wagging his finger at you sternly if he were not so busy playing Beautiful Katamari on our Xbox 360. ^_^

    On the other hand, he thinks you’ve more than made up for any offense by giving me the idea for the plaid skirt you posted here and the black heeled boots you posted later.

    Comment by HillaryGayle — October 21, 2007 @ 12:38 am

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