Summer Skirts: 7 Hemlines and How to Wear them Right

Whether it's the sexy high-low or the elegant midi, here's how to expertly sport any skirt style this summer

Credit: Etsy

Midi, maxi, mini…keeping track of this season’s hemlines is not only a lesson in alliteration, it’s also an exercise in perfect pairings

If hemlines are still indicative of economic health, then economists and designers alike must be downright confused this season. Skirt cuts are all over the map – from midi to mini and maxi to sexy high-low which covers them all.

As you put away your pants and bring the skirts out to play for the summer, one thing’s for certain – you won’t get bored with this season’s styles. The question is only how to wear them. This guide will show you how to pull off any hemline.

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The Midi

This ’50s inspired look is the “it” skirt length this summer. Hitting somewhere between right below the knee to mid-calf, the midi length is elegant and will easily transition to fall, but it can be tricky to wear. Follow these tips to rock this look.

  • The Length: The hem should hit the slimmest part of your leg. For petite women, that means just below-the-knee. For taller ladies, anywhere from below-the-knee to ankle-grazing is flattering.
  • The Fabric: When it comes to this skirt style, think vintage and go for unique fabrics, or pick up a basic, contemporary version that will pair well with anything.
  • The Top: For pleated or fuller skirts, keep your top simple so that you don’t drown in fabric.
  • The Shoe: Help this skirt out with a heel, especially if you’re of the shorter variety. Throw on a pair of flats or sneakers for a fashion-forward look.

Credit: Zara/

The A-Line

This classic skirt is perfect for daytime wear. A staple in every woman’s closet, it’s great for the office. Make this common skirt style stand out with these tips.

  • The Length: This skirt can hit anywhere from above to below-the-knee. Its emphasis is on disguising hips and thighs.
  • The Fabric: Take this basic cut to a whole new level by looking for pieces with pattern or pleating.
  • The Top: This skirt pairs well with almost any top, so throw on a structured jacket to add some visual interest to your outfit.
  • The Shoe: If the skirt falls below the knee, try to avoid flats and instead slip on a pair of feminine heels to give your legs some length.

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Old Navy

The Pencil

Any woman knows a pencil skirt is the perfect power skirt. This skirt cut is sexy yet professional, and can be worn many different ways.

  • The Length: This skirt looks best if it doesn’t hit any further than just below the knee. That way, the angle of the cut adds to your height rather than detracting from it.
  • The Fabric: This skirt has endless fabric options. For summer, go for bright colours, patterns and lighter fabrics, like linen or cotton.
  • The Top: Tuck in a silk blouse for the perfect office look. For a more casual feel, try throwing on a front-tie top (just be sure your tummy isn’t peeking out). Warm weather isn’t always guaranteed in the summer, so for chillier days, throw on a thin sweater for a contrasting look.
  • The Shoe: For a shorter skirt, you can pull off flats. But if the hemline is longer, stick with a heel.

Credit: Zara/Zara

The Mini

Don’t let the name scare you away; the mini has come a long way since the 80s. This skirt style should probably be kept out of the office, unless paired with black nylons, but it’s great for a night out on the town.

  • The Length: This skirt should hit your mid-thigh to be considered a mini. It works best high waisted, sitting on your natural waistline (no hip-huggers here).
  • The Fabric: It’s a smaller piece, so you don’t have to be wary of an overwhelming pattern. Have fun with this piece and choose skirts with vibrant colours and bold patterns.
  • The Top: Almost any top can be worn with this skirt. Try tucking in your top and adding a belt for the ultimate chic look. The biggest thing to remember is not to wear a top that is longer than the skirt, or you won’t look put-together.
  • The Shoe: Because this skirt is short, you have endless shoe possibilities. Try a pump with an ankle strap, and on rainy days, try an over-the-knee boot.

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The Maxi

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the maxi skirt. This skirt has the most flattering and comfortable hemline and works for office meetings, weekend shopping and galas. These guidelines will help you maximize the flexibility of the maxi.

  • The Length: Floor grazing or a little exposed toe is best, so if the skirt drags on the floor, get it hemmed.
  • The Fabric: Jersey, cotton and linen are common for maxi skirts. Try one with sheer panelling for a sexy look that doesn’t reveal too much.
  • The Top: You don’t want to get buried in fabric, so tuck in your top to balance proportions. Cropped jackets and vests, like one in denim or leather, go great with this skirt cut.
  • The Shoe: Although flats can be paired with a maxi, heels will really help this skirt give your legs some length.

Credit: Aritzia/

The High-low

Skirts with asymmetrical hemlines began to appear last summer. Now, more popular than ever, this hemline has also been seen in shirt and dress styles, and is the perfect piece to transition from day to night.

  • The Length: This skirt varies in length, but the signature design feature is a shorter front and longer back.
  • The Fabric: Pleated chiffon is perfect for a fancy occasion. Go for a jersey fabric if you want a weekend or beach skirt.
  • The Top: A tucked in top will always look good with this skirt style, but try a looser-fitting top, tucked in just at the front, for a more fashion-forward look.
  • The Shoe: Any shoe works with the high-low skirt, from wedged sandals to combat boots, this cut is very versatile.

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The Peplum

Seen on jackets, shirts and dresses, the peplum is a must in any woman’s closet, so why not start with a skirt. When all is said and done, choose edgy accessories to contrast with the girly vibe of the peplum skirt.

  • The Length: Contrary to popular belief, a peplum skirt can actually give the illusion of a thinner waist, as long as the waistline of the skirt is sitting on the thinnest part of your torso. If you sit the skirt low on your hips, the volume of the peplum will only make you look larger. The hem of this skirt should be just above the knee, and no longer than just below it.
  • The Fabric: Avoid volumous fabric if you’re trying to disguise your hips. If you want to put emphasis on your hips, then choose peplum skirts where the top part billows out or is intricately layered.
  • The Top: Unless you’re pairing it with a peplum top or jacket, tuck in your shirt to showcase the upper detailing of this skirt.
  • The Shoe: A peplum can make you look shorter, so pair this skirt with a summer heel or wedge to add a little height.

Summer Skirts: How to Wear them Right