The Power of a Full A-line Skirt

The A-line skirt hides a thousand flaws. No matter what your shape, you will look fabulous. BUT…  but but but… it has to be a full A-Line skirt, one that makes you want to twirl just to see it move, not some timid, boxy, 2-panel thing that makes you look like you own 19 cats. (“No! I’ll look fat and poufy with all that fabric!” No you won’t. Not if you get the fabric and the waistband right. Keep reading, Sweet Pea.)

Full A-line skirt, knee length with pleats.

Full A-line skirt, knee length with pleats.

So, how does a full A-Line skirt make any woman look fabulous? It cinches at the waist—or higher if you want to minimize the tummy area—and floats away from the body, thus creating the illusion that beneath this fabric lies a slim little figure. If you carry your weight in your tummy, rear or thighs, you’ll be astonished at how flattering a full A-line skirt is. It’s slimming and appropriate in any setting as it leaves a lot more to the imagination than a tight skirt. Best of all, you won’t feel as self-conscious about your (perceived) body flaws since they will no longer be on display. As a result, you’ll have no need of that horridly uncomfortable Spanx which means you’ll be a lot more pleasant to be around. Really, you’re doing the world a favor.

Full A-line, above the knee in heavy cotton.

Full A-line, above the knee in heavy cotton.

For the most tummy-flattering look, pair a snug-fitting V-neck top or jacket with an A-line skirt. The two shapes play well off each other and create an hour glass shape. If you’re under 30, try a mini version like this one.

Fabric and Waistband

And now for a paradox: if you carry extra weight in the belly, look for a full A-line skirt in a structured (stiffer) fabric (cotton, raw silk, starched satin, damask), versus a clingy jersey or rayon. You want the skirt to stand out from the waistband all the way around your body. This may strike you as odd if you’ve tried skirts with a gathered waistline that simply make you look fatter. The key is the fabric and the waistband: if the fabric is stiff and the waistband is at least 3 inches wide and flat, and you pair it with a fitted top, you’ll see a completely different effect. I know. I was skeptical too, until I tried it. You really have to see it to believe it. If your top has cap sleeves, or you wear a bolero jacket or shrug, all the better, as emphasizing the shoulders automatically makes the waist look even smaller.

Full A-line skirt in cotton-linen.

Full A-line skirt in cotton-linen.

Why are classic full A-line skirts hard to find? They require more fabric and more labor to sew than longer hems, which cuts into manufacturer’s profits. But they are out there, and well worth the hunt. Try vintage/retro shops, and if all else fails, find a seamstress to make one for you.

Subliminal Appeal

Why does a full A-line skirt read visually as the most feminine of looks? Because the silhouette is the opposite of a straight-hipped male. The human eye interprets a silhouette with wider hips as a woman, whether up close or in the distance. A full skirt emphasizes this shape, so it reads even more strongly as “woman.” That’s also why men prefer straight-cut shorts and pants. Never underestimate the power of the subliminal.

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