Mom Street Style: Rockin’ the 3/4 Length Skirt


IMG_0109 If any of you have been paying attention to the major trends of Fall 2010, you can't miss the fact that 3/4 length skirts were all over the Fall runways.  While I love their ladylike look and retro sensibility, I had originally dismissed this trend as being both impractical for moms and hard to wear…and then I met (at the playground no less!) Ramune. 

Ramune attracted my eye for two reasons:  first and foremost, her fabulous outfit – so different from typically playground attire (including my own); and secondly, as I watched, she easily chased her toddler around, pushed her on the swings, and tended to her tiny baby – all while looking totally chic and effortless.

But….the skirt.  Could I do it?  When I get out of bed in the morning, invariably, I reach for denim.  Leggings have only just started to be in my permanent rotation.  But a skirt?  A ladylike skirt?  It almost seems anti-mom-uniform.  Which is funny – aren't 3/4 length skirts what all 50's housewives wore?

So YES – I'm intrigued.  But the biggest problem?  Finding such a skirt.  When I asked Ramune where she got her skirt, she laughed, rolled her eyes, "Vintage," she declared, her Lithuanian accent making her appear even more chic.  And her denim jacket?  Vintage Levi's.  This girl is my style hero.

How to re-create?

After spending the last several weeks searching for 3/4 length skirts, vintage may still be your best option.  This trend is so new that most big-box retailers haven't yet caught-up.  You'll probably have the most luck with either stores that tend to focus on retro-inspired clothing (, Anthropologie), or stores that have lines targeted to an older clientele (Department stores, LLBean, Land's End).

Also, the 3/4 skirt length can be hard to wear.  However, I think any 50's inspired skirt with a length that falls anywhere from just below your knee to the true 3/4 length will work for Ramune's look.

Pair your skirt with a simple tee (tucked in is best, add a belt if you'd like)…and top with a denim jacket.  Ballet flats work (you can always add tights)…or tall boots when the weather turns cold.  To warm this outfit up even further, swap out the tee for a fitted sweater (this is a perfect way to jazz up a boring sweater or short cardigan) and add a big scarf.

Here are a few of the skirt picks I'm currently contemplating.  Some will hit under-the-knee, while some straddle the line between 3/4 length and maxi.  I suspect we'll have more options as the stores catch up to the trends.  But for now…

While the McQ skirt at Yoox is my hands-down favorite, I probably won't be dropping $300 on a trend that I'm not fully committed to just yet.  However, I think I could do something fun with the plaid Land's End skirt.  This skirt is part of their uniform series…and while it looks a touch dowdy…it might be just retro/ironic enough to work.  And besides, as a huge Gossip Girl fan (I know, I know) I secretly want a school uniform.  I could wear this skirt with a tie!  No, no, I should not.  I'll save the tie for my plaid mini skirt.  M – you'll need to step in here.  Remind me of my age, or something.

Anyway, what do you think, readers?  Do any of you routinely reach for a skirt in the morning?  Think perhaps you'll try?  And this 3/4 length trend – ladylike or old-lady? 





  1. As a person of nearly small-person height, this one worries me a bit. I always thought the rule was that cutting my calf in half was a BIG no no, making me shorter and the calf not as slim? Ramune looks both tall and slim though…perhaps she is aided by nature/genetics and not just smartly chosen pieces? Help out a short and curvy girl, S!

  2. Skirts? Maybe… I used to wear them back in the much mores stylish day, but now it seems to be day-in-day-out denim here. But — have you seen the new sites for LL Bean and Lands End’s J-Crew-esque brands (LL Bean Signature and Lands End Canvas)? Very Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, I think. The prices are fab. Briefly checked for 3/4 skirts — didn’t see any, but the look is there.

  3. Oh, I love skirts! And when I realized that the tall boots were a perfect winter way to wear skirts, I finally bought myself some! But then I realized that I wanted not a longer skirt, like I usually wear (such as broomstick skirts), but a 3/4 length that would SHOW OFF THE BOOTS! I am currently expecting (number 5!), so I got myself this skirt . It fits great and is just the right length. So I’m way ahead, right?! I’d love a plaid one, too. Thinking of hitting a thrift store for this one.

  4. I LOVE skirts & that length is my fave-just below the knee makes toddler chasing easy without overpowering me like a longer skirt would! I have a khaki CK skirt this length plus another khaki A-line skirt that length and a black a-line that length. Do I have to do a pattern to be stylin in a skirt? Or does black & khaki work?

  5. Lane – Ultimately, you ARE correct. Hitting at the biggest part of the calf is *generally* something to avoid. However, while the runways showed mostly true 3/4 length skirts…most of the brands are shortening the length a bit to make them more flattering. Even Ramune’s hits a bit higher than mid-calf (due, of course, to the fact that she’s so tall and thin). They key is to find a “ladylike” skirt…and hem it so it falls to the appropriate length. For short gals like us…stick to an inch or two under the knee. But an important part of this silhouette is the higher waist, so overall your legs look miles long. Does that make sense?
    Stephanie – I’m also loving Land’s End Canvas! I haven’t checked out LL Bean’s new line yet, so thanks for the link!
    Sage – You are totally way ahead. 🙂 And hitting a thrift store is probably your best bet – especially if you are handy with a sewing machine!
    Maman A Droit – Black and Khaki totally work! If you wanted to add a bit more zing, you can always go a bit crazier with tights…I’m loving these burgandy ones….
    Cindy – I’m with you. I probably won’t bust this look out at the playground (Frankly, I’m too clutzy and would have some sort of wardrobe malfunction)…but I could probably take this look out for museum days, playdates, running errands, etc.

  6. I wear skirts equally or more often than pants, and this 3/4 length has always been a favorite. And I must admit…as much as I love a mini, I’m glad to see the hemlines going back down this year!

  7. I’m meeting more & more moms that are rocking skirts AND chasing toddlers. Including, of course, Raines’ fabulous nanny, Em. Hmmmmm….this is the year I get over my denim mental block. I think. We’ll see how I feel once I have this baby, LOL!

  8. I know no one wears slips anymore, but they are a perfect match with this type of skirt, especially if you plan on wearing tights too. Although they can be hard to find, pettipants (it’s like a slip, but made into shorts) are great under skirts when I’m know I might be doing a lot of bending over, picking up, or crawling around on the ground. Just in case the skirt goes up higher than you planned, your behind and thighs stay modestly covered.

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