What is a Midi Skirt?


Know Your Terms: Midi Skirt

Minis are fun and the maxi has had its moment, but midis are our new best friend.  Their effortless style and flattering lines have made them a staple that we simply can’t get enough of. If that’s not enough, this retro trend has been adopted by “It” girls Alexa Chung, Miranda Kerr, and Olivia Palermo. You get it, midis are amazing, but what exactly is a midi skirt? Fret not, we’ve got it covered.

Know Your Terms: The Midi Trend

Alex Chung, Miranda Kerr and Olivia Palermo sporting the midi skirt trend

Midi Skirts: Then to Now

For starters, the midi (pronounced mid-ee) skirt is the fresh-faced, re-brand of the mid-century tea-length skirt, the most popular of which was the ’50s poodle skirt. From tea-length skirts, we traced the midi’s origin back to the tea gown worn in the 19th century.

The Tea Gown

The “tea gown.” The term “tea length” comes from the hemline height of the tea gowns in the 1920s.

Tea gowns were long, loose, floor length gowns that often featured lighter weight textiles, fancy stitch-work and/or beading, and did not require corsets and other body restrictive undergarments. They were women’s semi-formal everyday wear appropriate for house-bound events like tea or dinner, hence the name. These dresses fell out of style largely due to the Great Depression and did not re-emerge until in the 1950’s. In the 1950’s, tea gowns returned with less pomp and circumstance, featuring a hem line 3-5 inches above the ankle and were re-introduced as “tea-length” skirts and dresses.

Know Your Terms: Midi and Tea Length in the Midcentury

Midi/Tea Length in the mid-century: Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday, Marilyn Monroe in Seven Year Itch, a circle skirt c. 1950s

This skirt thrived during this time period of ultra-femininity and female homemakers, but with the shift into the 1960’s counterculture, the midi would be replaced by it’s more rebellious sister, the mini. Today, midi skirts have made a strong reappearance as a classic, chic, and flattering must-have.

Midi Skirt: Current Day

The hem line of the average midi skirt is usually in the mid-calf length. However, the hem can range anywhere from just below-the-knee to 4-5 inches above the ankle. The beauty of the midi skirt is that they are perfect for all shapes and sizes. This wonderfully ladylike length always seems to make its way back into our hearts, so you can count on it being a lasting trend.

The Perfect Cut for Your Body Shape

1. Athletic

Midi skirts look their best on athletic body shapes, especially cuts with a fuller or pleated skirt. Pleated midi skirts feature extra volume at the waist that help give the illusion of curves for those with naturally straighter or athletic shapes.

Midi Skirts for Athletic Body Shape

2. Pear-Shape

A-line skirts are the most flattering for any pear body shape, with midis being the cream of the crop. An A-line midi hugs in at the waist, moving away from your body to your calf region. This draws the focus of the eye on your slim mid-point, de-emphasizing your curvy lower half.

Midi Skirts for Pear Body Shape

3. Hourglass

Hourglass body shapes get their chance to shine in a pencil midi. The fitted design will hug and show off your enviable curves to perfection. Not only will this cut perfectly compliment your figure, but the fitted fit and long hemline will streamline your look and give your legs a little length.

Midi Skirts for Hourglass Body Shape

4. Apple-Shape

The iconic cinched waist of the midi skirt may seem as if it would be unflattering for an apple shape, but the midi dress is the perfect choice for circular body shapes. The fitted bodice and flowing skirt of the midi dress elongates your torso and legs while loosely shaping your hips, enhancing all of your finer assets.

Midi Dresses for Apple Body Shape

5. Petite

For petites, a midi may seem like a one way ticket to looking short and stout, but the truth is they can still flatter your smaller frame. Start by choosing a hem line that’s either just below the knee or upper-calf region. Give your legs a little height by pairing your midi with a tucked in blouse or crop top. Both will maintain your skirt’s commanding power to lengthen you. Opt for shapes that are  a fitted pencil, high-waisted, or feature a slit on one side.


Midi Skirt Styling for Petite Body Shape


This time midi skirts are here to stay, so stock up the sophisticated skirt. With an iconic hemline that will give you the feminine shape that might have been craving or accentuating the one your already have, this versatile piece has got a certain panache that you’ll never tire of.