What Is the Difference Between a Flared Skirt & a Full Circle Skirt?

Learn to compare the circle and the flare.

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Skirt styles run the gamut from the demure to the daring, and a well-prepared modern woman keeps her wardrobe stocked with a variety of skirts ranging from the micro-mini to the ankle-length. Circle skirts are a retro-throwback that are roaring back in style from their 1950s hey-day, and though they are close cousins with the more modern flared skirt, the two skirts are distinct in shape and construction. Knowing the type of skirt you're rockin' will help you accessorize your look and keep it all flowing.

The Skinny on Circles

You don't have to be a genius to figure out why circle skirts are so-called. If you were to make your own circle skirt, you'd lay out a big square of fabric and trace a circle in the center about the same size as your waist. Then you'd trace a bigger circle around the perimeter of the fabric. Once you cut out the center circle and cut around the out circle, voila: you've got a circle skirt. Some circle skirts use different fabrics to make patterns to add texture, but the general construction is the same: a series of concentric circles sewn together to make a flowy, flirty skirt. No pleats, no darting-- just simple circles.

Dare to Flare

Flared skirts have a bit more range when it comes to style, but when compared to circle skirts, flared skirts focus on a tighter fit through the hips so that the flare really pops. Flare skirts hug your hips to give your lower half more shape. Some flares might start light below your hips, but others stay tight and fitted through your thighs and flare out just to give your knees a little bit more room. Flared skirts feature a more dramatic change in shape and generally aren't as flowing as circle skirts.

What's Your Style?

Versatile women can rock any skirt style with confidence, but if you've got a signature style, you might not find flared skirts and circle skirts hanging side by side in your closet. Circle skirts were popularized in the 1950s when simple, feminine designs were a hallmark of the classic housewife style according to Linda Watson, author of "Vogue Fashion." Flared skirts are more tailored, making them suitable choices for the office or a night out. If you prefer a more preppy, put-together look, stick to subtle flares, but if you want to embrace your inner feminine goddess or go a little boho-chic, reach for those circle skirts.

The Right Accessories

If you're rocking a circle skirt, embrace the flowing, girly look with equally girly accessories. Since circle skirts have lots of shape to them, stick to simple patterns on top so you're skirt can take center stage. Give your body some shape with a fitted top that highlights your waist. Big, chunky jewelry adds a fitting splash of color. You can rock a strappy pair of flat sandals or a little platform heel with circle skirts. Flared skirts stay tight down your thighs, so a loose shirt on top will balance out the fit and keep your from looking too severe. Give your legs a little boost with a pair of sexy heels, and draw attention to your itty waist with a couple of skinny leather belts.

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References

 

"Vogue Fashion: Over 100 years of Style by Decade and Designer"; Linda Watson; 2008 "The Fashion Dictionary"; Mary Brooks Picken; 1973 Glam Check: All About Skirts, Its Shapes, and Body Types it Suits Most
"Glamour" Magazine: How to Find Your Body's Perfect Skirt

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