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The lovely medium-length skirt you refer to is known as the midi skirt ... it's not a mini, it's not a maxi, and it isn't knee-length. Midi skirts fall within the mid-calf range with Spring 2011 runway hemlines creeping down a bit to leave just a sexy ankle exposed. This length may elicit some anxiety, especially concerning footwear and questions like, "OK, so how do I even get started with this look?" It's actually pretty easy, and you can go more casual than you may suspect.
Wear medium-length skirts closer to your natural waistline. What you want to avoid with midi skirts is a super low-slung waist. This piece adds a feminine feel to your look by accentuating your waist and showing a little leg -- think tea-length dress pretty. Midi skirts provide a nod to a more classic, tailored aesthetic, even if you go for a very deconstructed, vintage vibe. Wearing a medium-length skirt too low will give you a more bohemian look, and your hemline might drop into maxi-zone. Add some more emphasis and interest to your waist by topping it off with a cute thin belt.
Go for a soft, voluminous effect by choosing skirts shaped to pull away from your body, like an A-line denim. Or, get a lighter, billowy feel with gossamer fabrics like chiffon. You may have avoided pleating in the past, but the more pleats, the more movement and flounce you achieve. Up the wattage by seeking out medium-length skirts with interesting details like a buttoned placket or a drawstring waist. Flowy midi skirts are fab for grabbing coffee with friends, seeing a local show or brunch when you pair it with something a little more rough-and-tumble. Throw on a graphic tank or a tissue-thin tee, and always tuck it in.
Keep your midi skirt closer to your body if you want a sexier, nighttime look. Though flowing midi skirts are super versatile, keeping your skirt closer to the body reads less ballerina-inspired and more va-va-voom adult. To keep your body looking long and lean and to avoid breaking up your look into harsh sections, wear nude heels. On top, go for another form-fitting selection. If you're keeping it downtown-cool, go for your favorite printed shell. If you're going more formal, choose a solid blouse. Just remember -- keep your top the same thinness or thinner than your skirt. Oh, and keep the exposed skin factor balance by choosing a deep V or sleeveless top.
Add the sprinkles on top of this femme sundae with accessories and finishing touches. When you're adding a topper to keep you from catching cool as the sun goes down, go for a tunic-length lightweight cardigan to add to your easy-does-it ensemble. Since the skirt itself is a bit of a statement, keep your jewelry down to one bold move -- a statement ring, an armful of bangles or a few delicate necklaces. Oh, and for your shoes -- you want to keep that skin showing, but nearly anything is fair game -- strappy heels, platforms, flats, gladiator sandals -- take your pick.
For more petite ladies, if you find a skirt that fits you everywhere, but on your frame, the midi becomes a maxi, have it altered. Bringing up the hemline a couple inches makes all the difference.