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Hemlines 101: How to wear fall's skirt lengths

Story highlights

  • Try new hems with straight, a-line and full cuts
  • A knee length hem is a universally flattering length that is the most office-friendly
  • Heels are generally best with a midi length skirt
MINI: Short skirts are all about showing some leg, but as with so many things, less is more: Tall boots, opaque tights, and even socks send a more subtle message than bare skin and stilettos.
STRAIGHT: Make sure your skirt is at least an inch longer than your cardi.
Cardigan: Wool, H&M, $40; hm.com for stores.
Shirt: Cotton-modal, Leroy & Perry, $280; parallelportland.com.
Skirt: Wool, Harvey Faircloth, $295; 212-575-1500.
Boots: Leather, Daniblack, $325; shopbop.com.
A-LINE
Sweater: Felted wool, Lauren Moffatt, $275; arcadiaboutique.com.
Skirt: Cotton, APC, $210; 212-966-9685.
Socks: Acrylic-cotton, Hue, $14; hue.com.
Boots: Leather and shearling, Matt Bernson, $275; mattbernson.com.
FULL
Jacket: Cotton and wool-acrylic, IRO, $820; 212-966-3626.
Blouse: Polyester, ASOS, $54; asos.com.
Skirt: Wool, Opening Ceremony, $290; opening ceremony.us.
Tights: Nylon-spandex, Hanes Silk Reflections, $12; haneshosiery.com for stores.
Lace-ups: Patent leather, Kate Spade New York, $325; katespade.com.
KNEE: This universally flattering length is also the most office-friendly (read: conservative). But don't be scared to add your own spin. Try a swingy style with ballet flats, or choose lace-up ankle boots for a dose of cool.
STRAIGHT
Dress Silk, Robert Rodriguez, $345; 213-629-2800.
Bracelet Gold plate, La Petite Princesse, $228; nolitajewelry.com.
Heels Suede, Missoni for Target, $40; target.com.
A-LINE
Sweater: Cashmere, Inhabit, $322; 516-496-7764.
Shirt: Silk, Madewell, $110; madewell.com.
Skirt:Wool, DKNY, $295; at Lord & Taylor.
Ankle Boots: Suede, Juicy Couture, $325; 212-796-3360.
FULL: Spotlight (or fake) a tiny midsection by tucking a shirt into a voluminous skirt.
T-shirt: Leather, Veda, $385; thisisveda.com.
Skirt: Wool-silk, Hanii Y, $450; 512-472-5951.
Flats: Velvet, Pretty Ballerinas, $229; prettyballerinas.com.
MIDI: When the bottom of your skirt grazes your calves, it's crucial that you highlight your waist to create shape. Tuck in your blouse or opt for a top that hits around the midriff. Heels are generally best with this length, though not a must.
STRAIGHT
Jacket: Denim, American Eagle Outfitters, $50; ae.com.
Tank: Cotton-linen, Covet, $42; 804-622-3876.
Skirt: Silk, Suno, $600; sunony.com.
Socks: Cotton-elastane, Falke, $22; neimanmarcus.com.
Sandals: Leather, Derek Lam, $790; 212-966-1616.
A-LINE
Sweater: Cashmere, Schumacher, $491; 504-899-4118.
Skirt: Wool, Michael Michael Kors, $110; 866-709-5677.
Ring: Gold plate, Low Luv x Erin Wasson, $76; singer22.com.
Boots: Suede with leather, Rebecca Minkoff, $375; bloomingdales.com.
FULL: Paired with feminine fabrics, oxfords are subversively sexy.
Shirt: Silk and cotton, 3.1 Phillip Lim, $250; lagarconne.com.
Skirt: Silk georgette, Club Monaco, $150; 212-459-9863.
Brogues: Leather, Paul Smith, $510; 646-613-3060.
LONG: Maxi lengths are best on taller figures, but a full skirt shape will flatter even petite types. Whatever your height, pay attention to proportion: Balance a flared bottom with a slim-cut top and vice versa.
STRAIGHT
Cardigan: Cashmere, Autumn Cashmere, $350; 212-206-0036.
Tanks: Silk crêpe de chine (black), Kolae, $174; revolveclothing.com. Polyester-cotton (gray), Nation LTD, $69; amrag.com.
Skirt: Cotton-viscose, French Connection, $148; bloomingdales.com.
Necklace: Diamond and rhodium with sterling silver, Laura Lobdell, $895; lauralobdell.com for info.
A-LINE
Boots: Faux leather, Mossimo for Target, $35; at select Target stores.
Sweater: Linen-viscose, BCBG Max Azria, $158; bcbg.com.
Skirt: Leather, Sportmax, $1,495; 212-674-1817.
Boots: Suede, Delman, $425; delmanshoes.com.
FULL: Pleats and platforms will elongate your silhouette.
Cardigan: Cashmere, Qi, $130; qicashmereshop.com.
Dress: Silk, Tibi, $946; tibi.com.
Belt: Suede, American Apparel, $34; americanapparel.com.
Pumps: Suede with satin, Pour la Victoire, $250; pourlavictoire.com.