The Long (Not The Short) Of It – Tea Length Skirt Trend

If you wait long enough eventually everything comes around, so it’s a happy day now that long skirts are back on the fashion scene. You can hear the roar of cheers from gals over 40.

Not only are these skirts very practical, if you want to cover heavy, veiny or not so perfect gams, but they are so darn pretty and feminine that they are flying off the racks.

Here’s  a look at where designers are going with the new tea length skirt.

long skirt spring 2014 - tea length skirt.
long skirt spring 2014



Now that spring is finally in the air, romance and whimsy walk down the runway in the form of an old classic: the tea-length skirt. This throwback was seen from designers such as Christian Dior, Alice + Olivia, and Proenza Schouler.

The hemline of this skirt hits about mid-calf for an ultra-ladylike look. Think Grace Kelly circa 1954 in “Rear Window” in that classic black and white tea length dress. Here are some tips for pulling this retro silhouette without looking like you’ve come straight from the 50s:

grace-kelly-rear-window - floral A-line tea skirt
Grace Kelly


What to Wear With Long Skirt

When it comes to what to wear on top of a tea-length skirt, the options are endless. Just be sure that you choose something more fitted, in contrast with the skirt, so that you don’t end up looking swamped in fabric. Since the skirt is a dramatic piece in itself, select a top that doesn’t try to compete with it. A classic button down shirt in white, or in an accent color, looks classy paired with a floral A-line tea skirt.

For a more casual vibe, opt for a cotton tank and a jean jacket.

Tea-length for the Vertically Challenged

This skirt is such a cute and comfortable option for spring, but can shorter girls take advantage of the trend without looking swallowed up in it? Where there’s a will, there’s a way! If you’re shorter, choose a skirt with a higher waist and accent with a belt (not wide). This will make it look as though you have longer legs.

floral midi skirt over 40 - pink and gray midi skirt


The tea-length skirt is a versatile piece that can easily transition from day to night. Here’s an example of how to wear a pleated midi skirt. By day at the office, pair this pink and gray midi skirt with a classic, fitted white shirt, colorful cardigan, and wedges.

Going out for dinner? Glam it up with a silky camisole, leather jacket, clutch, and heels.

When shopping for your skirt, choose one that you’ll be able to pair with multiple outfits. A neutral skirt is one good way to do this. A patterned skirt can be very versatile too because you can wear it with any color pulled from the print.

Shoes to Wear With Long Skirts

Since a longer skirt covers so much leg, you will want to somehow lengthen your legs and feet as much as possible. A flat shoe can make you look stumpy,  so choose a shoe with a bit of a heel. A wedge is a great option for a comfortable heel that’s easy to walk in, even at taller heights. A kitten or mid-height sandal is another warm weather option that can be found in a variety of cute spring colors to add a playful pop to your outfit.

Need something more formal? Try a classic black pump with an A-line tea skirt for a timeless, classy look. The footwear to avoid when wearing a tea-length skirt: booties. Any shoe that sits higher up on your foot is going to shorten the look of your leg. Stick to an open shoe and don’t be afraid of a little toe cleavage for that extra length!

Try it Out!

The tea-length skirt may seem intimidating to style, but you can easily avoid looking too retro as long as you keep the rest of your outfit looking minimal and modern. Bold colors and accessories are a great way to keep it looking fresh. So embrace your romantic, feminine side this spring with this classic silhouette.

Stylist: Chantelle Collier

Join the Conversation

21 thoughts on “The Long (Not The Short) Of It – Tea Length Skirt Trend

  1. I’m going to wear a tea length with flats – Audrey Hepburn did, and I am petite like her! White shirt, longer skirt and ballerina sandals. Can’t wait til our summer (I’m in OZ)

  2. Ha! I was ahead of this trend. Just bought my tea length gown for my girl’s wedding last month. It’s very dressy, yet the length makes it very adaptable for the outdoor ceremony which moves into the glamorous lodge. It’s perfect for those outdoor – to – indoor occasions.

    1. Hi Kathy, Good thinking. I think this is the perfect kind of thing to wear as mother of the bride or as just a guest. These tea length skirts are so elegant and classy. Hope you had a great time at the wedding. Cheers! Deborah

  3. I love to wear skirts to work. Now that summer is almost here I try to wear them as much as I can. My question is, is it ok to wear them with flats as well? I don’t do well with heels and flats tend to be much more comfy.

  4. I love being able to wear longer skirts and dresses because after having 4 children the veins have taken over. In the winter I can wear shorter skirts with tights and/or boots but in the summer what do you do? I think it’s great.

  5. I never liked these.I think long skirts belong at formal occasions. Maybe that’s my southern upbringing, but they look especially ridiculous in the summer when it’s over 100 degrees and people are wearing long skirts with halter tops dresses.

  6. I say hooray for choice! I usually wear knee length but it’s nice to have options. I think the midi length is the hardest to pull off, looks best on long legs short torso. It truly stumpifies me

  7. I think long skirts are here to stay but you really have to be careful about the pattern, and length for your specific leg length. In my opinion if the pattern is too busy, and the length is at the calf it makes you look a bit older or reminds me of something vintage. Vintage is not a bad thing, however! Of course those skirts in the photos featured here look good on those models because they are young and thin, oh and they have long legs!

  8. I agree with others who mentioned boots with longer skirts. In my view, a cool pair of boots save the longer skirts from looking frumpy. Also like the look of black tights/hose with black shoes to create a similar sleek effect. For eveningwear, a below knee dress looks elegant, but needs the elegance of high heels and/or strappy sandals. I love long skirts worn with cool belts and scarves … but again, boots save the day!

    1. Hi Megan,
      It is so funny how the designers love to raise and lower skirt lenghts and widen and narrow pants…it is an never ending cycle to keep us buying buying buying!! However, if you are on the short side, longer skirts can make you feel dumpy. You are right in sticking with knee length if you feel you look best in that style!

  9. Being petite I’m not too crazy about longer lengths. In winter I like pair long skirts with boots so there isn’t a break in color all the way to the floor. My best length is shorter than knee or around the knee. I just use tan towels in the summer and like the new nude shoes that are everywhere. Bonnie

  10. I always wear my skirts at the most flattering level for my figure. I do like them a little longer if wearing with boots. IMHO I think, if the skirt is fuller, it can look great longer – longer slim skirts can move into the dowdy area. It’s an individual thing but at least those of us who love the longer skirt and having it swish around will be right in style.

  11. I agree it’s about time! I know the perfect length for my legs is just below the knee. How frustrating it is, though, to feel totally out of fashion sticking with what I know works best for me. Hurrah! for making EVERY skirt length appropriate at ANY time!

  12. I love it for fall. Especially with a nice boot. Gives such a long lean line to the body. I do think I’ll pass on the velvet wrapped around my 50 yr old hips this time though :)

  13. I LOVE it! So about time! It’s Jackie O and Audrey Hepburn all over again. Very classy. Chic. And a leaves a little more to the imagination.

    1. I love them! I think they look very feminine and can be dressed up or down. Agree they need a pretty strappy sandal to make the look complete , especially in the warmer weather.

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