WVW: Purple, Reigned In* (plus midi-length tips)

You want to hear something freaky? One year ago on October 4, 2010, I posted this date night look in WVW: Purple Reign:

*WVW = What V Wore
Dress and scarf: Express • Bracelets: Abbey Dawn by Avril Lavigne • Boots: Sam Edelman • Clutch: DecJuba

Completely coincidentally, exactly one year later on October 4, 2011, I revisited my purple pieces, this time reigning in the skin exposure since I wore this to work. Same scarf, same boots, old Banana Republic wrap dress. I guess October 4th is Purple Day in my world.

I shopped my closet for a change…aren’t you proud of me? I usually do that for like the first five minutes of a new season. Have seriously had that midi-length wrap dress forever, so this post is proof that everything comes back as a “trend” at some point—and midi lengths are definitely having a moment. It actually took me a long time to really like midi-length pieces, but I’ve learned they can be very flattering when they meet some basic guidelines.

Tips for Wearing Midi-Length Dresses and Skirts

  • Look for pieces that are fitted through the waist and hip, with a pencil or slight a-line silhouette.
  • Avoid a full or circle skirt unless the piece is vintage and you’re working a retro look.
  • Avoid patterns unless it’s a midi dress. Printed, midi-length wrap dresses are pretty much universally flattering.
  • Avoid thick fabrics like heavy wool, denim, and corduroy.
  • Avoid pleats and plaid unless the fabric is silk chiffon. Pleated or plaid midi-length in any other fabric will add weight and look dowdy.
  • Pair midi-length skirts with form-fitted tops. Proportion is what keeps midis from looking dated and boring. If you’re wearing longer and fuller on the bottom, wear a sweater or top that hugs your top half.
  • Accent your waist or you’ll look like you’re wearing a sack. Or worse, a muumuu. Add a waist-cinching belt and enhance or create an hourglass shape.

Are you a fan of midi-length skirts and dresses?


  1. says

    Your purple boots and scarf are perfect (oh how I love purple)!! I adore midi skirts; they are my favorite actually! I couldn’t agree more with your tips.
    Rocquelle’s latest post: SMILEMy Profile

  2. says

    Oooo lala lady…you are looking haute in them boots!!! Love purple, and this post totally makes me think i need to run out and bet a few more purple pieces:)
    Have a great weekend!

  3. says

    I bought a midi with an A line cut that works perfect for me. While I dig the new accordion pleated styles they just don’t suit my 5’1 frame and I find something that is fitted and flares gives me the trend but not the bulky fabric that goes with it.
    Christy’s latest post: New Orleans Fashion WeekMy Profile

  4. says

    Purple is such a stunning colour on you! I can only wear midi lengths with knee high boots as otherwise they seem to make me look fat, short and dumpy. Hey, ho!! Bon week-end :)

  5. says

    Yay for purple! I can’t say I actively seek out midi lengths, but always seem to end up with them, because I don’t go short and knee length on a short ass like me can sometimes be midi. I also have a lot of vintage skirts that are just that length, and I don’t really like to alter things. And anyway, like you say, a fitted waist and some highish shoes and midi looks great!
    Franca’s latest post: Rome StreetartMy Profile

  6. says

    I remember the first look! Love all that color. Purple Day sounds like a plan.

    I love midi dresses – the length adds a lot of character, I think, and you can sort of accessorize up without going overboard. I don’t think I’ve ever worn a wrap, though, so maybe that’s something I should consider. I love this look on you!

  7. says

    Oh my gosh I think the whole blogging world is doing a piece on midi length dresses! You read my mind. Check out my midi post if you have time. It’s my newest, below.

    I think your tips for wearing midi length skirts and dresses is spot on. When I first saw the trend my first thought was “NO! Frump alert frump alert!” Now I’m warming up to it, but one still must be careful not to let it get dowdy. I would add that high heels help this length change from frumpy to elegant.

    Also I wanted to say that I loved your purple post last year and I’ve been thinking about adding some purple to my wardrobe ever since, but except for a pair of shoes and hose I haven’t been that adventurous.
    Heather Fonseca’s latest post: Ladylike LayersMy Profile

    • says

      Thanks for your comment, Heather! I pretty much have equated midi lengths with frumpiness too, but we both know that can be avoided! I agree that heels are a key component in the prevention of frumpiness!

      Do add some purple to your wardrobe. It is a color that looks good on everyone.

  8. says

    You look amazing, that dress is very flattering. The midi length is certainly growing on me as I just found a beautiful vintage skirt in great condition and feels so pretty. Thanks for the tips!

  9. says

    haha really cool. well purple is an awesome colour it should be purple day everyday! :) can you tell its my favorite color? I love both looks i especially love that you paired up that pretty black dress with the amazing purple boots and scarf :) lovely



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