• Tue, Jul 10 2012

The Short Skirt Debate: How Old Is ‘Too Old’ To Rock A Mini?

The kid's blanket is there for both dramatic and artistic effect, and not that we didn't notice it until after the fact.

I love mini-skirts. I think it has a lot to do with having short legs, so when I toss on some heels and opt for a skirt on the shorter side, it actually makes me appear like I have legs as opposed to stubs on which I try to walk around town. No one likes a stub gal.

As far as shortness goes, I’ve always gone by the rule that, unless I turn into a rockstar or something equally extravagant where I can don whatever I want for length, as long as it’s not shorter than where my middle finger reaches on my leg when my arms are down by my side, I’m OK. This morning, however, my sister told me that this dress was a shirt.

“It is not a shirt,” I argued. “I can bring it up online and you’ll see that it’s a dress.”

“That’s not a dress; a dress would be longer,” she explained, as she rolled her eyes.

I admitted that I did have it hemmed a bit because, as I’ve already mentioned, being short things tend to be too long on me.

“Well whoever shortened it, went way too far,” said my sister in response to this new information. “Besides, you’re not 25 anymore.”

“Fine. I’ll tell mom you said that. I’ll also tell her that you said I was old.”

Yes, I had my mother hem it the last time I was in New Hampshire, because I don’t know how to do it myself and I’d rather pay her in homemade cupcakes than my neighborhood laundry guy who I’m always handing over wads of cash to on a weekly basis as it is.

My follow-up to her was: “Well, I’m going to ask my friends at TheGloss what they think and then we can discuss this later!”

She kindly pointed out that commenters aren’t my friends, just like I’m not in a relationship with fictional characters like Jake Ryan and Lloyd Dobler, and if I bent over once while we were out in public, she was going to lock me in my room. Keep in mind, she’s the younger sister.

Thoughts? Are you supposed to put away your minis after 25? Granted, you won’t see me in them when I’m well over 40, but just because I’m over 30, I don’t think I should have to drag every mini I have to my laundry guy and have him lengthen them all. As I said, I give him enough money as it is — at the rate I have things hemmed and taken in, I might as well own stock in his business.

Sorry! This poll is now closed.

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  • Eileen

    It depends on how hot it is outside (and whether I can see your underwear when you bend over. If you’re 21, you’re too old for that one). With the recent weather, you should be good.

    But I’m not so wild on the “If it were a dress, it would be longer” argument. If it looks like a dress, it’s a dress. If it looks like a shirt, even if it goes to your knees, it’s still a shirt.

  • Meghan Keane

    I’m starting to have a love/hate relationship with some of my shorter summer skirts for this reason. However, in the Fall/Winter, I’m of the opinion that tights make inappropriately short skirts kick ass.

    • Dawn

      Exactly!! With tights, many things are possible in my thirties that I would never have considered in my twenties at all. (Why why why did I spend my twenties wearing jeans everywhere???)

    • Amanda Chatel

      Totally agree! AND you don’t have to worry so much about anyone catching a glimpse of your undies.

  • Nancy

    Definitely not too short! No age limit on minis! Maybe it was that paricular dress? Because if it was hemmed only at the bottom, it probably doesn’t look the way it had originally. Seems possible that the hemming threw off the whole look of it; maybe now that dress actually does look like a shirt? I can’t tell just from the bottom of it in your photo.

  • Fabel

    Yeah, that looks fine. I think it’s all about the styling– if it was a tiny jean skirt with glitter all over the back pockets, then that would be “too young” The length really has nothing to do with it.

    • Sonsy

      Very good point.

  • Cate

    I am prone to walking over subway grates without noticing they were there, so I’m not the biggest fan of short skirts for me. This dress looks fine on you, though, and as long as you aren’t accidentally showing your underwear to the world I don’t see what the problem is.

    Also, I love your interactions with your sister. My younger sister also has a tendency to fill the stereotypically elder roles in our relationship and it’s heartwarming to see it happen in other sister relationships.

    • Amanda Chatel

      Thanks, Cate!

      I don’t think I’d want it any other way with my sister. Someone has to keep me in line.

  • Lindsey

    Screw age rules.

    However, I think that dress would look better about an inch longer. I feel like it just hits the thigh wrong.

    • Amanda Chatel

      It’s a pretty full skirt, so I think pushing it down didn’t help. I also don’t have the legs I dream about having… so that doesn’t help. Sad panda.

    • Lindsey

      Sorry! Didn’t mean to be body snarky. I guess I should also consider that this is sort of a weird angle to look at someone’s legs, and that in person (and from a perspective at least two feet higher) it probably looks completely different.

      One day, while thrifting, I came across a see-though, lacy, button up dress. I just tossed it on over a dress-length camisole and high heels and strutted around feeling all hot with my short self. Then I saw it on a taller classmate… deeefinitely a shirt I was wearing as a dress.

    • Amanda Chatel

      You totally weren’t body snarky at all! I was just trying to ease my own issues of the imperfect looking hem and legs.

      You were totally far from snark.

  • Benitah

    It’s a funny thing with women’s clothes, we are told that something is too provocative for us to wear when we are in our early teens and then it’s immediately too young for us to wear when we hit 28. It’s as if we only have a tiny window of about eight years to wear certain clothes….fuck that. Wear what you want, when you want. I promise you that when you are on your deathbed, your final thought will not be “I wish I had put away my miniskirts when I was 26.”.

    • Jo

      “…when you are on your deathbed, your final thought will not be ‘I wish I had put away my miniskirts when I was 26.’”

      I love it! lol

  • Nessy

    My personal rule is this: once everything above the knee looks like a dried-out orange rind, it’s time to put away the short things (unless, of course, you’re wearing tights or leggings underneath, as they hide a multitude of sins). For me, the dreaded event was realized two years ago (at 27) and I couldn’t have been more devastated. Pre-30 granny legs are the worst.
    Your legs look great, though, so rock out!

    • Amanda Chatel

      You’re my new BFF. Sorry, but you have no choice.

    • Nessy

      I accept.

  • holleeta

    Your sister is married with children, right? I feel like it’s different when you’re a married mother. Most of them start to dress more conservatively.

    You’ve great legs so I say show them off!

    I’m 29 and I wear very short, tight dresses whenever I go out. I have a few dresses that don’t even touch my middle finger. I hate long dresses. In fact, I have a gorgeous DVF dress I bought seven years ago that I’ve yet to wear because I consider it too long for me at my age.

    I love my body and I figure I will only have this body for so long, might as well wear what I like. Plus, I DRESS FOR ME, so fuck age limits.

    • Amanda Chatel

      Yeah, she has 2 little ones, but she has a killer body… and she’s a year younger than me!

      I won’t leave this state until I make her my clone.

  • Breezy

    Chatel, you rebel! With your rainbow nails and exposed thighs…

    At 5’3″-ish I have to agree about the length-height issue. Anything knee length or below on me just looks marmly. As long as no one can see your ass cheeks, I say you’re still good.

    • Amanda Chatel

      When this comment just popped up in my email, I read it really quick and saw “As long as one can see your ass cheeks, I say you’re still good.” — sans the “no” and got really happy that someone gave me the OK to moon strangers all day.