Not Martha

where are all the a-line skirts?

me wearing the Erin MacLeod wrap skirt and my Teva boots

I think this owning boots thing is going to work out for me, which opens up a whole new world of wearing skirts. Oh the possibilities! Except, I cannot seem to find many that fit my needs. I need a-line, knee length, something colorful that will go with the many (many) black tops I already own. Looking around large stores, small boutiques, online shops and Etsy hasn’t turned up much. Lots of great stuff, yes, but often it’s too dark or too deconstructed or too ruffle-y (I like ruffles but I just can’t pull them off). (Although this one from the Frock Shop is lovely. And oh I must go see this skirt in person.)

So, please, lead me to good skirts!

The skirt above is made by Erin MacLeod and was found at Crackerjack here in Seattle. I instantly knew it was perfect and nearly asked to wear it out of the store. I also saw Erin selling her skirts at Urban Craft Uprising last December. She makes brilliantly devised wrap around skirts that use hand set snaps all around the waistband. I’m keeping an eye on her (currently empty) Etsy shop.

I should mention that, clearly, I know I could have been wearing skirts all along so by way of explanation I will tell you that years of wearing a Catholic school uniform had me avoiding certain types of clothing. These include skirts, pleats of all kinds, Oxford shirts, Peter Pan collars, most shades of the color blue, sweater vests, saddle shoes and plaids of any sort. I feel like I’m finally ready to embrace these things again. Except for saddle shoes. And sweater vests. And navy blue. Or royal blue. Maybe I’m not ready after all.

Anyhow! Back to skirts. If you have suggestions on where I should be looking for them, I’d love to know. Thanks in advance.

update: I’m just going to kindly preempt any more suggestions that I learn to sew. I appreciate the encouragement, and please know that I do sew. Which means I also know how much work and time go into it (especially when one’s technique focused perfectionist tendencies kick in, have you seen my epic sweater knitting projects?) and I would rather buy my clothes, at least for right now.

update #2: I take it back. Let it be known that in the week before I jetted away to Paris I did indeed sew myself three skirts. Four if you count the dorky interchangeable slip I made for them too. It was neither easy nor quick (seven pattern alterations, three botched attempts, five visits to fabric stores) but hey, I have three skirts I really love and one bulletproof a-line skirt pattern..

· comments [77] · 02-4-2010 · categories:shopping ·

77 responses so far ↓

  • 1 megan // Feb 4, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    Lynne – Oh, I know Texture. Sadly all the skirts I’ve seen from her are too long for me.

  • 2 lynne // Feb 4, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    I like title 9 and athleta for sporty stuff, and have you tried garnet hill? they have nice things.

  • 3 anna // Feb 4, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Arg. I totally get you on the school uniform thing. In a twisted way I guess I was lucky. Because now I avoid hunter green and yellow, the kind of oxford shoes that men wear and neckties. I think these are things I would never want to wear anyway!

  • 4 Jillian // Feb 4, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    Nothing to suggest beyond what others have already mentioned, but I do love knit dresses (Old Navy, Gap, etc) with thick tights and boots.

    I just bought my first piece of navy blue clothing since graduating from Catholic School 13 years ago, and it’s a blazer. I could never wear navy pants!

  • 5 megan // Feb 4, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Jillian – Congrats on the navy blue blazer, I hope it serves you well. And thanks for the tip on dresses. I’m petite (at least height-wise) so dresses usually don’t fit me — waist is too low or the shoulders are too wide and too high. It’s frustrating.

  • 6 ansley // Feb 4, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    The Red Dress Shoppe has some cute stuff.

  • 7 ansley // Feb 4, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    ps: I am surprised so many don’t know you sew for a living. Why don’t you have an advertising badge on your blog?

  • 8 megan // Feb 4, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    Thanks for the recommendation Ansley. As for the sewing, I shut down the shop last year. When I was doing it I had enough business to keep me busy. Since it was so niche to knitting I never quite felt like I needed to mention it here.

  • 9 Julie // Feb 4, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    If you sew I recommend the Barcelona skirt pattern by Amy Butler. It includes several options–I’ve made the A-line version many times and have been happy every time.

  • 10 Azucar // Feb 5, 2010 at 1:45 am

    I totally get where you’re coming from: sometimes you just want to be able to go buy a skirt, for a reasonable price, that you didn’t have to think through and obsessively sew (because you want to do it properly.) I sew beautifully, but I don’t have the energy to sew my own stuff right now.

    Is it too much to ask for an A-line that someone else has already made? I think not! I like the suggestions so far.

  • 11 M.E. // Feb 5, 2010 at 2:11 am

    Nthing the suggestion for Made With Love By Hannah, although her designs are mostly pretty whimsical and not necessarily for everyone. I have the Scherenschnitte skirt in red: I’d point out that the printed border is actually a separate panel of fabric in a different (lighter) weight, that it’s off-white (looks closer to white in photos, but this could be important if, like me, you bought the skirt to wear with red-and-white striped tights), and that the red is hard to match to tops. I have *one* shirt I can wear with it, and a slip is necessary to keep the border from folding under and climbing up my legs.

    Other than that, though, the service is fast and friendly. Totally recommended. I will be ordering from her again in the future.

  • 12 Marsha // Feb 5, 2010 at 6:26 am

    Have you considered making your own skirts? The book “Sew What! Skirts” teaches you how to measure yourself and make simple patterns for several styles of skirts, including A-line. I am very much a novice sewer and found this book very accessible.

  • 13 megan // Feb 5, 2010 at 10:14 am

    Marsha – Thanks, I have a friend who has made a few skirts from that book and highly recommends it as well. I’ve actually had my eye out for the book (even though I keep saying I’m not going to sew my own skirts) and I cannot find it in local shops, at least not fabric stores.

  • 14 Leah // Feb 5, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Oh my – thank you so much for the Down East link. I see my future wardrobe taking shape…

  • 15 EmilyK // Feb 5, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    I work in apparel product development and people are always asking me why I don’t make my own clothes. Just wanted to let you know that I totally understand where you are coming from. While capable, it’s hard to sew things for myself, I expect perfection from my vendors and then expect the same from myself. Try Urban Outfitters or Anthropolgie. I also usually have good luck at TJ Maxx. Good luck!

  • 16 kat // Feb 5, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    american apparel! – not sure if they have a-line but they constantly update their clothing

  • 17 megan // Feb 5, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    EmilyK – Thanks for the commiseration. When I was working in shops I noted that stitchers never sewed their own jeans or t-shirts, very difficult to get right, but their own ballgowns for the inevitable theater benefit evenings? Easy.

  • 18 megan // Feb 5, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Thanks again to everybody for all these suggestions!

  • 19 Amy // Feb 5, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    You’ll have to make it yourself – but really, how cool is that? – and it’s not A-line, but still, so gorgeous:

    And have you seen Amy Karol’s 5 minute skirt tutorial:

  • 20 Laura // Feb 6, 2010 at 7:40 am

    My favorite skirt comes from–great prices for fair trade clothing. The pictures of their skirts they have up are in charcoal, but note that other colors are available. Pay attention to the measurements they give–the sizing runs a little small from what you might expect, but the measurements are accurate

  • 21 eliz // Feb 6, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    I always seem to find fun, a-line skirts at the crown hill value village.

  • 22 Helena // Feb 6, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    This is similarly my first winter wearing boots + skirts. It’s rather addictive, I think you’ll find.
    I’ve found my best skirts at a Salvation Army in Redding, CA, and a Goodwill in Seattle (by the stadium).
    Don’t forget dresses! They’ve got some cute ones at Target right now.

  • 23 amy // Feb 6, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    I 2nd Target. This is not an earth shattering suggestion but I swear half of my skirts that match your description I found at TJMaxx or Marshall’s, etc. I do, however, troll through them quite often so it’s kinda like the thrift approach…

  • 24 Wendy // Feb 7, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Just found this one on OldNavy… love the color on the black:

  • 25 Janet Whitelaw-Jones // Jul 15, 2010 at 12:25 am

    Hey – just came across your post re skirts! I was struggling with this so much last year, I decided to set up my own shop making and selling – skirts! Take a look. We are based in Ireland and mail anywhere.

    Hope you have found something by now – but if not come take a look

    I love the a-line skirt!!

  • 26 Megan // Sep 6, 2011 at 12:23 am

    Hi my name is Megan and I’m a painter who lives in Tasmania. I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect A-line to wear with my boots for ever. I made one, but it’s not up to scratch. I’m curious about your bullet-proof A-line pattern. Can you tell me who makes it. cheers, Meg

  • 27 Weekly Roundup | Des Moines Interior Designer Jillian Lare // Nov 21, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    […] (not martha) asks for suggestions for A-line skirts…lots of great options found via the […]

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