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 Emily // Feb 4, 2010 at 6:29 am

    Check out Boden USA (make sure to look at both the regular section and the sale section).

    http://www.bodenusa.com/

  • 2 Jacquelyn // Feb 4, 2010 at 6:54 am

    I was at Title Nine recently and saw a bunch of great a-line skirts in cotton. They were definitely the kind you’d be able to go for a long walk in, or a bike ride through the park, but they were stylish and cute, too!

  • 3 Ellen // Feb 4, 2010 at 7:24 am

    I am utterly covetous of the skirts on this site – http://www.madewithlovebyhannah.com/home.html
    …but I look stupid in skirts.

  • 4 CP // Feb 4, 2010 at 7:25 am

    This is the world’s easiest project to sew yourself–especially since you already have one that you know you like. Then the possibilities are unlimited. And a trip to the fabric store is always more fun than trying things on!

  • 5 Alison // Feb 4, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Try ModCloth: http://modcloth.com/store/ModCloth/Womens/Bottoms/Skirts. You’ll have to carefully check the length of each one, but they have some really cute stuff.

  • 6 Laura // Feb 4, 2010 at 7:33 am

    Seasalt have some very nice A-line skirts, in organic cotton http://www.seasaltcornwall.co.uk/acatalog/womens_skirts_and_trousers.php
    It is an English company, but they have told me that they can send orders abroad (I live in Norway, but have visited their shop in England).

  • 7 Gayle // Feb 4, 2010 at 7:46 am

    I second the Boden suggestion. My most favorite, flattering skirts are all from Boden.

    http://www.bodenusa.com/

  • 8 Wendy (The Local Cook) // Feb 4, 2010 at 8:09 am

    Ditto on trying to sew one yourself – just borrow someone’s sewing machine or ask them if they can sew one for you. You don’t even need a pattern and can get it done in an hour or two.

  • 9 dru // Feb 4, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Check out the kara-line of dresses and skirts, they are made and designed in portland, and the designer is the greatest, her skirts are beautiful, fabrics lovely, and the wrap dresses are even better, you can wear them over black tops in winter, and little slips in summer. http://www.tumbleweedboutique.com, or http://www.kara-line.com. You can see some of her styles/fabrics on her blog at http://tumbleweedboutique.typepad.com/. I wear them with boots, with flip flops and everything in between.

  • 10 Nancy // Feb 4, 2010 at 8:30 am

    Thrift stores! Have any good ones in your area? Some are definitely better than others. But I love getting a deal on something great that somebody else already paid the big bucks for!

  • 11 Andrea // Feb 4, 2010 at 8:33 am

    185 pages of A-line skirts…some are super expensive, some aren’t. This site gathers from a bunch of other sites..

    http://www.shopstyle.com/browse/skirts?fts=a+line+skirts

  • 12 Gwen // Feb 4, 2010 at 8:33 am

    I second Boden. I would also check out Martin + Osa — one caveat, though, their website often has a much wider selection than their stores.

  • 13 Andrea // Feb 4, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Oh, I might just have to get this Roxy skirt in BOTH colors – can’t go wrong for $13!

    http://www.roxy.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3535876&camp=rshpsty

  • 14 Carrie // Feb 4, 2010 at 9:15 am

    I also clicked to recommend Boden – however, it seems like most of the stuff they have in stock now is springy and might not work with boots.

    I’ve gotten some cute skirts at Forever 21, but you might have trouble finding knee-length. H&M is always worth checking out. I just noticed some adorable skirts the last time I was there.

    How do you feel about leggings? I can’t get behind these young kids wearing them with t-shirts, but I love them under dresses now. I got new flat brown boots for Christmas, and my favorite outfit now is this dress from Old Navy, plus gray leggings I got at H&M. So comfy, but still cute. (Almost like getting away with sweats.)

    http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=50186&vid=1&pid=696779&scid=696779062

  • 15 Carrie // Feb 4, 2010 at 9:17 am

    Oh, and I meant to comment that I know EXACTLY now you feel about the uniform thing, after 12 years of Catholic school. I still have a hard time with plaid skirts. I’ve seen some places trying to push saddle shoes lately, and I’m like HELL NO.

  • 16 megan // Feb 4, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Thanks Carrie! I’m glad somebody understands. Mostly I get blank stares when I explain why I don’t wear blue things.

    As for the sewing my own – I’m keeping it in mind. In fact, the *first* thing I did was visit some fabric stores looking for appropriate fabrics but I was unable to find anything. Seattle doesn’t have a lot of good apparel fabric stores, and the ones we do have carry lots of woolens. I find wool terribly itchy, especially when sitting right on it. I also have to admit I don’t get terribly excited over sewing my own clothes, I know how much time goes into it and I’d honestly rather spend it making something in the kitchen. Update: After revisiting two local fabric stores I should say that they are absolutely filled with great garment fabrics, I’m just horrifically picky.

  • 17 knittingshelley // Feb 4, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Orangyporangy (http://www.orangyporangy.com/index.html) has some cute handmade skirts. I have one of the Jane cotton jersey skirts in grey and love it, and I have another one – one of the Opal skirts – on order.

  • 18 megan // Feb 4, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Also, Boden, man, why so many white skirts? I don’t think I could keep one clean long enough to get to try it on.

  • 19 pam // Feb 4, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Very timely of you to post this. I was just wondering the same thing. I guess I’ll have to pull all of the ones out that I had in 2005-2007, but alas, I don’t think they fit anymore (pre-pg.)

  • 20 megan // Feb 4, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Nancy – Sadly the thrift stores here are not great for finding things. There are a lot of skilled thrift shoppers that scour the racks, and a lot of indie sellers that modify thrifted clothing. When I lived in Westchester, NY or Santa Fe, that was some great thrifting!

  • 21 Amanda // Feb 4, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Check out OrangyPorangy: http://orangyporangy.com/
    Next time I need a skirt, I’m gettin’ one of hers.

  • 22 Tina // Feb 4, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Ah, Catholic school, I haven’t worn a beanie or a snap tie since.

  • 23 megan // Feb 4, 2010 at 10:19 am

    Tina – Oh god, I’d actually forgotten about the beanies. Plaid beanies!

  • 24 The Frugal Hostess // Feb 4, 2010 at 10:27 am

    I’ve gotten some great A-line skirts from Bandolino, but I usually buy them at thrift stores. Sometimes Merona (Target brand) makes cute ones, too. Good luck – I feel you on the knee-length!

  • 25 Ashley // Feb 4, 2010 at 10:30 am

    nthing Boden but also check Eddie Bauer–they can skew kind of dowdy but sometimes they have cute stuff that works. There’s a few in the Clearance section right now that might work for you

  • 26 katie // Feb 4, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Sometimes (surprisingly) Target has some good a-line, knee length skirts. And Boden is great, but this year’s collection does seem a little heavy on white.

  • 27 Amy Jester // Feb 4, 2010 at 10:43 am

    I saw that someone earlier mentioned orangyporangy her skirts are awesome. I love the Opal skirts the fit wonderfully and they are such fun fabrics. Check her out. They are the only skirts I wear now and I usually wear them with boots – though youc an see in the pics they look cute with mary janes as well (just not my style)

    http://orangyporangy.com/

  • 28 Brooke // Feb 4, 2010 at 10:44 am

    This is the best place for skirts:
    http://www.downeastbasics.com/skirts.aspx
    I love DownEast.

  • 29 Seanna Lea // Feb 4, 2010 at 10:54 am

    If there is someone on Etsy who’s workmanship or fabric selection you like, you might be able to convo with them to get A-line skirts to your measurements. A lot of the clothing sellers have some amazing fabric selections even if they aren’t making exactly what you want to buy!

  • 30 Stacey // Feb 4, 2010 at 11:10 am

    DownEast Basics & Tulle have some great skirts.
    http://www.downeastbasics.com
    http://www.tulle4us.com

  • 31 Rose // Feb 4, 2010 at 11:21 am

    All this boot-loving has really inspired me to get my shoe-wardrobe in order. And fast.

  • 32 Karli // Feb 4, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Brooke is right!!! DownEast has THE best skirts out there. Really colorful, really well made, and REALLY cheap!!! Plus they ship for cheap too!!!

  • 33 Trina Curran // Feb 4, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Believe it or not….TARGET!! :)

  • 34 Haus // Feb 4, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    My sister-in-law bought a couple of OrangyPorangy skirts in Madison a few years ago. They were adorable and comfy… not in my size, or I would’ve grabbed a couple too. Another option might be Elisabethan (http://www.elisabethan.com), skirts made out of recycled t-shirts.

    I like JJill for work skirts – comfy, washable fabrics, and good styles for every day.

    Has anyone ever ordered from eShakti? I’m intrigued by the ability to do some simple customization, like hem length or waistband style.

  • 35 Natalie // Feb 4, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    I fifth or seventh or whatever the making your own. A basic A-line skirt like the one your wearing is four seams and a zipper or buttons. Even if you’re not a whiz with the sewing machine, you can knock one out in an evening. I was looking to make a circle skirt and came across this set of free online patterns. (Some of them are good, others less so):

    http://www.fmfcorp.com/familyspot/sewing.html

    This one has a good way to figure out the waist measurement:

    http://andreatung.blogspot.com/2006/04/diy-circle-skirts.html

  • 36 amy // Feb 4, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Athleta has a bunch of stretchy like fabric skirts right now, mostly solid colors though, but still cute and knee length.

  • 37 Kirsten // Feb 4, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    I love downeastbasics for a line skirts. Colorful, boot-ready and very affordable. They don’t have any local stores but check out their website. Cuteness!!!

  • 38 barrie // Feb 4, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    have you been to velouria in ballard? i love her little shop and always find something i covet from there. damsalfly also surprises me with reasonably priced clothes.

    http://shopvelouria.tripod.com/about.html
    http://www.yelp.com/biz/damsalfly-seattle

  • 39 madeline // Feb 4, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Wait! Am I reading the wrong blog? Why aren’t you making your own skirts??

    Failing that…

    http://www.bodenusa.com
    http://www.marni.com (pricey but spectacular)
    http://www.monsoon.co.uk

  • 40 teri // Feb 4, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    learn how to sew! skirts are ridiculously easy to make. it is insane to pay $50-$70 for skirt. a yard and half of fabric and a couple hours… you have a skirt.

  • 41 Azucar // Feb 4, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    It’s been driving me CRAZY BANANAS that I can’t find an a-line skirt in my regular shops. Really, it makes me stabby.

    I wandered into a shop last weekend and ran smack-dab into a bevy of colorful skirts, most of them a-line. HOORAY! I didn’t have to kill anyone!
    DownEast Basics.

    I’ve been wearing them with my black tops all week. That was a close one.

  • 42 megan // Feb 4, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Natalie, Madeline, Teri – I appreciate the sentiments to learn to sew and/or make my own. I studied costume design in college and worked as a stitcher in a few professional costume shops and boy do I ever know how to sew. Which also means I know I don’t have the energy/focus/access to industrial machines right now for the sort of perfectionism I switch gears into when I sew something. However, I do appreciate the encouragement!

  • 43 megan // Feb 4, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    There are so many shops suggested here I hadn’t heard of, thanks so much everybody for the suggestions!

  • 44 Melanie // Feb 4, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    I’m on the A line search too, and am resorting to making one, but will have a browse at the links for sure.

  • 45 Jennifer // Feb 4, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Looking at descriptions, I wonder if those wrap around skirts with the snaps would fit a girl like me who isn’t a size 4 (or even 10 at this point). I’ll have to keep an eye out too for more information.

  • 46 sulu-design // Feb 4, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    I’m a big fan of the fun prints, cool vintage fabrics, and easy elastic waists of the skirts of estate by robin on etsy: http://www.estatebyrobin.etsy.com

  • 47 elena // Feb 4, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    There’s a woman (and I can’t remember the name of her business) who sells the cutest A line skirts at the Ballard Farmers Market in all kinds of great patterns and colors.

  • 48 megan // Feb 4, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Elena – Of course! I never get to the farmers markets up north so I completely forgot they often have a skirt seller there. Thanks for the reminder.

  • 49 Lynne // Feb 4, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    Oo, oo, oo! I think the woman at the Ballard Farmers’ Market sells under the name of “Texture”. Is that right? Anyway, they’re on sale at Crackerjack right now. I almost bought one when I was there on Tuesday. Get a raspberry/dark chocolate cupcake at Trophy while you’re there…

    Another vote for title nine (I’m eyeing the wonder skirt, myself), Hip Zephyr across from the Frock Shop, and Wish (77th and Greenwood).

  • 50 nia // Feb 4, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    do you sew? a-line skirts are the easiest thing to bang out. this is an extreme example, but worth a try.

    http://www.craftstylish.com/item/6729/amy-karols-fantastic-5-minute-skirt

  • 51 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.

  • 52 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.

  • 53 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!

  • 54 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!

  • 55 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.

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

    The Red Dress Shoppe has some cute stuff.
    http://www.reddressshoppe.com/Bottoms.htm

  • 57 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?

  • 58 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.

  • 59 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.

  • 60 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.

  • 61 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.

  • 62 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.

  • 63 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.

  • 64 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…

  • 65 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!

  • 66 kat // Feb 5, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    boden!
    american apparel!
    shopruche.com – not sure if they have a-line but they constantly update their clothing
    lulus.com

  • 67 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.

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

    Thanks again to everybody for all these suggestions!

  • 69 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: http://www.magpiepatterns.com/product-details.php?ProductID=SW003CP&DesignerCode=CP97206

    And have you seen Amy Karol’s 5 minute skirt tutorial: http://angrychicken.typepad.com/angry_chicken/2008/07/5-minute-skirt.html

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

    My favorite skirt comes from fairindustry.com–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

  • 71 eliz // Feb 6, 2010 at 4:07 pm

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

  • 72 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.

  • 73 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…

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

    Just found this one on OldNavy… love the color on the black:
    http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=54365&pid=730595

  • 75 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 http://www.sciorta.com

    I love the a-line skirt!!
    Janet

  • 76 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

  • 77 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 [...]

Leave a Comment