Summer Skirts for Everyone

Black mini skirt with white shirt styled for summer

by Theo Korstanje - March 2023

With summer fast approaching, we can finally start thinking about outfits to wear outdoors. If skirts are one of your summer wardrobe essentials, we’ve got you covered. Although skirts are traditionally perceived as a feminine clothing item, like all other clothing items, skirts are essentially genderless and can be enjoyed regardless of your sex assigned at birth or gender identity. Whether you are cisgender, transgender or non binary, skirts are a perfect wardrobe addition to your summer wardrobe. In this article, we’ll cover different types of summer skirts and give you tips on where to wear and how to style them.

What is a Summer Skirt?

Compared to skirts you would wear in cold weather; summer skirts are typically more breathable and lightweight to keep you cool. While most skirt styles could be worn year-round, they would typically be made of heavier fabrics, such as wool or corduroy. With summer skirts, lighter fabrics like cotton, linen, rayon, or denim come in.

Summer skirts differ than winter skirts also when it comes to styling. When wearing skirts in the winter, you’d probably want to wear/pair them with some added layers – wool tights, for example. In summer, you have more room to play with styling, either opting for a bare-leg look, or choosing a light, breathable bottom layer – fishnet, lace, or sheer tights would all be good options.

In summer, you also have more freedom with the length of the skirt you choose. Midis, minis, or any free-flowing shorter cut will be your friend during summer. Finally, summer skirts are commonly defined by their color and patterns. Vibrant colors and bold patterns are typically association with summer, as opposed to winder skirts.

Different Types of Summer Skirts

First, we’ll be covering the different lengths available for skirts, like midi, maxi/long, mini, and high-low, before moving on to different cuts such as A-line skirts, tiered skirts, pleated skirts, and more. This will give you a complete overview of all your skirt-styling options this summer.

Summer Skirt Lengths

The most common categorization when it comes to skirts is length. Skirts are often categorized into four lengths: midi, mini, maxi/long, and high-low.

Midi Skirt 

What is a Midi Summer Skirt?

A midi skirt is defined by a specific mid-range length that is perfect for the summer months without being too revealing. Usually cut right around the middle of the calf, it can range from anywhere between just below the knee and right above the ankles. Midi skirts commonly come in an A-line style (more on that later), but range in style from free-flowing to form-hugging.

Where to Wear a Midi Summer Skirt?

Midi skirts are great for their versatility across settings. Choosing a more form-hugging, brightly patterned skirt would be great for a party setting. Meanwhile, a looser, A-line cut with subdued colors is perfect for more formal settings.

How to Style a Midi Summer Skirt?

For a casual look, choosing a bright patterned skirt, a crop top, and strappy sandals would create a fun boho-chic look. For more formal settings, go for a more subdued skirt, and a tucked-in blouse completed with a pair of heels. 

Mini Skirt

What is a Mini Summer Skirt?

Arguably the summeriest of all, mini skirts are perfect for any fun and flirty look. Usually cut well above the knee line, mini skirts are perfect for keeping cool and showing some skin. Some of the most popular styles of this cut are tennis and skater skirts.

Where to Wear a Mini Summer Skirt?

Because of their revealing lengths, mini skirts should be reserved for fun, casual settings – think dates and parties. They’re difficult to style for more formal settings, but they can be pulled off if you’re choosing an elegant pattern like houndstooth.

How to Style a Mini Summer Skirt?

Mini skirts are great for a youthful, fun look. Try wearing it with a graphic tee for a casual look. For summer evenings, throwing an oversized sweater or leather jacket can complete the outfit. This look can be paired with all sorts of footwear from heels, sandals, or ankle boots. For formal settings, a blouse, blazer, and heels work well with more subdued mini skirts.

Maxi/Long Skirt

What is a Maxi/Long Summer Skirt?

Cut just above the ankle, maxi or long skirts are the longest style on our list. While this may not seem like a good option for summer, choosing a lightweight breathable option will simultaneously keep you cool and covered. If you’re looking to show a bit more skin, choosing an option with a slit down the middle is a great choice. 

Where to Wear a Maxi/Long Summer Skirt?

Maxi skirts are a classic boho look and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. Because of their length, they’re perfect for sophisticated settings, still allowing you to have a fun, free-flowing look. Maxi skirts can work in practically every setting, from weddings to beach days.

How to Style a Maxi/Long Summer Skirt?

For a beach day, they can be simply worn with a crop top and sandals. Sneakers and a t-shirt work for a casual, stylish look. For a garden party or date night, a slitted dress with heels and a blouse makes a great romantic and sophisticated look. 

High-Low Skirt 

What is a High-Low Summer Skirt?

High-low skirts are similar to tiered skirts because of their unique structure and silhouette. Whereas tiered skirts are more synonymous with bohemian looks, high-low skirts are associated with much more formal settings. More structured tulle styles create a very dressy look, while more free-flowing patterned options work well in casual settings, while still keeping a classy feel to the look.

Where to Wear a High-Low Summer Skirt? 

High-low skirts work well in formal settings, especially more structured options. They can be styled down for more casual get-togethers, but they do tend to work best in more formal settings.

How to Style a High-Low Summer Skirt?

Similar to tiered skirts, high-low styles are suited to being the star of your outfit – especially bigger tulle designs. Even a simple t-shirt can make for a great formal look on these occasions. If you want to dress it up even more, a simple blouse or camisole would work great. Wear with your favorite necklace and a pair of strappy heels.

Summer Skirt Styles

All of the lengths we just mentioned can be cut in various different ways. These different styles can create different silhouettes with each skirt length.

A-Line Skirt 

A-line skirts got their name from their similarity to a capital “A”. They fit tightly around the waist and flow out down the hips and the legs. They are known for creating a waist-slimming effect because of the way they flare out. A-line skirts are commonly cut below the knee as full-length skirts, but they do also come in shorter styles.

Where to Wear an A-Line Summer Skirt?

A-lines are best suited for more formal occasions because of their standard long length and slightly more subdued look. They work great in business settings for this reason as well. However, they can also be dressed down for times when you want a look that’s both casual and sophisticated.

How to Style an A-Line Summer Skirt?

If you’re looking for a casual look, wearing an A-line skirt with a simple t-shirt or tank top works well, you can add a lightweight jacket if you’re looking for an extra layer. For more formal settings, wearing a dressy blouse is a great choice, and can be worn with a blazer to be dressed up even more. 

Wrap Skirt

What is a Summer Wrap Skirt

Another classic boho-chic skirt style, wrap skirts are one of the styles most synonymous with summer. Wrapped around the wearer and usually tied around the waist, wrap skirts come in all sorts of different lengths. What’s great about these is that their fit can be adjusted to suit your body type and style pairings.

Where to Wear a Summer Wrap Skirt

One of the best settings for wrap skirts is a beach day as they can be easily worn over a bathing suit for easy changing. They can also easily be dressed up to create a casual, fun look for parties or a day out.

How to Style a Summer Wrap Skirt

If you’re planning on a maxi/long skirt for a beach day, it can easily be thrown on over a swimsuit and worn with a t-shirt if you want a bit of extra coverage. For general wear, a simple t-shirt and sneaker combo makes an easy casual outfit.

Tiered Skirt

Tiered skirts get their name from having multiple horizontal layers of fabric creating a tiered effect. They are usually longer skirts, but they do occasionally come in shorter lengths as well, just with fewer tiers. They work well to create a flowing, bohemian look. For a more daring option, find an asymmetrically tiered skirt that creates a more dynamic and interesting silhouette. A multi-colored tiered skirt would also make a bold statement piece in any wardrobe.

Where to Wear a Tiered Summer Skirt?

A neutral-colored, longer-length tiered skirt would make a great choice for any formal setting like garden parties or weddings. For more casual parties, think of breaking out the shorter cuts, as well as the multi-colored and asymmetrical skirts.

How to Style a Tiered Summer Skirt?

Because of the skirt's unique texture, we recommend letting it be the star of whatever outfit you’re wearing, especially with a more daring tiered skirt. Choosing a simple, neutral t-shirt works well with vibrant skirts, with a similarly simple button-up being a great choice for more formal settings. 

Pleated Skirt

What is a Pleated Summer Skirt?

Pleated skirts are defined by the pleats that go around the bottom of the skirt. This design is commonly found with mini skirts but can look great with midi and maxi-length skirts as well. Shorter skirts work for a chic, preppy look, while longer lengths work to create a more elegant feel.

Where to Wear a Pleated Summer Skirt?

Pleated skirts can work in many settings depending on the length and style. Shorter skirts are great for days out with friends when you want a cute and chic look, while longer skirts are better suited to garden parties and weddings.

How to Style a Pleated Summer Skirt?

If you’re looking for a preppy look, a plaid pleated skirt with a sweater and a collared shirt will be perfect. Complete the look with a pair of sneakers, a clutch, and a headband. To dress up longer skirts, go for a tucked-in blouse and wear it with heels. 

Pencil Skirt

What is a Summer Pencil Skirt?

Finally, we have pencil skirts. These usually hug the hips, staying tight down the legs, creating a form-fitting look. They are typically cut at a mini length, so for a more casual style, find one cut just above the knee. They aren’t the most versatile choice on our list, but they can look stunning when styled properly in the right setting.

Where to Wear a Summer Pencil Skirt?

Longer pencil skirts are best suited for formal and business settings. They can work in more casual settings if they have a shorter length and more casual settings. They do lend themselves to creating an elegant and powerful look, and with their somewhat restrictive fit, they’re not the best choice for settings where you’re planning on moving a lot.

How to Style a Summer Pencil Skirt? 

For a classic business look, a midi-length pencil skirt with heels, dark tights, a blouse, and a blazer will make you look strong and sophisticated. For a more casual look, leave the tights behind, pick a cut above the knee, and wear it with a simple t-shirt. 

Summer skirt season is already here, but picking the right skirt for different settings and knowing how to style it can be a difficult task. In this article, we shared our tips to help you inform your fashion choices. If you like this article, you might also enjoy our broader style guide for skirts.

Theo Korstanje is a writer from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. When he’s not writing, he’s either cycling around, training jiu jitsu, or tending to his garden.