I see closets full of beautiful skirts and the tags are still attached. These skirts are often closet orphans because their owners don’t have tops to accompany them. As a result I end up doing a lot of “skirt-top-matching” when I shop with my clients.

So I am proposing a new rule: Don’t purchase a skirt unless you purchase the accompanying top at the same time, or you already have a top that will work in your closet.

Retailers are also at fault. They don’t seem to offer sufficient top options alongside their skirts. Unless they are belted and blouson’ed, tops must be shorter and more fitted to work well with skirts. Retailers often cheat on mannequins by pinning, tucking and layering the wrong type of top with skirts to create an attractive ensemble. We’re lured to the outfit, try it on, love the skirt and loath the top because it’s not a “skirt top”, but leave with the skirt and welcome another orphan into our wardrobe. Sound familiar?

Stop this from happening by following the skirt rule. Do not be tempted by gorgeous skirts unless you know how you’re going to complete the ensemble by the time you get home. If you don’t, chances are high you’ve wasted your money.

Cap-Sleeve Wide-Rib TopCap-Sleeve Wide-Rib Top

This top is available in regular and petites and has just gone on sale at Banana Republic for $29.99. It looks pretty good with skirts and is better in the flesh, so don’t judge it too harshly from these pictures. It’s very short and fitted, but not too clingy (look at how short it is on the pant-wearing model). It might be your solution for an orphan skirt.