This is a fashion forward outfit formula that is based on wearing a roomy top over a roomy skirt, so essentially “volume on top of volume”. In some versions the volume is subtle like the outfit on the left. Or silhouettes are more baggy like the outfit on the right. 

The trick in either case is to create just enough structure so that you still feel attractive despite throwing a few conventional figure flattery guidelines out the window. You need to create a hint of waist definition. There are two ways you can do this.

  1. Wear a cropped pullover with a welt or tapered high-low hemline that reins back in the volume of the top to showcase some waist. Create further structure by going very cropped and exposing your midriff.
  2. Choose a full skirt that is fitted on the hip and flares out somewhere below the waist.

Select any colour palette and remix patterns, solids and textures to your taste. Here are the components: 

Full Skirt: Choose your length and voluminous threshold. Remember that full skirts needn’t be full all over. Wearing a style that is fitted on the hip creates a more streamlined silhouette. 

Cropped Pullover: The pullover or upscale sweatshirt must be sufficiently cropped, or short enough so that you can pull up a welted style to a length that sits close to the waistline (see the grey sweatshirt in the ensemble below). That is how you create structure for this outfit. A fluid or oversized fit is best because it offsets the cropped length. Note: you are not baring your midriff in this outfit unless you wear a very short cropped pullover. 

Footwear: Keep the footwear fitted for extra structure. Sleek dressy knee-high boots get my top vote, especially since tall boots are making a comeback. But tailored booties and shooties are another way to go, with or without hosiery. And pretty pumps are always a great option. Heeled footwear, which includes low heels, is the obvious choice with this type of outfit because it lengthens the leg line. But I have worn flared skirts with roomy cropped pullovers and slipper flats and not felt dumpy. 

Accessories: Add watch, jewellery, bag and eyewear as desired. I’ve chosen a structured bag because I fancy the contrast of its straight lines with the roundness of the skirt and top. 

A knee-length wool coat or trench is a good choice of topper if you need another layer. Or go with a moto jacket of sorts.

Flared Skirt and Cropped Pullover

Here are two examples of the formula in action:

I love this business casual outfit formula because the proportions look fresh and new. I wore it a lot during the Summer with pointy toe pumps, textured grey full midi skirt and short welted knitwear, both in cotton and cashmere. For Fall I’ve got two cropped cream chunky pullovers to wear with full skirts and sleek black knee-high boots. Dressy, but slightly relaxed, which is the best of both worlds. There is life after jeans, ladies.