The Best Skirt for Your Shape

    Who: Ellen Trebilcock, 20
    Her skirt issue: She's short--5'2"--and this midcalf cut made her look even smaller.
    Add a long, neutral, no-shape sweater, and hello?! Where'd Ellen go?

    If you are petite:

    Make sure your top suits your frame.
    That way you won't be swallowed by your clothes. Added bonus: Stripes pack visual punch, so you'll stand out.

    Find a fitted style
    This flouncy trim is great, and because the skirt's overall shape stays close to the body, it doesn't overwhelm her.

    Go above the knee
    Raised hemlines lend the illusion of longer legs. (The high heels help too!)

    3.1 Phillip Lim skirt, sizes 0-10, $325, 3.1 Phillip Lim, West Hollywood, 310-357-1988; YaYa Aflalo sweater, sizes P-L, $224, singer22.com, Nine West earrings, 800-999-1877 for stores; Robert Talbott scarf, 800-747-8778 for stores; Claudia Ciuti shoes, claudiaciuti.com

    Petites
    DO keep skirts short.
    DO pick looks that sit at your waist or above--they elongate.
    DO go for grown-up shapes and colors--you're short, not a teenager!
    Avoid hemlines well below the knee; they'll make you look squat.

    Lauren by Ralph Lauren, sizes 2-14, 2P-14P, $159, select Bloomingdale's, 800-232-1854

    Ann Taylor Loft, sizes 00-16, 00P-16P, $59, anntaylorloft.com

    Banana Republic, sizes 00-16, 00P-12P, $98, bananarepublic.com

    Jeff Harris

    Who: MalyikaNima Jackson, 21
    Her skirt issue: Jackson's baggy shirt and skirt hid her curves. She looked bigger!

    If you are plus-size:
    Keep clothes sleek, not baggy
    A tailored trench and fitted sweater reveal your curves--much more flattering than the big-tent approach.

    Stick to a structured skirt
    You want unflimsy fabric in a fitted--but not clingy--cut.

    Show some leg!
    Below-the-knee can feel dowdy, but styles that hit right at it are sexier and still feel chic.

    Marina Rinaldi skirt, sizes 10-22, $450, select Saks Fifth Avenue, 800-347-9177; Banana Republic trench, sizes XS-XL, $225, banana republic.com; J.Crew cardigan, sizes XS-XL, $88, jcrew.com; Avenue top, sizes 14-32, $10, avenue.com; Banana Republic necklace, 888-277-8953 for stores; Badgley Mischka Platinum bag, Handbags in the City, Baltimore; 410-528-1443; Payless shoes, payless.com

    10
    Plus sizes
    DO stick to solids or graphic (not round) patterns.
    DO wear a not-skintight pencil skirt.
    DO try fabrics with a little, not a lot, of stretch.
    Avoid unstructured skirts that don't show anything you've got.

    Old Navy, sizes 16-30, $33, oldnavy.com

    Abby Z., sizes 12-24, $118, abbyz.com

    Avenue, sizes 14-32, $35, avenue.com

    Jeff Harris

    Who: Jennifer Yoo, 28
    Her skirt issue: "I looked like a ruler!" Yoo says of her "before," a straight style that sat right on her hips.

    If you are boy-shaped:
    Go with a fitted jacket
    Loose, boxy styles won't give a boyish body any definition. Snug is much better.

    Keep the length short or shorter
    Minis are made to show off the curve of your legs--what better way to say, "I'm a girl!"? (Black tights add polish for the office.)

    Choose a skirt that flares
    A cinched waist and a style with volume are the perfect way to make hips look, well, hippier.

    Jill Stuart Collection skirt, sizes 0-10, $398, Jill Stuart, NYC, 212-343-2300; Levi's jacket, sizes S-XL, $54, levi.com; The Limited top, sizes XS-XL, $25, 800-756-4449 for stores; Fendi bag, Fendi boutiques, 800-336-3469; American Apparel tights, americanapparel.net; Derek Lam shoes, Barneys New York, 888-822-7639

    Jeff Harris

    Who: Emily Haddock, 29
    Her skirt issue: This tight skirt overplayed everything. And with a dark blouse, the light color brought too much focus to her lower half.