Skirts a cert for the summer look

Neat pleat: Pleat skirt, �45, and T-shirt, �28, Jonathan Saunders Edition at Debenhams (08445 616161 / www.debenhams.com).
Neat pleat: Pleat skirt, �45, and T-shirt, �28, Jonathan Saunders Edition at Debenhams (08445 616161 / www.debenhams.com).
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Put your jeans in storage and get ready to bare your legs – the skirt is the summer separate to be seen in.

Don’t panic if your pins aren’t considered to be your best asset, though, because this season sees the introduction of a variety of new skirt styles that don’t require excessive leg-flashing.

Pleat perfect: Love Label pleated skirt, �35, and spot cropped cardigan, �12, Very (08448 222 321 / www.very.co.uk).

Pleat perfect: Love Label pleated skirt, �35, and spot cropped cardigan, �12, Very (08448 222 321 / www.very.co.uk).

Designers went to great lengths on the catwalks to make skirts this season’s staple, from short pleats at House of Holland to sweeping maxis at Topshop Unique and the new in-between midi at Chloe.

“Subversively alluring, skirts are spring’s coolest look,” says stylist Georgie Pincus (www.styleu.co.uk).

“They come in a plethora of beautiful fabrics, from feminine chiffon to lace, with frills and fringing thrown in.”

It’s true that skirts require more outfit-planning than a dress does, but that makes them more versatile too – teaming with a pretty blouse or casual tee will give you two entirely different looks.

Style with pleats: Skirt, �45, pleated top, �35, and bracelet, �18, Principles by Ben de Lisi at Debenhams (08445 616161 / www.debenhams.com).

Style with pleats: Skirt, �45, pleated top, �35, and bracelet, �18, Principles by Ben de Lisi at Debenhams (08445 616161 / www.debenhams.com).

So pick your favourite length, have a look at our top tips, and begin your summer flirt with the skirt...

Pleat perfect

Pleats are back. Forget visions of school uniforms and prefects, this time around they are delicately done in floaty fabrics.

“It’s a soft way to add volume and texture to your outfit,” Pincus advises. “Pleats add elegance to an outfit and, when worn in the right places, will flatter your figure. Pleated skirts will balance out your frame if you are slightly bigger on top.”

Midi: Leopard print midi skirt, �34.99, and cropped string vest, �16.99, both New Look (0500 454 094 / www.newlook.com).

Midi: Leopard print midi skirt, �34.99, and cropped string vest, �16.99, both New Look (0500 454 094 / www.newlook.com).

Skirt SOS: Beware, shorter styles can be flippy in surprise gusts of wind. A long-line blazer or jacket should add weight and prevent indiscreet moments.

In-betweeners

The calf-length midi skirt is the new kid on the fashion block, inspired by romantic ballet references – think Natalie Portman in Black Swan.

“Mid-calf styles don’t suit everyone. The length doesn’t flatter short women,” warns Pincus.

Maxi-mum impact: Bella print skirt, �79, vest, �19, and necklace, �29, Mint Velvet (0845 456 2200 / www.mintvelvet.co.uk).

Maxi-mum impact: Bella print skirt, �79, vest, �19, and necklace, �29, Mint Velvet (0845 456 2200 / www.mintvelvet.co.uk).

“On the other hand, it can be a perfect choice for tall women and for those who wish to camouflage thick legs.”

Keep things simple and opt for a high-waisted style in a plain colour.

Skirt SOS: Adding height is all-important to this look. Employ the highest heels in your wardrobe and stick to nude tones to elongate your legs.

Maxi-mum cover

The maxi never goes out of vogue, especially as summer approaches.

This season skirts are the floor-skimming alternative to the long dresses we’re used to.

“A maxi skirt is a great way to lengthen the body,” says Pincus. “Maxis have become airier, lighter and more flowing, but if you have a curvy figure, opt for more of a fitted skirt.”

Skirt SOS: Under-play everything else, especially if you’ve opted for a print.

Anti-skirt

Don’t despair if the tomboy in you can’t bear to be spotted in a skirt.

Playsuits and shorts are the androgynous option but give your look a subtle, feminine edge.

Pincus says: “Playsuits with floaty legs can give the illusion of wearing a skirt, but you’re still in your comfort zone!

“Long, full shorts are another option and can also be worn more like a skirt.”