How to dress like a grown up with Shane Watson

How to dress like a grown up with Shane Watson: Ditch your dress – it’s the summer of the skirt

  • Shane Watson shares advice for embracing this season’s summer skirt trend
  • She suggests sticking to high waist and a long line skirt for looking smart at work
  • British style expert reveals a selection of High Street stores offering the look 

There’s no question that the longish print midi dress has served us well. It’s still going strong and why wouldn’t it be when it’s feminine and as easy as jeans? I’ll probably wear one for back to restaurants day in May, and I won’t be alone.

But therein lies the problem.

The pretty dress has reached saturation point. Since Carrie Symonds wore that pink print Ghost dress outside Number 10 two years ago we’ve been spoilt for choice, and now we’re itching for a change.

Of course, we’ll keep on wearing dresses (personally I love a maxi in summer), but if you’re talking about feeling fresh, going back to the office with a spring in your step, finding that perfect balance between cool and feminine, dressy and casual, then a skirt feels right. After a few years of playing second fiddle to the dress, the skirt is back.

Stylish: Shane Watson takes inspiration from Olivia Palermo (pictured) for embracing this season’s trend

There are a few styles that fit the bill (just to be clear, one of them isn’t a mini, which is certainly around for summer, but then so are midriff cut outs and playsuits . . . best left to daughters and nieces) and lengthwise, you can take your pick from below-the-knee to ankle grazing.

Right now, I’m taken with the idea of a tiered skirt. A tiered dress can work if you keep it plain, but a tiered almost ankle-length skirt is the more wearable option — with a blazer or a turtleneck in the day and a soft sloppy Joe or a gold Lurex T-shirt at night.

Mango does a pale khaki ankle grazer (£35.99, and By Iris has several, including one in white crepe with a speckled black print which would look as good with a black sweater and white trainers or a silk slip under a jacket for that wedding that may still happen (£95,

If you’re not tall then a closer to knee-length skirt might suit you better (£89, and your top should be cropped at the waist. The secret to wearing tiers is keep everything else simple: you want a top that shows where your waist starts, but nothing tight or tucked in, and nothing floaty or boho.

Your smart-casual look, while the weather’s still cool, is a tiered skirt with a sweater and boots (ankle or higher) and a cross-body bag. When the weather warms up, switch the sweater for a T-shirt under a boxy cardigan and strappy leather sandals.

If you want a skirt to look more smart for work, the answer is a high waist and a long line, like Next’s yellow cargo skirt (£35, or even a darkish denim midi pencil skirt (£115,


  • Go for abstract prints not florals. 
  • A black maxi skirt is the new LBD. 
  • Wear tiers with a sweater and boots. 
  • Try cargo skirts at work 

This is a big season for longer denim skirts which need a split up the front to allow you to walk. Make sure the split isn’t too high and watch skirt splits in general: what looks innocuous on a model standing still could leave you feeling naked once you’re wearing it.

Otherwise, if you’re looking for a skirt that will make the switch from day to evening with a change of shoes, then a longish pale-print skirt (£110, is the answer. Make sure the background is white if you want to keep the look summery.

For evening, I’m sold on a tiered poplin skirt, so long as it’s plain and probably black (£59.99,, which will look great with a fitted knit or soft blouse, and for summer holidays — who cares where — one in white and blue tie-dye (£49.99,

If long isn’t your thing then what looks newly tempting is an A-line print skirt, like Uterque’s white skirt with bohemian black embroidery (£125, Wear it with a black puff-sleeved top and you’ll look dressier and more modern than you would in a floaty print dress.

Last but not least, bias-cut satin skirts are still around, and while they may not instantly grab you, they are useful for pulling on in the evenings, when the weather gets more summery. Uterque does one in burnt orange (pictured opposite). I’d say steer clear of jersey skirts and chiffon or anything too loose and floppy — these are the styles that give skirts a bad name.

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