“Skirt” may seem an odd wardrobe piece to name a whole magazine after. I mean, why not
“bra” if it’s for women? But, I get it. Skirts have become my power wardrobe staple.

I used to wear skirts as part of suits when I worked in Washington, D.C. Pencil skirts that made
me look serious, skirts with a flippy little kick pleat that showed that sometimes I could be
frivolous too.

But, when I moved to Charleston, I decided I would walk everywhere I could, and pants would
be the wardrobe staple that would let me stride with confidence over the peninsula. And, by
pants, I meant long pants, of course.

Because, I don’t wear shorts anymore.

When I was young, I used to wear what we called “Daisy Dukes” – you know, the super-short,
ragged-bottom denim cutoffs. Looking back, I’m not sure I had the legs for them, but I had
youth, and that covers a whole host of sins.

I also wore tennis shorts because I wore those shorts pretty well, although I played tennis,

But not as badly as I wore the other shorts later in life. I shudder to recall them. You’ve seen
them even on other women, probably in old photos. Elastic-waisted, bunchy-fronted, the hems
stopping just short of the knee. Which is fine if you have the kind of knee that looks like
parentheses gently cradling a kneecap. My knees look a bit like badly-risen bread dough. The
shorts have the talent to make me look both short and stumpy.

I decided to give up shorts forever. I’ll just rock jeans.

But, of course, in the summer here, jeans form an oven-like seal around your nether regions.
Cute little metal rivets in the jeans turn into molten weapons in the sun. No jeans.

What about capris?

I bought some, thinking Audrey Hepburn in “Daddy Longlegs.” I hoped to feel French. And then
I saw a photo of myself in capris. Better than shorts, but still, my legs looked truncated. If I
looked French at all, it was peasant and not Paris.

And, then, finally, I discovered long, loose skirts.

Long enough to let me move in strong, confident steps. Open enough to let in the air. The swish
around my calves as I walk feels positively flirtatious.

Perhaps it was almost inevitable that I would write for a publication called “Skirt,” because
skirts have become my wardrobe saviors.

Long live skirts!

Helen Mitternight is a former AP reporter and current freelancer living in downtown Charleston. She headed up public relations for the Humane Society of the...

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