growing a minimalist wardrobe: skirts.

May 31, 2017

As some of you might recall, I’ve got a four-month old milk monster at home. A benevolent monster, but still. Last week I went through my closet and removed from it all of the pieces of clothing that are decidedly not breast-feeding (or monster-) friendly. I carefully folded them up and put them into my bottom dresser drawer, to be revisited in another year when quick access to my breasts is not a prerequisite for getting dressed.

As I begin to think about what I might be able wear this summer, I’m contemplating the skirt more than ever. A simple combination of plain cotton tank + skirt, tucked in or out (pulled up or down) would make for a two-piece solution with plenty of lifespan after the milk monster has had his fill.

Of course, more than only being helpful for the breast-feeding among us, a skirt can be a breezy, summer-friendly item for anyone to embrace. Whether you wear yours loose and romantic, or tight and curve-hugging, a skirt could be a welcome alternative to pants or shorts in the middle of a heat wave.

Here are a few options, from ethically minded companies doing good work:

Ace & Jig: Ra Ra Midi Founded in 2009 with the mission to create seasonless, textile-rich collections, Ace & Jig’s airy fabrics inspire even this pattern-phobe to get on board with a little something lively. The elastic waist of the Ra Ra Midi lends itself to being worn either high-waisted or low-waisted, depending on your mood. The yarn-dyed fabric is dotted with a woven black and gold pattern. In other words: Fancy! Ethically made in India.

Alabama Chanin: The Rib Skirt Alabama Chanin has been a frontrunner in reviving American textile manufacturing, artisan tradition, and transparent supply chains since the early 2000s. All of their clothes are made from American-grown organic cotton in Florence, Alabama. Their lightweight Rib Skirt (pictured) is part of their newly launched Core Club and, it’s lovely. I love the slim fit and contrasting stitching. For folks who prefer their skirts with a bit more heft (and pockets!), the Mid-Length Skirt has wide slash pockets and a slit in the front for ease of movement. 100% organic cotton; seed-to-shelf made in the USA. 

Ali Golden: Silk Midi Skirt Ali Golden began as a one-woman operation in Oakland, California and has branched out to include a women-owned coop in Peru and a fair-trade facility in India. The line focuses on designed elevated basics that feel special, but not too special to wear every day. The elastic-waist Silk Midi Skirt is made from 100% silk crepe de chine that should give the skirt a bit of durability while still feeling delicate. Slit at the side. Made in a Certified Fair-Trade™ facility in India.

Black Crane: Wrap Skirt This 100% lightweight linen skirt has an apron-style front panel and an adjustable tie at the waist; the result is a skirt that looks breezy and romantic. Bonus: Hidden pockets behind the front panel are ideal for practicality and…posing. If you’re in the mood for a little color, look no furtherMade in Los Angeles.

Calder Blake: O’Keefe Wrap Skirt Designer Amanda Blake created Calder Blake with an eye toward creating beautiful, simple things, made to last. For anyone hoping for a skirt with a classic A-line silhouette, her cotton/linen O’Keefe Wrap skirt with patch pockets might be just the right thing. The wrap belt with nickel D-rings puts a modern twist on traditional wrap skirts. The skirt can be worn high- or low-waisted. Designed and made in California. 

Elizabeth Suzann: Bel Skirt For hot summer days, I’m not sure there’s a better fabric choice than linen gauze. The lightweight, yarn-dyed gray fabric is the first gray fabric available from Nashville-based Elizabeth Suzann, known for their thoughtfully designed essentials. The stretchy fabric paired with a stretchy waistband make it sound like wearing this, you’d be the most comfortable one in the crowd at just about any occasion. Made in the USA.

Han Starnes: Color Grown Skirt For folks who are after a slightly shorter design, the organic cotton Color Grown Skirt from Nashville-based designer Han Starnes falls just above the knee. A pleated front gives it a classic, youthful shape and, they say, the simple design allows the subtlety of the undyed, natural fibers to stand out. Sounds perfect to me. Made in North Carolina.

Kordal Knitwear: Alma Skirt Kordal Knitwear is a women-run business based here in New York. In 2014 they became venture fellows at Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator, an initiative of the Pratt Institute devoted to helping NYC designers “grow their start-ups into viable businesses, integrating local manufacturing and an ethical supply chain into their bottom line.” It’s currently sold out, but I love the long A-line shape of this clove-colored skirt, made from 50% mulberry silk and 50% royal alpaca. Ethically made in Lima, Peru.

PS. For anyone currently pregnant and looking for a perfect skirt to wear over or under your belly. I loved this one.

What about you guys? Any favorites to add to the mix? Strong feelings about skirts?

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  • Reply p May 31, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    Any of the skirts from Sweet Skins. I have several and wear them a LOT.

  • Reply Erin May 31, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    I get my skirts and sundresses from Goodwill. 🙂

    Wouldn’t pulling a tank top down to nurse stretch the fabric beyond being able to wear it again the next year?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE May 31, 2017 at 2:13 pm

      Depends on the tank top, of course!

  • Reply Karen May 31, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    A summer necessity! But, over $200 for an elastic waist skirt boggles my mind. They are a very simple piece to make. Even à la Alabama Chanin!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE May 31, 2017 at 7:12 pm

      I know so many factors go into these prices, including fair wages for workers, prices of domestic organic cotton, and surely a host of things I can’t even imagine. That said, making your own beautiful skirt would be wonderful! Hope you do!

  • Reply Courtney May 31, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    The Elizabeth Suzann skirt is really lovely. Another, lower priced option, would be to make simple skirts in high quality material. Skirts are easy to sew and usually don’t require more than 1-2 yards depending on the style.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE May 31, 2017 at 6:50 pm

      Always a lovely choice to make your own! One day I’ll learn to sew!

  • Reply Melanie May 31, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    Ive never been a skirt person, BUT lately I feel the need the add a midi skirt to my wardrobe. Now to just find the perfect one!

  • Reply Sadie May 31, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    I love these skirts, but I’m breastfeeding now, and I don’t see how any skirt would make breastfeeding any easier.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE May 31, 2017 at 7:26 pm

      Oh! I find two-pieces to be a lot easier than one, unless there are perfectly positioned buttons, in which case, terrific!

  • Reply Enn May 31, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    I also lean towards 2 pieces for bf with my 5 month yr old milk monster… although I am usually in 4 yr old everlane v-necks that I can yank down and one pair of jeans that will accommodate my still post-preg shape. Whatever works, but lovely choices for daydreaming 😉

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE May 31, 2017 at 8:54 pm

      To be very clear: Same! My exact outfit, most days.

  • Reply Dana Leigh Lyons May 31, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    Such a beautiful collection! I already adore Elizabeth Suzann, so am especially biased. Still, fun exploring the other new-to-me options!

  • Reply DRW June 1, 2017 at 1:39 am

    Is this post sponsored? Asking because I know you wear a number of these brands and have received clothes from them in the past. How does that work?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE June 1, 2017 at 6:28 am

      Nope! This series is never sponsored and sponsored posts are always disclosed! This series is an editorial round up of products that have caught my eye from companies whose work I admire! I’ve sometimes worked with these brands on sponsored content and I’ve sometimes had the opportunity to see samples of their work or have purchased items myself!

  • Reply Traci Barr Segal June 1, 2017 at 2:16 am

    From May through October, here in rural Mendocino county, I only wear skirts. I often purchase one or two new ones for the season (usually on eBay) and donate a few to Goodwill that I no longer like. I just feel best in a midi skirt!

  • Reply Jamie June 1, 2017 at 8:45 am

    What is your stance on Everlane? I notice that you don’t seem to feature them anymore.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE June 1, 2017 at 9:12 am

      Hi Jamie: I’ve had great luck with some of their items and less luck with others! They’re a good affordable option for a lot of folks, but the production can be a little hit or miss! I recently included them in my sweatshirt roundup, since that’s a product of theirs I’ve really liked!

  • Reply Sarah E June 1, 2017 at 10:11 am

    Love skirts for summer, but my real new passion (since last summer, at least) is breezy pants. Whether culottes or full-length, linen or just thin cotton, swingy, roomy pants are my hot weather jam, and what I’ll be searching (second-hand and the local import store) for this season.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE June 1, 2017 at 10:21 am

      Yes! Stay tuned!

  • Reply Corrie June 1, 2017 at 10:33 am

    Timely post! I’m due in 2 months and have started to think about a breastfeeding friendly wardrobe. I have a lot of flowy dresses in rotation right now that aren’t going to cut it when I have a baby to feed. Definitely going to consider a couple of skirts from this list, thank you!

    Also, ace&jig’s Ra Ra Midi has been great for me during pregnancy too. I just pull it up over my stomach and wear a tucked in tee with it. It’s got plenty of fabric and length and might just fit until the bitter end. Thinking of picking up a 2nd one.

  • Reply Tamara June 2, 2017 at 12:57 am

    I wear mostly dresses during the summer nowo, but I still have two skirts that I’ve had for five years and completely love. One I found at a thrift shop, the other is a linen number from a consignment shop. Recently I’ve been eye balling skirts (and tops!) from Not Perfect Linen on Etsy. I love the dresses of theirs that I have. That Elizabeth Susanne skirt looks amazing!

  • Reply Sophie June 2, 2017 at 1:41 am

    I agree – skirts and tops are wonderful for breastfeeding! I have a black cotton knit skirt that I can combine with a black tank or another black top to make a ‘dress’, although it works just as well with any other top in my wardrobe. It’s probably one of the best items of clothing I’ve ever bought!’

  • Reply Raissomat June 2, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    I’m currently pregnant ( 4mo+1w) and despite my tiny waist am already showing a LOT. Luckily I always preferred big, tent-like clothing, so most of my stuff will fit me for a good while. Only in the very high heat of summer I might find myself clueless and in need of a little shop..the skirt you mentioned looked good but too hugging for me, but the stork site has some pieces that really speak to me, thanks for mentionig!!

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