Let’s talk about skorts. Practical, comfortable, but if you’re like me you may have decided you’d never have one in your closet. But maybe after this past year you're considering skorts again and are wondering what are the best skorts for grown women and women over 40.
My History with Skorts
Growing up, my mom and the moms of my friends wore culottes, which had elasticized waists and sharp pleats; pastel polyester or crisp cotton twill hitting the knee, paired with pastel striped polo shirts and tees. In college, I had a black skort: from the front it looked like a mini a-line skirt but the back showed it was divided, offering coverage and comfort.
That’s the last time I wore a skort and I swore the last time I ever would. After that, skorts again became the attire of moms, or those on the courts or links. I was not a golfer, I didn’t play tennis, and even if I had a kid I didn’t want to LOOK like a mom.
Why I Now Want a Skort
Surviving a pandemic, at least for me, changed how I look at my wardrobe. I realized I didn’t need half of what I owned. And the other half… it no longer made sense. Where was I going to wear all those cocktail dresses and pantsuits? I’ve survived a hell of a year, why am I going to punish myself with control garments and heels?
I wanted clothes that expressed my personal style, but I wanted them functional too. Not feeling comfortable trotting around town in a pair of bike shorts and often finding looser shorts to ride up and cause thigh chafing, I found myself eyeing skorts. I KNOW, right?
But a skort is pretty darn genius. It comes anywhere from just covering the bum to hitting the knees. Straight, a-line, or with some flare, a skort has built-in chafe protection and modesty with the hidden fitted shorts underneath. While some skorts still only look appropriate on the golf course or tennis court, others can be stylish street wear (or morning power walk/afternoon kayak/evening stroll wear).
I am a fan of the type of skort that doesn’t LOOK like a skort. While I rocked the visible divided skirt in the late ‘90s with my Steve Madden platform slides, in 2021 I think that effect feels a bit too much like my mom in the ‘80s. But not every skort is created equal; when searching for skorts for summer activities this year I found a lot of duds before I found any winners.
What I Wanted in a Skort
What I was looking for in a skort:
- Size-inclusivity. Not only do I want to showcase items that can fit the largest percentage of my audience, I feel that buying size-inclusive brands is a way of voting with my wallet. If we continue to support the brands that recognize 67% of the American female population over a size 12, maybe that will encourage other brands to follow suit.
- Street style. While I would be wearing these skorts for activities, I wanted to have a look that could go from canoe to café for lunch after our excursion. This meant nothing too athletic looking (mesh, contrast colors, lots of reflective tape), and also being long enough that I can bend down to tie my shoe without my rear on display.
- Pockets. I need to carry at a minimum, a key on a ring, an ID, and my phone, which is an iPhone Max/larger sized smartphone.
- Summer fabric. Since I would be wearing this in the summer in the DC area, which is regularly over 100 degrees from July to September, and high humidity, I was not down with any heavyweight fabrics like ponte or thick twill.
For reference, I am 46 years old, 5’3” in height, around 190-200 pounds, and usually wear a size 14. I have a soft curve at my lower belly and a solid, round rear, and solid thighs. I used to weightlift regularly but since the pandemic my primary forms of exercise are riding the Peloton bike, walking, and yoga.
What Are the Best Skorts for Grown Women? My Honest Thoughts
I believe any woman can wear whatever the hell she wants to wear. If she's happy, she's chic. But I do know as I have gotten older I have different priorities for what I need from my clothing. I call that Grown Women Style.
Grown women may desire a bit of length, or something not quite as snug. With age comes wisdom, and many Grown women desire more practicality to their fashion: versatility, durability, comfort, and practical details like being able to machine wash, having functional pockets, and fabrics that are comfortable and appropriate for the weather and situation.
There is no specific age when a woman becomes grown. I often focus on women over 40 as I am 46, but I have learned from all of you that a grown woman can be 28 or 88. It's more a mindset than a birthdate on your driver's license. I am doing this skort review from my own grown woman's perspective. My needs for skorts may be different from yours; while some skorts in this review may be personal fails, that doesn't mean they are bad items and may be perfect for your body, lifestyle, and needs.
A few of these skorts I took for a test walk around my neighborhood in the heat. You can see the results in a highlight I have on Instagram called skorts which is available at this link. Below is what I tried and what I thought!
Athleta Skorts Review
I am a fan of Athleta, and I usually find their products well made and well-fitting. I also appreciate that Athleta offers their collection up to a 3X with many petite offerings. I had tried Athleta for leggings and workout tops, but had yet to try their skorts.
Athleta Ace Tennis Skort Review
The Athleta Ace Tennis Skort is available in two lengths: 13.5” and 15.5”, sizes XXS-3X, in a variety of colors. I ordered one of each length, in size Large.
The 13.5” skort was way too short on me, ending just at the bottom of the rear. Also, my rear caused the skort to be higher in the back than the front, making me self-conscious about my curves.
The 15.5” skort was a better length, one I’d actually wear out in public. However, this skirt seemed to be made more for a pear shape. It was loose on the waist and it hung weirdly on my hips and looked both too small and too large at the same time.
That being said, this is a good skort and I can see why so many of you love it. It is made of classic activewear stretchy fabric (like a pair of your favorite Athleta leggings), but I found it surprising that the skirt has a raw hem. I wonder how that would hold up over washings; some reviews shared that the hem didn’t hold up well over time.
The skort has a zipper stash pocket on the upper back, perfect for an ID and your key. Then on the legs of the undershorts are two pockets perfect for your cell phone, and even a slim cardholder wallet (note that it doesn’t have a traditional ball pocket for tennis players). It is definitely a flippy/flare style; those who feel they have enough on the bottom half may find this skort adds more volume than you desire.
I returned these without taking them for a test run because I knew they wouldn’t be ones I’d wear. If you own the Athleta Ace Skort, do share your feedback in the comments to assist other Wardrobe Oxygen readers!
Athleta Soho Skort Review
When I shared I was reviewing skorts, several of you told me your love for the Soho Skort from Athleta. So many it was the first skort I ordered. I bought it in black, size 14 Regular, my usual size with Athleta. This skort comes in numbered sizes 0-26 with Tall options.
The Soho Skort is made from a lightweight performance fabric Athleta calls Recycled Featherweight Stretch™. The waistband is more like traditional activewear leggings fabric, the undershorts are a micromesh fabric. The skort has two front pockets and two back zipper pockets. Out of the box, I saw why so many of you love this skort.
However, yet again, the Athleta skort did not fit me correctly. The waistband was too big, but if I went down a size it wouldn’t accommodate my rear. After an hour in the heat walking, the waistband grew even larger while the rest of the skirt stayed the same size. The waistband is also lightweight and easily folds over. May not be as much of an issue if you are wearing an untucked top that covers the waistband.
The skort's undershorts were very stretchy; pulled down they were long enough to prevent chub rub on the lower thighs but then there was a gap between my crotch and the short, meaning chafing could happen up there. The shorts also rose up after just one block. On my mile-long walk, I had to stop to yank them down multiple times.
The concept was good, but it was not the right choice for me. However, they are worth checking out if you have a different shape from me or don’t plan to tuck in tops with your skort.
Lands' End Skorts Review
How could I not check out Lands' End? It's a favorite place for practical fashion in a decent size range with decent prices. I had never tried Lands' End for any sort of activewear/athleisure before, but many of you have raved about their collection so I was happy to try!
Lands' End Women's Active Skort Review
The Lands' End Active Skort is available in black and navy, regular sizes XS-3X and petites in XS-XL. The poly/spandex fabric offers UPF50 sun protection. The skort has an interior pocket big enough for a phone and an exterior back pocket to secure your keys and ID.
I figured with the word active in the name, this skort would be ready for fitness activities. Nope, this is a fashion skort. This is made from a heavyweight knit like ponte, the undershorts are also heavy. There is no wicking of moisture or special technology that would make this knit comfortable in 100-degree humid DC weather, let alone 80-degree weather, unless you're just wearing it for a Target run.
I was thinking about teachers and care providers who have jobs where they may need to get on the floor and desire some coverage with their skirts. This may be a good option, but this fits more like a straight/subtle a-line fit so squatting down may have the skirt hem rise. But this skort doesn't look like a skort when on; it could easily work for more casual of workplaces with a nice knit top or sweater. On my 5'3″ self it hit about an inch above my knee.
Lands' End Active Board Short Swim Skort
I am such a fan of Lands' End swimwear, I was thinking maybe this longer swim skort could work as a street skort. This skort had great features: a hidden drawstring at the stretchy waist, three pockets, UPF 50 protection… even the description says it's a great option to wear from the water to your bike or for a walk. This skort is available in regular sizes 2-26 and Long sizes 6-18 in a range of colors.
This skort is the kind of fabric you'd expect from board shorts, and the undershorts are swimsuit material. While I own 3.5″ shorts (the length of the undershorts) and find they work for my 5'3″ self for preventing chub rub, these undershorts felt like true boyshorts; my bum was spilling out the back and my thighs immediately shimmied these up to my crotch.
This skort would be great if you desire more coverage in your swimwear. It would be fantastic with a swim top for a sassy pool look, and with a rashguard you'll be protected and looking great on the beach. But this skort is not meant to prevent chafing for much more than a walk to Thrasher's Fries on the boardwalk.
Duluth Trading Co. Skorts Review
Duluth wouldn't even be on my radar if it weren't for Kathryn, a long-time reader of Wardrobe Oxygen. I trust her judgment and she swears by Duluth. I had yet to make a purchase from the brand, but when I knew I was going to review skorts, I headed to Duluth to make my first order. Kathryn was right: the quality surpasses the price and many pieces are great wardrobe staples, regardless of your personal style aesthetic.
Duluth Breezeshooter Skort Review
I dug the idea of this woven fabric as a skort; sort of like an active version of linen. Super breathable, four pockets, mesh shorts, sounded like perfection, other than it wasn't available in plus sizes (just sizes 4-18; what a missed opportunity). I ordered it in black, size 14.
And when the skort arrived it looked like what I was desiring. It looked like a casual skirt. I found the waistband snug over my hips and rear, but once it hit my waist it was comfortable. The length was great, just above my knees but not frumpy. The textured fabric elevated the skort so it didn't look so much like activewear. I loved how cool and comfortable I found the mesh shorts.
However, the shorts underneath were not long enough for me, nor were they snug enough to stay in place. If I did a review from my bedroom mirror I'd give this skort five stars. But by the time I got downstairs to take a photo in it, my thoughts dropped at least one star, if not two.
If you have firmer or thicker thighs, this skort may be great (hence so many 5-star reviews. But go through the three- and four-star reviews and you'll see others who also found the shorts too short and the waistband too snug to comfortably get on and off in a rush.
Duluth NoGA Classic Skort Review
This looked very similar to other skorts I ordered, but I liked the moisture-wicking, the UPF sun protection, and all the 5-star reviews. Unlike the Breezeshooter, the Duluth NoGA skort is available in sizes XS-3X. I ordered one in size Large.
This is a nice skort. The shorts are looser and lighter weight than the Athleta skorts, and like Athleta, I found the undershorts too short and they ended up riding up on me after about two blocks. The shorts could easily be an inch or two longer and still be hidden under the skirt, even when sitting. The fabric is heavier than I would usually choose for summer, but for some reason. it was comfortable on a hot “soupy” day in July.
The problem with this skort is one I encountered with Athleta: it seems made for more of an hourglass or pear shape. The skort fit, but it had these weird bulges at the hips. Many reviews said that going down a size took care of that, but considering it fit well everywhere else, I worried going down to a Medium would not look or feel good. I even wore this one for a walk wondering if wearing and then washing would change the shape. Nope, the same fit though I am happy to report this skort does not shrink!
Reviews of Other Brands of Skorts
These were the only brands where I purchased more than one style. However, I still ordered many more skorts and share my thoughts below:
BALEAF UPF 50+ 20″ Knee Length Golf Skort w/ Pockets
I had never heard of BALEAF but a few of you DMed me on Instagram telling me how awesome this brand is. Great price, great quality, and skorts in a range of lengths and sizes. Having experienced far too many skorts that looked mid-thigh length on models (no matter the site's measurements) I was down with trying a skort longer than any other I had ordered.
This skort is advertised as knee length. It is a poly/spandex blend and has an adjustable waistband, two secure pockets (one in the waistband good for your ID, one zipper one in back good for keys), and two front pockets deep enough to hold a large smartphone and keep it in place even when hiking up a hill. It's available in a bunch of colors in sizes XS-XXL; I ordered Deep Pink in Large.
I love this skort. It is WAY longer than what I would ever think to get for a skort, but I think that's why I love it. It's swingy like a skater skirt, just above the knees, but designed for performance. When I squat, my thighs are still covered. When I sit down, my legs aren't bare against the seat.
And most importantly? The undershorts are long enough and stay in place. The waist didn't grow, it didn't fold over. I found the fit very cute over my curves. The only issue I found with this skort was the lack of a more secure pocket for a smartphone. Those with smaller phones may be able to tuck it into the back zipper pocket, but a pocket on the mesh undershorts would have made this pretty darn perfect.
This has made me check out more of BALEAF, which is available on Amazon and the BALEAF website. They have an amazing range of skorts in different silhouettes, fabrics, and lengths. Amazon has select sizes and styles, BALEAF's website has the full range of colors and styles and sizes XS-2XL and 14W-22W.
Since this is one of the skorts I did keep, I can share the experience laundering it. The first and second times I washed on cold and line dried and it looked great and performed well. The next time I washed it, it was after helping a stranger with a medical emergency while I was on vacation. This individual was bleeding and crying and I got both on me. I washed the skort on hot and put it in a very hot dryer. Still looks great, same size, performs the same. I feel confident recommending BALEAF and this skort!
Chico's UPF50 Neema Skort
I don't think anyone is surprised that I not only tried a skort that was offered by Chico's but that I also loved the fit. Chico's fits me in general, quite well. This skort is available in a few different colors (though the summer colors are on clearance and being discontinued) and sizes 0-20/22. I ordered it in my usual size 2 in Chico's.
This is the kind of skort I was looking for. The fabric is like the Athleta Soho Skort – a stretchy but crepe-y performance fabric. It has a stretchy waistband but also a drawstring for a secure fit. The skirt isn't too fitted but isn't flippy, and it hits at a nice point above my knee. But the best part? The undershorts fit great and barely budge, even through hours of sightseeing in the blistering heat with sweat running down your legs.
The only problem with this skort is the pockets. The two front pockets are good; they can hold a lot without ruining the fit and will stay in place as you hike up a hill. But there are no zipper or velcro pockets to secure items, and if you're doing a seated activity, there's a chance your items will fall out.
I have washed and dried this skort at least six times and it still fits the same and looks the same. I'd totally buy this skort in a second color if I had more occasions coming up this summer that required one!
Zella Taylor Skort
I have had a lot of luck with Zella activewear over the years. In fact, this is one of the first brands I checked for a skort, figuring it would be good quality, a good price, and well designed. The Zella Taylor Skort is a 16″ length with an elasticized plus drawstring waist, quick-dry recycled fabric, and several colors in sizes XXS-XXL. I ordered one in Large.
I had high hopes when I put on this skort and headed out for an hour-long walk on a warm summer morning. I liked the fabric, I liked the length, the shorts were staying in place. One point off for the fact that this skort only has the two front pockets; no security pockets for keys or ID.
The skort performed great. The shorts stayed in place through the entire walk; no need to yank them down. I liked the fabric which didn't cling and was lightweight. However, both the undershorts and the waistband were made out of a heavier fabric that was NOT moisture-wicking. By the end of the walk, my waistband and the shorts were soaking with sweat and looked it.
Also, my phone started creeping out of the pocket as soon as I started walking so I had to bring along a belt bag to carry my essentials. The skort this one is most similar to is the one from Chico's, but I prefer the shorts and waistband of the Chico's skort.
L.L.Bean Vista Camp Skort
I didn't have high hopes for this skort. While I love L.L.Bean for some things like fleeces and t-shirts, I rarely have success with bottoms because they are created for a much more hourglass/pear shape than I have. I always end up with the waist too snug, the rise too high, and weird bumps on the hips.
The same happened with this skort. I could barely get it on over my butt, the waist fell so high it was near my ribcage, and the skirt poked out on the sides like jodhpurs. The only reason I am sharing this review is because the skort is a nice fabric, a good length, and if you do well with L.L.Bean bottoms this may be a good choice for you.
Girlfriend Collective Moss Skort
I want so desperately to love Girlfriend Collective. I have bought from this brand multiple times and the only thing I wear regularly is their belt bag. But I keep buying because I love the concept of this brand and when I saw they had a skort, I ordered it.
Available in XXS-6XL and a range of colors, the Girlfriend Collective Moss Skort is made from 79% RPET and 21% spandex which is sweat-wicking and crafted from recycled water bottles. It has mesh pockets on the undershorts. I ordered it in XL, my usual size in Girlfriend Collective.
This skort was super short. When I bent over the backview was indecent. And the shorts rode up as soon as I stepped; they were essentially boyshort underwear offering more modesty than a pair of underwear, but nowhere enough length to stop thigh chafing.
It was also very high waisted; the combination inspired this post about skorts for grown women. I would have loved this skort if I were 26. But at 46, I felt like I'd be going out on the town in a skirted swimsuit.
Arctix Women's Active Skort
Arctix is an outdoor activity retailer for men, women, and children that is also nicely priced. It also has a great size range for women from XS (0/2) to 4X (28/30). You can find Arctix at several outdoor stores; Amazon is the authorized online seller. I never tried Arctix before, but a few of you recommended the brand so I ordered their Active Skort in the 17″ length in size Large Regular, which is a 12/14. This skort is available in a range. ofcolors in sizes XS-4X with short and tall options.
The Large was way too big. I definitely needed a medium as it was big when I put it on and it grew as I wore it on a mile-long walk on a hot summer day. I wonder if I sized down to Medium in this skort it would not only fit better but also the shorts would stay in place. Because the shorts rode up big time and drove me batty.
This skort is a very “I shop for streetwear at REI because I am an outdoorsy person” vibe. Unlike the other skorts I've reviewed, this was more like a twill (but a performance twill) and it had a proper fly and smart pockets. The fabric is moisture-wicking, UPF50, abrasion-resistant, and all the things you want out of active outdoorwear. This skort isn't my personal style, but if I did more hiking and outdoor activities I'd repurchase these in a Medium to see if the shorts then would stay in place.
Whew, I know that was a lot! But I hope you find this a helpful resource if you are looking for the best skorts for grown women. And if you have tried any of these skorts or have a skort you really love, do share it below in the comments!