Winter skirts for every occasion and budget, from cosy to party-ready

Whistles' leather skirt
Whistles' leather skirt

In this fortnightly column, fashion editor Charlie Gowans-Eglinton and her mother Geri Gowans go shopping together, translating trends into buys that will work for any age and style that spans their 31-year gap. This week they're on the hunt for winter skirts, from Christmas-party ready to winter woolens.

Charlie Gowans-Eglinton, 31

I love the chuck-on-ability of mid-length dresses and skirts in the summer months: just add a blouse or T-shirt and a pair of sandals and you’re out the door in five minutes flat. 

But in winter, skirts feel like much more effort. First you need to navigate tights and tackle the static that comes with, and then find a pair of shoes that work with your hemline in a fabric that doesn’t look odd against your chosen denier. 

I can rule out the majority of my summer florals, as light colours look out of step with opaques and leather boots. If you are seeking a floral that will work year-round, look for one with a dark base colour (black, navy, burgundy, deep green) that makes coordinating with winter coats and boots easy. 

Silk-mix skirt, £219, Whistles

Tights, though always practical, aren’t always stylish, but they were championed on the autumn/winter ‘19 catwalks in myriad deniers, colours and even prints - though I’d stick to sheer black at this time of year as they don’t look too heavy. They’d look fab with a party skirt (‘tis definitely the season) like this beautiful metallic paisley skirt from Whistles. I look for maximum versatility in my partywear, and this delivers: I’d wear it with a chunky jumper and knee high boots for dinners out, with a silk blouse or fine-gauge sparkly knit and heels for cocktails or dancing, and - thinking ahead to next summer - with wedged espadrilles and a colourful blouse to the June wedding already in my calendar. 

For a heavier-weight skirt, I’m looking to this season’s riff on the 1970s both in colour palette and fabric choice. Corduroy is at its best in those warm autumnal shades of ochre yellow, umber brown, and burnt sienna deep red, and it’s easy to find on a budget this season: Uniqlo’s high-waisted corduroy midi skirt is currently reduced to £9.90, so I could buy more than one of the colour options of caramel, raspberry, cream, olive and navy - any of which would go with the single pair of burgundy Jimmy Choo ankle boots that I already have at home. 

For really cold days, though, I’m going for optimum warmth in the form of a leather skirt. Leather pencil skirts are easy to find and can look fab (see the Duchess of Sussex’s deep red version) but don’t suit my shape: I love the cut of Whistles’ toffee coloured version, which is high-waisted and belted then loose-fitting to below the knee (£299). If you prefer faux-leather, Kitri has three great options: my pick is the striped A-line (£125, kitristudio.com).

Charlie Gowans-Eglinton and her mother, Geri Gowans Credit: Andrew Crowley

Geri Gowans, 62

There are such a lot of good looking skirts online, but I ventured into central London to feel the weight and quality of the fabric and judge the degree of swish and swirl, and (finally) found more than one worthy of a place in my wardrobe.

I did about 5,000 steps in Selfridges but didn’t find anything. There were lots of tiny minis, voluminous confections and knitted sheaths meant for quite a different customer. I really don’t want to be that “oh yes I remember her - she was in that knitted skirt with the slightly alarming neon stripes” woman.  Some styles and patterns demand to be the first topic of conversation in any room - they certainly can’t be worn every week or even every month. I had a fabulous jacket that competed with me and every item of clothing I wore - and it always won - that had to be given away.

In Liberty I found the truly wonderful Le Kilt range of pure Scottish wool, beautifully tailored, irreverent versions of the clan wardrobe staple. There are several that playfully mix tartans, and others that feature bold monochrome panels with the precision pleats. They are impeccably sewn, about £500, and great quality.

Wool wrap skirt, £430, Le Kilt at Matches Fashion

Next stop Fenwick, where I was quite drawn to the LK Bennett ‘Earnest’ green boiled-wool pencil skirt.  It’s belted, falls to the knee and has some stretch - such an easy classic to wear. At £150, it’s less daunting and will look good with a soft blouse or a knit, and also comes in bright pink. LK Bennett also has a wool-blend, button-through, a-line skirt in butterscotch just like a favourite I had in the seventies and so lovely with a black poloneck, boots and tights. 

Finally, and just as I was beginning to flag, I saw the Agnes b collection and fell in love with the simple mid-length grey Shetland wool ‘Matis’ skirt with two big beautiful pockets. I always want pockets and these are sewn to the side, so that they are perfectly placed to keep my hands cosy on winter walks. I can even put a bank card, lipstick and a tissue in the pockets and go out without a bag - what heaven! The black ribbed waist is wide and cinches beautifully, and the gathering is soft and flattering. It’s simple, not cheap at £225, but marvellous quality and beautifully styled - and found just in time for tea. 

Shop with mother, Charlie Gowans-Eglinton and Geri Gowans's column, appears fortnightly on Wednesdays in The Daily Telegraph and is published online on Wednesdays at 6am on Telegraph Fashion.

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