Posted by: Necci – May 18, 2012
I spotted her on the opposite corner of the street, swathed in turquoise fabric that was billowing in the wind. Compulsively I crossed the street. I was nervous to lock eyes, not sure if my mouth could utter the words necessary to bring to life the necessary connection, but there was an innocence about her that tore down the walls barring my instincts. After a few more moments of close examination, the impulse welling up inside me finally burst and the words poured out: “Where did you get that skirt?”
My world flipped upside down when last summer, for the first time, I spotted the “new wave” of maxi skirt on a girl in Manhattan. (If you’re unfamiliar with the term maxi, it’s used in fashion to refer to dresses or skirts that are long, oftentimes brushing the floor in length.) I have been a longtime fan of the maxi dress, and would go so far as to say that style is worn much more frequently in our city of Richmond. However, two years ago, had you mentioned the maxi skirt, I would have written it off as something worn only by hippie chicks, or a relic of the Victorian era. (Though apparently the “peasant” skirt also enjoyed a moment in the 90s--who would have known? I was too engrossed in the Spice Girls to notice.) While the maxi dress has been a wardrobe mainstay for the past several years, I’d like to personally vouch for its younger cousin, the maxi skirt. This look is not only fun to wear, but is much less daunting than I--and possibly you, fearless reader--previously imagined.
The maxi dress, aka something you probably already feel comfortable wearing:
Prior to the encounter described above, I had only seen the maxi skirt in photos of modelesque creatures on various fashion blogs. I initially thought that being shorter than 5 foot 7 and having an ass might disqualify me from pulling it off. Looking like I was cast for Little House on the Prairie only added to my fears. Yet, the desire to prance around in one of these floaty numbers proved strong. I sucked it up and asked for a hunter green maxi for Christmas.
All of my fears melted away when I dared, for the first time, to step out in that skirt. I paired it with a white button up blouse. The simplicity of the look, large blocks of monochrome on monochrome, evoked a Rothko painting. I’m keen on wearing prints, and have become a bit weary of this tendency. My new skirt opened up a whole world of sartorial options. Though I might add that it did need a bit of hemming if I wanted to wear it with flat shoes (I’m 5’5" on a good day).
What I have come to love most about the maxi skirt is its versatility and ability to transcend seasons. Just yesterday at work I asked a few co-workers what they thought of the look. One said she didn't think she’d wear it enough to make the piece worth the investment. I beg to differ. The nature of the skirt allows it to be dressed up and down in a number of ways. For example, you can pair it with a cropped top or form fitting knit shirt to create a casual look. I love this cropped white blouse with this gorgeous mint number:
Another option: try a blazer or cardigan for a work appropriate outfit. Throwing a blazer over this look by Tibi would make the outfit appropriate for almost any office. As is, I’d say you’re ready for an evening out.
Additionally, a blouse, tucked in tee (also with a blazer) or a simple sweater make the look office appropriate. These options also create a casual look you could wear for a daytime outing or dinner.
Say you dig the pleated look, but simply are not quite ready for the maxi. Wearing a shorter pleated skirt is a great way to comfortably ease yourself into the look. Go ahead, take the edge off. My bet is that after wearing this you’ll be primed to take a chance on a longer version.
Madewell has something very similar to this skirt available.
If you like the maxi length, but feel uncomfortable sporting the popular pleated version, there are many other options out there at the moment. This gorgeous blue skirt by Catherine Malandrino looks more like a sarong that you would feel
comfortable wearing dressed up or down.
This and other options may fit better on ladies who are shorter in stature and/or a bit curvier. I love how this gorgeous printed number by Mara Hoffman is shorter in the front. I’d pair it strategically with sandals I wanted to show off. Something that ties around the ankle would pair well with the tribal evoking print and bohemian fit of this skirt.
The maxi skirt is well worth your money as it also transcends seasons. The floaty fabric makes it a comfortable option for warmer weather, while the length allows you to wear it comfortably in colder months. Friends, if you haven’t given this look a chance and are curious, I say give in! I’ve seen many of these sold at agreeable price points; try Forever 21, H & M (where the girl mentioned at the beginning of this tale purchased hers), or Zara. If you’re still skeptical about making the purchase or whether you can pull one of these beauties off, feel free to take this up with me personally.
By Kristina Headrick