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Arts in Review

How-to-style: Maxi skirts

For the past year or so, this designer masterpiece has been seen both on and off the runways, flowing gracefully off the hips of such celebrities and fashion icons as Lauren Conrad, Ashley Olsen and Jennifer Lawrence. Ideal for both summer and winter due to its versatility, the maxi skirt is one of those great pieces that works for virtually every style. But why, then, are so many of us afraid to try one out?

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By Jasmie Proctor (Contributor) – Email

Print Edition: January 23, 2013

There is something to be said about the maxi skirt. It is one of the fashion world’s most classic creations, sported and adored by fashion lovers worldwide. For the past year or so, this designer masterpiece has been seen both on and off the runways, flowing gracefully off the hips of such celebrities and fashion icons as Lauren Conrad, Ashley Olsen and Jennifer Lawrence. Ideal for both summer and winter due to its versatility, the maxi skirt is one of those great pieces that works for virtually every style. But why, then, are so many of us afraid to try one out?

From what I have learned, it boils down to two main issues: body shape and height. Too short or too tall, too thin or too curvy: we always end up finding some excuse not to wear one. So many of us believe that maxi skirts only work for girls five-foot-five and above, and that short girls couldn’t possibly wear one because they would inevitably end up looking even smaller than usual.

This is far from the truth. Whether you are short, tall or average height, the maxi skirt can work for you – regardless of your body shape. You just have to know what you’re looking for.

The main trick to wearing a maxi skirt is all about balance: finding the right proportions on top to balance out the bulkiness on the bottom. One great way of achieving this harmony is by pairing the skirt with a slim-fitting top, as it will keep the attention on the skirt and make everything symmetrical from top to bottom. Look for ones in a solid colour or a simple print, something that coordinates well with the colour of your skirt. You could even try wearing a bodycon dress underneath to get this look. Or, for more daring individuals, try pairing the skirt with a crop top or bodice, and throw on a comfy cardigan for warmth.

The most important thing is to make sure you find the type of skirt that works for you. Generally, what you want to be looking for is one that cinches in at the smallest part of your torso or rather, your natural waistline, and flows down to your ankles. Make sure the skirt is slimmer fitting, nothing too voluptuous or billowy as you can easily get lost in the fabric, regardless of your height. This will give you a fluid line from top to bottom, which is what you want a maxi skirt to do. As for colours, it is completely up to you. In my opinion, solid colours work best. If you are aiming for a more slimming look, stick with darker neutrals, like black and grey. For a more girly look, you could try colours like blush pink, beige and white. As for fabrics, look for skirts made from cotton or silky chiffon, as these tend to lay flat and glide over the skin.

With all that in mind, let’s now focus on the accessories. For most styles, you want to keep the jewelry minimal, with nothing too over-the-top. A single long necklace or a couple of thin bangles can go a long way with this look. If you want to go one step further, try adding a vintage-looking belt to add even more definition to the waist. Adding a beanie or bowler cap could also be fun, while also serving to balance out the top and the bottom – it can add a little quirk to your look. If you are on the shorter side and are looking for length and height, I would definitely wear any solid-coloured, closed-toe wedged heel or ankle platform boot. An alternative to heels could be a pair of oxfords or flats. Put on a pair of nylons or tights underneath it all and you’ve got what you need to look fabulous in a maxi skirt.

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