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Fashion Challenge: Maxi Skirts


How to wear maxi skirts
Photo Credits: 1 – Mary Kate Olsen, 2 – Denni via Vanessa Jackman, 3 – Kyla via Blue Collar Catwalk

When I think maxi skirt, my thoughts automatically fly to peasant skirts: You know, those boho bottoms that the Olsen twins popularized during their early days at NYU? While they certainly had their run, I’m happy to tell you this post isn’t about peasant skirts. It is however, about their sleek lookalike: the maxi skirt. Its long and shapely silhouette, versatility, and minimalist vibe make the maxi skirt the perfect Fashion Challenge for you to try!

Maxi skirts are great because they are more versatile than a maxi dress: You can pair them with almost any shirt, blouse, or cami in your closet, plus they are perfect for layering. As a bonus, maxi skirts work for both summer and fall: designers like Richard Chai and Peter Som utilized the long skirt in their fall collections. But just a little warning: this look takes courage — it’s not a trend for the fashionably faint at heart! Do you think you can handle this Fashion Challenge?

Tips and Tricks for Rocking the Maxi Skirt

  • Balance is key. Because your entire bottom half is covered, don’t be afraid to show a little skin on top. Mary-Kate pairs her maxi skirt with a deep v-neck in picture one (talk about a great opportunity to sport your favorite American Apparel tee). If you are too curvy for such a low cut top, try a simple button-up with a little skin showing at the neck, as Kyla does above.
  • Take advantage of this figure-friendly piece. If you are self conscious about your legs, this trend was made for you! It completely hides thicker legs, making them look sleek, while also allowing you to showcase other features you like best about your body. This skirt also adds length to your bottom half, especially if you choose a high-waisted version, so all the petite ladies out there should take advantage of this as well (be sure to get a slim skirt – too much volume will overpower your fame). Just look at how long MK’s legs look above!
  • Find the right length. Ideally, the skirt should just brush the tops of your shoes, so shop for the length appropriate for the shoes you plan on wearing that day.
  • Avoid the peasant skirt look. Steer clear of a bohemian vibe by looking for skirts with a minimalist design. The easiest way to work this look would be with basic neutrals. That doesn’t mean that you can’t pull off a pattern; just stick to modern graphics, like Kyla’s bright plaid above, or Elisa’s stripes seen below:

all the pretty birds Elisa Nalin
Photo Credit – Elisa Nalin via All the Pretty Birds

Get The Look

maxi skirt example

Product Information: Maxi skirt – Dorothy Perkins, Printed top – ModCloth, Belt – Urban Outfitters, Blazer – Old Navy, Heels – Piperlime, Knot bracelet – ASOS, Snake print bangle – ASOS, Embellished sandals – Nordstrom

This look is a great example of the transitional quality of a maxi skirt. For warmer weather, tuck in a printed blouse and belt at the waist. Slip on some fun bangles and embellished sandals for an easy-going look. (I think this would look especially cute with a loose side braid.) When fall rolls around, throw on a coral blazer for warmth and color and stick with a closed-toe heel the same color as the skirt to keep the leg-line long and lean. It’s especially nice when a trend will last you more than one season, so take this opportunity and run with it!

Extra Credit Reading

Can’t get enough of the maxi skirt? Check out these sources for more styling advice, photo inspiration, and plenty of ideas:

  • FabSugar TV did a great review of the maxi skirt on the fall runways.
  • Check out another blogger’s (a Glamour fashion blogger, to be exact) take on the trend here.
  • More of a picture person? Check out’s database of looks featuring maxi skirts to get your creative juices flowing.

CF Reader Outfits

We asked you to take the challenge, and here are some maxi skirt outfits sent in by fellow CF readers. Want to see yourself on this post? Just email a photo of your Fashion Challenge look to zephyr AT collegefashion DOT net!


We love how the gorgeous Talisha (pictured below) rocked her patterned maxi skirt with a waist-cinching belt and simple black top and minimal accessories. According to Talisha:

“I rocked this amazing black and white print maxi skirt (it was a dress but i just pulled it down (: ) from H&M last year. Even though I’m only 5’5” I always get a lot of compliments on it. (One girl even bought the same dress,but couldn’t quite carry it off like me.) It’s all about confidence!”

Talisha's outfit
Click image to enlarge!

So, will you take the Fashion Challenge?

Are you bold enough to pull off this look on campus? Do you think a maxi skirt works better for day or night? What shoes would you pair with a long skirt? Already work this trend? Send us pictures of you in your maxi skirt and we’ll feature them here! As always, we are open to suggestions for future fashion challenges and we’d love to hear from you!

Posted on on April 21, 2010 / Filed Under: Fashion Tips / Tags: , , , , ,

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40 Responses to “Fashion Challenge: Maxi Skirts”

  1. 1
    April 21st, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    I love it on Mary Kate. That girl can pull everything off!

    Good post!

  2. 2
    April 21st, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I am so too short for this :[[[[
    I’m never really sure how I feel about maxi dresses and skirts. I’d probably love them if i was 5’10 with looong legs.
    but i’m 5’5 with short little legs!!
    mary kate looks fierce though :]]]


  3. 3
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    CF: any tips on making this work look for short ladies?

  4. 4
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Mary Kate is the only person I’ve ever seen that can pull of this look. I’ll probably be passing on this one

  5. 5
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Mary Kate is definitely able to pull this off very well! I like it

  6. 6
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    I don’t understand the use of the word “curvy.” I’m not picking on this article or writer in particular, but the fashion world in general. On the one hand, “curvy” is used to describe the likes of Beyonce and Kin Kardashian, who are slim but have some natural shape to their bodies. On the other, such as used here, it is a used a nicer word for fat. I truly don’t get it. Why can’t “curvy” girls wear shirts with a low cut top? Why do girls with “thicker” legs need to keep them covered?

  7. 7
    April 21st, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    I wore such an outfit yesterday!! It was a African print maxi dress I had made last year with a yellow tank top over top and a brown belt to cinch it and I got sooooo many compliments!
    I’m only 5″4′ and I totally rocked this!
    As long as you find feel good in it, you should do it! (I didn’t have to shave my legs either which made it even more wonderful)

  8. 8
    April 21st, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Personally, with a more slender, less curvy figure, I can’t really pull of the maxi look. To me it just makes me look like I’m trying to dress really conservative, and swallows me whole. Great article though!

  9. 9
    April 21st, 2010 at 4:34 pm


    I stated: “If you are too curvy for such a low cut top”, referring to the fact that some ladies with larger busts (like myself, mind you) have a hard time pulling off extremely low cut tops like MK’s because they often show just a bit too much. Implying that someone has a large bust does not imply that they are fat—in any way.

    I don’t know how you misunderstood that as”a nicer word for fat”, but I’m proud of my “curves” no matter how you choose to take it!

    I am not telling anyone to cover up their bodies, I am simply offering suggestions on how to use this piece to camouflage body parts that women are self conscious about. If you aren’t self conscious about anything, I say more power to you!

    So from here on out, you can read the word “curves” as “hourglass figure” if that helps you.


  10. 10
    April 21st, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    “Avoid peasant skirts” – that’s great advice. Peasant maxi skirts are so often (obviously) associated with boho style, which can in turn be associated with hippie style, which means “sloppy” to some. Sticking to sleek and elegant will do the trick.

  11. 11
    April 21st, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    I would definitely wear a long sleek black skirt… with just a *touch* of hugging at the hips… in fall and winter time. It’s easy to put with a lot of things. I’m not so sure I would wear something like this is summer though. It looks weird to me. I guess in summer a white or cream of the same style would be nice, but I’m always iffy about anything that light as a bottom. It can get filthy so easily…

  12. 12
    April 21st, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Ahh, I’m staying away from this one. None of the pictures are appealing to me, they all remind me of skirts my mom unflatteringly wore in the early 90’s.

  13. 13
    April 21st, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    I absolutely love floor length skirts. But why exactly would we want to “avoid the peasant skirt look”?

    I’m not a fan of the slim maxi skirt – way too 90’s for me, just like Ariel mentioned, plus I just don’t like the way it looks when you try to walk in it. Instead, I prefer mine with a little bit of volume and a hippie-ish, indian or peasanty vibe. I guess it all comes down to individual taste.

  14. 14
    April 21st, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    I once had to wear a hunter green maxi skirt in a wedding when I was eight – just can’t get that image out of my head when it comes to the skirts.

  15. 15
    April 21st, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    I have been looking for a long black maxi skirt like Mary-Kate’s that hugs and is sleek. The problem is I’m 5′ 9″ and I don’t want it to cut off at the ankle I want it to look the length of Mary-Kate’s. Any advice on where to find such a long, sleek skirt.

  16. 16
    April 21st, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    I really like Mary Kate’s outfit. I used to have one of those peasant maxi skirts back when they were in, it was really comfortable. If I can find a maxi skirt that doesn’t swallow me whole (5’2″) I’ll definitely get one.

  17. 17
    April 21st, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    This is one trend that I definitely think I can pull off …. I’m on a mission to find one now!

    Also, regarding the “curvy” issue …. when I read this post, I read “curvy” and understood it as having big boobs.
    I know what you mean about “curvy” meaning different things though … I guess it just depends on the person, because curvy means different things to different people.

  18. 18
    April 21st, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    I can’t get past the Amish/Orthodox Jewish vibe I get from this look, I don’t think its for me

  19. 19
    April 21st, 2010 at 10:20 pm


    I also think Audrey meant curvy as in a girl who has a larger bust. I have a larger bust and it is obscene for me to wear an extremely low cut top so I understand. Also, the part in the article about thicker legs is implying that some girls are insecure about their legs and like to keep them covered. If you are one of those girls who is not comfortable enough to show off your legs (thick or not), this trend is for you, and that is what she was saying. Hope that helps you!

  20. 20
    April 22nd, 2010 at 2:23 am

    I think if the maxi is slim and has a slight A-line, it’d be very elegant – the skirt would swish like a bell as you’d walk.

    The only problem is the tripping + fire hazards…

  21. 21
    April 22nd, 2010 at 3:53 am

    Long, flowy maxi dresses have been dominating for a few seasons now so it was inevitable that the maxi skirt would follow!! The maxi skirt is absolutely perfect for a warm spring day where it’s too cold for short or a leg-baring skirt but a little too warm for pants.. Your blog is very interesting.. Thanks for sharing..

  22. 22
    April 22nd, 2010 at 6:53 am

    I love the styling tips for this!

    I rocked this amazing black and white print maxi skirt (it was a dress but i just pulled it down (: ) from H&M last year.
    Even though I’m only 5’5” I always get a lot of compliments on it (one girl
    even bought the same dress,but couldn’t quite carry it off like me)
    It’s all about confidence!

    Maxis are definitely reserved for drier days, rain and maxi skirts/dresses are not the best look XD I say try it on in the stores before you dismiss it!
    You might be pleasantly suprised.

  23. 23
    April 22nd, 2010 at 9:17 am

    Hmmmm i don’t know about this trend although i do think mary kate looks really good in hers. Like poster Daria i am 5’9 so finding the right length would be key. There are tons of maxi skirts at my local thrift store but i have never tried them. it is something to consider. Good post guys very interesting!

  24. 24
    April 22nd, 2010 at 10:57 am

    I am definately not bold enough to pull off this trend!! This look takes courage and while I have fashion courage (I wore colorful leggings all throughout the winter) I don’t have enough to wear a maxi skirt.

  25. 25
    April 22nd, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    I think this look should be reserved for second grade teachers! Not much of a fan!!! I’ll pass…

  26. 26
    April 22nd, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Chloe and Talisha,

    I would love to see pictures if you have any! It would be great to feature reader’s pictures on the blog!

  27. 27
    April 23rd, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Added Talisha’s look to the post! Love how you rocked this challenge Talisha – so cute.

  28. 28
    May 20th, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    I have to admit to being a big fan. If done right it can look very chic. Also, to those like me who are a little vertically challenged, Mary Kate is supposedly a tiny 5’1″ / 5’2″, so maybe its more about shape or proportion than height…

  29. 29
    July 7th, 2010 at 2:59 am

    these are very charms….where can buy….

  30. 30
    September 22nd, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    urgh no thanks. these long dresses are totaly for old ladies.

  31. 31
    April 12th, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    The right maxi dress or skirt can really present a sexy vibe.I often pair a knit maxi skirt with a halter or tank top,you can’t beat the comfort or the sexy look !

  32. 32
    June 24th, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    I love maxi skirts, and these outfits are great.
    Still… What’s so bad about peasant skirts? I love them. It seems to me you told everyone to avoid them, but not why.

  33. 33
    September 4th, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    I am 5’4 short and I wear only maxi skirts!They make me look taller but just if I wear them high waisted :) I give you a tip : use always a belt…it looks good :D

  34. 34
    September 5th, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    Mary Kate’s was definitely the best, she balanced it very well. I love this look! But honestly better pictures could have been chosen to show the real trend…

  35. 35
    October 18th, 2011 at 3:57 am

    How tall do you have to be to pull this off? Or is the question how tall should your heels be to pull this off?

  36. 36
    March 25th, 2012 at 12:37 am

    The sleeker maxi skirts are cool, but I’ll always prefer my “peasant” skirts (never thought to call them that haha). I think they have a bit more character and uniqueness.
    These skirts would be good for when you have to look a bit more formal and put together, though!

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