Petite women: How to look good in a maxi skirt

If you’re vertically challenged, you can definitely wear a maxi. You just need to find one that won’t look like it’s wearing you.
By Ingrie Williams,
Ronson_Mango Mango
Maxi_Express_$88 Express
Zara Zara
Fearne Cotton, the petite television and radio presenter Keystone Press

Q: I am short, can I wear a maxi skirt?

A: Floor grazing hemlines made the maxi summer’s dress du jour, and little will change for fall. Many major designers got wrapped up in all sorts of sweeping dresses and skirts: somber floral patterns blossomed at Peter Som; delicate pale silk shone at Alexander Wang and Carolina Herrera showed a sumptuous black fishtail skirt. Clearly, the maxi is here to stay and it’s not only for women who are tall, willowy and runway bound. If you’re vertically challenged, you can definitely wear a maxi. You just need to find one that won’t look like it’s wearing you.

Consider maxi skirts with streamlined shapes or slight A-lines. As much as possible, you want to create an elongated column on the bottom half of your body. Steer clear of anything that has horizontal bands or tiers of fabric, these details will work against you. Black is always slimming, lengthening and easy to wear, but don’t be afraid to experiment with a solid eye-catching colour. Red and vibrant blue are fall’s hit shades, and an on-trend piece in a statement colour is always a wardrobe win-win. Patterns are another possibility, as long as their scale matches your frame. Small, delicate patterns won’t overwhelm, so choose them rather than oversize graphics.

What you wear with your maxi is as equally important as finding a fab-for-you skirt. It’s essential to avoid looking like you’re drowning in fabric, so pairing swirls of volume with a tailored top half is the recipe for sartorial success. Options include a simple stretch cotton turtleneck or crew neck top, lightweight fitted knitwear, or a trim long sleeve button front shirt. You can also try a cropped blazer or leather jacket—a celeb go-to and totally chic. Bypass overly slouchy sweaters that can add bulk, especially if they’re on the long side as well.

The goal here is to create clean lines and make your bottom half appear miles long. Which is why the waistband of a maxi skirt should sit near your bellybutton, and accentuate your natural waistline. A belt can help to delineate. It can be worn to define a tucked in shirt from the skirt or even over a blazer or untucked slim-fitting top. Towering heels are not mandatory with a maxi, but a slight boost always helps. The hemline should float a few inches above the ground, so even a little lift from a small-heeled boot can give your maxi the sashay it deserves. Or get the hemline taken up for a customized fit that works with flats.

Some of our favourite maxi skirts (pictured in the player above):
Long Skirt, Zara, $99.90
A-line Maxi Skirt (left), Mango, $154.90
Skirt, Express, $88

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