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Style Q: Maxi Skirts for Shorter Women

We advise a petite reader on how to pull off a long skirt.

Maxi skirt styling perfection: Alice + Olivia Shannon pleated maxi, $396, Asos color-block skirt, $49.88, and Alice + Olivia Kaila Godet skirt, $220.80.

Q: I’m seeing a lot of maxi skirts this year. What’s the best way to wear them when you’re not super tall and you don’t have a perfectly slim figure? —L.

We promise, the maxi does not discriminate against the less-Gisele-like among us (which is, um, pretty much everyone). In fact, we’re of the opinion that a floor-length skirt actually makes you look taller—provided it’s done correctly. Follow these tips to ensure your maxi gives you legs for days:

Wear heels. We know: You’re not going to see them, so why bother when flats are so comfy? This is one of those moments when heels are pretty much non-negotiable. You simply need them create the longest leg line possible. But they don’t have to be four-plus inches (though the higher, the better). Try a platform wedge to snag some extra height without sacrificing too much comfort.

Always emphasize your waist. Whether this means tucking in your top, cinching with a belt, or both, this is the surest way to make sure you look long and lean.

Pair with a slim-fitting V-neck. Try a tailored button-down (we like the eternally versatile chambray shirt) or a simple fitted V-neck tee. This elongates your figure and balances the volume of the skirt.

Pay attention to silhouette. Remember what we just said about balancing the skirt’s volume? That said, a shorter gal’s best bet is a slimmer, sleeker shape. A little flowiness is totally fine, but avoid super-full, bulky styles in favor of columns and straighter cuts.

Also pay attention to length. You want your maxi to hit somewhere between the bottom of the ankle and an inch above the floor. Too short and you end up looking stumpy. Too long and you’ll trip. Find the right length for your body and shoe height, or get a too-long skirt professionally hemmed.

Wanna see how a real girl does it? Petite local blogger Sydney—who’s just 5’3—showed us three summery takes on the maxi skirt last year.

Got a Style Q? We’re here to help! Send us an e-mail, or tweet us your question.

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  • JC0482

    All good tips, plus I keep a tailor's number on hand. Mine told me that most maxi dresses and skirts have a simple hem line and are easy peasy to adjust and alter without losing or compromising the style, dress or fit.

  • WhitneyB

    Awesome tips, Michelle! I was actually just thinking about this style dilema, so perfect timing!

  • Samantha

    Love Sydney! Girl is always workin' the maxi.

  • Thank you for these helpful hints for us petite gals! We offer petite maxi dresses on our site, and will have petite maxi skirts in just a few weeks...[cannot wait]...

  • Great tips, I definitely face this conundrum as well but I've learned to work around it. Plus, flowing skirts & maxis are just so comfy for summer that I can't help but gravitate toward them!

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