How to Wear a Maxi Skirt

For a long time I thought I couldn’t pull off a maxi skirt. I tend to go for more fitted silhouettes, but once I tried it on and came up with a “formula” for styling the flowy skirt, I suddenly became a fan.

How to Wear a Maxi Skirt

UPDATE: It is now fall of 2021, and this post from 2014 continues to be very popular on Pinterest. A lot has changed on the fashion scene in the past 7 years, and I’m still putting out new content daily. If you like this post, be sure to see my more recent Fashion Posts For Women Over 40!

How to Wear a Maxi Skirt

Basically my summer maxi-skirt formula is this: figure-hugging tank top, maxi skirt, wedge sandal or flip-flop, a bold accessory.


If it’s cool (spring/fall) you can throw on a denim jacket.

how to wear maxi skirt

For winter, it’s similar: figure-hugging tank top or tee, denim jacket or fitted cardi, maxi skirt, wedge boots.

How To Wear A Maxi Skirt for Winter

Let’s break it down.

It’s important that the tank top or t-shirt is form-fitting because the skirt is so voluminous. If you wear a baggy shirt, you’ll just look frumpy.

Also pay attention to the length of your shirt. The first one I tried, this white tank, was too long so it threw off the proportions and also drew attention to my belly, which isn’t, um…. as flat as it once was, thank you, children.


The scarf really takes this outfit from okay to wow. I first tried the outfit with a statement necklace, which was fine, but this scarf adds a lot more interest to this otherwise plain outfit.

How to Wear A Summer Scarf

The chevron skirt, on the other hand, already has a lot going on, so I went with 2 layered necklaces instead.

rebel pendant

Obviously there’s more than one way to wear a maxi skirt, but this is what I find works best for me. Having a “formula” makes it easier to put new outfits together on the go.

JUNE 2019 UPDATE: See a more recent maxi skirt outfit. Clearly not much has changed in the past five years; I still love a good chevron maxi skirt!

Shop Maxi Skirts Here:

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65 thoughts on “How to Wear a Maxi Skirt

  1. Thanks for this fun post! I do love the look of a maxi skirt (not so much the dress, as they really just seem like moo-moos to me). I don’t know, but maybe your maxi skirt was more difficult to pair b/c it’s a solid black. When you paired it with solid tops, it looked rather blah. It took that GREAT scarf to make the outfit. I agree about scarves and housework. Usually I just wear the outfit sans scarf, and then put it on b/f I go out the door.

    I’m scared of getting a maxi skirt (well, a print one anyway. I have long skirts) b/c I’m heavier. Prints on the bottom half is a massive NO-NO 🙂 But I really enjoyed reading your maxi skirt adventure! I think you’ll learn to love it. Although I must admit: when you do your “pick which of these 5 outfits looks best on JL” posts, I always, always pick the photo where you’re wearing the white jeans. They just look great on you, no matter what else you wear with them. You clearly love your skinny jeans, and possibly the maxi skirt just FEELS odd to you??? It’s a lot of bulk and cover up. I wonder if you’d like one that was more filmy/light weight (like beachy gauze?) in a print? That would be fun!

    1. I think if the maxi skirt were a narrower cut, it would be more flattering. I am not as tall as people think I am, and really not as thin either, lol. I carry weight in my middle, from chest to hip, so that’s why I look better in skinny jeans than voluminous skirts. They showcase my thinnest part – whereas this skirt tends to hide my thinnest parts and draw attention to my middle. That’s why the fitted jean jacket helps. And the heels. But I wanted a more casual, easy look.

      I also agree that the solid black looks plain with a solid top. After perusing maxi skirts on Pinterest all morning, I think I’d like to try a narrower cut with a bright chevron print. I think that would be more interesting and more flattering too.

  2. Ok, I love, love, love it with orange tank and scarf! It’s amazing what a scarf can do.

    I picked up a chevron striped maxi skirt at Walmart. Ya, I can’t believe it either, but it was around $10-12 dollars and I fell in love.

    You can see it here, ( ) but I just paired with a longish red top. It’s super-comfy. It’s funny, but for me, I think the skirt is way more forgiving than my pants. I think maybe it’s all about comfort level and for me, I carry my weight in my legs, so skirts really do help me.

    1. Yep, see what I just said to MK above. I carry my weight in my middle, so I like things that show how thin my arms and legs are.

      That maxi skirt is so cute! I definitely want to try one with a chevron print.

      1. Ya, I read the above comment. I understand what you’re saying. It’s funny how certain articles of clothing totally camouflage certain areas. I’m really trying to learn what works for my body shape, so I don’t have clothes in my closet that I hate. It’s a process. Your posts always help and give me things to think about.

      2. I think the wide belt would really help you not feel so boxy. I love my maxi skirts and picked up 2 different wide belts at the consignment store. They totally made the difference in taking the outfit from blah to yeah.

  3. When you asked on fb I voted “yay” even though I’ve never worn one! I think they look adorable on other women but feel like I’d look “frumpy” wearing one. I had pictured you wearing one with a cute print and was thinking this black one just wasn’t gonna work out for you but look how that scarf saved the day! I’m sure you could mix it up with other fun tanks & scarves now that you know that works. Loved seeing the evolution of this outfit. 🙂

    1. Yes, I think I need to find another tank/scarf combo… in fact, I have an idea. I at least have another summery scarf that would be cute, if I can find a coordinating tank top that isn’t too long or too tight, lol. I do need to get one of those sleeveless denim jackets too….

  4. That scarf definitely made the outfit! I love scarves. And that one is gorgeous. Where is it from? I want one! 🙂

    1. LOL. It is from the Banana Republic Factory Outlet and I just got it last week. I came *THIS CLOSE* to not buying it b/c I’m horrible about buying scarves and never wearing them. But the colors were so great, I decided to throw it in the cart anyway. SO GLAD I did!

  5. Wow! What a difference the scarf makes. I like the maxi dress look, but unfortunately, it is not for me. I am 5’2″ and it’s not gonna work! It’s a lot of material for my small frame. I remember the long dress was a style back in the 70s when I was growing up.

  6. Love the orange tank with the scarf!! And really all the looks with the denim jacket. I usually wear mine with either a tighter top and some sort of cardi or button down and I use belts or tie my button downs. Occasionally I will go with just a top but that’s usually only when I’m at home all day. 🙂

    1. That makes sense. I do have a white skinny belt that I just bought. But I don’t know that I have a cardi – oooh, I do! A bright orange one. I might try that!

  7. I love maxi dresses (i just bought this one from Ann Taylor which is absolutely adorable – Honestly though, the maxi skirts intimidate me. I tend to carry my weight in my rear and my upper thighs and I feel like the maxi skirt has too much volume in those parts for me. Maybe it’s my height as well – I’m not as tall as people think I am either. 🙂

  8. I was not sold on you wearing that skirt at all until that scarf made an appearance. You look amazing! I’m glad you kept trying different styles of shirts. I guess I need to be more diligent with trying different looks.

  9. Try tucking the top in! I love wearing breezy maxi skirts with my favorite tanks ever, my mommy summer uniform, banana republic timeless tanks.

    1. That is a BR timeless tank that I was wearing! I have lots. I will try tucking, I don’t usually like that look on me b/c I’m so short waisted, but I’ll give it a shot.

  10. LOVE this post! It is so fun and helpful to see all of the different looks you try.

    LOVE the outfit with the scarf. My 16 year old daughter and I both love scarves, so we have quite a shareable wardrobe of them.

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE maxi skirts, and have bought several this year. I have never worn maxi skirts before, as they were NOT the right look for a very overweight woman. However, after losing 65 pounds this year, I have been so excited for this new look for me. While I still have weight to lose, and my hips and thighs are where I carry my weight, the loose skirts definitely help to hide the weight (as I continue to diet and exercise). Whereas, pencil skirts and skinny jeans are not working for me yet. 🙂

    I definitely think you should pick up a wide belt to try. Adding a wide belt to my maxi skirts totally MADE the outfits.

    Loving my maxi skirts . . . with flip flops . . . with dressy sandals . . . and with my new wedge shoes (which were also something I could not wear when I was at my heaviest).

    Love my denim jackets, so will need to look for the sleeveless style (which helps hide my too big chest while I continue to lose weight).

  11. I love the maxi skirt. In the summer it’s easy to throw flip flops on and go but I would love to know how to transition to fall. I have no idea what shoes to wear so I would love to see a post on the shoes!!

  12. I have one white maxi skirt, but I don’t have any courage to wear it yet. I used to have two flower printed maxi when I was a teenager, but it doesn’t fit me anymore. Your different photos in maxi is inspiring me to start over again wearing maxi. Thanks.

    1. Oooh Nicole, I love that look of yours – and your skirt is also full. And you pair two solids – but the bright coral is more fun than black, and the statement necklace makes it. But also, you are taller and thinner, and especially slim through the midsection, so you can get away with that longer, tight top where I don’t think I could. Isn’t it interesting how many factors there are in putting an outfit together??

  13. Hi
    It was great to see you go throught the process of trying on different tops with the skirt as that is exactly what I do except I end up being completely frustrated! You mentioned that you like striped tops in other posts. I was thinking a black striped tank top would elongate your torso but also with a bit of colour. Cheers!

  14. I bought a maxi skirt this morning from a friend who sells Cabi clothes at her sample sale. I also happened to buy an orange top very similar to yours to go with it. I missed this post when you published it (on the day of my son’s high school graduation) but in the back of my mind I just knew it was here, waiting to help me figure this out. I just read it and I’m ready to go. Now I’m excited to try to pull it together and wear out in public. Thanks for always being there to help me figure out fashion Jo-Lynne! Happy Summer!!

  15. I recently purchased two maxi skirts – teal green and purple. I have not worn either because I was not sure how to style them. I’m 4’11”, petite and never thought I could achieve this look. You have given me some great ideas for my skirts. Love the bright tank and scarf!

  16. I wear my maxi skirt the same way with a jean jacket and flat sandals. I’m short, however, and a bit chunky so I wear one color from head to toe. Tres chic.

  17. Just loved your experiments with skirt…..and the combo u finalized.

    I am 5’11” and never thought of wearing maxi skirts…being in love with them sooooo much. And finally i ended up buying a printed black-orange-beige maxi skirt anyway…. that too at the start of the fall. I cant pair it with a tank 🙁 ….thinking of a soft knit sweater in beige or cream. and of course a scarf….loooooove the scarves.

  18. You are way too hard on yourself. You dont look one bit dumpy in any of those pictures. Every outfit looked cute and feminine. Throw on some long beaded necklaces and pretty bangles to help get your attention off of picking on your figure. EX,too boxy,too dumpy ect. You looked pretty in every outfit. Orange and fall colors wouldlook great on you. Your an Autumn.

  19. I’m thinking of changing my way of dressing, now, & this looks like a great idea. I was thinking of wearing long skirts (haven’t in years, now) & didn’t know what kind of shirts/blouses went with them…Thanks for the photos, gives me some great idea when I go shopping the next time. Thanks a million!!

  20. I really like the way you walked us through each outfit and why it worked and didn’t. I am in the process of trying to figure out what to wear for a christmas party. I have a long black skirt, but also a maxi striped dress. I am going to wear the dress (like the stripes) with a black button jacket or black cardigan, with either a bunch of necklaces or a scarf. I do like your pop of colour with the orange tee!

  21. You’re right, the scarf does transform the outfit!!! But I also do like it with the green tee, its cute.. 🙂 Come on, you do not look dumpy in any of those outfits! I have a couple of pretty maxi skirts that I purchased quite a while back but have never worn. Given the fact that I am not a very tall person, I just cannot figure out what to wear them with and worry how I would look in them. I have bought a couple of cute tops recently and finally pulled the skirts out of my wardrobe today.. Hopefully I will be brave enough to wear them at least now.. 🙂

  22. Such great tips and photos! It’s amazing how much difference something like the length of a shirt can make. I’ve learned a lot of things like that just from seeing myself in my outfit photos.

    xo, Amy Ann
    The Real Arnolds

  23. Great tips for wearing a maxi skirt! I love your pink chevron striped one! I have a maxi skirt I wore a ton when I was pregnant but I haven’t worn it since because I mentally keep connecting it which my maternity clothes! Maybe it’s time to bring it out of the closet again!

  24. Love how you walked through each outfit and pointed out what did and didn’t work. I wear maxis a lot but never thought of adding a belt! Will have to try that next time!


  25. It took me a while to warm up to maxis as well. I have a maxi dress which I’ve worn and I have a maxi skirt that had been sitting in my closet collecting dust until recently. I just had to force myself to style it and I actually kinda love it. Thanks for the styling ideas. Love them all! ~Cynthia

  26. Jo-Lynne this is another great fashion post with great tips. I am in love with that chevron maxi skirt and love the ways you styled it. I need a chevron maxi skirt myself.

    My pleasure linking up. I’d love for you to check out my last 2 posts in the blog and let me know what you think. I have remixed my clothes for some everyday mom outfits. You always do such a great job with your remixes so I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks so much and enjoy the weekend, Ada. =)

  27. Love your wardrobe and accessories! What is the shorter necklace that you are wearing the Stella and Dot Rebel (outfit with pink chevron skirt) The layered necklace look really works.

  28. This is a very old post, but I just stumbled on it now (2018) looking for a top to wear with a maxi skirt and it was so helpful! Thank you! 

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