How to wear it: Maxi skirts

Filed under: Fashion

If long skirt lengths are a sign of a gloomy economy, then things aren't looking great on the fiscal front this season. On the plus side, with all of the offerings designers showcased for spring 2011, there's a maxi style for everyone. An added bonus? We won't need to worry about shaving our legs...

Who doesn't love a maxi skirt? It's the perfect spring/summer wardrobe item, somehow managing to keep you cool in the heat and warm you up on those chilly nights. Maxis not only flatter the body by encouraging a long, lean silhouette, but they also have universal appeal. Whether you're a glamazon - who can accessorise with stilettos and some fabulous jewellery - or a casual comfort dresser, who only needs to slip on a pair of flat sandals and a tee to finish off the look, you can work a maxi.

On the catwalk: Rag & Bone (PA), Salvatore Ferragamo (Getty) and Marc Jacobs (Empics Entertainment)

Once reserved for beach babes and boho chicks, the maxi-skirt has now established itself in high-fashion territory. The '70s-inspired fashions for spring 2011 saw the return of the full-skirted peasant/gypsy silhouette (see Marc Jacobs and Salvatore Ferragamo), while the maxi-skirt went romanti-Gothic chez Givenchy - all sheer and floaty chiffon (also check out Rag & Bone for inspiration).

You can go feminine with florals and ruffles (see D&G's garden girls), or sex up the silhouette with a slit (Peter Pilotto and Stella McCartney played around with this). Undoubtedly, though, the freshest maxi skirt look came courtesy of Raf Simons at Jil Sander: a fluoro bold pop of colour on an extra-long skirt, paired with a simple T-shirt. It felt totally relaxed and chic at once, not to mention that most of us have the basic ingredients for the look lying around in our wardrobes.

On the catwalk: Givenchy, Peter Pilotto and Jil Sander (all PA)

Even though maxis are versatile - you can wear them for the office or a night out - they can still verge into fashion faux-pas territory and look matronly or sloppy if styled incorrectly.

We love the idea of a billowing maxi worn with a fitted top, whether it's an asymmetrical vest (as shown at Lanvin) or a low-key cotton jersey (see Michael Kors). Or pair a fitted maxi-skirt with a cropped denim jacket or leather bomber and boots for a great weekend look.

If you want to go for a fashion-forward ensemble and channel Yves Saint-Laurent in the 70s, then a ruffled peasant top works well with a gypsy skirt (but be sure to take a cue from Marc Jacobs and belt the look so that you emphasise your waistline and don't end up in an overly baggy outfit).

For evening, try a pleated chiffon maxi-skirt with an embellished top and heels and for a romantic-grungey look, you can pair a long, soft cardie with your maxi.

Some people say that maxis need a heel, or that only tall women should wear them. We disagree... especially with all of the maxi's new iterations for spring, every woman can find one to suit her.

We're betting this is one trend that's going to start lasting through times of prosperity as well.

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How to wear it: Maxi-skirts

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How to wear it: Maxi-skirts

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How to wear it: Maxi-skirts

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How to wear it: Maxi-skirts