As a millennial, I will be lying if I say I love denim maxi skirts. This is the one style our generation associates with old people and 70’s movies. And as one of my friends recently asked, how do you wear a denim maxi without looking like you are in a cult?
Despite my inborn resistance though, I have to admit that Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner have made me take a second look at this 70s, 90s and now 2023 piece of fashion. Moreover, this year’s Spring/Summer fashion week was all about the long jean skirt and other weird things like sky-high platforms and sequins.
Altuzarra’s, Ulla Johnson and Marni’s spring/summer 2023 collections featured jean maxi skirts the most and of course Balenciaga shined with a floor-sweeping collection that only models can pull off.
Here’s my point- denim maxi skirts are back and they are better than ever before. Some will remind you of 2000 Britney Spears but most of them are chic, stylish and nothing like what your mama would wear.
So yes, I will be joining this bandwagon and I urge my fellow millennials and conservative gen Z’s to join as well. Because if history is anything to go by, the jean maxi skirt trend won’t stay for very long so we might as well enjoy it while it lasts.
But first….let’s get the rules.
How to Wear a Denim Maxi Skirt
In reality, this generation is trying to wear denim maxi skirts a little differently than our parents did. The last thing we want is to look shapeless and unstylish when walking the streets. To achieve this, there are rules we should follow to make jean maxi skirts suitable for the 21st century.
- Go with form fitting skirts. By form-fitting, I mean the skirt should at least hug your hips even if the rest of it flows freely. This brings out your shape and saves you from looking like you are drowning in fabric. Avoid oversized maxi skirts that go nowhere near your skin.
- Show some skin. The biggest difference between our jean skirts and those in the 70s and 90s is that ours have slits. Whether the front slit is pre-made or you have to open a few buttons, allowing a bit of leg to show makes a huge difference.
- Choose lighter fabrics. Despite the fact that all jean skirts are made of denim, the heaviness of the fabric and even the colors seem to differ from one skirt to the other. After observing quite a number of maxi skirts both on the runway and in real life, I have come to the conclusion that lighter (in weight and color) denim maxi skirts look considerably better than the heavy traditional jeans. I assume it feels way better on your body as well because it’s not heavy.
- Explore other colors. The color that comes to mind when you think about denim is blue. However, denim maxi skirts come in many other colors including white, black and pink. Feel free to explore these other colors for a more feminine look, especially black maxi skirts.
- Go for Unusual styles. Denim maxi skirts today come in all shapes and styles. You don’t have to settle for the straight, buttoned up skirts that we have known all along. Today they come with frills, mermaid shapes, layers and asymmetrical shapes. If you find yourself having a negative view of denim maxi skirts, go for any of these unusual styles instead.
- Consider your body type. The last rule of wearing a denim maxi skirt has to do with knowing your body type. As you can imagine, the style that works for Kendal Jenner may not look good on a pear-shaped lady who has a bit of weight around the midsection. For the latter, I recommend a high-waisted, form-fitting skirt that will accentuate the mid area and flatter her hips.
When to Wear a Denim Maxi Skirt
Season-wise, you can wear a denim maxi skirt throughout the year. Unlike jean trousers, skirts allow breeze on your skin so you won’t feel hot and uncomfortable in summer. Even the dense fabric remains cool and denim is stylish all year round.
As for occasions, denim is a casual outfit so you can only wear it to work on casual Fridays. Great places to wear a denim maxi skirt include running errands around town, meeting friends for lunch, church, beach and family gatherings. I would even recommend certain jean skirts to formal events like weddings or work dinners despite their casual reputation if styled correctly.
How to Style a Denim Maxi Skirt
Here’s my take on styling a denim maxi skirt- style it the same way you would a denim trouser. The type of tops, shoes, jackets and accessories you wear with your denim trousers will work with a denim skirt.
The only difference is that you may have to tuck in the t-shirts and blouses in the skirt, while it’s okay to let them hang free with trousers. Because of the shape of a maxi skirt, I recommend tucking in the top to balance proportions and avoid fabric overwhelm.
The season will also determine how you style the skirt. For example, what you wear with a denim maxi skirt in summer will be very different from what you wear in winter. A crop top or bodysuit and sandals will suffice in hot weather but you have to layer with jackets, scarves and turtlenecks in winter. Granted, the shoes will also differ from season to season.
What to Wear with a Denim Maxi Skirt
Again, styling a maxi skirt is all about balancing proportions. Whether you are going for a laid back every day look or something a little more polished, we have a plethora of options to choose from when looking for something to wear with a denim skirt.
Button down shirt/blouse
For a sophisticated polished look, the best option is a silk/chiffon button down blouse. However a crisp shirt works just as well, only that it gives the outfit a formal look. Open a few top buttons to achieve a V-neck and wear a gorgeous chain to draw attention to that part of your body.
This goes well with a long, straight skirt, preferably one with a slit and you can pair it with high heel sandals or stilettos. If you wear a crisp shirt, a brown belt and white sneakers will complete the look even better.
Of course, you have to loosely tuck in the shirt and fold the arms ever so slightly just to kick up the casual effect. If you love metallic accessories like gold and silver, this is the look to show off all that.
Looking for something simple but stylish? Choose a nice, well-fitting cotton t-shirt and pair it with a button down denim maxi skirt and white sneakers. I like to pair white t-shirts with light blue denim skirts or any other color and then accessorize with layered chains around the neck.
You can tuck in the t-shirt or make a knot on the waist.
If the skirt is on the darker side, a black or blue graphic tee works like magic. Pair this with sneakers, espadrilles, or boots, and keep the accessories to a minimum.
When the weather is hot, a sleeveless top and a denim maxi skirt are a great combo when booty shorts and sundresses just won’t do. You can choose a tank top and tuck it in, a sleeveless crop top, or even a camisole.
This will work with any type of denim maxi skirt, and you can pair it with wedges, high heel boots, heeled sandals, and stilettos. Feel free to also accessorize with your favorite gold/silver chains, bracelets, and earrings. And since it’s a hot weather look, don’t forget your sunnies.
You are a girl who has worked hard for that flat tummy, and you deserve to show it off. In that case, a beautiful crop top is the perfect partner for your denim maxi. It’s also the best way to look taller and leaner, and you can rock this with boots, heels, and even sandals.
Off-shoulder Trendy Tops
I love wearing off-shoulder trendy tops with jeans and maxi skirts. They bring out the feminine in you and make the entire outfit look young and hip. Pair them with heels, boots, or sneakers, and accessorize with dainty jewelry.
Denim on Denim
Yes, there are ways to wear denim on denim maxi skirts without looking like a jean freak. One way is to get a denim sleeveless crop top because it’s very minimal. My favorite way, however, is to choose a well-fitting button down denim shirt and combine it with a hip hugging straight maxi skirt.
The shirt color has to be different from the skirts to avoid that matchy matchy look. And as you can see, a belt and classy heels play a huge role in making these two pieces work together.
Simple Trendy Top
As I said, any top you can wear with jean trousers can work with your denim maxi skirt. Loosely tuck in the top and find a pair of shoes that fits the skirt and the occasion you are attending. A cotton or chiffon top works best and makes sure the colors go with the skirt.
Want to rock a denim maxi in winter or fall? A turtleneck is the answer if you pair with a well-fitting button-down skirt and a pair of heeled boots. You can layer this with a cool leather jacket, trench coat, or winter coats if it’s too cold.
The last partner you want to explore for a jean maxi skirt is a cardigan. Choose a simple, light cardigan that stops at the waist or folds up nicely. You can tuck in the side and front loosely and let the back fall over the skirt.
Outer Garments to Wear with a Denim Maxi Skirt
How do you layer when wearing a denim maxi skirt? The answer to this depends on the shape and design of the skirt. If your skirt is straight, anything from a trench coat to a denim jacket and even oversized winter coats will work.
But if you have a mermaid, asymmetrical, or stair denim skirt, you have to consider proportions when choosing what to wear over the top. All in all, the choices for outer garments you can wear with a denim maxi skirt include;
Best Shoes to Wear with a Denim Maxi Skirt
With modern denim skirts, high heel boots, strappy sandals, and stilettos seem to be the best fit. I also love pairing denim maxi skirts with white sneakers and espadrilles. On rare occasions, you can wear wedges and flat sandals if the skirt design allows.
Because a denim maxi skirt is so bold, I do not recommend flat-closed shoes or pumps. Boots and sneakers are the only exception because they bring a different element. You need to show a bit of skin and toes to counteract the overwhelm.
When styling any maxi skirt, ensure the length of the shirt or top doesn’t go below the skirt’s waistline. If the shirt is long, tuck it in or make a knot at the waist to keep its length at waist level.
Yes, denim maxi skirts are all year-round pieces that you can rock with different tops. In summer, pair a light or slitted maxi skirt with a crop top, sleeveless top, or a bodysuit to keep cool. You should also wear open shoes like sandals, stilettos, or wedges to keep your feet cool.