How to Style: The Maxi Skirt (& Petite Fashion Challenge #14)

This month’s Petite Fashion Challenge is hosted by Couture Coco. The challenge:

Holiday Emergency: You have a pre-booked dinner date on the first day of your holiday (vacation), but your luggage is delayed. This month’s challenge is to style your travel outfit into a special evening look using whatever you carry in your purse and anything else immediately at hand.”

Please visit Couture Coco’s post to see the other ladies’ outfits. The participant list is short, as this was a true styling challenge requiring resourcefulness and/or creativity (I loved reading ktrstyle‘s entry). The scenario may not be realistic for everyone (I never check luggage when flying), but it certainly is for some…I’m always hearing about people’s luggage getting lost or delayed while on vacation. Here’s my travel outfit:

Old Navy maxi skirt (runs big), H&M; shell & belt, LV Speedy 25
Michael Kors tortoise watch, Gap hat (similar), Prada sandals, F21 necklace

Maxi skirts and dresses are perfect for traveling, and transition nicely for casual daytime outfits after reaching your destination. The jersey fabric and elastic waistband on this are super comfy, plus the length will keep legs warm on chilly flights. I usually bring my LV Speedy on trips because it folds nice and flat into my carry-on tote. Be sure to take off all your metal accessories before going through the scanner and put them into your purse (to avoid leaving anything behind).

My dinner date outfit came to mind almost immediately. Before reading the challenge, I had conveniently just tried on this maxi skirt as a tube dress. Nick was fooled and gave my new dress a thumbs-up, which is good enough for me to wear something in public.

I know this isn’t a “special evening look” – more like a casual dinner outfit. When I think of vacation, I dream of sunset walks along the beach and al-fresco dining, so I kept the look fairly relaxed. I used the exact same accessories except swapped the satchel for a clutch. When traveling, I usually bring this H&M; convertible clutch/messenger bag along for holding my wallet, passport, tickets, etc. – it’s one of my best purchases ever for $17! Scroll to the bottom of this post to see a second, simpler variation of outfits I did with this maxi skirt.

Old Navy chiffon bow tie top (XS), Old Navy maxi skirt (XS petite, taken in)

I wanted to take a moment and discuss how lengthening long skirts and dresses can actually be on shorter women. The piece just has to be not full or poofy and not too fitted – it should graze your figure and create a seamless line almost to the ground. A skirt that sits higher up on your waist will create a longer line than a low-rise one…

When I initially posted about this skirt, several of you seemed intrigued and asked for styling ideas. The possibilities to me are endless – patterns, stripes, dots, solids plus a necklace and belt…I really like how it looks with the green print top above, kind of like a peacock effect.
An XS in this blouse runs generously and is sheer and thin (all as expected). I could have made it work, but one thing that bothered me was how low the neckline dipped underneath the bow. It was not going to be simple to take up via the shoulders due to the bow neckline, thus I returned it.

The skirt in Petite XS also ran very generously. It may run even bigger than typical ON sizing, because a store associate saw me holding it and hollered at me to size down. The waist measures 13.4″ across on a Petite XS and the length is 33″ – perfect when the waistband was hoisted up to my natural waist. The material is on the thinner side and may show undie bulges if it’s too fitted. I took the waist/side in along one side, and will get lots of wear out of this come warmer weather.

I wanted to show how easy it really is to style a maxi skirt, and thus did a simple second variation for this challenge using super-affordable pieces that every woman has in their wardrobe:


 Tee: Gap, Belt, tube top & clutch: H&M;, Necklace: F21, Sandals: Target

Including shoes and accessories, each of these outfits are under $50. For daytime, you can pair a maxi skirt simply with a solid, print or patterned tee (if solid, add interest with a belt and necklace). For evening, you can transform your look by:

– sweeping your hair into an updo or tousled, voluminous high ponytail
– adding statement earrings
– adding sultry smokey eyes, and/or lipstick

You can also escalate the date night look by baring your shoulders with a tube top or tube dress. When I wear white or clothes that might get easily stained, I actually do carry a back-up in my purse. This is a super fitted and short H&M; tube dress that has seen better days at the club, and now I’m looking forward to reviving it under some conservative bottoms.

This has been a Petite Fashion Challenge. To find out more about these challenges, please visit here.
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Leave a Comment


  1. Thanks Jeanie-pooh (lol) for the shout-out! I checked out your outfit at least 4 times already and I just love that maxi skirt with the white tube dress and brown belt with your hair swept back in a ponytail. You looks super chic, classy and sexy! Love it!

    Posted 3.28.12 Reply
  2. Min wrote:

    Fabulous outfits! I love the blue, wonderful to see the same skirt styled many different ways.

    Posted 3.28.12 Reply
  3. I think this is my fave PFC of yours! Love the vacation/dinner and daytime/dinner looks. Have to pin it!

    Posted 3.28.12 Reply
  4. Alexis wrote:

    I am in LOVE with this post! *makes mental note to stop by ON immediately to find this maxi skirt*

    Posted 3.28.12 Reply
  5. This challenge was difficult and you did an amazing job!

    Posted 3.28.12 Reply
  6. Monica wrote:

    You're such an amazing stylist!

    Posted 3.28.12 Reply
  7. I love this post Jean! You always do such a great job of transitioning pieces. I love the second look with the white tee – the white pops against the cobalt skirt so well, and the cognac accessories are the perfect touch. I'm pretty sure I need that skirt now. I passed up on it because I thought the jersey fabric might be too clingy as a skirt – it doesn't appear so.

    Posted 3.28.12 Reply
  8. Kari wrote:

    more posts on styling maxi skirts/dresses please 😀

    Posted 3.28.12 Reply
  9. jae wrote:

    my first thought at the end of the post was NO WAY you used to wear a white tube dress like that to go clubbing! i mean, i guess at one point you didn't always dress the classy awesome way you do now, but it's always fun to get a glimpse of the 'past'. i love how you made it look like the most tasteful tubetop ever with the skirt. 😀

    Posted 3.28.12 Reply
  10. anita b. wrote:

    jean, you are uber creative, I would have never picked out that skirt. I loved how you styled it. My fave was the last two pics!! I wish it would work on other figure types. 🙂
    happy Wed!

    Posted 3.28.12 Reply
  11. a rose wrote:

    The hat adds the "Woa" factor into the first outfit.

    Posted 3.28.12 Reply
  12. I love your looks! The type of blue really suits you 🙂

    Posted 3.28.12 Reply
  13. Ida wrote:

    I really love the bow tie top & skirt combo! 😉

    Posted 3.28.12 Reply
  14. Impressive choices and results as usual! I am on the look out for a maxi jersey anything – love jersey dresses anyway but the maxi length is the hardest search.

    Posted 3.28.12 Reply
  15. Very nice in all your styling variations! I love the skirt as tube dress look the best!

    xx Vivian @

    Posted 3.28.12 Reply
  16. Kat wrote:

    I really appreciate that you are so creative with the pieces you have. It pushes me to try new things also. Sometimes you have to see it on someone else before you can brave the challenge yourself. Maybe I will try maxi skirts (I feel like they make me look… pregnant). How do you find these awesome sales so often?

    Posted 3.28.12 Reply
  17. Kiwi wrote:

    I was always scared of wearing long skirts/dresses because of my height… but wow, you look tall in the skirt! Thanks for tips =D

    Posted 3.28.12 Reply
  18. Jean you look gorgeous in these photos. I hope you don't mind but I've added these onto my pinterest boards. If you've ever seen my blog you know I blog about fashion law so I always like to give the heads up if I am making use of people's images–even if I think it is a legal "fair use" of an image. I just have it pinned for quick access to this post! 😉

    I love maxis for petites–they make me feel feminine but powerful (and guilt free while eating)!

    Posted 3.28.12 Reply
  19. Ann wrote:

    aww… all outfits are actually really well put together. I loved all the looks. seriously. A very great post!

    Ann =)

    Posted 3.28.12 Reply
  20. I totally agree with you! Maxi dresses/skirts can definitely make petite women look taller especially if you secretly wear heels underneath 🙂

    Posted 3.28.12 Reply
  21. Kimberly wrote:

    Wow, great job! I decided to sit out on this challenge because it really was… a challenge! The maxi skirt definitely lengthens your body and I think the shirts you chose to pair it with complements each other very well.


    Posted 3.28.12 Reply
  22. anh wrote:

    I love the look so so much!! so stylish!! I really love it 🙂

    Posted 3.28.12 Reply
  23. CY wrote:

    I love how you styled all these looks with only 1 skirt. You're so creative and I think these looks would actually work on many body types, not just petite girls. Thanks for the insight! I definitely want to try this!

    Posted 3.27.12 Reply
  24. Juneli wrote:

    Love all the different ways you wore one skirt!!

    Posted 3.27.12 Reply
  25. You totally sold me on this skirt!

    ♥ Duckie.

    Posted 3.27.12 Reply
  26. Ping wrote:

    love the dinner date outfit!!! sexay! and look at those abs *wistle*

    Posted 3.27.12 Reply
  27. Ann wrote:

    Dannnnnngg Jean, you look GOOD.
    So inspiring, this is why I love this blog.<3

    Posted 3.27.12 Reply
  28. Amazing job Jean! So sad I missed out on this one – but most of my clothes are packed away still 😛 Hopefully after April I'll be a little more settled.

    Posted 3.27.12 Reply
  29. Suzie Q wrote:

    You did an amazing job with the piece showing it off as a versatile piece. I love that color! Great hat too!


    Posted 3.27.12 Reply
  30. CynthiaC wrote:

    I really liked how you turned the maxi into a dress! It's an amazing colour on you, too.

    Posted 3.27.12 Reply
  31. Very cool how you used the skirt and turned it into a dress!

    This was definitely a hard challenge.


    Posted 3.27.12 Reply
  32. You've styled this skirt beautifully. You look great!

    Posted 3.27.12 Reply
  33. Elle wrote:

    p.s. how are you liking your goyard bag…I was at a work event recently and saw a girl carrying one. I struck up a convo with her and got to handle the bag in person. 🙂 It's gorgeous…would love to see it in your outfit posts more often. 🙂

    Posted 3.27.12 Reply
  34. Elle wrote:

    Love your vacation looks – especially the white blouse + maxi skirt look, will definitely have to try it some time. 🙂

    Last week's weather made me want to go out and buy every single maxi dress + skirt I see. I sometimes enjoy deceiving people into thinking I am actually five inches taller…hehe. No one sees my five inch wedges under flowy skirts! :DDDD

    Posted 3.27.12 Reply
  35. Victoria wrote:

    I loveee all the different looks! It really makes you look tall and sleek. I have never been a fan of maxi dresses but this one just looks so amazing on you!! Might need to finally give them a try! :O

    Posted 3.27.12 Reply
  36. Alice Gu wrote:

    one of my fav posts of all time! thumbs up!

    Posted 3.27.12 Reply
  37. Angie wrote:

    this is so versatile! i like the various looks you came up with in just one longline piece.

    Posted 3.27.12 Reply
  38. lin wrote:

    i love how you styled the maxi skirt. it's so versatile. the cobalt blue color really suits you. thanks for all styling inspirations. 😀

    Posted 3.27.12 Reply
  39. Love your vacation look Jean!! 🙂 I'm afraid mine was way too casual since I check most of my bags in when I travel 🙁

    Posted 3.27.12 Reply
  40. love all of the blue outfit configurations^ xO

    Posted 3.27.12 Reply
  41. Great skirt to dress transition! You're getting really good at these easy alterations. Pretty impressive Jean! =)

    Posted 3.27.12 Reply
  42. gorgeous! really love this dress on you – and you give me hope for the "maxi" length dresses and skirts!

    Posted 3.27.12 Reply
  43. Nina wrote:

    Beautiful! Jean, would you mind telling me what kind of bra you wore under the tube top? Thanks!

    Posted 3.27.12 Reply
  44. Vera wrote:

    You read my mind. Your posts are always so put-together and resourceful.
    And the second dinner-date look is stunning. Divine.
    As a tiny 21 year old, I have you know that I really look up to you. 🙂

    Being Vera Blog.

    Posted 3.27.12 Reply
  45. Molly wrote:

    Love the chiffon bow top.

    Posted 3.27.12 Reply
  46. Cher wrote:

    Love the very first outfit! I tried the maxi skirt and I really just wasn't comfortable in it even though I could come up with a ton of styling ideas as well. Maybe for $13, I'll give it another go.

    Posted 3.27.12 Reply
  47. Tam wrote:

    That skirt really does lengthen your silhouette! I'm a big fan of repurposing long skirts as dresses, and I love that bright blue color. Great job on this challenge!

    Posted 3.27.12 Reply
  48. Beautiful! So impressed with how you configure multiple outfits. Love the return of the F21 necklace 🙂

    Posted 3.27.12 Reply
  49. Tsahai wrote:

    I love all the looks. 🙂

    Posted 3.27.12 Reply
  50. love the way you wear it! what a versatile piece & how creative you are!
    xo, Tina

    Posted 3.27.12 Reply

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