Comfort Traveling: Maxi skirt + denim jacket (& London faves)

highgate blue maxi 1

Old Navy skirt (old, similar), H&M; scarf and kids jacket (similar), Gap flats (similar), Coach bag (review)

This is belated, but I wanted to share some final photos from London (saved my favorite places for last). I love knit maxi skirts for traveling, as they’re fairly breathable in warm weather, yet comfy to curl up in during chilly flights. I feel maxi skirts can be flattering on shorter women if the waist sits at or above your natural waistline, and the length just skims the top of your feet (basically as long as it can be without the risk of tripping/dragging). Since long skirts are often worn casually with flats, higher waist placement is especially important for creating a lengthening leg line.
borough barista
This old skirt from Old Navy petites is not great quality, but has gotten plenty of wear. Although the length required no hemming, I did have to take in the waist for the skirt to sit higher. Similar-sized ladies who prefer no alterations can try kids’ long skirts – I found one here in three colors (20% off one item w/ BTS2013) made of a similar material composition. The foldover waist is not a bad idea because you can adjust the length. I also wouldn’t mind a side slit, as I’ve tried on several long skirts that are too narrow for walking comfortably. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any additional information on the length and waist measurements for the different sizes of this kids skirt.

highgate blue maxi 2
I wore this outfit on a brisk but sunny day to visit Highgate (Northern suburb of London), and again on the plane ride home. I had one of the best meals of the trip there at the Red Lion & Sun pub. You probably won’t find me guzzling beers at any pubs in Boston, but this one was modern but cozy, served plenty of wine, and had hearty dishes made with fresh, local ingredients.
red lion sun 1 sunday roast
We were there for Sunday roast, which is a traditional British and Irish meal usually consisting of roasted meat with potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, veggies and gravy. Our table got each roast option available (roast beef, leg of lamb, or pork belly) and it was comfort food at its finest. If you’re in the area, you can also stop by High Tea of Highgate for a fill of afternoon tea and scones.
red lion sun sunday roast 2
Backtracking one day to Saturday, walking Portobello road was one of my favorite touristy activities in London. The road stretches through Notting Hill, and becomes a large street market each Saturday for antiques, clothing, books, food, and more (some stalls were receptive to bargaining, some not). There was also a pre-owned designer shoe store at the beginning of the road with an abundance of eye candy (sadly, mostly in size 8s).
portobello market scarf
I recommend going hungry, and going right when it opens to avoid heavy afternoon crowds. I found a few vintage souvenirs for friends, before catching whiff of something delicious.
portobello market tarts

Savory pie stand along Portobello Road

The delicious aromas were coming from Jamon Jamon, a vendor that cooks fresh paella street-side from scratch. They seared the meat and seafood first, then slowly cooked the sofrito, then simmered the rice in broth….all the laborious steps that hinder me from making one of my favorite foods at home (they even share the recipe online!). Given the fresh, local ingredients advertised, I had braced myself for an overpriced morsel of paella. The portions ended up to be huge and around 6 GBP – best deal of the trip, and a very satisfying hot lunch.
portobello market paella
We then wandered over to the West End shopping district to see the pretty Liberty of London store. I also popped into the surrounding shops looking for petite-friendly clothing, without success. Many stores – TopShop, Wallis, Miss Selfridge, and more –  had a “Petites” section with items that fit pretty small, but unfortunately all the garments I saw were lower quality and/or very young-trendy. I thought it was unusual that so many fast fashion stores had petite departments, because I don’t feel it’s hard to find short knit skirts, mesh dresses, or cutout tank tops that run small. It’s more so the trickier structured, tailored pieces like blazers, trousers, or sheath dresses that I really appreciate special sizing for.
liberty london fabrics

Left: Jamon Jam
on chicken paella   Right: Printed fabric selection at Liberty (from Nick’s IG)

I loved the ethnically diverse options when dining out in London. After having the traditional roast for lunch, we decided on Ceviche Peruvian Kitchen for a light dinner. It was on the pricier side for the portions, but made for a very yummy end to the trip.
chorizo and squid

Grilled chorizo and squid skewers, sweet corn cake
ceviche Alianza Lima ceviche – fresh sea bass, prawns & octopus in chilli tiger’s milk w/ sweet potatoes & corn
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  1. I've met many ladies both in real life and "virtually" via blogging over the years – it's amazing how ppl from varied walks of life can share so many of the same interests and values. Thank you for taking the time to leave your encouraging message – I appreciate it!

    Posted 7.11.13 Reply
  2. Thanks so much for stopping by over the years, and for your kind words!

    Posted 7.11.13 Reply
  3. Hi Susy! For my hair in this post, I had attempted my friend Ping's tutorial. Her hair is always fabulous! I never know what I'm doing with hair, and the way the iron rod is held/positioned made a big difference.

    Posted 7.11.13 Reply
  4. Hi Joyce : ) I packed them up in a clutch handbag, separated by tissue paper. For stud earrings I had small hard containers or jars.

    Posted 7.11.13 Reply
  5. Hi there – I only have experience with the fast fashion labels of H&M; and ASOS, both of which fit pretty small. ASOS has a petite line, but the items are in general getting to be very trendy and lower quality. H&M; does not have a petite-specific line, but I have had many blazers from there that fit really well (sleeves usually do need slimming and shortening) and have been my work staples for years.

    Posted 7.11.13 Reply
  6. Hi Jingjing – I think every woman has her own natural body weight that is healthiest for herself…I personally just try to eat with portion control (do not stuff myself, eat smaller but more frequent meals) and only workout about 1-2 per week. I also looove fried foods, but have really limited myself lately for health reasons. I'd love to work out more frequently and eat more nutritiously – my boyfriend has made it a joint goal this year.

    Posted 7.11.13 Reply
  7. Hi there – so nice to hear from a fellow lover of High Tea in Highgate scones : ) I'm a little confused by the two dresses because they look to be exactly the same (the first link doesn't label the color so hard to tell if it's truly royal and not navy like the second), and both look chiffon-like. I think it's rather appropriate for a bridesmaid dress and don't feel it's too prom at all – the skirt appears to be soft and not structured enough to poof.

    Posted 7.11.13 Reply
  8. such a beautiful look! i love it!! maxis are the best!!

    Sandy a la Mode

    Posted 7.11.13 Reply
  9. iZ91 wrote:

    Hi Jean, I like your style: practical yet visually perfect. It looks like you enjoyed your trip to London, the photos look great. High Tea in Highgate is one of my favourite catch-up spots (mmmh, those scones!). I have a little question though, do you think this would be suitable as a bridesmaids dress:,default,pd.html ?
    I really like the dress but am wary of it being too poofy, like a prom dress. I'm struggling to find anything in the same colour and price range. Any ideas would be appreciated, thanks 🙂

    P.S. Ideally it'd be this dress (it's chiffon and seems to fall more naturally), but in royal blue:;=chiffon%20skater%20dresses&sh;=0&pge;=0&pgesize;=36&sort;=-1&clr;=Navy

    Posted 7.11.13 Reply
  10. Jean, You look so pretty!! I have a question, how do you stay so thin with all these good food around you ALL THE TIME! Do you work out a lot?

    Posted 7.10.13 Reply
  11. You look so beautiful! I love your skirt! 🙂



    Posted 7.10.13 Reply
  12. Tia wrote:

    You've definitely inspired my to try a maxi skirt this summer! At 5"2, I've always been afraid to try it thinking I wasn't tall enough but it looks amazing on you so I think I'll have to give it a try!

    Posted 7.10.13 Reply
  13. Carol Li wrote:

    I love this more casual look on you. Gorgeous!

    Posted 7.10.13 Reply
  14. Anonymous wrote:

    Hi Jean! I just found your blog a few weeks ago, after returning to Europe from New York, where I ran into Ann Taylor and 00P 😀 😀 Great blog, love your style! :). I think in Europe (Germany) it's even harder to find clothes for Petite woman…. 🙁 Most of the brands you write about, are either not represented here at all, or they don't have the Petite line, or they are horrible expensive…

    Do you have any experience with Europen labels?

    Posted 7.10.13 Reply
  15. Jess wrote:

    I have always been scared to wear maxi dresses/skirts because I'm so short (5 ft!) but maybe I just need to find the right one because this one looks great on you xo

    Posted 7.10.13 Reply
  16. I love your London recs – I'm going there in August, and I definitely want to check some of these out!

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  17. Joyce Pak wrote:

    Great tips and great food! 😀

    Btw, this is kind of unrelated, but I was wondering how you store all your jewelry? I know that you have a lot of necklaces and such 🙂

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  18. The denim jacket looks so great on you!
    ahh.. making me hungry now!



    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  19. Heather wrote:

    I'm glad that I am not the only petite woman who wears little girls clothes!

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  20. Karen wrote:

    Love when you do food/travel posts along with your fashion posts! My next trip, I am definitely going to try to get as nicely dressed as you do rather than schlop around in jeans and flip flops.

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  21. Nicole wrote:

    Okay I'm gonna need to visit that place in Highgate when I go back. I love my mother's Sunday roasts (her Yorkshire pudding is just so yum), but what you had looks incredible!

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  22. Michelle wrote:

    The veggies and potatoes in that first food pic you posted must have tasted so yummy after being drenched in all those juices! And the colorful tomato dish looks so tasty.

    One of my favorite casual outfits on you.

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  23. Susy wrote:

    I understand your blog is about lovely clothing, but I'd just LOVE to know how you get your hair to look so fantastic! Anyway, your blog is a great source of inspiration, thank you! 🙂

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  24. Anonymous wrote:

    love the travel posts along with the yummy food pictures! i am a loooong time reader and love watching this blog grow and evolve 🙂

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  25. kileen wrote:

    I love this maxi skirt look in you! The color is beautiful and it really does make your legs look long. Thanks you for sharing your London trip with us. The food looks delicious!

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  26. love you in the maxi skirt and coordinating scarf! xo

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  27. Anonymous wrote:

    Old Navy has jean jackets that run on the smaller side. Perhaps not the finest quality, but for around $30 (and they always have some sort of sale or another…it's easy to find a 20-30% discount) they aren't bad. I bought one in white and am thinking of getting another in blue to replace a boxy denim jacket I've owned (but haven't worn much) for years.

    I typically wear a size 0 and got mine in regular XS (I roll up the sleeves). It appears the blue denim jackets also come in petite sizes (which were not available in the white).

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  28. 11/12, but had to slim the sleeves and you can see sleeve length is long too. Would've liked to try 10/11 but didn't find any.

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  29. Hi there – this is H&M; size 11/12. I've also tried on other kids denim jackets, and you just have to experiment with the size and cut for the best fit. I did have to slim the sleeves on this one, and wanted to find one size down to try on but no luck.

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  30. Lucky you, it's such a beautiful place. I didn't find any clothes, which is fine … went more for the sights and eats : )

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  31. Of course! I'd be happy to. Can you let me know what you're looking for? ie. Tourist activities, what kind of cuisine, if there are young kids. etc.

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  32. ambika wrote:

    Loved the maxi skirt!

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  33. Anonymous wrote:

    Jean, I am so glad that some recent negative comments did not dissuade you from further sharing your travels and personal life with us :). These posts make you so real and relatable-I feel like if I ever met you, we'd be friends!

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  34. Anonymous wrote:

    The maxi skirt looks really great on you. I'm the same height as you and have always shunned maxi skirts because I felt I didn't have the long legs to carry them off. Only recently have I given in to the lure of wearing maxi dresses (with a strategically placed belt to depict the waistline a wee bit higher than it actually is).

    Looking at how great you look, though, I'm tempted to give maxi skirts a try.


    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  35. what size kids jacket did you get??

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  36. Milena wrote:

    Great maxi! I watched today one in Mango and this maxi skirt could be maxi from my neck to foot! 😀 LOL

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  37. Dahlia wrote:

    I just love these photos, they made me smile. And your outfit is lovely!


    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  38. Heather wrote:

    Hi – I love the outfit, per usual. I'm actually desperately searching for a denim jacket these days but all I'm the ones are finding tend to be so boxy (and big), can you tell us where you got yours? Looks adorable. Thx!

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  39. Annick wrote:

    Looks like an amazing trip! I've always wanted to know what Paella tastes like – it looks so good!

    Lovely look as well – loving the skirt and jean jacket together! The skirt looks so comfortable!

    Bold Subtlety 

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  40. minnie wrote:

    I'm living in London right now and am loving this post. Did you end up buying any clothes while on your trip?

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  41. I am so sad I missed out on the market 🙁

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  42. Van Nguyen wrote:

    I agree with you, it's so easy to find dresses that have shorter hem lines. But it's trickier with trousers and blazers. I love Nick's IG name, too funny. I'm going to try to cook seafood paella.

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  43. Oh the pictures! Fantastic photography! I'd always heard that British food wouldn't be my kind of cuisine, but your pictures tell a different tale.

    Glad we got to see more of your maxi skirt outfit! Now I want to see more pics of your recent DIYs!! 🙂

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  44. Pip wrote:

    I really love this mix of denim, the scarf and the casual stretchy material of your skirt. You look so chic and comfy and this outfit is so wearable for all women. xx Pip

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  45. Anouka K wrote:

    Delicious food pics! I love London.

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  46. Thalia wrote:

    I'm 5'0 and have always been a little scared to try on a maxi skirt thinking that it will be too big but you know how to rock it! I'll definitely have to go out and look for one even if it has to be hemmed 🙂 awesome look and I love the maxi skirt suggestions in kid size that you gave.

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  47. Mimi wrote:

    you seriously have one of the best styles ever, you always look so pretty! and thank you for sharing a little piece of london with us! 😀

    <3, Mimi

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  48. ....... wrote:

    that look seems sooooo comfy! the food looks really delish too. xx. gigi.

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  49. Anonymous wrote:

    This looks fantastic! Jean, would you also be able to share some of your fave places to visit/look at in Boston? My family is making a trip out there this August, and right now I don't have a clue where to go. I love your travel posts, please keep them up!

    Posted 7.9.13 Reply
  50. Love how you paired the maxi with the scarf and cuffed denim jacket… easy and chic!


    Posted 7.8.13 Reply

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