Wednesday, November 12, 2014

To the Max: Maxi Dresses for Fall and Winter

To the Max: Maxi Dresses for Fall and Winter


Do you wear maxi dresses and skirts in the chillier weather? I realized that I don't when I put all of my maxi dresses aside to be store along with summer clothes. I'll often tell clients that they can wear them year round, but I don't really do this myself. I love the idea of a full skirt because it allows me to wear cuddle duds, Smartwool tights, or even fleece-lined leggings underneath along with boots and an number of layers on top. But the thing is, I haven't been very inspired by the outfits I've seen using maxi skirts for cold weather. 

Here's the other thing I realized. I read the other day something about a blogger who "realized she liked asking questions more than she liked giving advice." I'm paraphrasing here, but I am like that, too. My styling sessions are much more about me asking questions, and I'm going to make more of an effort to reflect that here. I don't have answers that no one else has, but what I do have are questions that I think will lead you to looking-and feeling-more like the best version of yourself. Let's do it.

Belt it, Belt it Real Good

ViaSimilar by Torrid here


Ok so I inherently like these images with the maxi skirts. Maybe it's about the belt? I think the belt does something really nice with the proportions here, kind of raises the waistline to emphasize the long legs created by the maxi skirt. 

Also I really like the casual shirts with these skirts that can feel old fashioned and/or dressier by nature. So what if you pulled out a neutral color maxi skirt (petites can be hard to find-here's one!) and a soft t-shirt and a belt or two. Why not try tucking the shirt in and belting the skirt way up high on your waist (at least over the belly button if not higher)? Then, on the other hand, like the top picture, keep your shirt untucked and belt it low on the hips. The third idea, not pictured, would be to leave the shirt out but belt over the shirt to create a higher waist without tucking. 

See how neither picture has belt loops? Just put the belt where you want it, and if there's extra length, tuck it in like the "hello" woman did. I'm also noticing that the belts are a different neutral color so don't do black on black maybe? I think you'd lose the belt visually that way. Oh look! Asos has one with a belt already

Ok, great. Now you're in a tshirt and maxi skirt....basically ready for summer. How will we move this into fall and winter?

 Mix Soft and Hard

Similar gorgeous skirt by GH here

Both via

Here's an easy way: add a long-sleeved jacket or cardigan or other layer that is a stiffer material than the skirt. I really like the way a soft, billowy skirt (like this one) looks with something on the total other end of the spectrum, like a hard, shiny leather jacket. If that's not your vibe, what about a military jacket that's stiffer than the skirt or a jean jacket or boxier blazer with some structure? 

 Stay Monochrome, but Never Boring

Speaking of blazers, I love how this looks. It's two elements (a maxi skirt or maybe a dress? and a blazer) that could feel kind of stiff or Victorian, but the scarf and hat make it feel so boho, don't you think? 


What if you took a maxi dress or skirt that has a print and then repeated one of the colors from the print in a blazer, jacket or cardigan? Then repeat it again with a shirt, all soft, all the same material. Same color hat optional. Here, she picked up a second color from the print and repeated it in her scarf, but I find that to be a little too easy. So did this blogger! The next step up for me would be to introduce a third color, maybe a brown hat or a different color scarf? I'm thinking something related to that second color in the skirt (pink) but more saturated? Maybe a cranberry or oxblood instead?

Try Etsy for fabulous printed skirts like this.

Long, Long Layers


So what do you think about this? Part of me loves it, and part of me wonders if it's too matchy-matchy. I think this is a good starter outfit for wearing a summery maxi dress in the fall and winter, and I think you could do this, then change things up and make it even better. To do this type of look, you can see she's doing the same color palette throughout the outfit: green, cream, and brown. She's also building on another theme, which is long lengths. Her hair is down, her dress is long, her sweater is long, her bag is long, and her boots high. 

At home, pick a favorite long summer dress with a pattern. Pick a long sweater in the same color family (I'm pushing you already not to match exactly here!) and layer that on. Highlight the waist up high on the dress (or follow the waistline of your own dress) with a belt in any color that you like with your dress. Then, you decide about accessories-match 'em up like she did here, or get wild and mix and match colors and textures. Again, the great thing about maxi length in the winter is that you can wear high boots and fleece-lined tights underneath if you need to. I'd also add a long necklace if you're really into the boho vibe here. 

What do you think? If you have great ideas for wearing a maxi length in the cold weather, please email me some pictures to share with everyone! 

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