How To Wear Trendy Maxi Skirts When You're Petite

Picture this: you discover the perfect clothing item and can already see how you'll style it, only to check the model's measurements and realize they're half a foot taller than you. If you're petite, meaning you're 5 feet and 4 inches or less, you've probably encountered a disappointment similar to this several times.

Interestingly, as of 2018, the average height for a woman born in the U.S. over the age of 20 was a little over 5-foot-2. This would make the average American woman comfortably petite. However, some women are shorter but don't have the typical "petite" body shape. This can make it a struggle to find clothing that fits due to some brands who offer petite clothing not just altering the length of items but also cutting them narrower.

One of the main items of clothing that can be an issue for petite women is maxi skirts. By design, a maxi skirt is supposed to reach your ankles, but a maxi skirt on a petite person could extend far beyond that. We've got tips and tricks on how to make the clothing item work for you so you can style your favorite maxi skirt all year round.

Your choice of shoe is extra important if you're petite

The first and easiest trick when it comes to styling maxi skirts when you're petite is to wear taller shoes. This doesn't necessarily have to be heels, but shoes with any sort of built-in height increase. Chunky sneakers are extremely popular these days, as are platform shoes like chunky loafers and ankle boots. No matter your style, a chunky shoe will lend you the height boost that's often needed when wearing a maxi skirt. 

For an elegant look, heels should be your first choice. Heels are also your best bet for evening gowns and more formal maxi skirt looks. If you find yourself wobbling around like Bambi in thin heels, style platform heels that have a thicker front and a block heel, as they will offer extra support. The size of the heel itself doesn't have to be anything drastic — even a couple of inches will help to give you the streamlined look that's essential in making a maxi skirt look work.

Add a flirty split to your look to help increase your vertical line

If the thought of being off the ground in platforms scares you, there are plenty of other ways to pull off a maxi skirt. One of these ways is to create space in your look by opting for a skirt with a split in it. Maxi-length skirts with a split help to not overwhelm your petite frame with the longer length. The skin-barring skirt gives the illusion of longer legs, due to the high split. However, don't feel like you have to go for a skirt with an extreme split. Even a maxi skirt with just a small one can have a positive lengthening effect.

A split can appear on more formal looks or casual maxi skirts, making this style, in particular, pretty versatile. And while it isn't exactly the same, a maxi skirt with a trendy asymmetrical hemline will have a similar effect by showing more of your legs.

During hotter weather, adjust your maxi skirt style

A flowy maxi skirt is a must have for hot summer days. It will give you all of the "Mamma Mia" vibes, but often sandals are flatter and don't give you as much leverage when it comes to height. Because of this, a crop top is a must have. Even if you don't like to show a lot of skin, a crop top that shows just a hint of your midriff will help to break up your outfit, particularly if your maxi skirt is closer to the floor.

Flowy maxi skirts are generally more forgiving to petite women than straight maxi skirts as they give the impression of longer legs, especially if you go for a high-waisted skirt. Plus, warmer weather is the perfect time to try out tops that have cut-out backs, criss-cross straps, and other details that will pair well with longer skirts to create a well-balanced look. If you prefer to stay covered up, platform sandals will have a similar lengthening effect.

Pull off one of the hottest trends with this handy tip

Denim maxi skirts are everywhere right now, but if you're petite it's easy to get swallowed by the longer and often wider silhouette. Because of this, petite women should look for ways to stop their visual lines from being shortened. Luckily, this isn't as difficult as it sounds.

Using the above outfit as an example, you can see in the top half of the look that the short sleeves and slightly cropped silhouette even out the long length of the skirt. Additionally, the chunky loafers add a small bit of height, whereas the sliver of bare ankle is a great way to once again visually lengthen your legs. If you're not a fan of cropped things, a tighter tucked-in t-shirt will also do the trick.

The main thing here is to choose an item with short sleeves. Otherwise, your shorter frame could look overwhelmed, particularly because denim is a heavier fabric than linen or cotton and could add bulk to a petite frame. This isn't a bad thing depending on what you are trying to achieve with your style, but it's definitely something to keep in mind.

Prints and patterns can make or break a look

Finally, always take the material into consideration. You may love bold prints or horizontal stripes, but neither will flatter a petite body type. Instead, go for maxi skirts with small patterns like mini polka dots or even vertical stripes if you can't let go of stripes. Or, drop the patterns altogether and focus on finding a skirt in a solid color. In general, too many prints and patterns will do a disservice to anyone under 5 foot 4, as it's difficult to pull off loud items of clothing when you don't have as much height to work with. 

Moreover, certain materials will be easier to work with than others. For example, a cotton skirt will usually be flowier than a denim one, which will fit your body differently because it's a heavier fabric. This doesn't mean you should avoid certain materials, but rather figure out what works best for you.

You should always wear what makes you happy, but by keeping the above styling tips in mind you'll be maximizing your outfit potential the next time you wear a maxi skirt.