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I Like My Skirts Maxi, Not Mini

My legs and I don’t regret anything

05.04.17

I vividly remember the first and last miniskirt of my life. It was a cropped denim number found at Urban Outfitters, worn with a basketball tee and cheerleading socks. Shortly before this, I had watched a movie starring a girl in a denim miniskirt which instantly made me believe I had to own one, too. Movie characters often put me in a makeover mood: After watching Juno, I tried a disturbing combination of ill-fitting jeans, band tee and a yellow Abercrombie & Fitch hoodie. The Juno mood lasted a day, then I went back to my nice jeans and pretty blouses. The miniskirt awaited a similar fate.

I started hating it only a few weeks after the purchase. It didn’t help that my mother defended it in front of my father. My father thought it was too short. “Let her wear a short skirt,” my mother exclaimed. “She’s young!” I was young indeed, but for some reason, looking young didn’t speak to me. When someone asks me about the style sins of my youth (which is a weird thing to ask me because I’m technically still in the middle of my youth and have plenty occasions to commit sins ahead of me), I never know how to respond. Yes, I did wear a lot of very wrong clothes in my adolescence (I still do! Sometimes). But I never felt obliged to look young because I was.

MSGM striped shirt, Andrew GN skirt, Sophia Webster sandals, artificial poppy from the flower shop

MSGM striped shirt, Andrew GN skirt, Sophia Webster sandals, artificial poppy from the flower shop

Do I have to look young just because I am? And what does “looking young” mean, anyway? Miniskirts, mini dresses and hot pants have always been associated with youth because they were invented at a time when fashion was meant to liberate women. Youth equals freedom (of rules, duties, office hours, tax declarations), which, again, is what the miniskirt has always promised. If you want to jump over a fence, it is not going to obstruct you. If you like to feel a breeze around your privates, it allows for that. If you like to show your legs, it won’t hide them, and if you wear it on the first day of your internship at a stiff law firm, your boss will send you home, which means you’ll get the day off. The miniskirt has always had a don’t-care attitude: don’t care if my legs are unshaved, don’t care if you can see my lower butt cheeks peeking out. That’s what kept it young.

claire-by-marlen--mueller-man repeller-floor length dresses-spring style-9

Wales Bonner denim jacket, Marques’ Almeida dress, Seymoure sunglasses, Converse sneakers

I stopped wearing mine because I started to feel old long before I actually will be. And as much as youth is celebrated, I’m okay with that. I barely go out (okay, never); I love to clean my apartment; I fall asleep at midnight, even on Saturdays; and I once told people in my building to turn the music down. I would not enjoy being sent home by my boss, and I don’t think any guy — apart from my boyfriend — deserves to see my butt cheeks. Apart from that, I don’t like my legs. It’s not that I hate them, but I’m not a fan, either. I worry about them, which is probably the opposite of what young people are supposed to do. My legs are rather sturdy, thanks to both predisposition and my career as a middle-distance runner (which picked up around the same time I started hating the aforementioned denim miniskirt). But you know how they say there’s no bad weather, just wrong clothing? I say there are no sturdy legs, just too-short skirts. And so I discovered maxi skirts and dresses.

claire-by-marlen--mueller-man repeller-floor length dresses-spring style-17

Diane von Furstenberg blouse, La Double J skirt, Rebecca de Ravenel earrings, Castañer espadrilles

I wore them all last summer, and can’t wait to do so again. I feel good in them, not because I have something to hide, but because wearing what suits my body and personality best simply gives me confidence – which is probably a really adult and boring thing to say about style, but what do I care? One can combine them with heeled sandals or Converse sneakers, a crisp white blouse or a glamorous jacket. They look both elegant and flamboyant. Also, think about all the great things you can hide under them! If you’ve always wanted to sneak your dog into your grand aunt’s white-carpeted living room, maxi skirts and dresses are your thing. I even figured out a way to wear them without looking like I was on my way to Coachella: just add a buttoned-up shirt and dramatic earrings. But no one believes I go to Coachella anyway. I hate festivals! See how old I am? 23 on the outside, 72 on the inside. As I said, that’s okay. My legs and I don’t regret anything.

Follow Berlin-babe Claire on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Go check out her website C’est Clairette, too. Photos by Marlen Mueller, follow her on Instagram @marle_mue.

  • Holly Laine Mascaro

    Really loving the end sell: “think of what you can hide under them!” hahaha

  • Wow: you really look great in your maxis! I guess hardly anyone misses seeing you in minis …

  • I love the drama of a long skirt!

  • Rheanonn Perez

    yes, wear what feels good to you! if u don’t wanna wear miniskirts now, u will probably never want to. & if u change ur mind, u can wear them then! i think if people stayed true to themselves like u do they wouldn’t end up with so many unworn things in their closets lol

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  • Meg S

    No one makes maxi skirts in petite lengths. Every maxi skirt I love is too long and needs hemming. There’s a reason why I stick with midi skirts unless I’m madly in love enough to hem things. Designers, please think about short people too!

    • Meg

      Seconding — I’ve found a couple that work but I have to wear a particular shoe or if it’s a jersey material fold over the waist one too many times.

      • Meg S

        Short Megs FTW.

        I have one or two jersey maxi skirts that I should hem, but I fold them over instead. The perk to that is that I can wear them with shoes besides flats. If I hem them, that might not be the case.

    • Charlotte

      Yes! Absolutely!! A couple of months ago my mum started teaching me how to sew because I’m tired of bringing things to the tailor or being drawn to designs that are just not suitable for being ‘shortened’ (sometimes patterns just don’t allow you to). A little embarrassing but I actually made a pattern out of a & Other Stories skirt and made the skirt myself – adjusting the centimeters.

      • Meg S

        One thing I’m glad I have is a good tailor. I feel like she can do anything I throw at her. I bought a midi length chiffon pleated skirt. The lining length was perfect, but the actual skirt fell below my knees. I still have it, but I’m not sure anything can be done. I haven’t worn it yet, haven’t had it tailored, and am unsure what to do with it because I love it. I need to figure it out because I want to take it with me to Paris in a few weeks.

        I have a friend who makes her own clothes (and sometimes makes me things), so I might ask her advice on what to do. I should probably buck up and take it to my tailor and see if anything can be done, then decide whether to tailor it, wear it as is, or sell it. There’s no need for me to keep things I can’t wear, and I need to sort out my closet.

        The local community college offers sewing classes. I may have to register if they fit my schedule.

  • Lil

    “23 on the outside, 72 on the inside.”
    LOL same! I see everyone on snapchat raging every weekend, while I spend Friday nights at home with a face mask and Downton Abbey…

    Sometimes I feel like I should thrown on a mini skirt and be young too. But then I remember that my Ski-II masks are coming in the mail! 😉

  • Kay Nguyen

    I love long skirt but well being a short girl means your skirt is all over the floor and I find myself stepping on it all the time! Still love maxi skirts though <3

    http://www.myblackcloset.com/

  • Eliza

    Thank you Claire, this speaks to me. Love every one of these skirts!!

  • Senka

    I’m ten years older than Claire, but have always liked longer skirt. not exactly maxi, but a longer midi to be precise. As a juvenile goth I remember getting a long velvet black skirt that I wore a lot. I even paired it with hoodies (real sins of the youth). But as I grew older I found my self picking the exact length that hit’s at least couple of inches bellow my knee, preferably to the middle of my shin, thus revealing the most flattering and skinniest part of the leg. They make me look taller, leaner and more feminine. I feel pretty wearing them. Not the kind of pretty that results in catcalling, but mostly appreciative looks from other women. I prefer even my pencil skirts to be a bit longer, and paired with heels they look really much more stylish and classy than knee length, but also less like bank employee, and more like someone with their own style agenda.

    • Suzan

      I feel (and wear skirts) exactly the same way!

  • Suzan

    The photography in this piece is gor-geous!!

  • Nice post, the pictures are amazing and yes according to me you should be that exactly what you are not what others want you to be. I always wear those in which I feel comfortable.

  • Samantha Lee

    Ugh, I’ve generally always hated wearing mini skirts. And actually, as of like, last weekend, I’m somehow suuuuper into maxi dresses. There is something so freeing about them!

    http://www.wonderlandsam.com

  • I’m so not a long skirt girl, but applause for anyone who wears the things that truly make them feel authentic. My coworker and I were just having a conversation about this; it’s exciting to come into your own

  • LM1278

    I hate maxi skirts for one simple reason, they are always too long! I am 5’3″ and can’t do maxis because of the length. I also hate mini skirts. They’re fine if you’re a 15 year old high school girl, but anything over that, they look ridiculous. Anyway, to get back to Maxi skirts, the only time I could buy one is if it available in petites, which are seldom sold. I always thought maxi skirts were better on tall women. Maxis aren’t for everyone. I prefer a midi skirt. They’re appropriate for nearly everything.

    • I’m 5’2 and I feel you. I have 2 maxi dresses that are fine and not too long/have too much fabric, but I haven’t been able to find a maxi skirt that fits me. But I LOVE mini skirts. I have skinny legs so midi skirts look awkward on me. My calves poke out from underneath like chicken feet and I look like a girl wearing her mom’s too-big skirt.

  • Delphine Gintz

    I can’t, I can’t. This looks too good

  • xtyb

    I have been eyeing that exact La Double J skirt forever!
    Love this, thank you!!

  • Nat Ch

    I love love love long skirts! I feel so powerful with all that fabric moving when I move. They’re so eye catching, too. Whenever I stumble upon posts that say petite girls shouldn’t wear maxi skirts I look away and close my eyes really hard to unsee what I just saw.

    For me, maxi skirts are like capes 😎!

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