It’s Not Only a Denim Maxi Skirt—It’s a Motion

Following a gleeful period of dopamine dressing, the style zeitgeist is now craving for a traditional staple that may navigate the uncharted terrain of our post-pandemic future. One thing reliable, seasonless, and, and sure, unequivocally snug. Enter: the denim maxi skirt—a timeless icon, rooted within the artwork of artistic repurposing and able to evolving with cultural tides. “Once we have been popping out of lockdown, I noticed a powerful curiosity in maximalism, and I ponder if the denim maxi might be a shift again in direction of a extra minimalist, stripped-down aesthetic,” contemplates writer and sustainable vogue skilled Elizabeth L. Cline.

For these looking for sartorial longevity and a clutter-free wardrobe, it’s an understated important. “My highschool years are coming again,” says vogue director and stylist Shibon Kennedy. She reminisces about her coveted darkish denim Earl Denims A-line maxi, full with an over-the-knee slit. “To me, it conjures up the ’90s, it conjures up the ’70s—it’s a kind of issues that everyone can put on. It might probably both be utilitarian or tremendous attractive. There’s a lot room for it, and it’s a transitional piece you possibly can put on each season.”

miami beach, florida december 01 zerina akers attends w magazine and burberry’s art basel celebration on december 01, 2022 in miami beach, florida photo by rob kimgetty images for w magazine

Longer hemlines are nothing new, however the denim maxi skirt additionally displays our starvation for a wardrobe hero that transcends fleeting microtrends beloved by Gen Z and TikTokers alike. “It brings with it this spirit of resourcefulness, and it’s inspiring folks to create their very own garments once more,” says stylist and costume designer Zerina Akers, who additionally feels that the garment’s recognition will be attributed to its alignment with the mermaidcore pattern. “I’ve been mixing my black denim cargo maxi with a patent shirt or one thing that has a unique texture,” she provides.

Within the Nineteen Seventies, the jean skirt emerged as a approach to upcycle denim, mirroring the free-spirited vitality of the instances. (Image distressed textures and imperfect patchwork crafted from previous cloth scraps.) The front-snap type was an plain favourite, embodying the carefree consolation of the last decade. Quick-forward to the Nineteen Nineties, and the denim maxi discovered its place firmly inside the grunge motion. Typically paired with fight boots, chunky equipment, and a leather-based jacket, it epitomized the gritty DIY aesthetic that turned synonymous with that kind of vogue, popularized by frontwomen like Courtney Love and Gwen Stefani.

radio z100's zootopia concert in hemptead photo by steve azzaracorbis via getty images

Christina Aguilera

Steve Azzara
tori spelling photo by sgranitzwireimage

Tori Spelling

Steve Granitz

Throughout the 2000s, a number of designers, together with Stella McCartney, Dries Van Noten, and Marc Jacobs, reinvented the retro piece into a up to date vogue assertion. Y2K type icons, like Christina Aguilera, Kelly Rowland, and even Jennifer Aniston’s Buddies character Rachel Inexperienced wore the useful skirt with an array of classy touches. From shimmering crystal gildings to playful fringe accents and daring cuts, the denim maxi cemented its standing as an everlasting canvas for self-expression.

Latest collections have been all about size. Burberry’s pre-fall 2022 runway included an extremely high-waisted, mid-toned maxi that simply barely grazed the ground, and Altuzzura’s spring/2023 assortment supplied two variations: an ankle-length, structured silhouette for a sophisticated aesthetic, and a low-slung, saggy model for an effortlessly cool look. Laur’s spring/summer time 2023 line reimagined conventional silhouettes, introducing a genderless adaptation match for the workplace, whereas MM6 Maison Margiela’s spring/summer time 2023 vary introduced a dystopian-esque distressed darkish denim maxi adorned with a thin belt—a nostalgic and considerably raveled nod to the emo look. Manufacturers like Zits Studios, Reformation, and Ganni are additionally contributing their very own edgy interpretations to the lengthy jean skirt pattern. Celebrities like Anitta, Julia Fox, Bella Hadid, and Jennifer Lopez have all been noticed sporting it, too.

new york, usa september 10 a model walks the runway during the altuzzara ready to wear springsummer 2023 show as part of the new york fashion week on september 10, 2022 in ny photo by victor virgilegamma rapho via getty images

Victor Virgile

In response to Cline, there’s a hovering demand for sustainability amongst customers, resulting in a rise in the usage of eco-friendly supplies like recycled content material and natural cotton. “We [also] see extra manufacturers having the secondhand and resale possibility, so definitely there are issues altering, however on the identical time, I don’t assume any reader could be stunned to listen to that quick vogue is doing higher than ever.”

Los Angeles-based stylist Miso Dam loves her classic darkish denim mid-waist maxi by Diesel, a gem she discovered on Depop and acquired tailor-made to suit her silhouette. “Normcore is actually fashionable proper now, and maxi skirts make you look somewhat bit extra put collectively even when you’re not attempting too onerous. I feel that’s an aesthetic that numerous ladies are gravitating in direction of,” she says.

For an informal daytime look, Dam says she’d type her maxi with a rib tank or plain tee, then full the ensemble with a pair of cowboy boots and a classic purse. For added aptitude, she suggests experimenting with layered belts or incorporating extra layers like a sweatshirt, crew neck, or lengthy trench coat. Alternatively, she loves to sometimes channel her inside Britney Spears and totally embrace the Canadian tuxedo with an identical denim jacket.

paris, france october 05 a model walks the runway at the stella mccartney spring summer 2016 fashion show during paris fashion week on october 5, 2015 in paris, france photo by catwalkinggetty images

A glance from Stella McCartney’s spring 2016 assortment.


When purchasing for a sustainable possibility, Cline suggests prioritizing supplies like 100% cotton or a mix of 99 % cotton and 1 % spandex for sturdy, easy-to-care-for, and recyclable items. “You may have a look at the product description on-line and store manufacturers that declare to be sourcing extra sustainable cotton that’s made with responsibly managed water and non-toxic dyes,” Cline says. “And hopefully you could find one thing—I do know it may be tough—the place the model is saying one thing about how the folks within the provide chain are handled.”

When selecting a dimension, Kennedy recommends contemplating your required match. “I’ll purchase two sizes up if I need [the denim maxi skirt] to hit low,” Kennedy says. Her insider tip? Somewhat than shopping for a low-rise type, she prefers somewhat room, which permits for adaptability. This manner, she will fold it if she needs one thing high-waisted. To personalize the match, she encourages experimenting with equipment—assume: outsized hoops, a enjoyable purse, a daring belt, or pops of silver or gold accents. And when it comes to magnificence, Kennedy swears by a purple lip, whether or not it’s day or evening.

Pushed by financial and environmental uncertainty and a looming recession, customers are shifting their priorities and gravitating in direction of merchandise they’ll actually rely on. And that definitely consists of vogue. The denim maxi provides what the mini merely couldn’t: a promise of reliability and stability that resonates deeply in our unpredictable world.

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Boutayna Chokrane (she/her) is an arts and tradition author who has written for Rolling Stone, the Chicago Reader, and extra. Her passions embrace vogue, well being and health, ’90s sitcoms, and actuality TV. Observe her on Twitter.