Hear Us Out: It's Time To Give The Denim Maxi Skirt A Second Chance

Denim maxi skirts didn't always make the cut. Once upon a time, a denim maxi skirt wasn't exactly the pinnacle of style. The length was once considered overly modest and, depending on the styling, sometimes dated. These days, the denim maxi skirt, and large denim pieces can certainly can be something out of a time capsule; who can forget Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake at the 2001 AMAs red carpet rocking head to toe jean ensembles? While the double denim look was popular at the time, it didn't age well for a good stretch of time in the later 2000s.


But thanks to the cyclical nature of fashion, denim, and long denim at that, is back in a major way. How do we know? The features on the spring 2023 runways, including GCDS, Balenciaga, and Masha Popova, proved that denim maxi skirts are back, giving us the go-ahead to dig up this forgotten fashion relic from our closets. But the key to rocking a denim maxi skirt is all about styling it correctly.

Go fitted on the top

Apart from modeling the particular oversized aesthetic that suited "Annie Hall," a good rule to follow when working with a long, heavy clothing piece like a denim maxi skirt is to pair it with something fitted. Conversely, if a top is billowy, wear it with tighter pants. Who What Wear explains emphasizing these different proportions is key to ensuring the outfit remains balanced without too many pieces attempting to command the spotlight. To keep a denim maxi skirt from appearing too bulky, opt for a slim tank or a crop top during the summer. When it comes time to break out the skirt for the winter, go for a fitted turtleneck or a tighter sweater to accentuate your natural silhouette. 


MasterClass also suggests pairing tighter tops with voluminous skirts as a way to balance the look so that we don't get lost in too much fabric on both the top and bottom.

Embrace the high slit

Since the whole appeal of a denim maxi skirt is to embrace volume, expect the look to be bottom-heavy. The maximum weight of the denim is the point; but just because a denim maxi skirt is long and voluminous doesn't mean that it can't be a sexy staple. So how does one achieve a balance of both?


A high slit can do just the trick to both embrace the garment's volume while giving you the chance to show off a little skin. If the skirt has buttons, you can take a leap with a risque unbuttoning, depending how much skin you want to show. Meanwhile, a dramatic thigh-high slit can be a great way to transition the denim maxi for warm weather. The best part of this is it gives you the opportunity play with different shoes. A platform boot can add both height and edge, while a flat sandal or sneaker can play down the look and keep things casual. For a less leggy look that's just as fun, opt for slit up to the knees instead.

A modern update to the Canadian tuxedo

Why restrict your denim look to only one garment? While we traditionally think of denim on denim, or the Canadian Tuxedo, as pairing jeans with a jean jacket, you can revolutionize the look by swapping your high waisted flares or bootcut pants for a denim maxi skirt. After all, if Gen Z has taught us anything, it's that skinny jeans are out and more complex looks are in.


In case you needed a reminder, the Y2K look is officially back in a major way, as Harper's Bazaar notes, with chunky shoes, chokers, and tiny sunglasses. As The Trend Spotter reports, double denim duty is a major part of this aesthetic. The best part about this look is that the denim washes don't have to coordinate. In fact, combining different washes can add a total unique and retro edge. Since the eye-catching look serves maximum volume, keep bags and accessories small to not seem too bulky. If you're wearing a denim jacket, sport a bralette or a crop top underneath to keep the look edgy. 

Treat it like a neutral

The best part about denim fabric is that it's basically a canvas for anything else, and in its own way, can be considered a neutral. These rules are no different when it comes to the denim maxi skirt, so accessories completely set the tone of the outfit. Sleek, minimal color palates and sophisticated accessories keep the look sharp. A crisp, white button down, for instance, works wonders. Slip into heels to elongate the already long silhouette.


But part of the fun of wearing something as bold as a denim maxi skirt is that the sky's the limit. For winter looks, don't be afraid to lean into the maximal effect, with a full coat, tights, and a hat. For a breezier look, rock the denim maxi skirt with a bandana and sunglasses. Don't forget that denim can come in all sorts of colors too; black, white, and every other color we've worn as standard jeans.

Keep it vintage

One of the best parts about the denim maxi skirt renaissance (and everything else from Y2K, frankly) is that it's relatively easy to shop for these products sustainably. Because styles come and go, the odds are pretty high that you can source a pre-owned maxi skirt at a vintage store or thrift store at a relatively affordable price.


Ivan Dauriz told the BBC how the reintroduction of these old trends is changing with how people engage with fashion. "People will always want to have new looks but they're becoming more and more aware of the impact of their choices on the environment, and that possibly the best thing all of us can do in this climate crisis is limit the resources we take out of the planet," Dauriz said. "Vintage speaks to what's happening right now." They added it also creates the possibility of sourcing looks that are very unique.

However, it's worth noting vintage shopping and thrift sourcing isn't always as easy as we'd hope. The correct size can be impossible to find or the right look just isn't available. As such, there are several options for sustainable denim when you want to buy something new. The Strategist offers 15 different brands that are easier on the planet.