A birra skirt

First, we had the maxi dress, now we have (drum roll please) … the maxi skirt! Ah, in the world of fashion, it is always somewhat exhilarating to give an old dog a new name.

A maxi skirt is, basically, a long skirt. Sounds innocent enough, but I’m not wholly convinced. I’m already worried about channelling Fenella Fellorick the Kettle Witch when I glide around in a maxi dress, but somehow the maxi skirt further enhances the ‘on wheels’ vibe. Strike one.

Unlike the dress version, which provides a dazzling array of choice in terms of fit, style and fabric, there’s not quite as much variety in the range of skirts available on the High Street, and images of triangles, wedding dress meringues and toilet roll dolls just won’t be banished from my mind when I rifle through what’s on offer. Strike two.

In my formative years (during the Ice Age) I was heavily into grunge and the maxi skirt played a leading role in my wardrobe. There was usually tie-dye involved, occasional bells (bells!) dangling off the hem and more often than not, a pair of cherry red Docs in attendance. You could certainly see (and hear) me coming.

But the maxi skirt of 2010 is less dog-on-string traveller and more floaty, dreamy, catalogue model. They are meant to be worn with a trilby whilst skipping along the beach, baring a bikini top and perfectly toned tum. Sadly, pulling that look off in the sticky, local pub garden is not so easy and photo shoot-esque. It’s hard to look airy and carefree when your t-shirt keeps riding up, exposing the gut. Oh yes, unlike the ‘cover all’ maxi dress, the skirt has a very inconsiderate habit of exposing the bits of flesh (rolls, if you’re unlucky) any sane woman would rather keep under wraps. Strike three.

On the plus side, the maxi skirt is ideal if you can’t be arsed to shave your legs, they look uber chic with the right vest and chunky belt (see model Alessandra Ambrosio working that perfectly to the right) – and if you do a good line in a thunder thighs, no one will ever know about them.

I also have it on good authority that if you wear one to a festival – and go commando – chemical toilets are not necessary, even in a field full of people (NB: this is only applicable for number ones – I don’t want to hear about any of my maxi-skirt-clad readers pooing in plastic cups).

If you’re going for it, I’d urge you to consider the classic peasant skirt (you might even get some of those bells I was talking about into the bargain). ASOS do a lovely (good value) border print version, as well as the Fairground tiered floral maxi. Warehouse has a floral version in stock that will straddle the seasons. And boohoo’s cutesy Clara is so cheap you might as well buy it twice.

For a clean, classic maxi skirt, Topshop do a lovely cream crochet, All Saints’ goldie skirt is lush-a-rama, Monsoon’s pondicherry is pure class, and the embellished Glamstock from Oasis could be a wardrobe staple.

There are some cute ‘n’ kooky numbers out there too. Providing your hips can handle it, Oasis’ paisley maxi is ever so purdy. The Fairground check skirt at ASOS is in-yer-face cowgirl. Warehouse goes off piste with a feather print maxi that takes some gumption but could look super-swell at a fest. And boohoo’s splash print maxi has evoked feelings of deep desire in me (no, really).

Finally, maxi skirts do lend themselves beautifully to the goth look – and if you get your paws on this black lace business from Oasis, I defy your inner Maryann Forrester not to organise an orgy on the front porch. Or something. Such fun!

No surprise: Ms N Richie, the maxi dress queen, rocks the skirt version just as good

Written by Johanna Payton