Sunday, 1 May 2011

Trust the Mail to make a mess of the maxi

Merry Beltane, readers!

For those of you who wonder why I insist on reading the Daily Mail, the UK's stuffiest and most conservative broadsheet, it's because without it, I wouldn't pick up on such highly amusing tidbits as the Mail's (apparently gormless) fashion writers flailing all over themselves to complicate a simple piece of clothing that has been a staple of the Goth scene for decades.

Right, Gothlings. Let's do a brief survey:

How many of you - ladies and gentlemen alike - own a full-length (ankle length to floor length, or even longer) skirt, aka a 'maxi-skirt'? Or more than one?

Or (like me) more than ten?

How many of you have worn it to a club, concert or other event?

How many of you incorporate it into your everyday wardrobe?

Source: Photobucket
If you, like me, are guilty of all of the above, congratulations, because we are all a step ahead of the Mail's fashion 'elite'. Yes, all right, there are some dangers involved with wearing a full-length skirt. You can trip on the hem when walking upstairs. It can blow over your head in the middle of the high street (at least I had decent knicks on). You can become entangled in a bush if the wind happens to blow at the wrong moment. And when walking, it may delight in tangling itself around your legs like an overfriendly cat.

But overall, the 'maxi' is a refreshingly simple garment to wear. It goes with everything. It hides a multitude of sins - from hairy legs to the last of the fake tan from that party outfit that seemed like a great idea at the time. You can layer it up with petticoats and a bustle for a more elaborate outfit, or throw on a tank top, studded belt and baseball boots for casual Goth chic. Worried about tripping on the hem? Wear platforms!

I bought this maxi at a Travelling Trends fashion show. It was covered in sequins and clashing beads, ruining the effect of the delicate lace, which I spent two hours painstakingly removing (the sequins and beads, not the lace).
You don't even have to bother buying one in the right size! You can buy a maxi that's way too big for you from a charity shop (I'm a size ten - the biggest maxi I own was originally a size thirty) and add elastic to the waist to tighten it as much as you please! If it's already elasticated, so much the better. Just snip it open, tighten the elastic, and sew it back together (or use fabric glue. Yes, I'm a lazy DIY-er). Go, budgetgoth, go!

Wonderful, no?

Well, no, if one happens to write for the Daily Mail. Lydia Slater describes the maxi as 'long on style, short on dignity', which should have Victorian Goths everywhere spluttering into their tea. She goes on to describe the look as 'low-key, wearable and no-fuss'. Low-key? I should damn well hope not. Us Gothy fashionistas don't drag the maxi skirt out of the wardrobe to be described as 'low-key', dahling!

'For maxi chic, your toes should be on display'. I hate to be crude, but... naff off. My toes make an appearance roughly three times a year.

For her article, Lydia road-tests three maxi-skirt outfits for work, weekend and evening - and proceeds to use very little common sense and generally make a hash of what Goth ladies (and gents) have been doing with elegance for the last twenty or thirty years. Bless.

Some tips for those who would like to rock the maxi without following Lydia's example (which you can read more about here, should some of the following points go over your head):
  • If sweeping, tuck your skirt into your waistband or lift it out of the way with one hand. It's only logical, really...
  • When using an escalator, gather your skirt and lift it slightly with one hand as you would when climbing stairs.
  • Lydia does make one good point - if riding a bike, make damn sure it has a skirt guard fitted so your beloved maxi doesn't get chewed up and grimy.
  • But, thinking on it... don't ride a bike in a maxi, unless you are certain you can manage it with a certain degree of dignity. Lydia manages to expose her underwear. Yes, our Edwardian ancestors could do it. But they had practice. And deportment training. And never wore anything EXCEPT a full-length skirt.
  • When picnicking, spread a napkin on your lap. Or use a plate. Honestly, I do not know why Lydia makes a mess of her skirt whilst picnicking. What else would one wear for a cemetery picnic, after all?


Julietslace said...

I own about two, I quite like them but it's annoying when you're running about in college all day.

I hate the wind and how it wraps it around my legs, I am not a burrito! Try pulling all the fabric to one side when the wind blows, no excess fabric to tangle.

Corin said...

I love maxi skirts! Especially the feeling of the light fabrics against my legs when I feminine and elegant. Unfortunately in the province of the Netherlands where I'm originally from ('Zeeland')you're immediately branded as a religious fanatic when you wear one. (We have many deeply religious protestants living there, who are only allowed to wear long skirts). Which is funny, because where I live now some people tend to think that you're evil when wearing a long black skirt... Prejudices can be so ironic! Anyway; what I'm trying to do when something which has been a typical goth garment for ages suddenly is the next best fashion item, is to take advantage of the situation and stock up on them now that they're affordable! You like mentioned, customizing the skirt is not that hard.

Kitty Lovett; A Charming Notion said...

I own four now - one my mum gave me, which is black, the pinstripe one I made yesterday, a purple velvet one my sister gave me, and another purple velvet one my aunt bought when she was 1972.

I love maxiskirts. They're awesome, and I often dress like a mennonite (or amish) woman when I feel like it. XD

Just to elaborate, we get so much from the Daily Mail at (which is an anti-fundamentalist website I help run). A bunch of crazy racists anyway.

Audrey said...

I wear long skirts frequently I've only had ONE of those things happen. And she managed to have everything that could possibly go wrong in the space of...What, a day? It must be that I'm super lucky or she is either exaggerating for her silly article or super clumsy. If they were that hard to wear, no one would wear them.
Maybe she should stick to something easy, like shorts.

Violette B. said...

I wear a maxi almost everyday (It is my wardrobe´s basic) and I didn´t notice any problem yet. This is funny because I consider myself a very clumsy person.
If the writer finds so many disadvantages to long skirts, what about high heels? She would probably break one of her lovely ankles, isn´t It?
This person is just exposing her personal tastes on the article, so It can not be taken as serious stuff.

Lilly Peppermint said...

I live in long skirts. It's so ironic (and a bit of a clue to my self confidence) that I won't wear a skirt about mid calve without stockings, yet with them I will wear 2cm below my bum... Long skirts are so versatile, three or four good ones will survive for years because they can be worn in summer and winter. x
p.s my catchpha is 'housed'XD

Ophelia Black said...

Long skirts are my best friend, the more flowy, the better. This woman is, alas, an idiot. How can so much go wrong in such a classic and beautiful garment? I can never find pants that fit right, but with a skirt you can gather the waist and hem the bottom as needed for a perfect fit.

NoxArtemis said...

And a happy belated Walpurgisnacht. 8)

Yes, I think we can all agree that maxi skirts are awesome. XD Heck, I didn't even know there was such a big thing about them for them all to be referred to as "maxi skirts": I just called them "long skirts." My ma just bought me a gray and black stripped maxi skirt the other day and I love it. ^_^ I, unlike most mainstreamers and a handful of goths to be totally realistic, don't really feel comfortable wearing miniskirts all that much (or shorts for that matter), unless I wear a long cardigan or jacket over top or some stockings underneath. I don't know why this woman, among others, look down on longer skirts, and this lady seems to be over-reacting over some minuscule scenarios (are ladies of the 21st century so lazy that they can't incline themselves to lift up their skirt's hem by TWO INCHES to avoid a puddle??). Maybe it's because of that whole stigma that women who were garments that don't show a lot of skin are conservative pricks or something, because nowadays a woman's "worth" by attractiveness is measured by how much skin she is showing.

Stephanie said...

I love Maxi skirts, but they're not for me. Really, NO skirts are for me, haha. I'm just not big on the whole skirt thing, what can I say? I'm a tomboy. =D

Emily Lynn G. said...

Never thought of the maxi skirt coming in style...but I'm now considering it! ;)

Kitty Lovett; A Charming Notion said...

I have to agree with NoxArtemis. If you wear ripped stockings and a short skirt you're a slut, if you wear an ankle-length skirt, you're a religious freak - and I'm a to-the-core atheist.

How does this work? Really? I don't get it. I have skirts in all lengths, and somehow I'm still a slut.

Behold. My confusion.

Shewearscrazywell said...

I really love how you put Lydia in her place!! Ha ha, its not brain surgery its a long skirt, right. What seriously cracks me up is...long skirts have never gone out of style in even mainstream fashion. The more bohemian designers have been including long skirts in their collections forever. Your so right!! I loved this post. Hearts, Janna Lynn

☥Viktoria Nightshade☥ said...

I have a long silky and lacy black skirt of which I love very much but unfortunately due to problems at school, I am ashamed to wear. Any tips on how to be confident while wearing my skirt?

Stefanie said...

I love maxi skirts! I have one that used to be a maxi but got torn so is now a midi, a midi who I love the material of so much I wish it was a maxi (both black), a lilac and turquoise one with sequins I bring out in the summer (if it still fits?) and my newest a dark blue velvet, it was originally available in black as well but it sold out before I could buy it :(

I wouldn't wear a maxi on a bike or probably not a skirt at all, and it's common sense to lift it while going upstairs and the like.

As for wind I wear shorts or leggings underneath, a) to prevent wind embarrassments and b) to prevent chub rub since I'm plus size (as a clue that skirt you found in the charity shop that's way too big for you would fit me).

Unlacing the Victorians said...

I hate maxis- I'm too tall, so a long dress like that just tends to encourage comparisons to a beanpole. If I'm going for a Victorian look I usually wear a skirt that goes halfway down my shins and then I finish the look with boots. But I have shorter friends who adore the free feeling of the maxi, so I don't hate on the wearers. :)

Random tidbit: Victorian dress etiquette recommends that if one has to lift a skirt to step around a puddle or go up stairs, one should take the skirt in one hand, pull the fabric up to just above the ankles and shift it to the side of the hand that is holding the skirt, to avoid lifting it up too much and being too improper.

Maeam said...

Oh, yes~! I love long "maxi skirts". I never knew that is what they were called. I wear them all the time, usually with pants underneath, too~

Ugh. People don't wear long skirts ENOUGH. Really, there's a certain etiquette/way of going about when wearing a long skirt/dress...You just get used to it after a while.

Chloƫ Noir said...

I love long skirts, I onw two of them...But I don´t wear them so often, like I did when I was begining with goth :D Maily for photoshootings.
I´m more into short skirts since I started to like my legs :D

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