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What to Wear with Maxi Skirts

The Best Shoes for Maxi Skirts in Spring and Summer

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Shot from behind of woman walking down old street in a red maxi skirt and white tank top.

Casual and romantic all at the same time, maxi skirts are a great choice for spring and summer.

John Kieffer/Getty Images

For some women, maxi skirts and dresses are only relevant every 5 or 10 years or so, when they're declared "hot" by the press once again. For the rest of us, they always have a place in our wardrobes.

Whichever camp you fall into, you probably appreciate the soft, relaxed, and romantic vibe that maxi skirts create -- but you also don't want to feel as if you're tied to one look by wearing them with the same shoes over and over again.

The great thing is, maxi dresses and skirts are far more versatile than you might think. In addition to the fact that they work with a wide variety of tops and shoes, they also work well in any season -- assuming, of course, that they're made from fabric that is appropriate for the weather.

In this two-part article, I'm going to cover several types of women's shoes that work with maxi skirts -- including shoe styles that will work well for full, flowing maxis; as well as the best and worst picks for narrow, fitted maxi skirts. In this first article, we'll look at footwear selections for spring and summer, and in the second part of the series, we'll address maxi skirt footwear options for fall and winter.

Oh, and one more thing I want to mention before we get to those picks: this article was inspired by an overwhelming number of people looking for advice on what to wear with maxi skirts, but the same rules will apply to most maxi dresses. What to Wear with Maxi Skirts in Spring and Summer

Flat Sandals

For a lot of women, this one's really kind of a no-brainer, because it's so natural when you slip into a really long skirt to feel all bohemian, and thus, reach for the first pair of beaded, or shimmery flat sandals you can find. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, it would easily be my top choice as well -- but I still have a few tips on which flat sandals to choose.

If your maxi skirt isn't very complex (solid color, simple shape), then let your sandals determine the vibe of the whole outfit. For example, if it's a sophisticated, Mediterranean look you're after, and your skirt is more form-fitting than it is flowing, sandals with wide bands and ankle collars will establish the tone of the outfit.

If you're trying to dress up a more casual skirt with a fuller cut, then your best bet is to opt for thin-strapped thong sandals, with or without delicate beads or rhinestone embellishments.

On the other hand, if your maxi skirt already conveys a certain vibe or style, then simply pick sandals that will complement and not compete with it.

So, let's say you have a maxi skirt with a large or bold tribal print. In this case, you could easily go for a pair of flat sandals with woven bands, or wooden beads -- but avoid anything too bold on its own, or you run the risk of trampling the effect of the maxi itself.

Wedge Sandals

Wedge sandals are a warm-weather favorite, and even though they can be difficult to pull of with certain mid-length and longer skirts, they actually work really well with maxi skirts and dresses because the additional length helps to balance the heft of wedge heels.

Espadrilles

From traditional flat styles, to higher-heeled sandals with a Spanish flavor, espadrilles and maxi skirts are a match made in heaven. But if you want to insure that it doesn't look like you're wearing slippers, be sure that you're showing just a bit of leg. If you're skirt is too long to show any skin, then opt for espadrilles with heels. Styles that feature ankle wraps or ties are especially nice with maxi skirts.

Maxi Skirts and Heels

There aren't really too many heels that don't work with maxi skirts -- especially when it comes to high-heeled sandals. Chunky heels, ankle straps, wedges, stilettos, strappy sandals -- all will work great, as long as they're well-suited to the style of the skirt in question.

As far as heeled pumps go, certain toe shapes tend to work better than others. For example, open, pointy, almond, and peep-toes are generally more flattering with maxi skirts than round toed pumps. There are always exceptions, of course, but the main reason for this is that rounder toes with really long skirts and dresses are a bit too reminiscent of little girls in Christmas dresses and mary jane flats -- for most adults, it's just too much.

If you really love pumps with round closed-toes, look for styles that have low-cut vamps, so that some skin will be exposed.

Shoe Styles to Avoid with Maxi Skirts and Dresses

  • Loafers or other full-coverage flats don't work well with maxi skirts and dresses due to the fact that they're either too masculine, or that they make long skirts seem frumpy.
  • Low-heeled clogs of the comfort variety really aren't a good match for such feminine skirts and dresses, however, higher-heeled fashion clogs are okay for cooler weather.
  • Sneakers -- especially cross-trainers, walking or running shoes.Although, I should note that I have seen some women successfully pair streamlined canvas sneakers (think: Keds) with narrow maxi skirts for a kind of a cute and casual, preppy look. But as a general rule, sneakers and maxis don't play very well together.
That's it for my tips on which shoes to wear with maxi skirts in spring and summer. To be sure you're getting the most out of those long skirts and dresses, be sure to also check out my tips on what to wear with maxi skirts for fall and winter.

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