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Long, Flowing Maxi Skirts

Brighten up Winter Streets

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Combining a maxi that has a sweet feel to it with a parka or casual top has been popular this year.

This winter, more and more girls are incorporating maxi skirts (maxis) as an essential part of their wardrobe. "Maxi" is an abbreviation of "maximum," and just as the name implies, these skirts are long enough to cover your ankles. The legs are completely hidden, but the vertical lines created by the skirt make legs look longer and present a slender and stylish look.

The most popular style is a design incorporating slim pleats with a soft, light, chiffon material that has a transparent feel. This lightweight fabric prevents the long length of the skirt from giving a heavy impression, and instead, the skirt flows gently as the body moves, emphasizing the feminine aspects.


The hugely popular maxi. A design combining a chiffon material with pleats has been the most popular style this winter.

Simultaneous Boom in Miniskirts and Maxis?This fall and winter season, together with the maxi, the miniskirt and shorts have also been hugely popular. This is reminiscent of the worldwide craze for miniskirts from the 1960s to the 1970s. At that time, the maxi was born as a style completely opposite to the miniskirt. Girls who didn't want to wear miniskirts began to wear maxis instead, and these skirts quickly became popular in their own right.

On reflection, Japan is unique in that miniskirts and maxis are not opposed to each other—rather, either one is worn by the same person without fuss. Maxis are also not worn by girls lacking confidence in their legs, with the aim of concealing them. Instead, girls choose the length of their skirt based on their mood and the situation. They distinguish between short and long skirts by telling themselves that they will wear a miniskirt today for a cute and vivacious look and wear a maxi tomorrow for its more mature and feminine style. Indeed, Japanese girls these days are insatiable in their enjoyment of a wide variety of fashions.

Combining Different TastesThe key to wearing a maxi well and defying its reputation as a clothing item that is hard to wear effectively is to combine it with clothing reflecting opposing tastes.

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Maxis come in a wide range of variations, including jumpers and tight denim skirts.

A maxi with a sweet feel to it—for example, a skirt made of a lace or a skirt with pleats—pairs well with a tight-fitting jacket. Or it can be paired with a sporty parka, playing with different clothing styles. One could choose a masculine-looking jacket paired with an adorable skirt that has a flower print.

Girls tended to avoid the maxi if it projected an "overblown" impression, but as the sight of these new pairings on the streets demonstrates, this fashion has spread like wildfire. Even girls who always go for jeans are also showing interest in maxis.

Girls striding along the streets, with their floating skirts flowing around them, are making Japan's winter a brighter and more cheerful season. (February 2012)

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