From The Straits Times    |

Q: What do you recommend as a multi-functional, day-to-night piece to pack for travel?

The maxi skirt, despite its once-grungy, 1990s image, deserves consideration for a place in your travel wardrobe. Modern versions prove it is actually a very versatile piece of clothing.

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Images: Net-A-Porter, Pinwheel Jewels, Topshop, Uniqlo, Zalora, Zara

Whether it comes in a flowy, straight cut like this floral maxi skirt from Dorothy Perkins (photo 1, $73.90 from or a more fitted cut like the asymmetrical Helmut Lang number (photo 2, US$238 or S$322 from, maxi skirts can be easily dressed up or down.

The secret lies in the fact that maxi skirts give off both bohemian and formal vibes. For more casual occasions, you can play up the boho style, and for dressy occasions, its more elegant, formal side.

Pair the Dorothy Perkins maxi skirt with a simple tank top, such as this white Topshop numbers (photos 3, $39) from, for example. The outfit gives off a very laid-back, slightly boho vibe perfect for the beach.

For a casual day of sightseeing, you could combine the Helmut Lang piece with a chambray shirt like the button-down one from Uniqlo (photo 4, $49.90 from B2-38 Ion Orchard). Knotted at the waist, the combination presents a chic daytime look.

The maxi skirt’s length makes it appropriate for evening as well. Pick out a sleek top like the simple black shirt from Zara (photo 5, $59.90 from 02-02 Liat Towers) to pair with the skirt.

Adding some embellishment in the form of a chunky necklace, like this gold Ben-Amun piece (photo 6, $379 from, will push the look further into formal territory.

One piece, many ways. Its multi-functionality is useful when confronted with limited luggage space.

This article was first run in The Straits Times newspaper on February 13, 2015. For similar stories, go to You will not be able to access the Premium section of The Straits Times website unless you are already a subscriber.