How To Get The Most Out of Your Maxi

Maxi dresses have come in for a bit of flack over the last few years. Some of it is justified and for that I blame the empire line cheese cloth look (I’m trying really hard not to use the word ‘hippy’) because for a fleeting moment, for those of us easily sucked in (me), it was soo tempting. All those hazy pictures of flat chested sun kissed girls running barefoot through long grass with daisies in their hair and bits of string artfully tied around their necks. Oh yes, I can do that on a budget I thought, I know how to make that translate in Clapham Junction. No matter that this was the early noughties, I couldn’t possibly do no bra and despite the abundance of commons in South West London, run about barefoot on any of them and you risk all manner of things none of which look good. And when I say run, what I actually did was walk very carefully because as every lady knows, you don’t run when wearing a strapless bra.

However, a few years ago I took a second look at the maxi dress – cleverly re-tagged as the midi dress – because really who knows where the cut-off is, if you’re under 5’4 then a midi is a maxi. I decided to revisit since there’s no getting away from the fact that a long dress in the summer is just so darned useful isn’t it? I made a big announcement on Instagram last week that I was about to fake tan my legs (I know, it was a slow day) and a week on I still haven’t got around to it. Enter the long dress. I happened to have bought a really lovely one in H&M earlier this year and I have big plans for it; it’s got sleeves and a bit of shape so I was off to a good start.

So yes, I do think a long summer dress is a good idea as long as you find one which is right for your shape. It’s not always easy as the empire look is still there to trip you up but unless you are a triangle shape (for which voluminous will work nicely) you will tend to look pregnant. It’s just not a good look, especially if you are not six. The afore-mentioned H&M number I bought has since sold out which is a shame but I talked at least two friends into buying it so sorry about that. There are still a couple of similar styles available there though so all is not lost. Now for the important bit – how to style your maxi/midi. You’re going to look cool in your long floaty dress, I promise you!

  1. Belt Up

A no-brainer, an instant update and stops you looking like a performing arts teacher from the ’80s. Currently, I’d go for a belt on the thin side. Personally I find a worn-in tan leather belt the most versatile.  Belt your cardi for a look that’s oh so summer 2017.

2. Get Shirty

I have been putting fitted shirts under my sleeveless work dresses for decades. For exactly the same reason – you’ll get more wear out of it – I recommend doing the same now. If it’s just not that warm or you fear exposing too much skin then stick a plain white tee or a pretty lightweight blouse underneath and you’re good to go. Not only is it practical it’s very modern (for now).

3. Keep Your Jeans On

I wasn’t sure about this trend the first time around but thanks to Instagram I’m a convert now. Ideal with this season’s long shirt dresses which can be unbuttoned to your heart’s content, it’s also the perfect solution if the fabric of your dress is see-through. This may not be the fashionista’s view, but keep the jeans slimline or you’ll end up looking like one of those toddlers who dress themselves because mummy has lost the will to live.

4. Dress Down

Clearly a long dress can be eveningy and glam, that’s not clever. Dressing it down perhaps takes a little more thought. I love a denim jacket for many reasons (you’ll get so much bang for your buck with this item for one) but in London it’s practically the law. I simply don’t know why you wouldn’t. It transcends size, gender, fads and yes, even age. I wore my dad’s Wrangler denim jacket for years as a teenager. If you haven’t got a denim jacket, why not?

Naturally now I’ve said all that about adding extra layers it’s now freakishly hot in London but you never know when all this might come in useful. Have a great bank holiday weekend lovely readers – for the first time ever in the history of bank holidays it looks like it’s going to be fine so wear those dresses while you can!

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About aftercarrie

I help people refine their wardrobe to suit their shape, colouring and lifestyle. I am a style consultant, personal shopper and colour analyst working in London. Be the loveliest possible you. My first book SHOPPED was released on 5th July 2016 (September Publishing). www.emilystott.net
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