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Fashion seems to repeat itself by evolving back to where it came from. The Maxi dress is one item that has made a comeback from being the hippy chic holiday wear of yesteryear to a summer staple.
Maxi dresses are the hottest looks for summer fashion. They are a chic and stylish fashion essential and perfect on a hot summer’s day. This is a style to have fun with.
In simple terms, a maxi is an ordinary dress, but made to about ankle length.
The maxi dress should not be confused with a formal long gown or a structured embellished evening dress intended solely for dinner or such evening events.
However, the right maxi dress can also be worn from morning till night.
Ladies love the maxi dress because they can get away with not shaving their legs or not having to hold their breath lest the protruding tummy should show! But just because it covers a multitude of sins, it still needs some consideration as there are plenty pitfalls if worn incorrectly.
I will admit that this trend did have me confused for a while. The other day, I tried on the cutest maxi dress at a boutique, only to find that it swallowed me and made me look pregnant. Not a good look for summer.
The question is how do you wear one? Being petite I have to know how to wear this fashion ensemble.
I also know that plus size women also have to be careful how they wear this type of dress lest they look like they are carrying triplets or more!
Whether you are tall or short, slim or overweight, a maxi dress will flatter any figure, provided you choose the right one and team it up with the right accessories. There are a number of different styles for maxi dresses including:
l Floral Maxi Dresses
l Ditzy Prairie Look Dresses
l Tiered Maxi Dresses
l Handkerchief Maxis
l Cut away armhole
l Caftan Maxis
l Beach wear maxi dress
Fashion advice on Maxi Dresses for Petites
If you are petite that is 1, 6metres (5'4 feet) or shorter, your main goal is to avoid looking like a tent.
So compared to taller and bigger women, you have to be careful with your selection of maxi dresses. So here are a few tips to remember:
A maxi dress can really swamp you up and make you look shorter and chunky, but the trick here is to choose a style that is well-cut — that means choose a full-length dress that sits more closely to your body.
Do not be afraid to go down a size or maybe even two until you find one that gives you the look you are going for.
Also try a maxi dress with a defined waist like for example empire waist, and if you need to minimise your tummy or the "preggy" look of an empire waist, wrap a basic belt around the thinnest part of your waist.
The right length for your height is essential as overly long hemlines can take inches off your height so make sure you get the right length to flatter your figure.
Go for styles that feature adjustable straps or halter styles so that you can fit the dress more for your particular body type.
Do yourself a favour and stay far away from strapless styles as these will only make you look bigger and will do nothing for your silhouette.
The best hemline dress cuts for this frame are: Straight, A-line and bias-cut. Elongate your figure with a V-neck.
For some extra height, wear pumps, wedges or high heeled sandals but avoid spindly heels
Look for maxi dresses in solid colours, especially black, olive green, deep purple and dark brown.
You can also wear light colours but it still has to be a solid colour to "draw" a straight line on your frame
Avoid horizontal and large patterns. Steer clear of busy prints and instead choose geometrical prints. If you are on the heavy side absolutely avoid wearing stripes and checks as they make you look bigger than you are.
Advice on Maxi dresses for plus size women
Long dresses are the perfect match for your frame as the right one minimises large hips and legs.
Here are a few tips on how to choose a maxi dress for your plus-size figure: If you have a wide or big bust, halter style or thicker straps will look flattering on you.
However, thinner spaghetti straps will only make your upper part larger because of the contrasting proportions.
Large prints will complement your figure a lot better than tiny ones. Go for solid and neutral dark colors like black, dark brown and olive greens to slim down your shape.
Note: If you have a thick waist, place a solid dark coloured belt around the thinnest part of your torso. This will give you a more balanced and lean frame as well as bring out a waist.
Create a lean vertical line on your shape with V-neck. Loose-fitted maxi dresses will only make you look boxy, so choose a dress that fits closely to your body without being too clingy, skimming your curves.
Maxi dresses are known for their prints so here are tips on how to choose the most appropriate print:
A rule of thumb when it comes to wearing a print dress is to pick something that goes hand-in-hand with the dimensions of your body.
So if you are full-figured, larger and bolder prints will complement your frame without making your curves too obvious.
If you are petite and/or skinny (as in fine-boned), smaller prints will suit you best without overwhelming your stature.
If you are petite and a plus size — you can wear medium and some large-sized prints as long as they stretch vertically to create a lean line.
Do not even think about small ditsy prints, they will only make you look bigger!
Maxi dresses in solid and neutral colors like black, brown or white will go with absolutely everything, and it is a good thing if you love wearing jewellery and other accessories — they will not overwhelm your outfit, or battle with the dress.
Accessories also make it easier to customise your maxi dress into your own style! Accessories can make or break your look, so choose them with care.
The ideal accessories to pair with maxi dresses are gold or silver bracelets or thin bangles and huge jewelled cocktail rings.
If you like classy styles and prefer to look simple and sophisticated, then versatile, no print-no fuss maxi dresses are a must!
A solid black maxi dress is primed for almost anything. White is more appropriate as summer wear.
Other fail-safe colours that will not draw too much attention are earthy shades like olive green, different brown nuances, rustic red and purple.
So what shoes go with a maxi dress?
Strappy sandals in general suit the look. Open-toe and strappy pumps will go great with formal maxi dresses. Boots are strictly a no-no, because they will outdate the look by throwing you back a few decades!
For a casual outfit go for flat sandals like gladiators, or if you are wearing the dress to a formal party, add more height with heels.
Define your waist with a belt
Most maxi dresses are loose-fitted and might make you look boxy. Solve that with a belt wrapped around your waist, right below your bust or around the waist.
A belt will also give a whole new feel to your outfit. Generally, skinny belts look better on skinnier figures.
Bear in mind that a belt can split your frame in two, making you look shorter and stubbier.
The trick here is to avoid wearing a light coloured belt that is obviously contrasting with the colors of your dress. If you are in doubt, a black belt will do good as it can visually trim down your torso.
How to wear a maxi dress to formal occasions or to work
You can also buy formal maxi gowns which are made of soft fabrics like silk and chiffon, and have details like pleats along the hemline or bustier neckline.
However, if you want to be able to wear the same maxi dress for both special and casual occasions, you can easily glamourise it with sparkly jewellery and high heels.
A clutch purse will definitely dress up the look. You might also want to cover your shoulders with a lightweight shawl or a chic fitted jacket.
To wear maxi dress to work, choose a style that is not too baggy at the bottom and stick to single solid colours like lime green, jewel tones like sea green, cobalt blue and deep wine colors. These colours are suitable for all skin tones.
The maxi dress is definitely here to stay, so shop wisely if you are yet to get one and be fabulous in it!
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