Wardrobe Wednesday: Maxi dresses

Here we are in full spring swing and preparing for those hot summer months. I can’t wait!! There are so many summer fashions to choose from this year. One of the most popular, comfortable and stylish is the maxi dress. Everyone should have at least one in their summer wardrobe.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the maxi dress, it is defined as a floor or ankle length informal dress. Generally fitted on the top and loose and flowy on the bottom.

The history of this dress is rather interesting. Floor length dresses have existed for centuries. This type of dress was a staple in the Victorian and prairie women’s closest. It provided the modesty that those times in history dictated.

It wasn’t until 1968 that Oscar de la Renta transformed this drab, modest dress into the Maxi and started a huge fashion craze. The mini and midi dresses were the most popular at the time, so fashionistas relished this new trend. As the Boho trend surfaced in the 70s, the popularity of the maxi exploded. Every woman was wearing them from housewives to Cher. The look didn’t carry over into the 80s and 90s, though because they were just too heavy. The fabrics were too thick…lots of polyester…think 70s caftans…yikes!

When the 2000’s rolled around, new, lighter fabrics were being produced, so by the 2010’s the maxi made a huge comeback. The dress is now featured in magazines and on runways and is a staple in most wardrobes.

Not only is this versatile dress good looking, it’s so easy to wear. It’s a comfortable alternative to the short, fitted dresses that require freshly shaved legs and specific undergarments, such as Spanx.

There are so many different types of maxi dresses that will fit any budget and body type. They come in array of fabrics, prints and colours. But, all are long, flowy and gently kiss the floor.

Boho

Handkerchief

Tie-back

Spaghetti strap

Embellished

Open back

Tiered

Halter

Exotic prints

Bandeau (strapless – tight top)

Now, what shoes do we wear with a maxi dress? It’s great with flats or wedges which will give more height to your maxi for those of you who are on the shorter side. Stay away from heels. They can get caught in your dress and you will take a nasty tumble. Stay away from sneakers and loafers, as well. They are too heavy and will ruin the long, flowy look. Stick with a cute pair of flat sandals or strappy wedges.

The major DON’T with maxi dresses is…DO NOT go braless. I know it’s tempting, but there are a lot of great strapless bra options or wear a comfy, bamboo tank over your bra and under the dress. The straps of the tank will cover the straps of your bra. You must wear a strapless under the bandeau type dresses. Yes, it feels great to go braless and you think the elasticized tube top will support you, but it won’t. Believe me! Check out your side profile in the mirror…no support!

Here are a few suggestions on how to wear your maxi…

For day, pair with…

A fun and fitted jean jacket

Comfy flip flops, flats or espadrilles

Large loop earrings or (not and) a statement necklace

Cute, straw bag

For evening, pair with…

Cropped blazer or cardigan

Smaller, more delicate jewellery like a choker

Embellished sandals or wedges

Clutch purse

The maxi can easily be transition from daywear to a night out with the girls or date night with the right accessories and shoes. The maxi will give you the look of casual sophistication all day and evening long.

Karen has had a passion for style and fashion most of her life. Her lifelong dream came to fruition 17 years ago when she opened her boutique Moda Elle in Plaza Pointe Claire. Karen prides herself on excellent personalized service and truly loves to make her clientele happy. She recently doubled the size of the boutique in order to serve the well-dressed West Island women better.

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