Thursday, February 5, 2009
I think the appeal of maxi dresses to most women is how easy they are to wear. Throw one on and you instantly look pulled together and alluring, giving off a casual "I'm on vacation" air mixed with a subtler, more sophisticated European vibe. Maxi dresses have the added benefit of covering you up on bottom and putting the focus on your face/décolletage, making it a particularly attractive style on pear-shaped or plus-sized women.
After combing the internet, I've pulled together some of my favorites below. I've divided them up between solid-colored dresses and prints. In some ways I think solid-colored dresses are easier to wear, particularly for shorter or more petite women (I think large prints can be overwhelming on smaller frames). Additionally, solids are more versatile -- you can accessorize them in such a way as to make appropriate for pool-side lounging or an evening out and people won't be as likely to notice if you wear it weekly (as I am inclined to do with my favorite clothes). Also, while there are plenty of strapless maxi dresses floating around out there, but I didn't include any here because, quite frankly, I don't really like strapless dresses. As for me personally, I hate strapless bras and the neckline only serves to exacerbate how broad my shoulders really are. As for everyone else, aren't y'all sick of spending all night yanking up your top? I'm pretty sick of watching it, frankly. Without a perfect fit and a good bra, strapless can be a nightmare (and I think not particularly flattering unless you are very small-busted). But if that's what you're looking for, vaya con Dios, and let me redirect you to Nordstrom juniors, which has some nice, under $100 options.
1. T-bags long kimono dress (Shopbop, $207)
2. BCBG periwinkle jersey knot detail gown (Bluefly, $222)
3. See by Chloe long v-neck dress (Nordstrom, $355)
4. Empire-waist halter dress (Gap, $49.50) (available in other colors)
5. Dressy Jersey Grecian v-neck long dress (J.Crew, $98) (available in other colors)
6. BR Monogram racerback gown (Banana Republic, $225)
These are all pretty basic, but there are a few things in particular I'd like to point out. The T-bags (what a terrible name!) kimono dress is really wonderful for those of us with bigger busts since it provides a little more coverage up top without being dowdy. The yellow Chloe number is gorgeous, but the tiering and lace at the bodice remind me a lot of the Mexican-style dresses my sister and I sported through the '80s which were purchased for pittance off the back of some guy's pick-up truck (we're classy like that). Also, I would never, ever pair that dress (or any of these dresses for that matter) with black flats. It's just too heavy a shoe for these floaty, ethereal confections. Maxis all require sandals of some kind -- flip-flops, espadrilles, just something with an open toe -- but I think huaraches (a Mexican-style sandal, Tory Burch is doing a great style right now) would be very au courant.
7. Karen Kane knot maxi dress (Nordstrom,$118)
8. Diane Von Furstenberg silk blend gown (Net-a-porter, $695)
9. Matty M twist strap maxi dress (Nordstrom, $118)
10. Tibi "Valencia" maxi dress (Net-a-porter, $480)
11. Juicy Couture "Jackie" printed jersey maxi dress (Nordstrom,$348)
12. Tocca "Donatella" dress (Bluefly, $234)