Sunday, 9 September 2012

How to Wear... the Maxi Dress

The next logical step in our little series following my exaltation of the virtues, vices and vampiric drama of the maxi skirt, the maxi dress is a real one-step wonder (much like the jumpsuit, but slightly less likely to give rise to "Do I look like a member of ABBA?" panics before leaving the house).

How I Wear...
Autumnal Acquisitions and Mergers
Yes, You Can Rock Full Length and Fabulous

The Maxi Vest
The simplest, most classic form - I bought this dress, the first of its kind to colonise my wardrobe, 2 summers ago. It actually took a fair amount of persuasion from my shopping partner that my bulging closet really needed a new addition, but it soon turned into my most-worn item, and is now filled with holes (I'm really hoping that this is just due to sheer over-use, and not a moth/washing machine problem - can you imagine?!).

Anyway, this really is your go-anywhere no-brainer throw-it-on wonder buy - smart, glam and casual all at the same time - keep it simple or toss on accessories any which way you like (e.g. fastening your favourite tribal-style necklace around your waist, below) to make a statement. For evening, layering on a sheer embellished crop top to channel the Great Gatsby vibe gives it a new lease of life, and a slouchy knit and boots will see you through the colder season.

Dress: Unbranded
Necklace (Worn As Belt): Primark (SS12)
Sandals: Freemans (Past Season)
Cardigan: Primark (Past Season)
Ponytail Holder: H&M (SS12)

The Cut-Out
A fun variant of the maxi vest - great for emphasising the waist. Keeping the neckline slightly higher and the skirt section slightly less bodycon stops this look from veering into trash territory. Bright coral is glorious for sunny days, but darker shades are great for an ultra-glam evening transformation.

Dress: Missguided (SS12)
Hair Band: Primark (Past Season)
Sandals: Peacocks (Past Season)

The T-Shirt Miracle Maxi

Somehow, the addition of sleeves seems to make the maxi T-shirt even more versatile than the maxi vest - I bought this in a Primark sale for £5 about 2 years ago, and have worn it day and night, in sun and snow, ever since. Switching up your accessories can take you from '70s-inspired summer chic through autumnal rock-chick to winter elegance in the space of a heartbeat (well alright, maybe 30 or so heartbeats).

Dress: Primark (Past Season)
Look 1 - Hat: Primark (Past Season); Necklace: Primark (Past Season); Bag: Primark (Past Season); Wedges: New Look (Past Season)
Look 2 - Belt: Primark (Past Season); Boots: Peacocks (Past Season)
Look 3 - Necklace: Primark (Past Season); Belt: H&M (Past Season); Shoes: Topshop (Past Season)

The Graphic
Stripes, prints and patterns can give the T-shirt or vest-style maxi a fun twist. Keeping accessories within the same tonal palette keeps the look elegant.

Dress: Primark (Past Season)
Shoes: Dorothy Perkins (Past Season)
Beads: Topshop (Past Season)

The Military Deep-V
Allow me to introduce you to Ri-Ri, another of my wiggy alter-egos (this is how I get my kicks when I can't be bothered to wash my hair). Layering a cropped military-style jacket over a simple deep-V halterneck maxi gives it a fierce twist which will work perfectly this season.

Dress: New Look (Past Season)
Jacket: New Look (Past Season)
Hair Band: Primark (Past Season)

The Gypsy
The loose, flowing lines of gypsy style maxi dresses are a godsend for those who feel uncomfortable in bodycon cuts, and great for both creating and concealing curves.

Dress: Primark (Past Season)
Earrings: Primark (Past Season)

For a more autumnal boho look, this style of dress looks great teamed with boots, waistcoats and faux fur gilets.

Dress: Matalan (Past Season)
Waistcoat: Primark (Past Season)
Boots: Dorothy Perkins (Past Season)
Belt: ASOS (Past Season)

The Vampalicious Velvet Bodycon
One of my favourite winter evening looks, with the glam factor ramped up by flashes of gold, courtesy of my beloved party wedges and statement cape.

Dress: Primark (Past Season)
Cape: Primark (Past Season)
Shoes: Primark (Past Season)

Autumnal Acquisitions and Mergers

Boots and knitwear will take many of your summery maxis through to winter for a snuggly-yet-effortlessly-glam smart-casj daytime look, whilst piling on gorgeous embellished tops will give them a whole new vibe for evening.

Some seriously fierce maxi dresses are heading to a high street near you this season - whether you want vamp, rocker, goth, Downton chic, or a combination of two or more of the above, you'll be spoilt for choice. For a bit more wear and versatility, I'll probably be investing more heavily in mix-and-match separates unless my bargain radar excels itself, though.

Yes, You Can Rock Full Length and Fabulous

Bodycon styles are great for slim and hourglass girls who are confident enough to work them to the max. They also ensure petite frames aren't lost in fabric.

Full-skirted styles are great for minimising hips on pear-shaped girls, and adding curves to boyish frames.

Empire line styles are forgiving on apple-shaped bodies, and maximise Edwardian style points.

Tomorrow: How to Wear the Midi

See more recent posts featuring maxi dresses and skirts here

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  1. Wow, so many amazing outfits!! And so many goof tips!! Thank you for this post! :)

    p.s. Feel free to check out my fashion blog,
    if you have time! :)

    Much love,
    The Cabinet Of Fashion blog

    1. Ah thank you so much, you're very welcome, glad you liked it! x