Style / Trends

Why The Maxi Dress is Your New Wardrobe Staple

Chloe Spring 2012

Chloe Spring 2012The long boho-chic dress has been around for some time, made popular by style setters in the 70s. Something about it seemed so easy, breezy, cool, so laissez-faire that it begged to be called up again during stressful and tight economic times. A street style favorite, and seen on spring runways from Chloe to Haider Ackermann, the maxi dress is headed straight for "new classics" territory. 

While runways often feature ankle-length skirts and dresses in a very specific regard (evening, edgy-cool, or Daisy Buchanan), they have the potential to supplant your favorite pair of boyfriend jeans or cut-offs to be THE piece you grab for in your closet when you're stumped about what to wear. They work for date night, errands, brunch, and even summer cocktail parties under the stars. Grab a basic version in black or grey jersey knit and some tips about how to dress it up or down, and you'll find yourself with a few extra dollars in your purse for lack of needing an entirely new spring wardrobe.

Try pairing your maxi with a fitted blazer and a pair of flat sandals. Wear your signature jewelry pieces and revel in the chic that simplicity brings. If you're an accessories girl, feel free to wrap a decorative scarf around your neck or brightly colored silk scarf around your wrist for a pop of color.

Often times, a woman's shape is her greatest asset, which is one reason why the maxi is so brilliant. If you buy it fitted, with a touch of Lycra in the weave, it'll hug you in all the right places, emphasizing your hips and waist differential. If you buy it a little bit loose, you've given yourself the opportunity to play with belts to give your curves the spotlight. A shorter torso should stick to skinny belts, while a longer or thicker one is best with medium and thick belts. Either way, you can add a touch of metallic, snakeskin or leopard to a plain dress for a sophisticated extra. Add a denim jacket for day or a leather jacket for night with a pair of pointed-toe kitten heels or sandals with gold metallic accents.

Want to dress up the look even more? Head to your costume jewelry, statement-making pieces. A chunky necklace or stack of glittering bangles on both wrists will take your dress from simple to opulent in a heartbeat. Just be aware of your shoe choice. Stilettos are no-no with maxis as the proportions don't mix. If you want to go high, choose chunkier proportions to balance out length. Above all, never forget the power of a jacket or button-down top — open and tied at the waist — to give a completely different look to a dress you wear often. 

If you've always wanted to be a "hat" girl but lacked the confidence to pull it off, a plain maxi is the perfect simple backdrop for such an eye-catching accessory. Fedoras and floppy wide-brimmed style hats complement maxis like peanut butter complements chocolate.

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