My favorite beauty related item this summer is not the perfect hot pink lipstick, the best sunscreen or the brightest coral nail polish. It’s not even beauty related! It’s the Maxi dress! Maxi dresses have been back in style for a few years but I was hesitant to embrace the trend for two reasons–I’ve gained weight and the KISS concert of 1973.
The last time I wore a maxi dress was in 1973. I remember the dress perfectly because it was so fashion forward for my 16-year-0ld self. It was a turquoise silky fabric with a small but bright print and it was a HALTER (not that I had anything to fill it out). That maxi made me feel grown up…that, and the fact that my boyfriend and I were going to a KISS concert!! My BF had on a top hat and tails, we BOTH word huge platforms shoes and I had painted his face white with a blue glitter star (like one of the band members). I had a do-it-yourself crescent moon tattoo made with glitter on my shoulder and bright, bright Cleopatra eyes with little star stickers. We were mondo gnarly! It was a great concert in a small venue which made it even better, but a lot of the fun was seeing all the looks we were getting while driving an hour to the concert in my boyfriends VW Bug. I digress.
Maxi dresses are comfortable, stylish, and flattering to any shape; especially us over 40’s who may need to camouflage a multitude of sins.
On my recent trip to Chicago for the BlogHer conference, I wore a maxi dress. This was the perfect garment for the plane–it felt like I was wearing my jammies, and it kept my legs and feet warm. I always get cold on airplanes because the person sitting next to me invariably has all the air vents open full blast.
This maxi was a fabulous frugal find, just $16 for at Walmart and it’s a-frickin-dor-able. It’s navy (a slimming color) with turquoise trim on the gathered V-neck and the self-belt. What’s so nice about a lot of the maxi dresses on the market today, is that they often have an elastic empire waist that is the ultimate in comfort AND hides a mid-life tummy. I picked up a matching 3/4 sleeve turquoise cardi for air conditioned restaurants, bars, outside at night, etc. Mass market stores like Walmart, Target and Kohl’s are a great way to try out a trend without spending a lot of money.
By the time I arrived in Chicago and got to the hotel, dropped off bags and met up with friends, it was time for dinner. My friends and I took a stroll to Navy Pier and then had dinner outside. For my dinner look, I added a mint green statement necklace I purchased from Little Black Bag, a nicer wider belt than what came with the dress and some gold metallic wedges. By about 9 or 10 pm I needed my cardi but I was still totally comfortable and looked fresh and trendy.
Maxi’s are just as appropriate for a pool party as a nice dinner out. They can easily be dressed up with a bit of jewelry, some nice wedges and maybe an updo hairstyle. For a more casual look, just throw on your maxi with some flip flops. I’ve worn this outfit to lunch with a friend, shopping, running errands, on a plane and out to dinner and I got compliments EVERY time. A woman actually stopped me in the parking lot of a medical lab where I was having blood drawn to tell me how beautiful my outfit was!
Tip: I’ve seen lots of striped maxi dresses too–a chevron or bias stripe can be very flattering, but beware that horizontal stripes make you look bigger and the wider the stripe the bigger you look.
Bottom Line: If you haven’t explored the magic of the maxi dress, what are waiting for? Maxis are available in every color, size style and fabrication. You don’t have to pay a fortune to try this flattering, comfortable trend and it can be dressed up or down with a few accessories. Please don’t be afraid to try this look–I’m no spring chicken and a size 14.