My Friend, The Maxi & How to Wear It

13 August 2011

Over the past few months (well, really years) I've had a love, love relationship with maxi dresses of every color, print, and shape. Whether it's been my beloved leopard (or elephant) maxi that I've worn religiously since buying it last year or taking maxi dresses and temporarily turning them to skirts on a whim. I've found that maxis  can be ever flattering and stylish depending on how they're worn, no matter what your size or height is. 

Here are a few simple tips on how to wear a maxi like it's your best friend, and it will be if worn right...

1. Play With Prints
Solids are great, but prints have the ability to take pieces to the next level, whether you want to make a statement or go for something a little less plain. Remember to always "print" according to size, proportion is key when picking prints for your shape and it's even more important when you're covering most of your body with it. For plus sized figures think Medium to Bigger Prints (If you're petite, you can even try larger prints as long as they stretch vertically to elongate your figure), they'll be more flattering and can even have the ability to make you look smaller.
2. Belt It
Defining your waist with a belt can make even the boxiest maxi dress look great and give the illusion of an hourglass. Some dresses are made with a cinched waist and some not so much, so belting is key. Skinny belts tend to be more flattering on slim figures, but keep in mind a belt can also cut your torso in half which in turn can make you look short and stubby. Steer clear from too much contrast, such as wearing a black dress with a white belt, instead try wearing a deeper color. 
3. Give Yourself Some Height
Adding a little bit of vertical oomph is another great way to wear a maxi, wedges (or sandals) I find go perfectly with  laid back 'casual' or 'bohemian' styles where as a pumps/or peep toes go great with more formal looks. 
4. Skirt It
Don't love dresses or wanting a little more versatility? Turn it into a skirt, which gives you the ability to mix and match with t-shirts, blouses and more. Though keep in mind, like the belt option it can break your torso in half, so opt for higher waisted fits and remember to pick slim(mer) fitting tops with billowy skirt.
5. Find "Your" Shape
Maxi dresses can be uber trendy meaning one shape doesn't fit all. For petites like myself opt for body skimming shapes, a defined waist, or even a v-neck to elongate your figure. If you're on the busty side of things go with larger straps or a halter, thin straps will only make you look larger. Flowing shapes also  tend to make plus sizes look boxy so again, flaunt your shape with skimming lengths. 
6. When In Doubt Pick Black
Black, it's universally slimming and flattering giving the illusion of looking taller and slimmer. Black can even be more formal giving a bit of a dressed feel. 
Enjoy your maxi, they're going to be around for a bit ;)