Summer is here in full swing, and apart from the cloudy days, choosing the appropriate attire to counter the heat becomes a challenge. Over the past few weeks we have tried to give you quirky wardrobe ideas to brave this weather and look great; these ranged from footwear to trousers to tops. This week, we look at a new line of attire that is fresh, stylish and will redefine summer comfort for you -- the maxi dress.
In the West, the maxi dress has been the big fashion success of the last few years and its popularity looks unlikely to decline any time soon. However, it is a fairly new trend in Dhaka and is slowly making its way into the local fashion scene. Because of its unfamiliarity a lot of you might be skeptical about trying it out and stepping out of your comfort zone. Hence we are here to show you how it might be integrated into your everyday wardrobe no matter what your style statement is.
To avoid confusion, let's first define the maxi dress. They are long dresses, flowing or fitted at times, usually reach the floor in length and can range from printed to solid colours and come in a myriad of fabrics. Despite the length and coverage which many mistakenly believe makes them feel warmer, the fact that they are looser and keep more of the body covered from the sun actually makes them excellent for guarding against the worst of heat. Maxi dresses are versatile and can be worn to dress up or dress down depending on the fabric they are made out of.
There are a diverse range of colours and patterns that are seen on maxi dresses. This is probably one outfit that looks good in any colour you want to wear. Maxi dresses in solid and neutral colours such as black, brown, grey or white (beige, cream), dark navy blue and olive are perfect if you want to go for an edgy, minimalistic look that is great for day-to-evening plans.
If the Bohemian and carefree element is what appeals to you then large prints with beaded or embellished necklines are for you. Then there is the sporty black and white striped maxi, which Kim Kardashian recently made popular, that you can try out for a casual style. Florals are an all-time favourite when it comes to maxi dresses; they radiate a romantic feminine outlook, which bring out the lady in you.
The maxi style is suitable for all ages and available in many shapes to suit different body types. This is the reason why; those of you who think you aren't tall/skinny enough to pull off the look can stop worrying and try it out.
So to push you further, here is a little guide to help you decide:
Petites Since you are not on the tall scale, you have to make clever use of the length that comes with these dresses. Try to avoid gypsy styles and prints, as the volume of these will only make you look shorter and wider. Instead opt for more fitted styles and chunky wedge heels to complete the look. Also, try to stick to block colours and small prints to keep the look in proportion.
Tall This is your ultimate style. You can look effortlessly chic in any style of maxi dresses. The only advice perhaps is if you are broad shouldered, you could throw on a knitted bolero or a light cotton cardigan to avoid looking big.
Pear shape You should look to try on maxis, which have a fitted top half, and then flows loosely down. This will help disguise the lower half of your body in the flowing ruffles or layers of the dress. Try out soft floral prints as well.
Apple shape A-line maxi dresses are perfect for you. The material will skim over your tummy without adding too much volume. Try out vertical patterns, since they add the illusion of a slimmer outline.
Larger ladies The maxi dresses are a very feminine style for larger ladies. Go for bold and bright large-scale prints for a great effect.
One of the key issues of concern could be that they are usually halternecked or strappy-styled and a lot of us are not comfortable with sleeveless looks. There is no need for you to worry about that; cotton cardigans, large over shirts and boleros are all here to go with your maxi dress and satisfy your need for extra cover. Also, they keep your body cool by protecting your skin from being exposed too much to the sun.
Footwear: Flat sandals are the best with maxi dress styles, of which strappy ones in general suit the look. The wedges also look great with these dresses if you are not too tall. It's advisable to avoid heels, unless you are wearing a very elegant evening ensemble.
Accessories: the maxi can be a bit tricky, since there are so many different types of them, you really need to be careful what you pair with which dress.Most maxi dresses are loose-fitted and might make you look boxy. You can solve that with a belt wrapped around your waist, right below your bust or around the waist. A belt will also give a whole new feel to your outfit.
If you want to accessorise a bit more, try adding some big earrings, a necklace that hangs past the neckline of the dress, and a chunky bracelet, but be cautious not to go overboard with these and keep in mind what style of maxi you are wearing. You can look to choose only one or two of the accessories. By themselves, maxi dresses are statement pieces. So don't feel compelled to dress them up and accessorise like crazy if that's not your style. If wearing a floor length dress feels like it's enough by itself, just rock this look!
This summer go bold and break out of your style regime and get yourself a maxi dress and get everything you ever wanted; style, comfort and edge all in one piece of attire.
By Sheemtana Shameem
Wardrobe: Urban Truth - black dress, multicolour printed dress, black gladiator sandals, black and white striped bag.
Other: Personal collection, Sheemtana
Makeup, hair and styling: Sheemtana
Location: Smoke The Music Café, Road #11, Banani.