But to do it well, there are many things to consider when buying one.
Goals of the Maxi:
If you are petite:
Stick with a straighter cut (no prairie flounces)
Always wear heels
Avoid large prints
If you are voluptuous:
Make sure a bra fits under straps
Avoid horizontal stripes
Keep patterns proportional to your body
If your body is lacking in the curves area:
Avoid straight necks - sweetheart emphasizes the girls
Embrace braless-ness with spaghetti straps, or none at all
Use solids to draw attention to your curves
Rules for All Maxi Dresses:
- Keep patterns proportional to your body size.
- Pair with heels at night, wedges or flat sandals during the day.
- Make sure whatever shoes you wear, the dress is the right length. Embrace a tailor if necessary.
- Don't go too short - the dress should almost skim the floor. The zone between "maxi" and "tea length" is called "frumpy."
- Make sure your girls are locked and loaded.
- Beware of color-blocking: light colors highlight, dark colors disguise.
- Complement with jewelry: solid dresses get statement jewelry, fitting to the neckline. Printed dresses should get simple, small pieces. But a big ol' cocktail ring goes with both!
- Keep your purse complementary as well - no clashing patterns. Let the dress be the main statement, and keep your bag small and neutral.
- To dress up a maxi dress for a night out, max out the metallics, especially gold.
- Avoid details that are too Little House on the Prairie - go for laid back elegance.
- A neutral, solid cardigan looks great when the breeze comes off the ocean.
Rachel Pally, $229 at shopbop.com
C&C California, $195 at shopbop.com
Diane von Furstenburg, $265 at Lord & Taylor