My Love Affair with the Dress: Part 2

Dresses are an easy part of any woman’s wardrobe.  On Monday I covered casual dresses.  I had a few questions about how to wear a couple of the looks and that is great!  I hope this blog encourages you to discover your own style.  I hope what I post inspires you to create a look and style that belongs to you and you alone. In your 30’s and 40’s it is important to get comfortable in your own skin, I am trying to help with up to date looks that will work and inspire you to try them on your own terms.  You may not like the print of the pieces I am showing, but if you love the shape and style then please go out and find the piece that makes you feel your best self. Anyway I digress… back to dresses.

Casual dresses for a lot of women are a no brainer.  However there is one style of casual dress that I personally still struggle with.  That is the maxi dress.  Don’t get me wrong, I love maxi dresses; but I am not exactly tall and struggle to find a look that makes me feel as good as the shorter dresses do.  One thing I try to do everyday is where something that makes me feel great and look great, not something that will just do. Once you get away from wearing something that will do, you can try to experience new things.

Maxi Dresses:

One of the current ‘of the moment’ styles is a maxi dress.  A maxi dress is a dress that hits you around your ankles. It’s a great summer look and I know two women who wear maxi dresses fabulously.  The first is in her mid 40’s and wears a tank maxi like no one else.  The other is in her early 30’s and wears her maxi in more of a bohemian style.  Both succeed in wearing long, column like maxi’s because they understand their bodies and can wear the style to suit what they need to cover and what they need to accentuate.

Anne Klein Maxi DressHere is an example of a column maxi.  This one is by Anne Klein and you can find it at Nordstrom Rack.  It is a cotton lycra blend.  Which is important because when you sit down you want the shape of the dress to bounce back when you stand up ( no baggy butts!).  I like a darker colour simply because it’s more sophisticated and you can dress it up if you need to.  Stay away from stripes and tie dyes if you are not young and stick thin.  They will only serve to make you look bigger than you are.  That rule applies only to maxi column dresses.

20150723_081605 20150723_081639 Here are two maxi dresses that I purchased for myself this season.

The one on the left is by Monoreno and I purchased it back in the spring from Hautelook.com.  I absolutely love this dress! It looks great on, the layer that is over top hides my figure flaws and makes me feel long and lean ( which of course I am not!).  But that’s the beauty of it.  I usually pair it with bronze flats and a chunky gold necklace and big hoop earrings. The only flaw to this dress is that it wrinkles really easily, but I love it so I am willing to pull out my handy little steamer every time I wear it.

The dress on the right is one I just purchased recently.  It is Nostalgia from Nordstrom rack. It’s a viscose blend so not so great for really hot days.  But it has a cute little embroidered front and has shirring across the back.  It’s cute, but doesn’t make me feels as long and lean as the dress on the left.  But I am really excited about having a black maxi that can cover me when I go out casually in the evenings or daytime.  Because it has so much embroidery in the front I don’t wear an over powering necklace but something a little more delicate.  Black flat sandals or low heel wedges do the trick.

Wearing a maxi is a little more challenging that a dress that hits you higher around your knees.  It is really about proportion.  If you can’t find a maxi dress that you feel comfortable in and want to try the look, why not try a maxi skirt? There are tons and tons of maxi skirts out there for summer and you are sure to find one that fits your style and budget.

Max Studio Ribbon Waistband Maxi SkirtThere is nothing wrong with a simple maxi skirt instead of a dress.  This one is by Max Studio and I found it on Nordstrom rack.com. I love the look of a dark maxi skirt, tank top and a jean jacket.  It is a great casual look that can take you anywhere.

Work or Serious Dresses:

I call work or office dresses serious dresses because I wear them when I want to be taken seriously. For a business meeting or luncheon or even a dinner what is referred to as an office dress can be the key to an effortless and sophisticated look.

Nicole Miller Lauren Ponte DressThis type of dress can encompass anything from this Nicole Miller ponte knit dress to something much more serious. T Tahari Cali DressLike this Tahari dress. It’s summer right now, so sleeveless is appropriate for a work or social business meeting.  However you may want to cover your shoulders with either a blazer or wrap.

Image of Triacetate Flounce DressThis triactetate dress from Ann Taylor is a bit more serious and could easily work in a business look.  Trina Turk Mcgrath JacketThis little Trina Turk topper could work great at covering a sleeveless business look without being too stuffy. Look for blazers that add interest to the dress, since it is likely a dress that has a simple style and a simple pattern.

Make sure that the dress and what ever you put over it ( blazer, shawl, sweater) fits with your own bodies proportions and is a look that makes you feel confident.  It can be the simplest of styles, but if you feel great in it you can win the day, case, what ever you are working on.

I find in every occasion of life, it is best to look your best. I will give you an example: I happen to have done a lot of fundraising recently.   Every meeting I and my partner went to when we were asking for money, we dressed for success.  Either dresses, suits or skirts, we dressed to be taken seriously because we were asking for serious money.  I am happy to say we were very successful and being confident in how we presented ourselves went a long way.

I hope the above helps to demystify some of the complications with maxi and business dresses. I will blog more about suiting as we get into fall.  I love a suiting look that can also be pulled apart and worn casually.  But you will have to stay tuned for that in a different post.

Good luck with your dress hunting.  I know I didn’t cover dressy dresses and that will be next.  if you have any comments or questions please feel free to contact me.  Details of how to get a hold of me are on the About page of the blog.

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