Monday, July 14, 2008

Maxi Dress is not Short for Maximum Coverage

Every year there are some trends I hate, and some I love. And this summer there's one I hate to love - the maxi dress. I love it, but I hate to love it because I really can't wear it, nor do I want to recommend it. I have seen dozens of these dresses in magazines and online (not so many in real life) and the biggest reason they look so great is the balance. With the voluminous, floor-grazing skirts comes bare arms, shoulders, decolletage, and worse. And I think they look great on models. In real life, I are a firm believer in modesty for woman and personally do not wear sleeveless shirts or dresses. And many of the maxi dresses I have seen have halter tops, spaghetti straps, are strapless altogether, or most fun - have a neckline that plunges to the belly button. From a design standpoint, I can see the reason for some bareness. But for those who refuse to bare all, what choices are left for this latest trend?

I spent quite a bit of time online and did not find a lot. There were some options in long sleeves, if the maxi-dress survives to the fall (or late November here in Arizona). And much of my research was hypothetical, since the maxi dresses I found ran from $75 to $425. So much for Beauty on a Budget! Let's just pretend we're rich this week.

This is the first maxi dress I saw (in Lucky magazine) that made me think I might be able to wear this look. It would require a cami or something underneath to hide the cleavage, but I think it would still look good. Unfortunately for my pocketbook this dress is by Diane von Furstenberg and sells for $425. If you are rich in real life and not just for make believe, this Chiffon "Maupiti" dress can be purchased at Saks Fifth Avenue.

I adore this black maxi dress with actual sleeves! It's from Evans, a plus-size clothing company from the UK selling US sizes 10-28. Looking through their site, I really wish they had stores here, but they do ship to the states for a flat rate of 10 pounds. This dress retailed for 40 pounds. Too bad the dollar is in the toilet right now.

This is another plus sized option - the bolero jacket helps cover a bit of skin. I'm not sure I completely love the dress - the contrasting waist band and low-cut are too much for me. But again, I like the idea of using a little jacket to make a maxi dress more modest. I found it at Curvety.

And for a last option, this Elle Zigzag Smocked Maxi Dress from Kohl's doesn't have quite enough coverage for me, but would probably work well for many of you out there. I could add a little jacket or possibly baby tee underneath. It was originally $50 but is on sale for $37. Not bad!

To view some beautiful photos of maxi dresses, check out this slideshow at The Arizona Republic website. The Republic puts out a weekly "fashion magazine" in the newspaper called YES. On June 27th there was an article and and photo spread called Turn Up the Volume, all about maxi dresses. I'm not endorsing the lack of modesty in most of these dresses, but the photos and many of the dresses are so beautiful!
"Yards of whisper-thin fabrics and piles of sheer layers have morphed dresses into ethereal confections. The look is effortless when you're floating around in a stylish maxi dress. These floor-grazing frocks are perfect for keeping cool because they're nearly weightless. The trend is at its best when kept casual. Accessorize simply with flat sandals and a statement necklace or bangle. Or change up the silhouette of a voluminous dress by reining in layers with a vintage-inspired belt. We traveled to the University of Arizona in Tucson, where students from the School of Dance used an aerial swing and fans to show off the volume of summer dresses,lending their grace and balance to make the dresses float."

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Jane @ What About Mom? said...

So many things I love just won't work for me. These dresses seem so old-fashionedly delicious on the one hand. It's too bad they're light on the material up-top.

Why do models do that ugly face like that one from Curvety? Why is smiling bad?

Jane @ What About Mom? said...

Oh, and I love the smocked one from Elle. mmmmm.

Abbreviated said...

Love the smocked one also.

I found a bra that works for a fake tank. I'll have to blog about it.

Darla @ UltraBeautyBoutique said...

I love the Arizona Republic Site - dresses #9-14.

Leanne said...

Some of these dresses do have a lovely old fashioned look about them.

I know what you mean about light on the fabric, we have Evans here but sometimes even their things are a bit low cut for me. I picked up a handful of old broaches in charity and second hand shops over the years and I use those now to nip the neckline in a little higher up. I normally stick with plain colours on top and just show off the jewellry now.

Your other options a maxi skirt. I've seen a few of these around and they're a lot more flattering.

Memarie Lane said...

Those are so cute. I never wear skirts or shorts because of my chicken legs, but a nice long dress might work.

Candice said...

These dresses are way cute, but why are they so stinking expensive!? I would love to find a cute and cheap one, I should go look at Target, think they might sell some cute ones?

Shades of Pink said...

I love the first one and last one. I've seen these styles at Target and Wal-Mart for anyone shopping on a budget. ;)

Ariana said...

Maxi style womens dresses are best for the summer season... I just love those dresses...