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Updated: June 13, 2014 18:44 IST
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A sweeping statement

JEENA SHARMA
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The carefree silhouette and the versatility of the maxi have further augmented its popularity in the past few years.
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The carefree silhouette and the versatility of the maxi have further augmented its popularity in the past few years.

Be it red carpet events or a fun night out, these long and languidly breezy ankle-grazing dresses are all the rage

A perennial summer staple, maxi dresses have become symbols of feminity and grace over the years. After a brief appearance in designer Oscar De La Renta’s collection in the early 1960s, the maxi dress shot to instant global recognition. Since then, they have not only come to identify with millions of women but also with celebrities such as Grace Kelly, Julie Christie and more recently, Kate Moss. The carefree silhouette and the versatility of the dress have further augmented its popularity in the past few years. “The maxi dress has been instrumental in establishing itself not only as a revered fashion trend but also as an attire of comfort. Since it uses ample amount of fabric, the space supplements breathability. Additionally, they work very well with tropical climates and correspond with the Indian weather,” says designer Nimish Shah, who has incorporated more minimalistic versions of the maxi into his designs. It is an easy fad to carry and the recent past has seen several stints of creative styling with the maxi.

Here are a few style strategies to go with the trend

Accessorise

Don’t restrict your maxi to a daytime basic. A piece of jewellery, a scarf or an embellished clutch can enhance the look of the dress. Agrees Nandita Raipurani (of the designer duo Hemant and Nandita), “There is so much room to experiment with a maxi dress. The easiest way is to layer it with different kinds of belts and jewellery. You could also experiment with your footwear by sporting a pair of gladiators, heels or boots.”

Blend it with your body type

It is important to know the type of maxi dress that complements your body type. Larger prints, for example, are known to work well with stouter bodies. Opting for lighter fabrics also helps camouflage the bumps. Similarly, maxis with cut-outs and slits help visually enhance the look for shorter and more petite frames. “It is very important to consider your body type before you experiment with styling the maxi dress. Pick an empire waist if you are bulky around your stomach. Empire waistlines keep the focus on your bust while the fabric adapts a freer silhouette from below. The flowing skirt acts as a tent without hiding your entire body. Also, try to avoid gathered waists if you are heavy around the middle. Moreover, make sure your maxi style skims your body but doesn’t cling to it, especially if you have a heftier upper half. It is also very essential to pick your maxi in consensus with your height. If you aren’t tall then invest in an elasticised waist; opt for a super-long boho skirt and cover your torso with a cropped cardigan. Lastly, don’t be monotonous. Experiment and be creative,” advices designer Nishka Lulla, who regularly presents various versions of the maxi through her designs.

Sync your prints

While monochromatic and basic versions of the maxi are classics, adding a dash of print helps strike a balance between casual and glamorous. Designers such as Zac Posen, Badgley Mischka, Rahul Mishra and Purvi Doshi have time and again adapted a variety of different prints for their versions of the maxi. A maxi dress with floral or a similar print helps channel a more bohemian vibe of the 60s. Likewise, bold and graphic stripes paired with a single-coloured separate further adds to the geometry of the outfit and gives an unexpected dimension to the look.

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