Once associated with free-spirited hippies, the maxi dress has come into its own, writes Neeti Sarkar

For the longest time the mini skirt had its fair share of glory but now it’s the turn of the maxi dress to enjoy the limelight. Once reserved for free spirited hippies, the maxi dress has now joined the main-stream. Breezy and graceful, it is as popular on the red carpet and fashion ramps as it is off it.

Stylist and fashion blogger Pranita Mehta says: “The maxi dress is offbeat and versatile. You could comfortably wear it in summer or winter. It makes you look taller and can be styled in various ways.”

“One automatically connects maxis with the Bohemian theme or spirit, and rightfully so,” says Niyati Manoj, a freelance designer. “However, there are a number of other ways to wear the dress. One shoulder maxi dresses with a tousled waist are quite a hit. Whimsical prints and plunging necklines look brilliant on maxis. Also, for a more feminine appeal, a crocheted number works well.”

“The neck shape and drape is at the centre of designing a maxi,” says Pranita. “Maxis with embellished necks and a flowy drape top the list. Then, there are maxis with side slits that give the benefit of showing off your legs in the lengthy piece. Floral prints (especially dark and wild), geometric patterns and solid hues are a highlight. The ones with a straight fall are more appealing than those with an A-line silhouette. Day wear maxi dresses go well in knit fabrics as they are comfortable while maxis for evening wear are trending in fabrics like georgette and crepe and their blends.”

In terms of colour, feel free to experiment. Niyati says: “If you’re aiming to look like a Hollywood diva, go in for bold colours like black (sequined), muted gold, red, electric blue, emerald green or raspy orange. Keep it light and simple otherwise. Sheer maxi dresses in pastel shades are also stunning. Don’t forget, tie-and-dye maxis will always be in fashion.”

If you’re wondering how to accessorise a maxi, Pranita suggests: “Either go the hip way with boots, a leather jacket, forehead-band and leather accessories or dress subtly by wearing strappy sandals, statement earrings and a clutch. Just be comfortable with the way you choose to pull it off. Wear summer stoles or winter knits over maxi-dresses according to the weather. Go crazy with the styling. Try quirky headpieces with it while the sun shines, go bling when the stars come out. Accentuate your curves with a belt or wear a denim jacket to give it a more casual look.” That said, she warns against over accessorizing. “It interferes with the beautiful silhouette of the dress. Also, don’t even think of wearing visible leggings beneath the maxi. It blows off the whole look of the incredible maxi.”

One of the best features of the maxi is that it suits almost every woman, irrespective of age or body shape. Known to flatter the wearer in more ways than one, the trend is catching on across the globe.