We've been having a prolonged, gloomy, chilly spring season in the Northeast, and last Saturday was the first truly warm day of this year—a day to lounge outdoors, bask in the sun, and enjoy the company of friends and family at a riverside festival in upstate New York. And as such, it was the perfect day to test-drive my newest acquisition: a maxi dress.
Maxi dresses are, if you believe the fashion magazines, back in a big way for 2011. (Note: Don't believe the fashion magazines. Maxi dresses aren't back; maxi dresses never left!) And it was one style I've been wanting to get on board with, ever since the photographs from this year's Coachella showed so many young trendsetters looking cool and comfortable in frothy, flowy, lawn-grazing skirts. For real, you know the maxi's a winner when even Katy Perry took a break from wearing leotards made out of sequined banana peels and threw on this long, lacy number with a Mexican-wedding-dress sort of vibe. Pretty!
So, on to the outfit. This season's full-length dresses seem to fall into one of two categories: the slinky jersey maxi, which is a heavier, drapier, often dressier version made from stretchy and super-soft jersey cotton, and the hippie retread maxi, which is made of lighter-weight cotton and usually involves a tiered skirt and an elasticized bodice. I own one of each, but for the purposes of spending the day outdoors, this hippie retread from Forever 21 was the obvious choice—lightweight cotton in a cute print, the better to keep it casual while staying cool in the sun.
One of the greatest things about a maxi dress is its versatility. It can be the entire outfit, or just a piece of it; you can wear it alone, or mix and match with shirts, cardigans, jackets belts, scarves, etc. (I threw on a flimsy cotton tee and a belt over mine, since the wind coming off the river behind me was a little too chilly.) Just beware: adding a baggy top over a flowing skirt will make you look like a shapeless pile of fabric, so if you want to layer, make sure you're nipping it in at the waist or hips. If I didn't wear a belt, this would have looked awful.
Head to toe: top, Urban Outfitters; belt, thrifted; dress, Forever 21; gifted earrings and bracelet from H&M.
Also, though my shoes aren't visible (and in a maxi, you really shouldn't be able to see more than the toes), they're wedges. Flats or wedges are your best shoe option for a dress like this; don't wear heels. It looks silly.
Do you own a maxi dress or skirt?
Related post: Rain, Rain, Go (and STAY) Away