The sheer variety of women's maxi dresses is the biggest clue
that this is a really hot trend, which is likely to last into next year. On this page I review, the best of
bandeau, floral and
tiered styles, also beach and holiday maxi dresses for the
In simple terms a maxi
is an ordinary dress, but made to about ankle length. A
2010 maxi dress should not be confused with a formal long gown,
maxi correctly selected
can be regarded as a piece that may bridge fashion gaps in your
In fashion history terms, a woman's maxi dress is once again acceptable day-wear,
suitable as a transition piece for informal wear in many situations.
is not the same as a structured embellished evening dress, which
intended solely for post cocktail and red carpet moments.
However, the right maxi dress can also be worn from morning till
These two very basic shaped maxi silhouettes are in
plain fabrics and ideal for layering and accessorizing up or
Far Left - Dorothy Perkins Boho Festival SS 10 Navy Maxi Jersey Dress
£18/€28, Sandals £25/€40.
Near Left - Heidi Klein SS10 Long Line Jersey Maxi Dress -
Available at Matchesfashion.com - £145.
Right - River Island Double Denim Maxi Dress £34.99. River
Island Stockist Tel: 0208 991 4904 www.riverisland.com.
A maxi dress is more relaxed than a formal evening gown as
maxi fabric can also be used in casual daywear, summer beachwear and
day occasion wear. This denim bandeau dress with tiered skirts
is from River Island, and girls everywhere will love it for
In 2010 we are all far more used to
wearing silk. Good silk has low creasing in wear and high
quality silk was once a luxurious fabric only for the wealthy,
so a dressy silk maxi can also work as bridge wear.
Every woman, whatever her age, can look good in a maxi dress. This
page has a range of styles for you to consider.
For some women the only way they will feel comfortable with this
fashion is if their maxi has sleeves. Even the hint of sleeve or
ruffle will please them. Retailers Monsoon and Evans have both
recognised this. Evans offers this very pretty black and red floral
tiered maxi dress for
plus sizes this autumn 2010.
Right - Evans Tiered Floral Print Maxi Dress.
Near Right - Monsoon Florence Floral Rose Print Maxi Dress.
prints from large to small dominate maxi dresses. Small pinhead flowers, ditsy, ditzy,
dimity, dotty, dollybird prints
inspired by fabrics of the past have led young designers like Erdem to
concentrate designing afresh, glorious floral prints that pay
homage to other fashion history eras.
Left - Erdem Fabric Print.
ditzy floral maxi dresses immediately below are in complete contrast to
many of the bandeau beach
dresses further down, and are not too overdressed for
festival wear. They can take you
easily from day to casual party.
Cowgirl Prairie looks are one of this summer's fashion trends. Some
of the prettier translations include ditsy floral print
maxi dresses as well as pretty scarves and floaty tops. Dimity prints, soft dainty little frills or
flowing border print skirts can be teamed with boots or gladiator
sandals. Then it's easy to pull the prairie girl outfit
together with leather accessories, natural cord or crafted jewellery. The soft
muted tones of these prints below are in contrast to the intense brighter full
blown cabbage rose and viola looks from designer Erdem or the
Mad Men knee length
Above Left - River Island Festival Prairie Look - Floral Print
Coco Maxi Dress £44.99. Vintage Twist Belt £14.99, Dickens Boots
£74.99, Vintage Wayfarers £16.99. River Island Stockist Tel:
0208 991 4904.
Centre Left - BHS Ditsy Floral Maxi Dress £45 - BHS SS10
Womenswear Stockist Tel: 0845 196 0000.
Centre Right - ASOS Floral Rose Print Maxi Dress - ASOS June
Far Right - Festival Fashion - Warehouse Traveller Mixed Floral
Jungle Print Maxi Dress £85/€110, Lace Waistcoat £35/€46, Bag
£28/€36 - Warehouse Spring 10.
Details of the ditsy floral prints from the 2010 maxi dresses above.
Above Left - River Island Floral Print.
Centre Left - BHS
Ditsy Floral Print.
Centre Right - ASOS Floral Rose Print.
Right - Warehouse Floral Print.
These soft ditsy prints are mellow without any jarring, and blend in with earthy
tones of the drying leaves and vegetation found in the natural
countryside. These gentle layered looks lend a feminine ambiance to
your wardrobe, and and the semi rustic style make them particularly
suitable for festival events. Electric colours that look
fine under a Mediterranean sky, can be perceived as shocking on
a dull cloudier day. Whether Hay-on-Wye or
Glastonbury do take account of our volatile British summer weather
and select fabrics accordingly.
Get set for your festival moment now with these dresses from
Miss Selfridge. They capture the summertime relaxed
traveller gypsy fashion trend.
skirt elements have now found new life in the romantic look maxi
dresses. These tiered styles here are just an extension of the
exotic gypsy skirt beloved by so many women in the last decade.
these tiered shirred dresses come with detachable or fixed shoestring
spaghetti straps, like this mauve border tier maxi far right. The model
left wears a
girly tiered dress from Miss Selfridge High Summer 2010
The constant between this section of dresses is the soft
floral ditsy fabric prints with 'Little House on the Prairie
Above Left - Miss Selfridge - Bud Tiered Maxi Dress £45/€70.
Centre Right - Dress Flat Shot Detail.
Far Right - Another Miss Selfridge Shirred Maxi Dress £45. All
from Miss Selfridge
High Summer 2010 Main Range.
But if pastel or soft ditsy
prints are not your preference, then you will be spoilt for
choice since every pattern and stripe arrangement imaginable is
available in 2010 maxi dresses. Larger florals of course play a huge
part, and the wide range of variety within maxi print fabrics
shown on this page is astounding.
Left - This patchwork tiered empire line
maxi dress from Dorothy Perkins is pure 1970s flower power
style. I recall in the mid 70s owning Laura Ashley flowery dresses much
like both models are wearing. Fashion fades but all
workable looks get redesigned. As
Laver's Law reveals, all loved fashions come
around again. Loose easy styles like these are very comfortable
Centre Right - Wallis Multicoloured Tiered Maxi £55 - Wallis High
Summer SS10 Stockist Tel:
Far Right - Flower Print Dress, £28, Marisota SS10
- Marisota Stockist Tel: 08719847612.
Shirred bodice maxi dresses are especially easy to wear as beach
garments. The shirred bodice may be on top of a tiered gathered or straight
skirt. Styles can be elasticated over the bust area, or
the stretchy area extends to the waist, and thus offers greater volume control and
upper bodice shaping.
Other variations include the fuller
handkerchief hem skirt (left) or the contrasting slimmer column
skirt - see below.
Left and right - These blue and pink maxi dresses have
shirred bandeaus and handkerchief hems. They are very low priced
at just £14 from Matalan SS10 High Summer
and Swimwear. They make good bikini bottom summer swimwear cover
up. At this price it won't matter if you get them covered in
Matalan Stockist Tel: 0845 330 3330.
The first 3 dresses below, left to right - are clearly suitable for
beach day wear or easy going casual evening wear. The far
right image of a lime green embellished dress is in a different
maxi category. It is
described by Monsoon as one from their 'Black Tie
Collection', making it suitable for 5 star evening resort/cruise wear. Compare the price of the lime dress against the other
low cost daywear beach maxis and
you can see the different target markets.
These cotton maxi
dresses are basically what your grandmother might once have
described as washing frocks - wash them, wear them, wash them,
wear them until of course they wear out.....
Above Left - Internacionale SS10 Clothing - Neon Spot Maxi
Dress £16.99. Internacionale Stockist Tel: 0141 552 2020.
Centre Left - Blue Maxi Dress - Internacionale SS10 Clothing.
Centre Right - Internacionale SS10 - Butterfly Maxi Multi-Colour
Dress With Shirring - £16.99.
Far Right - Monsoon Spring Summer 2010 - Lime Annabelle Maxi
Dress £160/€250 Eire.
Beach dresses are beautiful, but the empire bandeau style is
one to watch extra carefully. Before you venture out check how
you look in a three way mirror. Avoid the usual mistakes novices
make of wearing a shirred style or bandeau boob-tube top that, minus a bra,
seems supportive enough on the beach, but may leave you looking too exposed
or wobbly for town, and
thus attract the wrong kind of comments.
If you are willow slender
and neat like models shown here, a bandeau maxi dress will work for you.
Far Right - Wine/Big Pink Flower Print Maxi Dress -
Apricot SS10 - Stockist Details Contact
But if you have flesh popping out of your bandeau underarms and
at the back of the dress, then think twice before purchasing
It's always interesting to know what stores find to be their best
sellers and this white dress with gold coin sequins has been a top
seller at Internacionale so I imagine wearers find it
comfortable, feminine, and easy to care for, furthermore, they
find the plain fabric to
their liking. The blue dress from M&Co has also been one of
their top maxi dress sellers this year.
Near Right -
Internacionale White and Gold Coin Maxi Dress £20 -
Internacionale SS10 Clothing - Stockist Tel: 0141 552 2020.
Right - Blue Strappy Animal Maxi Dress £50 - M&Co Ladies Spring
Summer 2010. M&Co Stockist Tel: 0800 0317 200.
Florals with large exotic blooms, like the wine dress above,
play to the tropical and exotic Far Eastern/Chinoiserie floral themes so
popular this year. Look too for the digital, animal, ethnic
tribal, tie dye and ikat prints. Prints are big news and
especially so in Maxi dresses. Here are some bandeau dresses with prints to dazzle on a
sunshine drenched beach.
Above - Left to Right -
Above Left - F&F Tropical Print Maxi Bandeau Dress £22, Tesco - Stockist
Tel: 0800 505555.
Centre Left - Internacionale SS10 Clothing - Animal Print Maxi Dress £19.99. Stockist
Tel: 0141 552 2020.
Centre Right - Oli Clothing Tribal Smock Summer Maxi £60. This bandeau
beach dress is casual with Boho ethnic qualities and an
African animal print.
Far Right - Multi Neon Pink Purple Yellow Colour Tie Dye Bandeau
Maxi Dress £20 - Boohoo.com SS10 Dresses
SS10 Clothing - Stockist Tel: 0141 552 2020.
Tribal/ikat/tie-dye and geometric print dresses are well
represented in every price range, and up-to-date prints are
available in everywhere fashion shop or online mall. If you are
seeking discounts on maxis look at some of the article links
here for great offers.
The colour mixes of turquoise and
burnt ochre are very Mediterranean, observe the effect in both
these stripe effect maxis right.
They exhibit the earthy colours of crumbling, peeling washed walls of old Italian or Maltese
towns. What would look stunning against these prints would
be jewellery in Turquoise, aquamarine, coral, carnelian, amber,
citrine or onyx.
The nearest strapless bandeau dress is by designer
DVF - Farrin Dress - 100% Silk & Viscose/Silk Trim. It costs £430 at
matchesfashion and is dry clean only. Read about a
washable silk dress here.
The very similar dress with straps and embellished bodice furthest
right is a bargain price maxi from Internacionale.
Print Crushed Maxi Dress £24.99 - Internacionale SS10 Clothing -
Stockist Tel: 0141 552 2020.
The sheen of lustrous silky prints and rich glazed
or fine cottons emphasises the kaleidoscopic fabric prints of
exploding flowers, fireworks or cosmic star and sunbursts.
Right - Like these rich coral and golds here, aquamarine and turquoise are prominent colour combos
in countless prints destined for the beach and marina. This
firework splash bandeau dress (right) has the extra support of a halter
strap and is from chain store BHS. Aqua/Turquoise Halter Neck Printed
£30 - BHS Womenswear SS10. BHS Stockist Tel: 0845 196 0000.
Since you'll be hiding your legs you may want to show more
Left - Internacionale - Orange/Pink/Purple/Yellow Magic Print
Maxi Dress £16.99 SS10 Clothing Stockist Tel: 0141 552 202.
Centre Left - Zig Zag Multicolour Maxi Dress £20 boohoo.com S/S 10
This longer body dress below is another from Long Tall Sally and
aptly called Passionburst Dress!
Women's maxi dresses tend to fall into specific styles and a high
based on the elongation principle of using a empire line with a
seam directly under the bust or a high waistline seam. For those
with small or average breasts this means that some women can go
braless especially when on the beach as the seam line adds a
little support shaping.
Above - Still on the exploding pattern prints theme - Long Tall
Sally Spring 2010 Passionburst Dress £65 - Sizes
10-20, Casino Wrap-around Cord Belt £12, Ethnic
Roulette Earrings £8; Barbarry Bracelet £10, Dream Sandal £46
by Lisa for LTS.
In 2010 the maxi dress has been readily available in fashion
collections at every price point. A
maxi dress can easily flow into being regarded as evening wear,
but usually in a more relaxed way than a very structured long
gown suitable only for a red carpet, cruise dinner or black tie
- More formal evening gown with asymmetric shoulder, emerald
green plain fabric and bands of beading.
Star by Julien Macdonald - Embellished One Shoulder Grecian
Dress £160/€248 at Debenhams 2010.
Unlike the formal long evening gown, which might be
made of a plain, but rich satin, chiffon or brocade, a maxi
dress is often made of a cotton viscose/Elastane mix. A maxi
frequently has a simplicity of cut involving elastication,
plain straps, empire bra cut and halter ties. Some maxis are
even simpler and are no more than long
extensions of a basic T-Shirt as a scoop straight long shift.
More so than a formal prom evening gown, a maxi dress makes
use of bold and exotic prints, digital, large floral prints and
border prints that work better on the fabric volume a maxi
provides. Couple the bolder print with back exposure, such
these two pieces exhibit, and the dress goes straight out of
daytime into evening looks.
The larger maxi canvas can often display a fascinating
pattern with a statement sweep that a shorter dress can never
quite execute. Many collections like Jane Norman, Oli, Phase
Eight, Monsoon, NEXT and Debenhams have a whole range of maxi
dresses. These maxis are more suited to evening than daywear,
yet don't have the formality of the plain green beaded
asymmetric gown. Note here how green has gained favour as a fashion colour again.
What we are seeing is the full range from turquoise, sea green to
emerald, from dark blue green to lime green.
Right - Making use of the larger area of fabric to display a
Near Right - Blues/Greens FEVER Tiffany Maxi Dress £69.99. Fever Designs SS10
Stockist Tel: 0207 6366 3260.
Far Right - This dress by FEVER has been a best seller at ASOS.
Fever Sea Mist Maxi Dress Retro Rose Wave Print £74.99 - Fever
In the right situation maxis of other types can make
sensational day and evening wear. The large canvas provided by
the extra fabric in a maxi lends itself to bigger patterns and
dramatic border prints.
Above - Monsoon Summer 2010 - A Maxi dress
exotic enough for sizzling sunshine lazy beach days and balmy
Monica Print £70/€119 - Monsoon Ladieswear.
Above Left to Right:
Far Left - Monsoon Women SS10 - Blue Splodges Bolivia Dress £160/€271.
Centre - Print Maxi Dress, From £65 - Fifty Plus Spring/Summer
2010 Womenswear. This sheer lightweight halter neck long
maxi is the glamorous answer to a modern print in plus size
cruise wear. Fifty Plus Stockist Number: 0871 231 2000.
Right - Frank Usher - DV8602 Col 552 Pink Multi Silk Animal Print Long Halter
Dress with Bead Trim - Frank Usher Group AW10 Collection. This
maxi dress in richer darker colours, is a transition
season piece for autumn 2010 cruise wear.
Today a maxi dress can verge on being glamorous enough in its
design or embellishment to double up as romantic relaxed evening
fashion. As relaxed holiday wear, a maxi dress might be teamed with simple jewellery such as coral, agate, stick pearls,
wood beads, leather chokers, or shell necklaces, rather than
diamonds and diamante of formal gowns. The degree of relaxation in the maxi
garment will dictate where and when it might be worn, you have
to decide the
point at which you should opt for a more formal form of
structured seamed evening wear, estate jewellery and designer
Above - Cream Zuri Long Dress - Long Tall Sally High Summer 2010.Colour: Cream, Sizes: 10-20, £100. Available at
phone 0844 573 6885, or in stores nationwide.
This dress is of crinkle chiffon and
has a heavily embellished motif halter style tie and moulded
cups. Tall women will love to know that this maxi dress is
designed to flatter them. All Long Tall Sally clothing is
designed in house, carefully proportioned for women 5' 8" and
above, in sizes UK 8-22; US 4-18; EU 34-48.
If you select a dress like the one above, which is suitable for
evening or weddings, then the dress embellishment against
beautiful skin is enough in itself.
Swarovski bead embellishment is used on the best designer maxi
dresses - Look out for the Swarovski trademark label that states CRYSTALLIZED™ -
This strikingly pretty printed 'Darina' dress, pictured left and right
by Diane Von Furstenberg, is also floor sweeping. It has a
crochet macramé racer-back top with bead embellishment. The
racer back is not too risqué and could highlight lovely toned
arms. Bras are easily available for this cut of this dress.
dress concentrates on cutaway armholes
rather than full on décolletage. Just this hint of coverage in the front bodice top may make many women feel more
comfortable, possibly even more elegant
than those baring all.
For some women the chest area can become a problem area
through accident, illness, sun damage, wrinkles, weight loss or
post radiotherapy red veins.
Diane Von Furstenberg is
an experienced designer particularly of dresses. Being a woman
who loves to wear dresses herself, she knows what
women want from clothes. Diane understands that clients young or
old may still require a glamorous dress which remains feminine,
yet covers all the right parts.
The crochet macramé embellished top gives attention getting
facial/chest focus without revealing breast cleavage. Made from 66% cotton, 17% polyester, 12% nylon, 5% metallic the
fabric should be comfortable and remain easy wear. This romantic
elegant sunny designer dress is available from
armhole dresses or
neck styles offer just a little more
coverage for women who prefer to leave total exposure to those
who are comfortable displaying their bust. A cutaway dress
offers exposure, but not all out revelation.
These cutaway armhole dresses are subtle and begin with the
simplest of style based on a
The first green maxi style left, is a very good one as the
drawstrings generally can be pulled tighter to show more skin or
drawn out to cover up flesh.
This dress can flow from wide or
narrow shoulder lines easily and is helpful for those with
shoulders that are much wider or narrower than the average
woman. Kylie Minogue was recently photographed wearing a
very similar drawstring halter neckline. This style of maxi is exceptionally easy to sew yourself.
Far Left - Monsoon Originals Green Latimer Maxi Halter Dress £200/€310
Eire Monsoon Spring Summer 2010.
Near Left - Yogoego.com CHILLI PEPPER Embellished Silk Maxi Dress £115 Womenswear SS10.
Finally this multi red exotic flower maxi from Phase Eight
has a high back neck, but with a linear back keyhole split. The dress
requires a light delicate machine wash, making it good for holiday packing,
cruise wear and breezy open decks.
Right - Phase Eight SS10 - Martina Reds Maxi Dress - £99.
Maxis also customarily feature exotic and ethnic prints, or
hints of the mystique of Morocco in their design.
The original loose flowing robes/kaftans included
djellaba, jalabiya and muumuus. These
had African, Eastern or South Sea origins and featured native
markings in the patterns. Many companies have produced
prints based on abstract African and tropical origins.
A maxi dress can be loose and flowing to give ease of
movement, but is not as shapeless as a Kaftan. If you feel trussed up
in your maxi dress then its probably more likely to have morphed
into a formal gown.
Below & Right - Monsoon - Simply Gorgeous Kaftan Style Butterfly
Multi-Colour Summer Dress £55/€93 - Inspired by Miranda Sex and the City 2. This lovely maxi dress is low cut, but has the benefit of
a kimono sleeve giving good shoulder and chest cover up, a
design factor that makes many women whatever her age group feel
Because a maxi is frequently designed with day-friendly materials like
cotton, seersucker/crinkle fabrics or fluid jersey, it is also
very suited to beach wear.
The fact that many companies have chosen to photograph their
maxi dresses on beaches suggests that this is where they think
the buyers should be wearing the majority of this type of maxi
Right - French Connection Summer 2010 Watercolour Wonder Maxi
Dress £100 - French Connection Ladies Coloured Draped Floor
Length Full Length Jersey Striped Beach Maxi.
Women too often choose the wrong maxi for the wrong venue. Note
that a beach maxi should be kept solely for resort wear. You
should think twice before wearing a beach maxi in your
local town or city.
A beach maxi is designed for the beach because it makes for
an all over holiday wear cover up, protecting legs from too much
sun, and giving comparative modesty against the brevity of swimwear alone,
when off beach at the nearest resort bistro or taverna. As beach
dresses are über casual they mostly expose a lot of upper flesh
and sometimes it can be flabby. On anyone, but the willowy slim,
'braless beefy boob' overhang is a comfortable, but not always
good look. It is easily as bad a fashion faux pas as a muffin top
roll. The general public out shopping, do not want to see
yards of flesh overhanging elasticated tops. Beach maxis
should remain in holiday surroundings or go no further than your
own garden. Bandeau beach dresses and shoestring or
spaghetti strap dresses
are best left for the beach. Let's get this in perspective - the
modern way to wear a prom dress in the day is usually with a
simple jersey or other fine layering top beneath it - enough
Not since the 70s has the maxi had such a true female following. Typical prints of the 1970s used ditzy Laura Ashley English
country florals, Pucci or Matisse inspired abstract prints,
geometric op art styles and ikat patterns. This Beyond
Retro vintage maxi 'Summertime Jumpsuit with Wild Summer Print'
shown left right has bold flowers in true 1970s flower power
style. Beyond Retro Womenswear - Vintage One-Off Pieces Beyond
Retro Stockist Tel : 0207 613 3636.
Left - Original vintage 1970s maxis jumpsuit dress from Beyond Retro.
Maxi dresses in the past frequently had pockets and were
sometimes worn as long pinafore dresses. This yellow maxi is
very representative of a 1970s maxi.
Pockets are not an obvious feature on the maxi dresses of
2010, but may
appear in autumn/winter wear dresses, which can be worn more like pinafore
dresses with blouses, fine knit or jersey wear tops and
sweaters. Autumn maxis are ideal for layering and will
work well with autumn 2010s longer line cardigan coats.
1970s maxi jumpsuits and maxi pinafore dresses were teamed with long rows of
pearls, or gold chains and pearl mixes. Expect to see a revival
of opera or 1920's sautoir type necklaces to match the
elongation of the maxi dress.
A modern jersey floral dress like this one right from Boohoo
would be a good alternative. To highlight the waist add a
contrast wide belt. Right - Floral Maxi Dress £20 - Boohoo.com SS10 Boohoo Dresses.
Another variation of daywear maxis dresses in 2010 include
those based on the sleeves, or cap sleeve floor length T-shirt. Jersey knit fabrics really took off in the 1970s when casual wear
became more the norm. Until then a T-shirt was often called a
Sloppy Joe simply because it was considered ultra casual wear. Many 1970s maxi dresses were cut exactly parallel with this
plain 2010 silhouette.
As a less frilly less sheer billowing
dress than some maxis, the elongated jersey T-Shirt it is a practical option as it is quite
day wearable. The neutrality of style and simplicity of
pattern makes it very suitable for rock
festival blend in wear, or seaside resorts in summer time.
All of the maxi vests above also
make great roll up cover-ups for the
beach. If you prefer a long sleeved
jersey wear dress then this nautical inspired striped dress far right may be the
Left - Dorothy
Perkins High Summer 2010 - Utility Trend Tie Dye Hippy
Holiday Monochrome Cotton Maxi Dress £28/€45.
Near Right -
Black Stripe Corsage Maxi Dress 52R478WB9 £25 - Oli Clothing.
Right - Primark Striped Jersey Maxi
Dress £11 - Primark Womenswear Collection for Summer 2010.
A maxi dress fits in with today's relaxed dressing. There are
some rules which everyone, but the willow slim should consider. Do try to get it right if you follow this fashion trend. Wearing
the wrong over voluminous maxi dress can provoke comments such
as 'when is the baby due' or snide remarks of 'beefy boob
overhang', therefore, select and style for your individual body
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