How Do I… Wear a Maxi Dress?

The Fabulous Maxi Dress

It’s summertime, and the living is easy. Maxi dresses epitomize the ease and relaxation of a summer vacation, yet they can also be dressed up for work or even for a dressy evening occasion. And contrary to popular belief, women of every age and body type can look wonderful in a maxi dress if they follow some simple guidelines:

  • Find the right print for your body. If you’re fuller-figured, opt for a larger print or solid color. If you’re petite with a boyish figure, you can try horizontal stripes or a small-scale print. If you’re short or fuller-figured, choose a vertical stripe to slim and elongate your shape.
  • Find the right strap for your body. If you have a larger chest, choose a wide strap to cover bra straps. If you have a smaller chest, a halter is a good choice. If you have broad shoulders, however, a halter can emphasize that broadness.
  • Find the right shape for your body. The danger with maxi dresses, especially for women under 5’4”, is looking like you’re wearing a tent. Petite women should make sure to choose a dress that fits snugly, especially in the line below the chest. Curvy women can accentuate those curves with an empire waistline or any shape that emphasizes the waist.

Here are three looks for maxi dresses this summer:

Look One: Beach Casual

Vacations at the beach present a perfect time for a casual maxi dress. Pair one with simple flat sandals, a woven bag, and a lightweight hat to keep off the sun. Don’t forget sunblock for your shoulders and chest!

Look Two: Office Chic

Work wear doesn’t need to be stodgy. Try pairing your maxi dress with heels, a belt, and a casual blazer or pretty cardigan; you’ll need the extra layer for the office air conditioning!

Look Three: Evening Out

The right maxi dress can transition to evening wear with the right accessories. Stay away from bright and beachy prints, and choose more sophisticated solids or grown-up prints. Pair the dress with dressy heels (try silver!), an evening bag, and glamorous hair and makeup. You’re ready for a night on the town!



The Fashion Problems of Living in North Carolina in the Summer

Living in North Carolina is a wonderful thing. We have four distinctive seasons and great what to wear in NC during the summerfashions to match each one of them. But anyone who’s lived here for any length of time knows that summer can bring its own set of fashion challenges, and we wanted to help you just in time for this year’s heat arrival!

  1. You’re going to be hot. If you live in North Carolina during the summer, you can pretty much count on temperatures in the 80s and 90s every day. This is the season for light sundresses, linen separates, and breathable fabrics to keep you comfortable. If you’re going to be out in the sun, you might want to avoid dark colors because they absorb the heat of the sun. But if you’re wearing a sundress, don’t forget extra sunscreen on your shoulders, back, and chest!
  2. Corollary to #1: you’re going to be freezing if you go inside. The good news is that you can cool off in almost any North Carolina building during the summer. The bad news is that you might cool off a little too much because restaurants and stores often have their air conditioning turned down to the low 60s to keep the building cool. Always carry a light sweater or jacket to use, if needed, inside during a North Carolina summer.
  3. Chafing: the struggle is real. With humidity averaging 90 percent in the summer, it can be almost impossible to walk in a skirt without your legs chafing. Bike-short-style lingerie eliminates the problem, or you can keep a stash of powder handy to keep things cool and dry. Some people also swear by athletic anti-chafing balms like Bodyglide when they plan to walk a lot.
  4. Days blend into nights at the beach. North Carolina is blessed with miles of beautiful coastline, where locals and tourists can soak up the sun by day and enjoy the boardwalks at night. But what to wear to go from day to night? A simple shift or maxi dress looks great on the beach and in bars, restaurants, or other beach venues.
  5. You have to embrace the heat. North Carolina in the summer is not for perfect makeup, constricting clothes, and impeccably smooth hair. Let loose and enjoy!

Staying Cool at a Hot Summer Wedding

Whew! It’s only May, and the mercury is already creeping awfully close to 90°. But what if you’re one of the millions of people attending—or participating in—a hot summer wedding? We have some tips and tricks to help you keep your cool, whether you’re the bride or a guest.

Tips for the Bride:

As the bride, you have a great deal of control of other people’s comfort. If at all possible, try to have some indoor, air-conditioned space available for you and your guests to cool down; this also gives you an option in case of rain! If there is no indoor option (or even if there is), providing shade for your guests should be a high priority. A tent is always a good option (and again, provides an option in case of rain), or large umbrellas to provide people with a cool area to congregate. Sun shades (also called sun sails) are an attractive option as well. With their variety of shapes and colors, they can add a whimsical or dramatic touch as well as much-needed shade.

To keep yourself cool, see the tips for guests below. A fainting bride can take the fun out the wedding: especially for the bride!

Tips for the Guests

Chances are that if you attend a wedding in the south during the summer, you’re going to be dealing with oppressive heat at some point. Assuming that the wedding couple has been so kind as to provide air-conditioning or shade, your first order of business should be to seek cooler spaces. If you’re able to go back and forth between the cool areas and the hot ones, you’ll keep yourself from getting too overheated.

Otherwise, one of the most important things you can do is remain hydrated. Avoid coffee and (sorry) alcohol, and drink plenty of cold water. Choose pale colors to wear; dark colors absorb the sun and can really raise your temperature.

Many drugstores carry products that can help keep you cool, like purse-sized misters, tiny battery-operated fans, and absorbent powders to combat sweat. A pretty paper fan can be a lovely addition to your outfit, and you can fan yourself like an old-fashioned Southern belle! Expanding on the Southern theme, a parasol can keep you out of the sun and add a delightfully nostalgic air to your outfit.