Fashion: All power to the maxi dress

Jersey maxi with grecian styling, sizes 10-22, �110 at Long Tall Sally in York and on
Jersey maxi with grecian styling, sizes 10-22, �110 at Long Tall Sally in York and on
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The maxi dress is back for this summer with a fresh new sophisticated edge. Stephanie Smith has advice.

It’s the first fashion go-to of summer, top of the “What To Wear Now” list when a welcome but unexpected spell of sunshine and warmth comes along and, for the first time in months, we need clothing that doesn’t pile on the heat, but instead allows the skin to breathe and the limbs to move freely.

In a maxi, you’re ready for anything. It layers beautifully with finer knitwear and cover-ups of all lengths so, if the climate takes a brisk turn for the chilly, you’re not left shivering. You don’t even need to shave your legs and apply fake tan, unless you choose a style with a side split (in which case take care – a sudden gust of wind and the entire street gets to see your pants).

For summer 2015, the maxi is at the height of fashionability, thanks to the season’s love affair with the style of the 1970s.

This brings both glamour and an edge to the maxi dress that elevates it above and beyond the long printed frocks of previous seasons. Now it all gets serious, with sleek fit-and-flare cuts, some with halter-necks, some with plungling necklines, in bold colours and swirly jersey fabrics.

Then there’s the haute hippy trend, which brings decadence and sophistication to boho maxi printed dresses in chiffons and silks. The range of prints is fabulous, from folksy styles with caravanesque crafty flower heads in circles and dots (often paired with another contrasting print) to lava lamp swirls and arty zig-zags.

This is also where the maxi meets the kaftan for laid-back glamour, Seventies-style. Tie-dye is back, but there’s nothing grungy about it. Instead it’s opulent in rich jewel tones with added metallic decorative detail, even if it’s just to give weight to the ends of drawstring belts and ties.

In terms of footwear, add platform sandals or flat styles that criss-cross up the ankles or lower legs, although the most universally elegant and wearable sandals of the summer are ones that feature single slim parallel metallic bars at the toes, arch and ankle. Flat or heeled, if you see them, snap the, up.