Since last fall, I’ve been lusting after a great boho dress of midi or maxi length and not many ruffles or other details. I envision myself wearing this look with books and a moto jacket or a wide belt in cooler weather and with sandals in the summer. Of course in my DREAMS, I’m running across a flower-strewn field barefoot with my long hair blowing in the wind. But back to reality.
The reality is that it is not easy to find such a dress that is really age appropriate, or at least one I’d be willing to wear. Again my criteria: sleeves, no prairie ruffles, midi or maxi length, not sheer, modest neckline and somewhat flattering. I’ve perused Zara (where this season’s fashion is designed to look good only on Kendall Jenner!), Free People (the home of boho, right?), Urban Outfitters (second home of boho), ModCloth, and, finally, Nordstrom (because they have everything current just designed for normal people…). What did I find?
Many boho dresses have a surfeit of hanging ties, fringe and the like
There are a lot of elastic waists and designs that are muu muu like
Most are still short – even mini length
Many have deep v necklines
Finding a really pretty print is not easy
These dresses often don’t come cheap
To be fair, I did find a handful that I would consider and maybe those odds aren’t bad in today’s fashion marketplace. See if you like any of my finds!
My style challenges are specific to each season: how to locate apparel items that embrace current trends AND are age, price, sophistication level appropriate.
I like to follow summer trends – dramatic hi-low tops, ankle strap sandal heels, jumpsuits, etc. But it takes work – mostly on a lot of websites – to find items that suit me, are reasonably priced, and chic. So how to get the trends this year? I’ll address a few over the next week or so. Today’s subject is LACE.
Lace – SO many beautiful summery items out there, but few, besides a long sleeved lace sheath, that really suit older fashionistas. I mean, we don’t want to look like this, right?
And don’t get me started on lace short shorts. But here are a few items that embrace the trend and suit us older stylistas.
Lace almost bermudas!!!
Lace – check; sheer – check; stylish – check!
A lace maxi dress that doesn’t look like a wedding gown!
Jeanne says: I bought this intense cobalt blue maxi dress at the end of the summer because I could see it with a tee underneath as the weather got cooler. Now, of course, I just want to move on to my winter wardrobe! The important point is that cobalt blue is a spectacular color that looks good on everyone, regardless of hair or skin color. I cannot think of any color that doesn’t complement cobalt. So if you don’t have any cobalt in your wardrobe, look for something now to brighten up your cold weather clothes!
Kate’s cobalt tee changes the whole look of her little skirt. We’ve seen that skirt before in different ensembles, but here you can see how the cobalt blue makes her skirt seem like a more intense color. This is another advantage of cobalt blue. Although we can’t see it here, I am also sure that the cobalt blue makes Kate’s blue eyes even more blue. This tee and skirt ensemble is one of Kate’s go to looks and it works as well here as it does every other times she puts these easy to wear items together!
Kate says: This is a new combination for me, but I loved the way my cobalt tee and magenta skirt played against each other. In person, I think this worked better — the colors were even more vibrant and the fluid fabrics of the top and skirt went together nicely. Mom is right: you can wear anything with cobalt. It’s one of the best basic colors you can include in your wardrobe.
I love Mom’s maxi dress. It’s the perfect combination of bright vibrant color and a nice fluid style with a defined waist — the kind of maxi dress I’m always looking for! She’s made it very Grecian here with the her chain belt, but the addition of the blue leopard scarf is a fun one. I can’t wait to see how she styles this for fall — maybe with a leather jacket or collared shirt underneath?
Jeanne says: Well, this is another case of how everything goes with black — especially these great neon colors! I love this shirt and, of course, I love neon color in general. I also really like structured shirts like this with looser, soft pants and these harem pants (which I’ve had for two years) fit the bill.
I also love Kate’s neon tee shirt with this striped maxi dress — again neon goes perfectly with black, and in this case, and white. I also like how she knotted her tee shirt to make the top more fitted with her flowy skirt. Her pink necklace also adds some additional punch to her outfit.
Kate says: Neon is one of my favorites summer looks, and Mom and I are showing it in such different ways. I loved this tee layered over one of my most comfortable maxi dresses — the neon and stripes work so perfectly together. And I was surprised by how much I liked this pink necklace paired with the neon green!
Mom’s patterned neon collared shirt is another take on neon. She’s smart to keep the rest of her outfit simple — that shirt almost has a life of its own! I’m not a huge fan of harem pants in general, but I appreciate the balance she’s going for here, and you could easily get the same effect with a black maxi skirt or jogger pants.
On Kate: Banana Republic Factory Store dress (similar), Old Navy sandals (similar), gift necklace (similar)
Jeanne says: I like wearing maxi skirts to work because it is possible to get a somewhat dressy look while still being really comfortable. I bought this one on sale after a long search for a simple black maxi skirt without high slits on the sides — this year’s skirt slits are a good example of how the fashion industry can ruin a style that works for all ages. Pairing this with orange? A slam dunk.
Kate’s got a pretty simple look going here; it is all about her coral maxi dress. But’s that is all she needs since it looks pretty chic. Just like I said above: a little dressy, but also very comfortable. I’ve found that lighter colored maxi dresses get dirty fast (at least when I wear them) and can show every lump and bump, so I tend to go with prints or dark colors myself. Bravo, Kate! A great look for a summer day!
Kate says: I got this dress very cheap — it was my first maxi dress and is still my favorite. I love the color, soft fabric, and twisted straps. But to Mom’s point, I do wear a slip underneath to help smooth out any bumps. I love this coral color paired with almost any bright color — here I’m wearing it with a green necklace, but I also love it with a cobalt cardigan.
Mom looks great — she managed to make two flowy pieces look flattering by utilizing the half-tuck. This outfit plays up the great pattern of her top and adorable orange sandals. She’s right, that maxis can be dressed up for work while also being very comfortable — and they’re perfect for summer!
Here are some cute maxi skirts and dresses to try:
Kate says: As summer starts, my focus is on basics (I think this is what I said last year!). There aren’t any major trends I’m looking to follow right now; I really just want to add some really versatile items to my wardrobe and (as always!) infused it with some color and prints.
1) Printed maxi dress: I have a few great maxi dresses, but I’d like to take it up a notch with a fun print.
2) Metallic sandals: My sandal collection is almost complete – I have black, brown and nude. Now I just need a metallic!
3) Fun pair of shorts: Even though I don’t end up wearing shorts all that much since I can’t wear them to work, I’d love to try a new silhouette or print.
4) Nude heeled sandals: Simple strappy heeled sandals seem to be the look of this spring and summer, and I love how they look with both dresses and jeans.
5) Breezy summer tops: The perfect pairing with summer shorts or a pencil skirt for work.
It was especially easy to pull this cute outfit together because of Modcloth’s “My Loved Items” feature. We simply dropped each of the items we liked into My Loved Items and then mixed and matched until we came up with the perfect ensemble.
Here are a few other Modcloth that could also be mixed and matched to build on our red and turquoise theme.
Jeanne says: I wore this outfit on a rainy day in Vancouver, BC — this was my attempt to brighten the day! My Target sweatshirt is already getting a little ragged after a few months of wear, but I’m not worried because I have so many tops in this neon green/yellow. I can never get enough! You can’t really see my shoes here, but the general design is everywhere this year.
Kate is wearing her signature outfit — a dress worn as a skirt. It looks very cute and I love her in these bright colors. Come to think of it, it’s a smart idea for early fall since it provides an extra layer on the top for chillier days! I’m also loving her new haircut — I’m a big fan of fresh new haircuts for a new season.
Kate says: Adding a bright t-shirt is a great way to add an easy layer to a maxi dress — you could also add a collared shirt underneath. This weekend I switched out my summer and winter clothes, and keep all my maxi dresses and skirts out — there are so many interesting ways to keep wearing them through the fall! I also think neon is totally fall appropriate. It can pair nicely with “fall” colors like olive green, maroon, and jewel tones.
Mom’s outfit is a perfect example of cute fall layers. Her neon lace sweatshirt is so on top of the sweatshirt trend that’s popping up everywhere, and I love how she pairs the yellow with an unexpected mint t-shirt! Perfect for running around a new city on a rainy day 🙂
This is certainly maxi dress season. Maxi dresses are that perfect combination of style and comfort, and can be worn different ways for different occasions. So we took one cotton black and white striped maxi dress (still available in blue) with a little diagonal action and we each styled it according to our individual taste and outlook. See what you think:
Jeanne says: I found this dress on sale online at Saks and it looked so easy to style and wear. And it has been! It can be belted, dressed up with a little jacket, even worn to the beach as a cover-up. Here I kept it pretty simple with a small statement necklace, silver watch and bracelets (similar, similar), and sparkly sandals. I wore this outfit out to lunch with extended family when I was visiting Kate but it could go out to dinner or even to work on a casual Friday – incredibly versatile and, of course, I can wear every color under the sun with it.
Kate says: I find maxi dresses to be that challenging combination of being easy to throw on without much thought, but also hard to really “style”. With an item that can really stand on its own, sometimes it’s hard to find other, interesting ways to wear it. So for this post, I wanted to show another way to wear a maxi dress that gives it a different vibe.
I knotted a neon yellow t-shirt over the dress to both give it more of a waist, but also add a nice bright pop of color. I kind of like how you can see the stripe pattern through the shirt! Then I added a red necklace (loved that color combo on Mom earlier!) and some booties. This would be a good outfit for casual weekend activities on a less hot summer day. I love adding booties to an otherwise summery outfit – a great unexpected accessory!
What ideas do you have for how to style a maxi dress?