Yesterday I shared some pictures with you of me wearing my much loved leopard print sequin detail dress from Yours Clothing and it got an unbelievable response, particularly on the Yours Clothing Facebook group page, so THANK YOU very much to everyone who gave such lovely feedback. Along with the post, I also got quite a few emails and messages with regards to how to wear a maxi dress comfortably, particularly if you're a curvy girl and how to style it. Tonight, I thought Id share with you some of my top tips. These are by no means exhaustive and I'm certainly not an expert but these are style tips that I adopt myself or have recommended to others and they have found that they worked well for them too.
|Two of my favourite Maxi Dresses, both from Yours Clothing|
Wearing a dress should make you feel glamorous, comfortable and feminine, not self conscious and out of place. For years, I avoided wearing dresses in favour of a trusted trouser and top combination but in recent years I have become more and more fond of dresses because I've learnt how to wear them to make me feel comfortable and confident. Regardless of your weight or height, you can look great in a maxi dress, its all about finding the right one for you and there really is a maxi dress out there for everyone.
Fit, Style and Material
Finding a style and fit that's right for you is really important. When buying any item of clothing, I find that its best to shop and dress for your shape, rather than for your size. No matter what your size, whether you're an 8, 18 or 28, the same dress wont look the same on two of the same sized people. This is because whilst people can generally be the same size, the shape of them within that size, can vary greatly. Its all about dressing to accentuate your best features and to detract the eye from those areas that you do not appreciate as much. When shopping, think of your best features and how to show them off in the best possible way and always keep in mind the areas that you would like to hide and try to choose a style that draws as little attention to them as possible. This couldn't be more significant when it comes to wearing dresses. Maxi dresses are great as they can hide a multitude of sins but ensuring you get the right fit, style and material is very important. Take my body for example, I am much smaller at the top than I am around my middle. I don't hate my arms or shoulders and I like my chest, my stomach is the area i tend to avoid drawing attention to the most. I avoid clingy fabrics in dresses as these tend to cling to the bottom of my stomach and really accentuate how big my stomach is in comparison to my legs and upper body. Maxi dresses are uber flattering as they often pull you in underneath your bust which is the smallest part of most plus size women. Depending on the shape of your upper body, carefully consider the neckline of the dress and the straps as this can really make a maxi dress a hit or a miss; a v neck will flatter most shapes whilst a strapless dress can appear to cut some in half and accentuate a larger bust. Moving on from maxi dresses to shorter dresses presents further dilemmas as many do not like their legs. If this is the case, consider whether the dress your wearing would look good with leggings, thick black or natural tights or whether you need a bit of tan on your legs. I'm a big fan of the St Moriz spray on tan, particularly for use on legs and for nights when I have not had time to apply fake tan but where I want my legs to look free from imperfections, then the Sally Hansen air brushed legs is my choice.
For many curvy girls, their arms are a problem area. Whether you're styling a maxi dress for a casual daytime look or an evening out, there are many gorgeous shrugs, boleros and jackets in the shops to make you feel comfortable and a little more confident in your dress. If you're a stranger to dresses, choose one that can be dressed up or down. A floral maxi dress can be worn in the daytime with a cropped denim jacket, flip flops, big sunglasses and a big bag and can be dressed up in the evening with jewelled sandals, a pretty clutch and complimenting accessories.
Maxi dresses are available in all colours and are often heavily patterned. If you're too shy to wear something bold to begin with, try a dress in one solid colour or with a mix of just a couple of colours, then accessorise. I love wearing a simple black maxi dress with gold accessories. It looks stylish, glamorous and takes minimal effort to put together. With such a plain dress, you can get away with wearing jewellery that's a bit on the chunky or bling side. If you're wanting to experiment with colour but are not ready for a heavy print or bold colour, then I would recommend trying a maxi dress that has one colour, usually black, from under the bust downwards and a different colour on the bust. This is a particularly good style for those who have a medium to small chest but a larger stomach, like myself.
Jewellery and Accessories
These should always compliment your dress in both colour and style- a chunky necklace does not look right with a halter neck dress.
Maxi Dresses are a great opportunity to leave your high heels at home in favour of more comfortable flat shoes. Flip flops or sandals are best and for the most glamorous looks, opt for metallic shades or those adorned with crystals and jewels. If you feel as though you need some additional height, try wedge sandals but be careful of the length of your maxi dress- it needs to be long enough to reach your ankles but short enough to not become a trip hazard. Its all about finding the right balance and the same goes for wearing trousers with heels- you need to make sure your outfit is long enough so that it doesn't look like its divorced your ankles and married your knees, but it still needs to be a couple of inches off the ground so that you don't fall bottom over breast so to speak.
Wearing the correct underwear is imperative. Opt for nude shades, that way your underwear will not show through the fabric of the dress you're wearing. Structured, strapless, underwired bras are best and as for covering your bottom, id recommend underwear with as invisible a seam as possible. Since a maxi dress is long, you can wear smaller underwear like a thong or g string without worrying about revealing too much, particularly when walking upstairs! The key is not being able to see your underwear through the dress, particularly as the fabric used in maxi dresses can be quite thin, especially those designed for summer sun.
I often get emails from curvy girls who would love to wear dresses but find that their thighs rub together causing them pain and discomfort and they often ask me what I would suggest to avoid this. Comfort shorts are available from shops like Evans however I haven't had very good experiences with these. If you're looking for something to prevent your legs from rubbing together, then I'd suggest wearing some thin leggings, cut down into shorts. They'll often be too thin to be seen underneath a floaty dress and they'll be comfortably tight to your legs and therefore prevent them from rubbing. This is not something that I exercise often myself however it does work and stops many a painful night of embarrassing thigh rubbing leaving you feeling red raw and walking like you're John Wayne.
My favourite plus size clothing retailer for maxi dresses is Yours Clothing. Although many of the dresses that Yours sell are the clingy kind that don't suit me, the chiffon, lighter fabric dresses that they get in stock are true gems. I have bought maxi dresses from the So Fabulous range at Very.co.uk which are very generous in size and like Yours Clothing, they are great value for money. I am not so keen on Evans or Simply Be maxi dresses as I do not find them as good a fit on me, however they have some lovely styles and are fantastic quality, if a little pricey, and will look great on many people.
I really hope this has helped some of you who emailed me. I do not have all the answers when it comes to style and fashion but I hope that some of what I have written can help you as I know how difficult it can be to buy fashionable, age appropriate plus size clothes. If you have any top tips, please leave them below so that we can all share :)