There's a fine line between frumpy and fabulous. You know what I mean. Before we move forward with my recommendation about this style of dress, let me be clear: it won't work without great shoes and some love to your hair/makeup/styling. Okay, now that we have that out of the way. As Seattle-ites, we all know how integral layering is to our lives. But, what's even better than layering? Staying warm in the first place. So, here's a suggestion for a bad ass and beautiful dress that is everything: warm, fashionable and functional.
Say, "hello" to the Long Sleeve Maxi Dress
This is not going to be a fit for all styles. In fact, there will be a select few of you (myself included) who will swoon over this style. Everyone else will likely see this as a fun experiment to watch. In either case, there's much to learn from the long sleeve maxi.
Let's begin with a few of my favorites right now.
Now, How to Style That Maxi...
1. Less is More.
Maxi (ankle length) dresses have the potential to swallow you up or make you look bigger than you are. So, hold back on the accessories. Go for simple, clean lines. You + the dress is just right without all the bells and whistles.
2. Remember Your Shape.
If you have a triangle shaped figure, a shapeless dress can work well or opt for a style that is fitted on top and lose on the bottom. If you have a diamond shape (your widest part is your waist), opt for something with a stripe down the middle to draw the eye in. The Eloquii dress above is a stellar example of that. For inverted triangle figures (your shoulders are wider than your hips), you want something that minimizes on top with color or print and maximizes on the bottom using color, print or shape. Rectangles need a belt to create a curvier silhouette and hourglass figures can roll with a maxi that is free flowing or more form fitting, depending on your mood. Be sure the dress isn't too long or oversized. It's already full, so going bigger will make you seem bigger than you are.
3. Opt for heels, for sure!
A heel is going to make you seem taller, longer overall and minimize your stomach. A heel helps transform this style from frumpy to incredible. Even if you are simply going for a platform, like I did at the Poplin party, it will have a big impact. A summer shoe won't work well because this is a long sleeve, long length dress. So, it will feel inconsistent with the cooler weather vibe of the piece. Try suede or leather to fit the mood. Boots will work, but they must be the "right boots." A pointy toe will have a more sophisticated vibe, but a clunky combat boot can work depending on your personal style. A flat boot won't be ideal.
4. Make sure it fits.
If the dress is too long or too large, it's not going to do you any favors. Get it tailored if you need to. Or, if this is your first step into long sleeve maxi dresses, consider buying a more affordable brand and experimenting before you spend.
5. Opt for simple jewelry.
Try earrings and a ring or bracelet and call it a day. If the neckline calls for it, a necklace can work. But usually the combo above is a sure thing.
6. Finish it off with the right coat or jacket, if you must.
Can't figure out what coat or jacket to wear when you head out the door in the elements? A short jacket (leather, suede, denim) will work. Or a longer jacket (simple camel single breasted as an example) has an elegant vibe.
7. The Final element.
Last but not least, wear it with confidence. You simply can't walk into the room doubting yourself. Own it and you are sure to receive all sorts of compliments.
And off you go! As always, let me know what you think and how YOU wear your long sleeve maxi dress.