Dresses: styled to the maxi

This summer, full-length and floaty doesn’t have to be boho, says Emma Akbareian

The maxi dress is a staple item in any 1970s-inspired wardrobe worth its rhinestones, and, with the decade providing inspiration this season for designers including Saint Laurent, Gucci and Diane Von Furstenberg, it’s firmly on trend. A floor-length dress has the potential to become one of the hardest-working items in your summer  wardrobe, a versatile purchase that will look the part for the beach and summer barbecues as well as for the more  formal events of the season.

With maxi dresses, height matters; those not blessed with Amazonian proportions should opt for chunky heels or otherwise visit a good tailor to achieve the right hem length. Conversely, flat sandals work best for the more statuesque among us as maxi means floor-skimming, anywhere above and you’re straying dangerously into overgrown teenager territory. A slim fit is key if you don’t want fabric billowing behind you.

Chiffon layers and pastel colours make for a very girly look, so balance out overtly feminine details with toughened-up accessories, such as chunky metal jewellery. Adding a tailored or denim jacket is also a good way to instantly complete the look. Bright colours can be a bold statement and with so much fabric it’s sensible to keep accessories neutral; the same rule applies for printed designs.