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You CAN wear a maxi dress in your 50s!

Article by Judith Brady.

Fab after Fifty …. in a maxi dress? Absolutely!! I was hoping that maxi dresses would stay in fashion (and therefore available) after their appearance last year, and I have not been disappointed – the shops are full of them!
They are so versatile and flattering that I was surprised when a number of friends (all Fab after Fifty) said that they didn’t know if they could wear them – weren’t  they too old/big/bumpy/bat-wingy, and would they ever wear them anyway- take your pick, I heard them all!!
It breaks my heart when I hear women putting themselves down like this, come on girls, it’s just a matter of finding the right one for you. Maxi dresses are versatile, very feminine, flattering, fashionable and comfortable – how many items of clothing can you say that about! Make the most of this trend, especially when you are on holiday or out in the garden at BBQ’s. I own 3, of various degrees of ‘poshness’ and have worn them all many times.

How to choose a maxi:

• Go for one in colours that flatter your skin tone.• Patterned fabric can be more flattering than plain – just make sure that the size of the pattern is in proportion with your size. e.g. if you’re petite you are better off keeping to small prints as large ones will overwhelm you.• Halter necks always make your shoulders look broader so are great if you are pear-shaped.• A deep V or U neckline is flattering if you are big busted.• An empire-line with soft gathering in the middle, under the bust does a great job of disguising a larger tummy.• Narrow spaghetti straps will make your shoulders appear broader and are not so good if you need a bra with wide straps for support – there are plenty around that will avoid this problem even some with built in support.• Be very cautious when faced with cotton, flowery, layered maxis – most of them only look good on very young, tall girls.• Look for maxis made of jersey – heavy enough to hang well and not cling and light enough to still be cool. Phase Eight have one of the best selections available.• Avoid styles that are very full – narrower cuts are much more flattering, especially if you are not particularly tall.• If you are concerned about your upper arms, try a little fake tan, it’s amazing the difference it makes.  If you’re still not happy about exposing them, look for a light weight shrug, a modern crocheted one provides just enough cover and is still cool.• Most important – when you try it on – do you love it? Does it make you feel great?  If not, don’t buy it, never settle for ‘that’ll do’!

How to get a lot of wear out of a maxi

• Avoid ones with glitter or sparkle as this marks them out for evening only.
• Matt jersey is probably one of the most versatile fabrics as it can easily be dressed up or down.
• A lightweight denim jacket instantly dresses down a maxi dress and makes it more versatile. I recently wore one like this to our local and no one fainted!
• Similarly, putting a pair of flip-flops with a maxi instantly says ‘casual’
• Add heels, a lovely pashmina and jewellery and you are ready for dinner out or that special party.
• Maxis are perfect for holidays they can be worn first in the evening and then relegated to fantastic beach cover-ups or for sightseeing – so much more comfortable than shorts or cut-offs, easy to pack, don’t crease and you don’t have to bother thinking about what to wear with them.So why not give a maxi dress a try, now is a great time to buy them as many are reduced.  I bet you are soon wondering what you did without one!

Dresses by: Kaloko, Phase Eight, East

About Judith: I am 51, a Style Coach with a passion for helping women to discover who they truly are and how to use their clothes to express themselves. I encourage women to develop a positive self-image and through increased confidence, their own unique style. I’m running a ground-breaking programme ‘Journey to Style Heaven’ at Champneys, Henlow Grange. Introductory workshops  on 20 July 2011 (SOLD OUT) and Wednesday 14 September 2011. Contact me on :01271 328034 or e-mail:info@judithbrady.co.uk for further details. www.judithbrady.co.uk
‘Style Heaven’ – it’s about so much more than clothes, it’s a state of mind!

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  1. Ladybizbiz

    July 15, 2011

    SO true Judith, why not at 50, or beyond if the style makes you happy! I wore them in my teens and loved the sense of freedom they bestowed because you could dress them down or up with the appropriate accessories. I’m so glad we are in the midst of a revival, because I absolutely love them!

    They are currently available in huge numbers throughout the High Street and in select stores.

    Available for all budgets too!

    I’ve invested in three this summer – one cost £80, one £25.99 and one at a very reasonable £15.99.

    I’ve chosen three unstructured styles in soft jersey fabric which fall over my curves without clinging.

    If this comment box allowed rich text I would have uploaded some pics to show you just how versatile the maxi can be and how varied the styles are.

    My favourite is a Monsoon Maxi in gorgeous orange tones with cream and black swirls. The bodice of the dress is ‘safe’ enough to risk wearing it with a smart-soft jacket for business meetings. The other two have bodices which are more suited to evening wear, as they show rather a lot of ones cleavage.

    I’ve worn them non-stop since their arrival, and hope to continue wearing them well into the Autumn months accompanied by a warm wrap.

    Go Maxi!
    Life is too short to deprive yourself a Maxi!

  2. audryrw

    July 28, 2011

    It is nice to have found you, I am a member of an American website, but their advice sometimes does not apply to us. I am in my 70’s and have purchased three ‘Ronni Nicole’ maxi dresses this year, you can wear almost anything (within reason) that a 50 year old can, style is my guidline not fashion, I know what suits my body shape (curvy) and I dress to it, I also know the colours I can wear for my colouring and fortunately am not ‘wrinkly’ having cared for my skin since I was very young, I am still very aware of how I look, and I love clothes, skincare and colour. I look forward to more iteresting advice and ideas!

    • Ceri Wheeldon

      July 28, 2011

      Hi audyrw, pleased you’ve found us! I’m a great fan of maxi dresses and hope to be wearing them for many years to come! So pleased you’ve mentioned skin care- I am an avid believer in researching the products which work best for you and wearing high factor SPF ! There is a lot we can do to help ourselves- it just takes a little thought and effort!

  3. Vicki

    July 19, 2014

    Thank you, thank you! I was really questioning myself at 60 whether I could pull a maxi off and I’m 5’10” so that should help. We’re going on a cruise the end of December, so I’m picking up a few while they’re on sale for those nights on the ship and maybe convert them to daytime on the beach! Thank you!

    • Judith Brady

      July 20, 2014

      Hi Vicki, so glad I’ve convinced you to try maxis! I wrote this article a few years ago but maxis are now even more popular and they will be perfect for your cruise as they are so versatile. There are loads in the sales and as you’re lucky enough to be tall you won’t have to worry about them being too long which can be a problem for a lot of women. I hope you find some fab ones!

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