Rosemary Mac Cabe

Hemlines, heels and haute couture – your daily dose

Summer lovin’ (had me a blast)

Images from Fashion Canvas, via The Fashion Spot Each summer, the maxi dress returns as the season’s must-have – and each summer, thousands of women struggle against this horribly unwearable trend, persisting in keeping our skirts knee-length (or above) and …

Mon, Jun 7, 2010, 14:00

   

Images from Fashion Canvas, via The Fashion Spot

Each summer, the maxi dress returns as the season’s must-have – and each summer, thousands of women struggle against this horribly unwearable trend, persisting in keeping our skirts knee-length (or above) and avoiding resembling holidaygoers en route to Mallorca.

But Gillian Zinser is here to show us how it’s done. She plays Ivy Sullivan on my own teen drama of choice, 90210, and her style on the show is definitely one of the best – laidback, surfer cool – and she’s obviously succeeded in carrying that over into the real world.

So, without further ado, and inspired by Zinser’s prowess with a maxi, some pointers:

1. Avoid trying to go boho. Nine times out of 10, it doesn’t work, and ends up looking messy and as if, well, you escaped from a commune in the 1970s. Which might have been fun in the 1970s, but is just embarrassing in the noughties.

2. Go for block colours, to be safe. New Look has a great range of really plain jersey maxis in black, grey and white. Warehouse has some brighter options (although they’re not as long as New Look’s, which, for the taller ladies, might be troublesome – a maxi dress, in order to work, needs to be truly maxi).

3. Toughen yours up (see point 1 re: avoiding boho connotations) with a leather jacket or, in true summer style, a shrunken bleached denim jacket. Topshop has a few that would work, or try Penneys for a cheap-as-chips option.

4. Accessorise. Don’t overthink the rest of your outfit, but do go overboard with jewellery; layer on the necklaces, pile up the bangles and keep rings tough and gothic.

5. Think “insouciance”: keep make-up fresh and dewy, and don’t overdo your hair – the key to working the maxi is to look like you’re not trying to hard. The old “oh, I just threw this on this morning” trick.

6. Finally, if you’re planning on cycling, remember that you’ll need to make your maxi into, um, less of a maxi, so that it doesn’t get caught in your bike chain. That’s a life lesson, from me to you, from sad, humiliating experience.