So we have talked previously about boy-shopping vs girl-shopping (here) but there is also boy-fashion vs girl-fashion. In general, boy-fashion is anything short, fitted and/or see-through whereas girl-fashion tends to be a little more varied. Most of the time us girls actually dress for other girls (or ourselves) rather for boys. Other girls appreciate the time and effort that goes into getting dressed each morning, and I think we also appreciate when someone is stepping out of their comfort zone a little and trying something new.

One of these trends that men tend not to understand (and yes, I generalise) is the maxi dress. Not being dress-wearers themselves (well most of them) they don’t understand the complete comfort and freedom that a maxi dress can offer! Run out of all your clean undies except the Bridget Jones that live in the back of the drawer? Never mind, pop on a fun, flowing maxi dress and no one will know the difference. Haven’t been bothered to shave/wax/fake tan your legs for a while? People will be none the wiser if your legs are hidden under the wonderful folds of a maxi dress.

Now I do have to admit that there are some horrid maxi’s out there, and as it the case with everything, you still need to dress age and shape and size appropriately. So here are a few tips to find the right maxi that you (and if you really care, he) will love!

1. Make sure your maxi touches, or comes close to touching the ground – there is nothing worse than an ankle-skimming maxi dress. It just makes it look like it shrunk in the wash! If it needs to be taken up, try it on with flats (no heels, see point # 2) and take it up so it sits about 3cm above the ground.

The AMAZING Maddison Dress from SACHA DRAKE

2. ALWAYS wear maxis with flats (ok, I will let you off with a wedge). A maxi dress (in the context in which we are talking about) is quite a casual style of dress, heels just make it look like you are trying to hard. It really relates to the point above too, if you wear a heel, chances are the dress won’t look as long and you lose the dramatic effect of wearing a LOOOOOONG dress.

3. If you have big boobs, don’t wear a maxi with shoestring straps – the proportion on this is wrong for you and you WILL spend all day pulling up your strapless bra and trying to stop the tiny straps indenting your shoulders permanently! Ditto for big boobs and MOST strapless maxis, but there are definitely some exceptions. The Maddison Dress from (my fav) SACHA DRAKE is an INCREDIBLE maxi dress than can be worn quiet casually but also dressed up if the occasion calls for it. It is a strapless dress but it is lined and figure-hugging, so will look great on all bust (and body) shapes and sizes.

4. Empire-line maxi’s don’t really suit too many people. If you have an amazing hourglass or pear shape, try and find a maxi that skims your WAIST as opposed to sits under your bust (empire-line style). Generally women are the smallest around their waist, and by wearing a dress that drops straight down from under your bust, you are skimming over the tiniest part of you, not accentuating it, so actually making yourself look a little bigger than you really are. (Take this advice from a big-busted, hourglass shaped girl who LOVES her maxi’s). You may remember my raving on about my most favourite go-any-where, wear-anytime dress (here)? This is the most flattering maxi dress I think I have ever owned because it still follows all the principles of dressing for my shape, PLUS it’s a wash and wear (which means NO IRONING!!) jersey fabric – the best kind!

5. Don’t be scared of prints but a maxi dress has a lot of fabric, so the smaller the print, the better. If you are a little worried about how big your bum will look in a printed frock (firstly, don’t worry – it won’t) start with a block colour. A plain coloured dress is really easy and fun to accessorise because pretty much anything goes.

Brisbane jewellery designer Saralli has stunning bold, bright necklaces that are perfect with a plain maxi dress

If you find a plain black maxi (although we know that black is not always best – see here), have some fun with your jewellery. Wear a big, bright necklace, or add some pop with some long, dangly earrings.

6. If you are petite, look for a block colour and quite fitted maxi. You are tiny as it is so don’t add extra bulk to your frame by surrounding your self in fabric. Look for a fitted style, or a jersey dress that has lots of drape without being too ‘foofy’ (that’s a technical fashion term you know).

7. If you love it, wear it – in the end, if you love the dress, and you feel great in the dress, don’t worry what anybody else thinks about it (especially me, what would I know anyway!?!) work it!!

Are you scared of wearing a maxi? Does your boyfriend/husband/partner appreciate the wonders of a maxi dress or does he just tell you that you look pregnant?