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Choose a Maxi Dress for 2012 Hot Fashion Trend

Updated on April 8, 2012

Maxi Dresses for Maximum Impact?

Lets slip inside the Maxi Dress and explore its history, how to wear it and why this hot fashion classic will be a big hit in 2012.

The ankle length dress has been with us for centuries but when did it take on the title of the Maxi Dress? To understand this we need to go right back to the 1960’s when the Beatles were the hottest band around.

It was then that the fashion world went through a cataclysmic shift. This was the era of free love and letting it all hang out. Young women dispensed with stockings and suspenders, corsets and even the bra.

Clothes were suddenly providing girls with minimal covering and no support whatsoever. Think simple mini dresses, mini skirts and little if any underwear.

The feminist writer Germaine Greer poetically described this revolution in 1969 as follows:

"The women kept on dancing while their long skirts crept up, and their girdles dissolved, and their nipples burst through like hyacinth tips and their clothes withered away to the mere wisps and ghosts of draperies to adorn and glorify ..."

That sure makes the sixties sound like fun, Germaine!

Contemporary Patchwork, Empire Line, Maxi Dress
Contemporary Patchwork, Empire Line, Maxi Dress
Typical 1960s Mini Dress - Height of Fashion, Height of Hemline or Just Tasteless and Tacky?
Typical 1960s Mini Dress - Height of Fashion, Height of Hemline or Just Tasteless and Tacky?

1970s The birth of the Maxi Dress

But by the early 1970’s women had tired of the Mini. Mini skirts and dresses were now so short the only way the hemline could possibly move was down.

Hemlines that revealed your knickers were not dignified; particularly as daughters of the 1960s started bringing up families of their own. It was time for ex mini-skirt wearers to find a more grown up look.

In order to differentiate from the ubiquitous Mini, the term Midi was coined for skirts and dresses below the knee and the Maxi for hemlines nearer the ankles.

These clothes were also more in line with the aspirations of women’s liberation and the idea women that women should dress for themselves and other women rather than to please leg-obsessed guys.

Popular versions of the 1970’s Maxi Dress reflected the Bohemian (Boho) style often based on the Caftan (also spelt Kaftan).

1970s Maxi Dresses - Serious Clothes for Serious Women?
1970s Maxi Dresses - Serious Clothes for Serious Women?
Gorgeous off the Shoulder Maxi Dress that Accentuates Curves and is Slightly Revealing
Gorgeous off the Shoulder Maxi Dress that Accentuates Curves and is Slightly Revealing

So what’s to Like about the Contemporary Maxi Dress?

  • Maxis can be figure hugging and flattering in a way that the Mini Dress is not
  • They are smart, stylish and chic for formal and evening wear – think of A-listers on the red carpet for a premiere or an award ceremony
  • There are a rich variety of styles including those designed to reveal legs for those who like to show off (more on this later)
  • Winter versions can be warm and cosy (who ever heard of a snug cosy Mini Dress?)
  • You can wear what you like under a Maxi Dress so you can indulge yourself with leg warmers, thick socks and insulated pants in winter and no one need know!

I’m a recent convert to the Maxi Dress.

I’ve done more than my share of hemlines around my bum/butt and though I still like my legs I now feel the need to look more sophisticated.

I want people in general, and business customers in particular, to take me more seriously.

Short skirts can send out the wrong signals, particularly once your teenage years are behind you.

I also like the way the Maxi Dress can hid the odd bulge and at the same time accentuate the fabulous Coole Curves while covering the Gina (slightly flabby) Belly!

Coast Maxi Dress in Jade.  Pure Silk, Halter Neck with Centre Waterfall Frill and Asymmetric Hemline
Coast Maxi Dress in Jade. Pure Silk, Halter Neck with Centre Waterfall Frill and Asymmetric Hemline

What about the Maxi dress Negatives?

Why wouldn’t you want to wear the Maxi?

  • Well they can make smaller, rounder women look a little dowdy and dumpy
  • If they are too long they can drag on the floor or get trodden on
  • The wrong style and fabric can be hot in summer

But there are obvious solutions to all of these. Chose a style and shape that suits your build. Make sure that if you wear flat shoes that your Maxi Dress is well clear of the ground and choose a style that suits the season.

Legs On Show?

Talking of styles, If like me you like your legs, then choose a frock that gives the best of both worlds. One that has that ankle length elegance but allows you to show a little leg too.

For example, choose a style with an asymmetric hemline, typically ankle length at the rear but rises to say knee length at the front. Alternatively go for a slit at the front, the sides or the rear depending on what assets you want to display.

Lovely Kaftan Style, Loose Fitting Maxi Dress
Lovely Kaftan Style, Loose Fitting Maxi Dress

What About the 2012 Look?

The 2012 Maxi Dress is more feminine and floaty, typically made from chiffon or silk. Look out for flowing maxi gowns often open at the front to show off legs and strappy shoes or sandals.

There is also a trend towards sheer fabrics. But, to me a see-through maxi dress is a contradiction. The whole point of a maxi dress is to look elegant and sophisticated. So count me out on this particular fad!

What about shades and patterns? The experts are predicting bright colours such as honeysuckle pink, teal blue or even tangerine. Also white features as a more conservative alternative. Look out too for floral prints.

That's enough from me. Now It's time for you to find out what's out there, in terms of Maxi Dresses on the web or in the stores and choose a lovely floaty Maxi Dress to celebrate the coming of Summer!

Empire Line Maxi with Delicious Colour Mix
Empire Line Maxi with Delicious Colour Mix

Hemline Poll

Do you prefer to keep your legs hidden or show everything?

See results
Simple Maxi Dress Hanging from the Bust
Simple Maxi Dress Hanging from the Bust
Leggy Take on the Maxi Dress from Vogue
Leggy Take on the Maxi Dress from Vogue
Maxi Dress Designed to be Sophisticated, Sizzle and Show Off all at the same time!
Maxi Dress Designed to be Sophisticated, Sizzle and Show Off all at the same time!
Orange Halter Neck Maxi Dress for Spring? - but I'm not sure about this baggy style!
Orange Halter Neck Maxi Dress for Spring? - but I'm not sure about this baggy style!

Comments

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    • profile image

      Belledajour 

      6 years ago

      I was so happy for I was craving maxi dresses again.I have found that they are cooler literally and more attention getting for casual day to night. I went to a concert for an old band .I was invited to the meet and greet sooo I wore a vintge black maxi v neck finge around the V and empire. Splash of turquoise wedge ropey sandals and it rocked. I found it online for 25.00.

      Now I have a question going to a GENERATION 60's club event where I am wearing a maxi gauze tangerine bell sleeved one with embroidery. Mexican maxi very hippie chic. In Sept what kind of shoes for boots always seem cool..HELP? Go Go girls and tie dye are going to be big.

    • profile image

      Brianna Stuart 

      6 years ago

      I love maxi dresses. I think they look graceful and fun. :)

    • profile image

      krissyinlv 

      6 years ago

      I just recently gained a little more weight this year. I thought I wouldn't like the maxi. I got one and now I'm hooked!!!! I have like 5 of them now! Beautiful and comfortable!

    • RosWebbART profile image

      Ros Webb 

      7 years ago from Ireland

      Maxi dresses will always look good. Great hub , like the images

    • carolinemoon profile image

      carolinemoon 

      7 years ago

      Cool design, I love it.

    • melodyandes profile image

      melodyandes 

      7 years ago

      Great, fashion, I wanted to select one of them, Love it.

    • profile image

      fabgirl21 

      7 years ago

      Nice hub! Thanks for sharing! I definitely want one of these for the summer. I just bought myself a beautiful sequins cocktail dress from Jovani but I want something like this in my closet too.

    • mysisters profile image

      mysisters 

      7 years ago

      Great Hub. I love the style of Maxi Dresses! They are so breezy and come in so many different styles, colors and prints!

    • crystolite profile image

      Emma 

      7 years ago from Houston TX

      I love wearing maxi dress that brings out the real shape in me

    • Gina Coole profile imageAUTHOR

      Gina Coole 

      7 years ago from London

      Nelle - you were quick off the mark, I only just published!

      Yes I'm going to treat myself to one. Incidentally, thanks for all your great advice in the forums - you are a great role model on HubPages!

    • profile image

      Nelle Hoxie 

      7 years ago

      I love to wear a breezy and colorful maxi dress in the summer.

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