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Wednesday 7 December 2016

How to wear the maxi dress in winter

fashion fix

Corina Gaffey in a maxi dress
Corina Gaffey in a maxi dress
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Maxi dresses are usually the stuff of relaxing summer holidays, but this winter, the chic summer staple gets a new lease of life.

Designers like Valentino, Chloe and Pucci featured the maxi on the runway, and front-row favourites such as Olivia Palermo, Suki Waterhouse and Erin O'Connor are all reworking the feminine floor-sweeper into their cool winter wardrobes which means, well, I want in on the trend too.

The beauty of this trend is that it actually doesn't matter what colour or fabric your maxi dress is, whether it's sheer, embellished or pastel, you can give it a more appropriate seasonal twist with the other items you add to it. So whether you want to bring your summer maxi into winter or invest in the trend by infusing seasonal-appropriate pieces like chunky knits, boots, and other high-impact accessories, this summer-wardrobe staple will remain relevant for winter.

The maxi can enter into frumpy territory if not worn correctly, but when styled the right way, it's actually quite chic. Think ultra-feminine on the bottom, sleek and more refined on the top. It's all about balance.

The most essential part of this look is how you top it off. Because the dress can feel floaty and at odds with the weather, anchor it with weightier, warmer pieces up top. I tried a leather jacket and as it gets into colder months, I'll add a polo neck layered under the dress for extra cosiness.

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Truthfully, it's easier to style up a maxi dress than you think, so treat it like a blank canvas and add a jumper, gilet or a heavier coat to shape it into a winter-style maxi. Your footwear will also play a crucial role in setting the tone and feel for this look - go for a flat, biker boot for a daytime look or a heeled boot you can give it a night-out feel.

Stylist's take

With my job as a stylist, I like to keep it casual for daytime. Styling usually involves a lot of running around, so fashionable and practical is the name of the game.

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Never did I think a maxi was the answer - I always felt I would look too dressed up. So when I was assembling this outfit, I asked myself some important sartorial questions - like is it appropriate, fashionable and flattering?

And it's a big 'yes' to all three when it comes to the winter maxi. To make the trend a little less intimidating, it's all about treating the floor-grazing piece as an effortless alternative to your go-to jeans. Look for layers you would normally wear with a pair of jeans - jumper, leather jacket, etc.

I wanted to dress my printed boho maxi down, so I can wear it to work and then out with friends afterwards. I'm much more comfortable in flat shoes, so I comprised with a block-heel boot to give me extra height with the flowing shape and thrown on a leather jacket. A bit rock and roll, definitely relaxed and easy to wear.

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