Max Out your Summer Dress

Drew Barrymore arriving at the premiere of HBO Films' "Grey Gardens" wearing a white halter maxi dressSummer fashion means two things for me: staying cool and staying comfortable. Winter is for layers, but summer is for lightweight and breezy clothing. The perfect, or should I say the essential “stay cool, comfortable and chic” summer wardrobe piece is definitely the maxi dress.

The maxi dress dates back to the late 1960s during the hippie and flower child counterculture movement. The flowy shape was a reaction to the more structured shapes of the earlier decade. With a romantic inspired, long sheath, the dress was more of a reformation against the politics and ideologies regarding women, race and war. The maxi dress was also a way to move away from the strong lines and restrictive shape of the silhouette that had dominated womenswear since the 1930’s.

Flattering to all body shapes and easy to care for, the maxi dress is actually all things minimalist. Whether it’s solid, printed, cotton or silk, a maxi dress makes summer fashion stress-free. Maxis have been seen on everyone from brides on the beach to celebs doing errands.

Maxis come in a variety of shapes such as haltered or long sleeved. They can also be changed to alter your own shape. Belted maxis create more shape while empire-waist maxis are more forgiving.

Maxi dresses can be found anywhere from high-end designer boutiques to your favorite Goodwill Thrift store.

The best part about maxi dresses? Their versatility. If you have a smaller frames and fear a maxi will make you look even more vertically challenged, just go for a maxi with a little more shape, and head to your tailor. With a tweak, and a cut, the maxi dress can be any woman’s summer style staple.

Do you own any maxis?
If yes, what is your favorite occasion to wear it?

Native New Yorker Shaunya is the owner and curator of VintageShaun, a collection of vintage clothing with a contemporary vision that has been featured in NBC’s The Today Show. She is a longtime Goodwill fan and style expert. Last May, Shaunya collaborated in Goodwill’s Spring Fling the Excess, our Earth Day/spring cleaning promotion. Most recently, she styled models for Goodwill Suits You, a fashion show to mark October, National Disability Employment Awareness month.

You may also read her blog: or follow her on Twitter @vintageshaun

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