Let's face it, you probably feel strongly about maxi dresses one way or the other. You either consider the loose-flowing dress to be an instantly polished outfit on its own, or you can't help but feel like you're drowning in fabric in the trend. Regardless, while the relaxed-fit closet staple is a good summer option (since you can usually let your style standards slide a tad during the warmer months), fall is the optimal time to reintroduce yourself to a more accessorized set of style rules.
Without completely ditching summer maxis all together, we look to street style stars for inspiring ways to take the ankle-length dress up a notch this season.
When mixing prints it's important to first and foremost identify what your starring piece is, and then build the rest of your outfit around that. For instance, Behati Prinsloo's key player is her tribal print dress in shades of blue, yellow and red. Her snakeskin accent bag plays up the yellow hues in her dress. Since the bag is loud enough, it's crucial that the rest of her accessories (the tan sliders, black choker and mirrored shades) are in neutral shades so that the attention is pulled back to the dress, allowing the snakeskin bag to shine as the main accessory.
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The key to taking your maxi from the beach to indoors is to upgrade your basic accessories. Miranda Kerr knows that a well-fitting, but still relaxed, chiffon dress in a subdued pattern is a great place to start. With the added layer on top defining her waistline, and with the lightweight fabric and dainty spaghetti straps, the look retains an ultra-feminine vibe. To dress it up in a sophisticated way, keep accessorizing to a minimum by opting for luxe add-ons like a leather tote, delicate diamonds and statement shades.
A long-sleeved maxi is a bold move because you run the risk of looking too covered up. Zendaya avoids looking swallowed up by first starting with a vertical print that elongates her frame. Next, she cinched her waist to define her figure and made sure to flash a hint of skin by unbuttoning the dress from both the top and bottom. To keep the look young, she pulled her hair out of her face into a high bun, and accessorized with trendy thigh-high gladiators and over-sized hoops.
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The trick to pulling off an eclectic street style look is to abandon the notion that you need to be matchy-matchy. That being said, it's important to veer away from looking too busy. For a balanced boho look like Beth Behrs' outfit, focus on mixing up textures. Start with a slightly-sheer, embroidered number in a neutral color. Then add in additional global elements in neutral colors (like a leather saddle Chloe bag, a fringed bolo tie, a felt, wide-brim hat and over-sized sunnies) to keep look casual and unfussy.
Skin is always in, so to get mileage out of your summer tan throw on a blush colored skin-baring slip for an evening out, à la Rihanna. The number one way to show skin via a maxi is with a thigh-high slit up the side. To keep the look from coming off as too casual, accessorize the soft color with an array of evening-appropriate metals, like a layer of metallic necklaces and a chain-strap bag.
For more tips on how to style a maxi dress like the celebs, watch E! Style Collective member Carly Cristman share her tips in the video below!