My Search for the Perfect Maxi Dress

I’ve always liked maxi dresses, but I didn’t think they would really work on me.  I’m 5’1” with an hourglass figure and always felt that I’m too short for my body shape since I have some awkward clothing issues in dressing rooms.  If it isn’t too long, it’s too big somewhere else.  Since maxi dresses are so much fabric covering so much of the body, I assumed I would have trouble finding one my size and gave up on looking for one.  After seeing so many women looking comfortably chic in their own maxi dresses though, I quickly changed my mind.

I walked into the department store with low expectations.  Dress shopping reminds me of shopping for school dances, which always turned into several days of fashion drama before I could find something to wear.  After wandering the store for half an hour, I eventually picked up four maxi dresses in styles that I liked.  I ended up skipping over a lot of dresses though.  I passed by anything that did not have thick straps because I’m too top heavy to wear strapless bras.  I avoided every dress that had straps tied like a bikini top for the same reason I avoid swim suits like that: the fear of those strings coming untied is too much for me to handle.  I also stayed away from asymmetrical dresses because I wanted the complete long dress look of a “traditional” maxi dress.  Still, four dresses that I genuinely liked is pretty good.

Dress #1 was a bright teal tank top style dress.  I liked how it was really simple so I could dress it up with any accessory I wanted.  However, it had the typical problems I have with most dresses: the straps were too long.  I lifted my arms and had a perfect view of my bra through the armholes.  True, it’s a simple alteration to fix, but it was still annoying to know that I wasn’t looking at the dress I would end up with after making all the necessary adjustments.  I decided to save it as a “maybe.”

I tried on Dress #2, which was the same style as the first dress but it had a gray diamond pattern instead of being plain teal.  Not only did I have the same bra issue in this dress, I also hated the diamonds.  Dress #2 was a definite “no.”  Dress #3 was a deep v-neck dress with pink and orange dashes running from top to bottom.  The pattern looked like a bizarre optical illusion when I moved and the deep v-neck was deeper than I thought.  Another definite “no.”

Then there was Dress #4.  It was a gorgeous bold blue with a band at the natural waist and a lace detail on the back.  I put it on, and…wrong size.  But I still loved it.  If I could just get it in a size smaller I would only have to worry about the hem.  I put my clothes on, ran over to the rack of blue maxi dresses and found the perfect size for me.  As I put the smaller blue dress on I fell even more in love.  The neckline was high enough that I didn’t have to worry about falling out of it, the armholes kept my bra hidden, and the lace detail made the simple dress unique in its own way.  After I put on the teal dress again, I realized that Dress #4 was the one for me.  Just to be certain though, I put on the blue dress again.  It would have been perfect if it was just a little bit shorter but I didn’t want to take it off.  I definitely had to buy it.

I haven’t had the blue dress hemmed yet, but I can’t wait until it’s ready for me to wear.  Knowing what the dress will look like, minus the extra fabric around the bottom, is what made me comfortable enough to buy it.  The other dresses required so much work that I couldn’t be sure it would sit on my body the way I wanted.  This blue dress is a simple fix, which is exactly what I need after all the dress drama I’ve had in the past.

Written By: Nicole M.

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