Bairbre Power has the long and short on maxi dresses
Fashion editor Bairbre Power pinpoints maxi dresses to suit every occasion
Pippa Middleton's jade-green, Alice Temperley maxi dress sent her legions of newfound fans into copycat mode. It was the mesmerising jewel colour, the body-skimming cut and the inherent invitation to 'come dance with me' that transfixed us all.
Alice Temperley dresses don't come cheap but, this week, let's start the column with a nice insider tip for your little black book.
Temperley's out-of-season, sales shop at Bicester outside London, a sister village to Kildare Village, is a fantastic unit where I've spied great 50pc bargains on her attitudinal daywear and also on Temperley's enchanting, whimsical wedding dresses, which normally sell for €3,000-plus.
The silhouette is slim, and Temperley is an utter romantic who wasn't the least bit fazed when her own wedding dress got covered in sheep poo and raspberries!
I don't know about you, but I felt that the much talked-about 'derriere dress' that Pippa wore at Westminister Abbey was the dress Kate would have worn if she was having a 'normal' wedding in rural Gloucestershire with her boyfriend from college.
Most of the guests wore short dresses to the royal wedding because of the 11am ceremony, but this summer, there's no doubt that maxis are finding favour as wedding-guest attire.
It's their gloriously easy-wear, stress-free flexibility that makes them a girl's best friend, but they also offer the 'bluffer' quotient for when you can't quite read in advance how formal or informal an event will be. The maxi covers it all.
It makes great financial sense, too, because they can work for you 24/7: dumbed down casually with jeans, jacket and wedges; overhauled for festivals with wellies, parka and trilby, or cranked up style-wise with super heels, glam clutch and great earrings.
Looking around the shops, I found maxis to suit every occasion this summer. The asymmetric neckline is my favourite. Not everyone can wear the off-the-shoulder, gypsy look that Miriam O'Callaghan works so well, but the one-shouldered maxi is a nice halfway house.
The Love Label at Littlewoods.ie has a really glam pink one, reduced to €32. New stock has arrived, including some strong beaded pieces. If you are a fan of the more casual, dip-dyed look, M&S has an eye-popping one that runs from tangerine to pink with gold sequins in between, while Monsoon has one that goes in reverse, from red to pink.
Patterned ones are very forgiving for guilty summer excesses and I appreciate the slimming effects of the knot-front ones that fall from the empire line, €90 from Sandz on Dunville Avenue, Dublin.
Good news for petite girlies who are afraid of being swamped by a long dress: Ingenue in the Westbury Mall (the Clarendon Street end) has some great floral prints that won't make you look ridiculous. Amy Huberman wore a pink one to dinner with the queen and stole the show in her 'Romy' €134 purchase.
On the other hand, Long Tally Sally has devised some great looks for leggy girls.
Going online, the Revive collection at asos.com is really different and I lost my heart to its hugely dramatic, slash-front, cream, black and scarlet evening dress. If you loved Pippa's jade-green dress, check out the body-skimming, hammered-silk one at asos.
Lily Allen's Lucy in Disguise range has been very well received at Brown Thomas Grafton Street and BT2 Dundrum. If you are a retro girl at heart, take a look at her 'Radio City' black dress with tiger lilies down the front -- a dream at €475.
If you are chasing colour drama and a long silhouette, asos has a hammered-silk maxi in emerald green or coral.