About a year and half ago I went to Durban, South Africa for about 5 weeks. I was told that everyone in the world was ahead of the U.S. in fashion… now I found out it was true. Ladies there were sporting the bright colors, fun tights, and gorgeous flowing maxi dresses that women here have just started to wear.

By the time it gets here, of course even more fun and outrageous trends are already into play abroad. So I don’t know if we’ll ever catch up with other parts of the world, but I guess we are stuck in our own timid little bubble of fashion here. (I.e. if you think fashion here is super trendy, it’s not–at least in comparison to euro fashion). 

All that aside, even though I never thought they would, maxi dresses have hit the mainstream market here–and hit it hard. Although maxi’s were introduced on the runway a few years ago, they are just now entering the ready-to-wear American mall market. Long chiffon, cotton, or jersey dresses are taking summer by storm and making look women look super elegant even on a normal day.

The reason I thought they would never become popular here is because of the difference in lifestyle. South Africa is a much warmer climate overall as compared to the U.S., not to mention major cities (as well as many smaller cities) are surrounded by beautiful beaches. But somehow, designers and followers alike have managed to make the dresses look stylish as well as suitable.

So is the look for you? Every time I shop with my girls and look at a maxi, one of the girls says “oh I can’t wear that.” I disagree. Contrary to popular belief, they don’t make you look short, stumpy, and wide. They are not only meant for the 5’7 and above. Anyone can wear them, it’s just a matter of finding the right dress for the right body type, and I actually think the dresses create an illusion of elongation. 

*image from socialitebeauty

*image from ilovelookinggood

If you’ve worn an evening gown once in your life (prom anyone?), you can definitely sport a much more casual version of it on a daily (fine weekly) basis. Trust me, do the maxi and you’ll go from shabby to chic in seconds. Not to mention how much time you’ll save. Throw one of those dresses and some cute sandals on and you already have a super cute outfit on.

Some more cute dresses from runway, celeb, and ready to wear styles:

*designer TIBI maxi dress

*Fergie accessorized this Etro spring fashion maxi dress, and rocked its elegance

*Maxi dress from Diane von Furstenberg‘s spring collection

*image from Banana Republic