Handerkerchief Hem Heaven

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I have a closet full of a massive collection of summer maxi dresses. To me, a good maxi dress makes you feel “dressed,” it makes everyone (even little 4’11” munchkins like me) feel taller, and they are such an easy way to be perfectly put together all summer. Just add in some thick platform heels or a great pair of wedges, piles of delicate jewelry, and an over-sized clutch to balance the volume and length of the dresses. My newest obsession with the maxi dress category, though, are dresses with handkerchief hems. Because the hems are so asymmetrical, you get the length of a true maxi dress in some spots as well as some shorter areas where you get to show a little leg. But because they are super voluminous, make sure that the top is as bare as possible (think strapless or the skinniest spaghetti straps) and your heels are as high as possible. This silhouette flatters just about every body type out there, is so super comfortable, screams “summertime,” and looks just as cute with a tiny denim jacket thrown over it. I wore this one (the first photo on the left) this past Saturday night and got so many compliments on it (my friend Jen went so far as to order one for herself!) that I knew I had to find some others to share with you. So here are some fun options, with a very varied group of price points…

This one, the “Belissima Blossoms” dress from Tommy Bahama is so perfectly summery that it has its own tropical flowers! It’s also a really cool shade of blue that looks fabulous with a tan, and the points in the border pattern are really flattering. At $155, it won’t break the bank but also isn’t a “one & done” cheapie number that won’t last. Wear this with wooden platform sandals and some fun chunky gold jewelry to complete the island-y look (and then take it on vacation with you when it’s not summer anymore!)…

I’ve been having a red moment for awhile now (more like a red year…) and this Floral Handkerchief Maxi Dress from Tolani fills my need for the color as well as hits on the current florals trend. It’s somehow really significant and noticeable but also so delicate with its little flowers and soft drapes of fabric. Try nude wedges (as high as you can handle, please) and some shiny layers of delicate jewelry to not overwhelm the feminine print. This one can be worn pool-side just as well as it can be worn to a fancy dinner date and everything in-between, and it’s in the same price vicinity as the last one at $128…

Moving totally away from the florals and tropical prints, this next one is about to be part of my own closet…at $46, the Malia dress from Lulu’s is such a cute, different spin on this look. With gorgeous bright stripes and a very low, very bare back, this one is more fitted to the body with more of a “midi” than maxi length, and with less volume around the handkerchief hem. So if you’re super petite, this is a great option for you (and it’s so affordable, you could buy more than one!).

Lastly, I just had to include one really aspirational, investment-piece-if-you-have-the-money version of this trend. From my beloved Etro, this silk crepe de chine dress has a whopping price tag of just over $1,000. But it also has the sickest combination of gorgeous prints, the thinnest ties that cinch an empire waist in for you, and well…bragging rights about the fact that it’s Etro and you will pass it on your daughter, your granddaughter and generations after that (or make a killing with it on Poshmark…either one…). The fabric is so lightweight you won’t even feel it on you, and the statement you make in this number will far outweigh the shock of your bank statement after you buy it…

Now you see why I love these dresses so much, right? Good. Now go buy one…or four…

~ Alison.

2 Comments

  • by stephanie a tarre
    Posted June 15, 2019 6:41 am 0Likes

    Just bought one of these dresses for the first time. Wondering what bra you recommend? Thanks and congrats!

  • by Alison Rodman
    Posted June 17, 2019 9:44 am 0Likes

    Hi Stephanie! Love that you are following this trend! You can either wear a strapless bra if the neckline allows it, or try adhesive “pasties” (the thin flower ones or the heavier silicone ones are all great). Lastly, you could also try a tight strappy cami underneath if you want a little more coverage. Thanks for reading Stylewhipped! xo

Add your comment