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Fashion and beauty: Ten best maxi dresses

Go long this summer for a look that is elegant and flattering, yet easy to wear. By Sarah Young.

1. Buttoned Gown,  £59.99, Mango

We love the pared-back aesthetic you get with this earthy pink floor-length dress. Made from soft, flowing fabric with a side-slit hem, it comes with an adjustable drawstring waist for those who prefer a little more definition. Effortlessly stylish yet modest, if we only bought one maxi this summer, this would be it.

2. Self Portrait Guipure Lace Maxi Dress, £320, Net-a-Porter

Celebrity favourite Self Portrait is a brand known for its signature guipure lace cut outs, and this sky-blue maxi dress combines romantic-looking ruffled trims and an elegant tiered skirt with a black contrasting waist band and sheer hem.

3. Ribbed Dress, £24.99, H&M

This season, stripes are taking on a whole new identity with bright, clashing colours and this calf-length dress has nailed the trend. Golden yellow, turquoise, navy and white are a bold combination but it works on this easy-to-wear dress. The styling combines for a flattering cut.

4. Long Layered Silk Dress, £150, Cos

As the saying goes, this dress is all business at the front, party at the back - but thankfully with far more finesse than a mullet. Made from pure silk, this maxi looks modest at first glance but the layered front design is taken through to the rear with diagonal draping that leaves a portion of your back on show.

5. Animal Print Maxi Dress, £40, Dorothy Perkins

If summer brights aren't your thing but you want to liven up your wardrobe, this could well do the trick. Ivory and black animal print covers this full-length shirt dress. Despite the loud print, the smart collar, mid-length sleeves and tie waist pare it down meaning this could easily take you from day to night.

6. Pleated Dress, £69, Warehouse

Pleats are set to be a massive trend this season and if you're going to buy one key piece, we suggest it's this bright green dress from Warehouse. Simple in its design, it has a straight, fluid shape but the all-over pleats provide just the right amount of swish as you walk. The thin shoulder straps join together to create a racer back.

7. Frame Le Wrap Silk Charmeuse Maxi Dress, £340, Net-a-Porter

Fusing laid-back Californian style with a more urban aesthetic, this dress, in luxurious silk charmeuse, has a loose-fitting wrap style that can be cinched in with a self-tie belt.

8. Oh My Love Cold Shoulder Maxi Dress, £49, Topshop

The so-called "cold shoulder" is a hot trend for summer and it works brilliantly on this ethereal-looking maxi. With a watercolour-style floral print in indigo, green and violet, the slight A-line of the skirt makes it flattering and airy.

9. Black Ditsy Floral Print Lace-Up-Back Maxi Dress, £22.99, New Look

Nineties grunge is back and this black maxi taps into the trend. The shoestring straps and lace-up-back enhance the rock 'n' roll aesthetic, while the front split and all-over ditsy florals add femininity.

10. Black Embroidered Maxi Dress, £99, Miss Selfridge

Seventies-inspired bohemia has been around for a while now but this stunning embroidered dress will have you feeling like Joni Mitchell in an instant. With hand embroidery, lace embellishment and a daring low back, it will make an impact wherever you wear it.

Verdict

For us, the summer is all about care-free dressing, so our favourite has to be Mango's dusky pink shirt dress. It's effortlessly stylish but you'll still look put together.

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