I popped into the mall the other day to return a potential (and ultimately disastrous) bridesmaid dress that I'd ordered online from Victoria Secret. I seem to have a little bit of an... ahem... shopping addiction, so when I go in a store to return something, chances are I'll walk out with something else. And when I go in a store and it's having a semi-annual sale, that's my kryptonite. I'm powerless. Such was the case with this damn dress. I got my $95 back, then turned around and spent it all on a new bra, leggings and black maxi skirt. In retrospect, though, they were all great purchases. The bra is (totally) necessary, the leggings are fierce (I got two compliments when I wore them!) and the maxi skirt is my new summer staple. It's a lightweight cotton that breathes easily, but keeps the mosquitoes at bay. The long lines seem to make me look taller (an act of God for my 5'1" frame) and the slit adds just enough sex appeal. If you're traveling, it's the perfect piece to transition from bikini and beach to decadent dinner, with just a few minor changes.
If you're looking to buy a maxi skirt this season, remember to keep it simple. Unless you're a size negative 6, avoid pleats. They won't do you any favors. There are some great sheer styles out there, but I think soft cotton with a nice slit is your best bet. Try pairing your black maxi with simple tees and tanks, then add a pop with jewelry, a statement belt or brightly colored handbag. When the temperatures cool down, add a chambray shirt, simple sweater or leather jacket.