To the max

It's been the summer of the maxi dress for Jen so far. Easy, elegant, flattering and relaxed, a good maxi dress hides everything that wants to be hidden. And it's the ideal solution for those of us who will do anything to avoid wearing shorts. If you get the proportions right, you don't look like you're in a tent (key!). Some of our picks are super casual but many can go straight from zoom calls to cocktails with a quick change of shoes.

This white stunner of a dress by A.L.C. is for people who are smaller waisted and smaller chested. It's perfect for outdoor cocktails on a hot night or just walking around town. It's a worthy investment to add something so fresh and fun to your closet.

Natalie Martin is an LA-based designer who we've profiled before. She's well known for her fun, flow-y dresses in beautiful patterns. They have a little bit of a bohemian vibe and they're very well made for the price. Throw one on over a bathing suit or wear with a wedge sandal to dinner. The two pictured above are great examples of her style. The blue one has a cool racer back and the red patterned one is just classic Natalie Martin. Go strapless or, potentially even better, don't wear a bra.

Apiece Apart makes this cute striped dress in classic navy and white. Wrap the tie into a little more of obi-belt shape (wide) and tie it in the back to create more of a waist. Or, skip the belt entirely and wear it loose.

We love the super flattering neckline on this James Perse ribbed tank dress. It's super casual like a T-shirt and shorts, but in dress form. James Perse quality is well-known and you do pay for it, but with proper care, his pieces last. You can pretty much live in this dress this summer.

This navy dress by Jil Sander is the dressiest of our picks. Jil Sander is an amazing brand that makes gorgeous, classic pieces that are worth their price tag. This dress happens to be on massive sale right now. It falls beautifully. It's long, so wear it with a wedge or stacked heel sandal. We like it worn with a bunch of necklaces on top. Wear it with a strapless bra (or none at all if you can get away with it!).

G. Label makes this pretty blue cotton dress. The deep V-neck is very flattering and we love the color. The cotton is substantive but still breathes. It's easily transformed for day or night (try a gold sandal). And the pockets are a winning detail.

When you want to go super casual, try these dresses by Splendid. Comfortable, easy and lightweight for running around, they're another great option for the hottest days and a chic alternative to shorts and a T-shirt. Striped one here. Black here.

Rosie Assoulin makes the super fun take on an espadrille pictured at left. The white/black/red combo is awesome. They're perfect to wear with a black dress and a little different from your typical summer sandal.

On the right are our favorite wedges from Pedro Garcia. We literally can't get enough of these shoes! Don't be deterred by the height of the heel. You have to trust us that they are the most comfortable wedges we've worn. They're easy to walk in because the sturdy velcro strap keeps your ankle in place and the treaded bottom gives you stability. These hardly ever go on sale but they are now 40% off. Treat yourself!