In the May edition of our fashion advice column “Ask Megan,” Style Coach Megan LaRussa Chenoweth of Megan LaRussa tackles readers’ questions about relevant summer dress styles, knowing if a floral pattern is “in” or “out” and dressing for the warm weather when you prefer the more modest look of winter wardrobes. Read on for this month’s fashion scoop …

Style Coach Megan LaRussa Chenoweth of Megan LaRussa

Style Coach Megan LaRussa Chenoweth of Megan LaRussa

I have several maxi dresses in my closet. I am not much of a shorts person, and an easy, breezy dress is ideal in the summer, but I want to look current. Are they still in style for the summer?

Knowing what’s in and out of style each season can often feel overwhelming, but not to worry as I’m here to help! One item that quickly looks dated is the maxi dress or maxi skirt. But as with many items, it often comes down to the style, material and print. The maxi dress styles to remove from your closet are typically made of jersey, often empire-waisted and have prints on them that are more than three years old. That may seem specific, but it’s all in the details, so follow suit and you’ll be set.

If you prefer a maxi length dress but don’t want to look dated, then opt for a style in a beautiful silk or cotton in perhaps a classic neutral or stripe. The wrap style silhouette that Diane von Furstenberg made famous is always in style too.

For my more petite clients, I encourage them to wear dresses that hit right above or below their knee, instead of maxi length. The longer length can quickly overpower them. Even if you are not petite, don’t be afraid to rock a sundress this length.

Last but not least, the length du jour is the midi-length dress. Have this silhouette hit right above or below your calf muscle for the most flattering length possible. If you have some height, you can enjoy this dress with a pair of flat sandals, but if you are on the shorter side rock a stacked-heel sandal with your favorite midi-length dress.

Check out my complimentary guide to what is “in” and “out” this summer.

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The wrap-style silhouette is ever-flattering and always in style. Image: Anthropologie

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This midi-length dress, while classic in its silhouette, plays with more trendy elements like the floral pattern, ruffle details and fun pom-pom accents. Image: Anthropologie

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This sleeveless linen dress with pockets and a point collar is a smart summer look. Pair with a gauzy scarf for an evening on the beach. Image: J.McLaughlin

I will be 75 in August. I don’t want to dress like a 30-year-old or a 90-year-old. I want to stay in the loop, but not too young. What styles should I wear?

First, I want to thank you for this question, as I am a firm believer that no matter your age, you should stay in the loop and allow your best self to shine through daily. At the end of the day it is all about your authentic personal style. Ask yourself these questions: What really resonates with you style-wise? And what makes you feel your best when you wear it? Then it’s about taking those elements and infusing current silhouettes and styles into the mix.

One of my clients who is in her mid-60s came to me with the same conundrum. She did not want to look frumpy, but she did not want to dress like she was trying too hard. And she definitely has a unique bohemian-meets-classic style that is all her own. We worked together to first and foremost focus on silhouettes that flattered her body, concealing the areas she doesn’t love and ensuring that the lengths on her dresses and skirts felt age-appropriate.

From there, we infused new basics that better fit her and, of course, added in some boho personality-packed pieces to give her the flair she desired. By having that mix of basics and trendier items, she was able to mix and match countless outfits that felt like her in this stage of life.

RELATED: How to Shop Smart, Curate a Dynamic Closet & More: Ask Megan

I want to encourage you to dive deeper and get clearer on the style and image that you would like to project in this stage of life. Let that be your guiding point in shopping for new items. And don’t hold back — whatever your age or stage in life, now is your time to shine!

If you’d enjoy taking a self-guided journey in defining your personal style, knowing your body type and snagging some more age-appropriate tips, then I invite you to check out my Style Yourself Chic Society membership site.

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Lauren Hutton, modeling here for her Lauren & Mirabelle J.Crew Weekend Collection, emanates a classic, laid-back style with denim and layers. Image: J.Crew

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Denim-on-denim is accented by bright pops of primary colors, while statement shoes and sunglasses finish off this personality-packed look. Image: J.Crew

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Have fun with fashion, no matter your age! Image: J.Crew Blog

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This J.Crew ad campaign features a striking modern woman. At left, she is thoroughly modern, while at right, she keeps it classic through and through. Image: J.Crew

I’m seeing floral prints everywhere! And I have lots of prints in my own closet — some older pieces and some newer. Can you give me any tips for knowing when a print is dated?

Prints can be tricky, especially floral, so here are my favorite tips for determining the life span of your printed items.

There are classic prints, and there are trendy prints. Classic prints would be polka dots, stripes and plaid. But do keep in mind that just because a print is classic, does not mean the silhouette and details of the garment are still in style.

As far as trendy prints go, they typically have a life span of 2 to 4 years. If you have funkier looking floral prints that have been living in your closet for more than a few years it could be time to say au revoir!

All in all, when in doubt, pick up a reputable style magazine and flip through the pages to see if you spot anything comparable to your prints. If not, then let it go!

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You can’t go wrong with a classic V-neck tee or a nautical stripe. Image: Anthropologie

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A playful yet understated daisy print lends laid-back charm to this breezy, midi-length wrap skirt. Image: Anthropologie

RELATED: If You Never Wanted a Style Coach, We Bet You Will Now …

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This classic fit-and-flare dress in gingham exudes timeless style. Image: Draper James

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This watercolor magnolia print — a classic floral-style print — is made chic and trendy on this poplin jumpsuit. Image: Rebecca Taylor

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Classic polka dots in a subtle metallic look effortlessly chic when paired with a denim button-down. Image: Anthropologie

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Wear a classic pattern like gingham on a thoroughly modern silhouette for a traditional-meets-edgy look. Image: Atelier Doré

I find when the weather gets warmer, I struggle with putting outfits together that are polished and won’t make me too hot! I’m in my late 50s and don’t love showing my arms, yet I want to stay current. Any tips?

You are not alone as I hear this question all of the time from my beautiful style-coaching clients. It can feel quite challenging pulling together your daily look during the summer when it’s toasty outside. A third piece is one of the easiest ways to finalize any look, but when layering feels unbearable, there are a few styling tricks to consider.

Focus on breathable materials. Linen blend cardigans and blazers are essentials for concealing the arms without a ton of bulk or warmth. These layering pieces can have three-quarter-length sleeves (or simply roll them to three-quarter-length for a more flattering look), and they should have great drape so as to never look boxy.

Another option is a third piece that isn’t necessarily a blazer or cardigan. Try wearing your short sleeve tees or button downs with a pendant necklace or a gauzy, thin scarf or vest. These items pull together an outfit without feeling like you are dressing for fall or winter.

For more polished outfit tips and ideas, I recently shared some easy-to-implement summer skirt outfit ideas for all ages over on my blog.

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A linen blazer can be paired with a summer dress for a laid-back yet polished look. Image: Anthropologie

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This long-line vest adds length to any silhouette. Image: Bloomingdale’s

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A light, breathable cardigan is a must-have for summer. Even the beach can have a cool evening every now and then! Image: Nordstrom

Have fashion questions? Ask Megan! Submit your own fashion-related questions for possible inclusion in this monthly column by emailing [email protected]

To learn more about Megan LaRussa, or to view style-coaching options, book an appointment or sign up for the Style Yourself Chic Society, visit meganlarussa.com.

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