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The Globe and Mail

Make the striped maxi dress a summer staple

The "real-way" model struts down the street in her striped maxi dress.

Fred Lum/Fred Lum / Globe and Mail

Stripes in summer are like cocktails by the pool: They're staples of the season, but must always be indulged in judiciously (i.e., sparingly). That's especially so this season, as the stripes that have made their way from poop decks to ball gowns are far from subtle. Worn wisely, though, they can be a clean, fresh choice for the office, too. Here's how to jump on the bandwagon.

1. Thick stripes like those at Jil Sander (above left) are the most current take, especially on maxi dresses. In real life, however, opt for a dress that fits closer to the body. That way, the graphics won't fight with the shape and overwhelm - instead, you'll wind up with a flattering silhouette.

2. You're not out sailing, so always pair your striped number with a tailored blazer for the office, particularly if the dress is made from a casual fabric like cotton.

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3. If you want some height, opt for chunky wedges over anything with a slim heel. You want a substantial sole to carry off all that volume. This is especially important if you're on the petite side.

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