Over 40 and think you can’t find a dress to fit your shape? Guess again. Maria Pinto’s designs use color and cut to politically correct effect.
Easy Add-Ons A simple sheath in a saturated color provides the perfect backdrop for accessories. "That’s what personalizes a dress," Pinto says. "Six different women could wear this six different ways."
Maria Pinto wool crepe dress, $880, takashimaya-ny.com for store info. Roxanne Assoulin for Lee Angel Swarovski crystal and semiprecious stone necklace, $2,500, leeangel.com for info. Bilancioni Donna by Rebecca Moses leather belt, $378, Hamrah’s, 201-871-4444.
Cap sleeves are flattering and front pockets are an unexpected detail on a basic black sheath, but the surprise design element is the fabric: brocade. "Everyone has a little black dress, but the material gives this one a lift," Pinto says. The addition of not one but two rhinestone brooches adds sparkle and takes the look from day to night. Maria Pinto jacquard dress, $1,175, takashimaya-ny.com for store info. R.J. Graziano crystal and metal brooches, $95 (top) and $125 (bottom), 212-685-1248.
Layers of chiffon can inconspicuously conceal, but the belt is crucial (for reining in volume and maintaining the body’s shape). "This dress is revealing but not too much so," Pinto says. "And the color is a wake-up hue that so many women can wear." Best of all, the look is romantic but grown-up, and the movement of the fabric provides added interest. Maria Pinto chiffon dress, $1,645, takashimaya-ny.com for store info.
Originally published in MORE magazine, April 2009.