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Here I submit a contender to be that workhorse item in your wardrobe - a maxi dress that can both be casual enough to wear every day, but also go to a fancier evening occasion like a wedding. This halter top polka dot maxi dress from Maria Bianca Nero's Summer 2012 collection could really take you through the summer and beyond. As the brand says:

"On-trend and summer-ready, Maria Bianca Nero's classic silhouettes are figure flattering and perfect for this season and transitions flawlessly into the next."

The L.A. based designer tries to achieve this balance in all her designs.

"A label that could not have been conceived elsewhere, Bianca Nero embodies a West Coast panache for lightness and flirtatious sex appeal while maintaining a more cosmopolitan sense of enduring elegance."

Her influences aren't surprised: "[Bianca] also points to iconic women like Jackie O, Jean Harlow and Audrey Hepburn whose incredible style are immortalised in photographs and celluloid. Today, Maria will unabashedly point to her influences such as friend Romeo Gigli and Tunisian designer Azzedine Alaia's infamous "banded" dressing."

A taller lady could wear this with black flat sandals and a straw tote during the day and switch out for heels and a clutch in the evening - which makes it great for summer vacation packing! Shorter girls might want to stay away from this super long silhouette though, unless you want to visit the tailor.

The dress is available at Eve, 00-353-1-4594118.