Spring Trend: Maxi Dress (how to wear it)

by katyrose on April 13, 2011

image from sauvage.com.au

The maxi dress is certainly not a new trend. It’s been slowly making it’s way into the Spring/Summer fashion musts for the last two years. But this Spring you’ll be hard pressed to find a store that isn’t selling the floor-sweeping items. Plus there are the long maxi-dress-inspired skirts.

I’m a huge maxi-dress fan. I had my two favorites last year and have already updated this year’s collection to include two more floor-length dresses. But honestly, this is not an easy trend for everyone to wear. But, boy, is it comfortable!!! So how can you make the most of this uber-comfortable trend without looking like you put on a potato sack before running out the door?

Here’s my how-to guide on wearing a maxi dress:

  1. Look for dresses that are fitted and have some built in shape. The existing silhouette will go a long way in making this fabric-heavy look more feminine.
  2. If there isn’t a shape already, but you love the dress, try to create a shape by adding a fitted sweater, jacket or even a belt. There are ways to create the illusion, without the fabric actually holding the shape.
  3. The hemline should nearly touch the ground or at least make it to you ankles. Any shorter and it looks like you purchased the wrong size.
  4. Look for dresses that use less material instead of more. There are certain maxi dresses that will make you look like you are swimming in yards of fabric – and that is not very becoming. Go for a straight look without extra material to add bulk.
  5. If you are short – wear heels with the dress to give you a little extra length. Making a curvy silhouette can be a good thing too, as it will cut-down on the drowning in fabric look and feel.
  6. Accessorize! I know I say that for everything, but really the right additions takes a basic maxi dress and really makes it pop. Think bold bangles, a colorful light-weigh scarf, a statement necklace, etc…
  7. Beware of patterns. There are so many dresses out there now that they come in every style, color and pattern. Beware of horizontal stripes as they will widen the entire look. Beware also of funky designs and how they fall, especially in the chest and rear areas.
  8. A cami can help bring many of the plunging necklines up to a manageable height so that you feel confident and comfortable without worrying about a wardrobe malfunction.
  9. Safety pins and double-stick tape are a great way to ensure that a strapless maxi dress stays up and that you don’t need to be constantly adjusting throughout the day.

Did I leave anything out? Leave your maxi-dress wearing tips below!


{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

CC April 13, 2011 at 12:00 pm

My maxi must haves include a belt and either embellished sandals or a pointy toe flat/heel. For petites a skirt is often easier to find in the right length – dresses can be too long.
Thanks for the great post!
CC recently posted..Everybody Everywear – Green Chiffon to the Maxi


katy_rose1 April 14, 2011 at 9:14 am

I’m loving the embellished sandals as well. They add so much flare and funk to a basic outfit.


Dancing Branflake April 13, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Thanks for this! Did you see my latest Maxi dress outfit post? I sooo could have used your tips then!


katy_rose1 April 14, 2011 at 9:16 am

I usually tend to stay away from crazy patterns, but I LOVE the maxi dress you wore most recently. The orange colors are striking as is the design. Too cute.


Anna April 13, 2011 at 1:43 pm

I haven’t worn a maxi dress for like 15 years (I am 28 btw :P )!!
I am only 5′ 3″ so maxi isn’t exactly a good idea for me!!!
but for the past few years I am coveting all those dresses worn by celebrities so I decided to sew an empire line dress myself…I hope I don’t look tiny in it!!!
Anna recently posted..More lovely pictures from Rome


katy_rose1 April 14, 2011 at 9:15 am

The empire waist I’m sure helps a lot with the overall look. The heels will help too.


Lori April 13, 2011 at 2:10 pm

I do love how maxi dresses look on others, but on me, not so much. Actually, now that I think of it, the last time I tried one on I was 30 pounds heavier, so maybe I should give them another chance. I like the idea of layering a cami under too. The low necklines was another reason I avoided them.
Lori recently posted..JCrew and the Issue of Boys and Gender


katy_rose1 April 13, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Lori – I think you could totally pull it off! What a way to reward yourself for the great weight loss, by trying this style and proving you can rock it now.


Jo April 13, 2011 at 2:43 pm

They are certainly not for everybody! But they are so stylish and glam! Once you can pull them off you can look so effortlessly chic and with the right accessories you could look like a million Bucks! Love them!
Jo recently posted..John Galliano’s Lust


Anja April 13, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Maxi dresses are great, but really hard to pull of. I try to stay away from the one’s with too crazy prints. I also try to go with the more fitted version, as I did on yesterday’s EBEW. The belting of the waist is also a great tip, which you mentioned before! I never go without that one. I would say for small ladies – never without High Heels. I am quite tall and I went without them yesterday and I look a bit compressed.
Anja recently posted..Maximum feeling


katy_rose1 April 14, 2011 at 9:17 am

They certainly are a challenge, but it pays off when you can land a style that works, especially since they are just so darn comfortable.


Julia (Polka Dot Biker Shorts) April 13, 2011 at 5:07 pm

I would add that I find them actually quite warm. There is alot of material hanging down your legs to keep in body warmth. I bought one last summer thinking it’d be a great summer dress, but it was too warm to wear most of the summer.
Julia (Polka Dot Biker Shorts) recently posted..De-Elongation


katy_rose1 April 13, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Julia – It’s true they can be really warm. I certainly don’t recommend wearing them, especially the thick cotton ones, in the dead of summer. There is just way too much material to feel refreshed in the heat.


Kate April 13, 2011 at 5:51 pm

These are some great tips! I have been avoiding Maxis for lack of knowing how to wear/style them, but with these tips, I may actually see if I can make it work! Thank you for this post Katy!
Kate recently posted..Outfit Post- Purple & Teal Cthulhu


katy_rose1 April 14, 2011 at 9:18 am

Kate – Good luck trying out the maxi dresses this year. I’m sure you can pull it off.


myheartblogged April 13, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Great tips. I still haven’t purchased a maxi dress. I’m afraid I’m going to look pregnant, or super short. Hopefully these tips will help.
myheartblogged recently posted..Outfit of the day Stripes on stripes


Janine @ Alternative Housewife April 14, 2011 at 4:08 am

Are you Mormon? Please tell me you did not suggest wearing a cami under a maxi dress.


katy_rose1 April 14, 2011 at 9:21 am

LOL. Nope, I’m not Mormon – not even close. But I do think a cami is a needed accent with a number of clothing items. I wear them all year long in a variety of ways. I don’t see any need to be showing off everything I’ve got to the world – like to keep it classy. ;)


Linda April 15, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Your tips for the maxi-dress are on point! I agree that adding a belt and buying the right size/length make a huge difference. Recently I bought my first maxi dress. . Hope it turns out okay. :o)


Ashley April 15, 2011 at 8:33 pm

I just bought my first maxi dress today, so this is quite a timely post! any suggestions for dressing up a printed maxi dress for the office?


TrendySocialite April 18, 2011 at 8:14 am

Love maxi dresses. I look forward to wearing this trend again this year! I think this will always be part of my look.
TrendySocialite recently posted..Have You Met Drew


style'n April 18, 2011 at 11:49 am

Excellent advice with the maxi dresses! Very informative post Katy
style’n recently posted..All Wrapped Up- Home Office


Daisy April 19, 2011 at 2:23 pm

I am fairly tall so when I purchase maxi’s they are always too short (they usually hit right above my ankle bone). I don’t like showing my legs so I have my maxis shortened so they fall between my knee and ankle. They look really great and not like I’ve purchased the wrong size. For work I either throw a denim jacket or cardigan over my maxi and always add chic accessories and killer wedges.


Lorena April 22, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Great tips, I totally agree on it not being any higher than your ankle…


Jennifer June 5, 2012 at 10:55 pm

I recently tried on a maxi dress in size medium and it fit perfect a little tight around my rib area and then lose. I was wondering if it’s better to wear maxi dresses fitting your body perfectly or allowing it to run a size bigger than your normal size?


Ley July 8, 2013 at 1:58 am

what would one suggest to wear under a maxi so they are not ‘see-through-?


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