How To Wear Maxi Dresses: Versatile Outfits For Every Occasion

A maxi dress holds the charm of a ballgown and a brunch dress at once. Invented by Oscar de la Renta, these floor-flirting gowns are a popular choice amongst women of all ages. This versatility is exactly what gives the maxi dress the silhouette to make anyone look fabulous. 

Yet, choosing a statement maxi dress for yourself can be perplexing, and if you listen to all the advice you receive from your colleague to your neighbors and even that one person you always see at the gym, it can get tiresome.

To solve all your queries once and for all, here is the complete guide to wearing a maxi!

(Click the images to view the Maxi Dresses gallery)

Signature Silhouettes

One of the best ways to figure out which maxi dress to pick up is by knowing fabric silhouettes on your fingertips. A general rule while choosing silhouettes is to seek a sweet spot between comfort and occasion. Here are the basic silhouettes of a maxi, and how to style them:

Figure Hugging

While maxi dresses were originally meant to be flowy and unconfined to the human body, the current rage is all about figure embracing silhouettes. Doesn’t matter if you’re a plus sized beauty or not, there is a maxi dress made just for you. 

Material matters most when it comes to skin-tight dresses. Ribbed or knit dresses work well with the balance of structured coats and boots. Ribbed and knit materials snug to your skin the most, leaving no structure on its own, thus, these are perfect for an evening out (and not much in the sun, ‘cause we don’t want sweaty armpits).

A ribbed dress isn’t all bad though, WGSN recently predicted ribbed to be the current trend of 2022, knowing how we all loved our pajamas while working from home. 

Fun ‘n Frolic Flowy

Keep it breezy with flowy silhouettes if you’re someone who prefers some leg room. All jokes aside, flowy maxi dresses are often worn during the day time, especially if it has a sunny floral print or a bright color. A slit maxi will be perfect for a beach picnic, while a layered one makes it all the more special for a backyard brunch day with your family. 

When we say flowy, it need not be lacking in figure. Maxi dresses which are cinched up to the waist and flow on the bottom half accentuates your feminine figure, while giving you the comfort that jeans or a mini dress can’t achieve.

Styling Tip: Keep other elements in our ensemble as a complimentary piece to your maxi. For example, what might not work is carrying an oversized tote bag with a flowy maxi, it does not balance out your proportions, and instead will make you look smaller. 

For heels, keep it to wedges. Easy to carry and walk in, wedges have been a tried and tested method with the maxi. A buckle strap closure on the wedge would be perfect to not worry about it getting undone, but if you truly love espadrilles with the lace-tie detail, by all means, go for it!

Sultry Satin Drape

A sexy slip satin is a girl’s dream come true in the form of a luxury dress. Most satin dresses are of just one color, no prints or layers, making it a game of your own body. Full length satin drapes will enhance your curves and add a shimmer to your overall look. It is the glitz and glamor factor that makes it perfect for an evening dinner with your significant other, or a meet ‘n greet with our girls. For clubs and night outs, we prefer a rather short dress or a power suit. 

A ruched detail satin dress will definitely make you stand out, bonus if it slits up to the thigh from one end. It is the spaghetti straps in most maxi dresses that give way for more experimentation in the jewelry sector. Choker, danglers, long pendants, you name it, and it’ll suit a maxi satin dress. Alternatively, if you are styling a maxi satin dress in the winters, go for cropped blazers or nude stockings to beat the cold winds. 

Styling Tip: Pencil heels, sparkly clutch and one pendant necklace. Trust us, you cannot go wrong with it. 

Printed Pleasures

If you are a fan of prints, then you’re in luck! Maxi dresses look the prettiest when they have printed fabrics. Be it floral, striped or flamingo wings, all prints in a maxi is something you can incorporate in your wardrobe.

Floral Prints

If you have to define cottagecore aesthetic in one print, it would be floral. Whether big or small, these prints come in a variety of colors and designs. See what you’re naturally inclined towards; do you find peonies or sunflowers more in your prints? What size are they? Such are some questions which can funnel you down into what kind of floral print you feel best in.

Perfect for a summer brunch or a croissant-coffee kind of date, these maxi dresses are usually in a flowy silhouette. We suggest you invest in a black floral and a white floral maxi dress, which work perfectly when worn with either heels or even sneakers and a statement backpack. White sneakers work with almost anything, and will be a versatile piece for you. However, if you’re planning to buy both together, it’s best to match it out with a variety of hypebae sneakers.

Houndstooth

The Scottish origins of this design is far known, and widely used currently. A tricky take on a plaid pattern, it is a unique design which looks best on stretchable garments. If you happen to come across a maxi dress that has this pattern all over it, but confused on how to style it, you’re in luck. 

Houndstooth maxi dresses, when fitted, look amazing with stockings and mary jane boots. Since plaids of any kind keeps the academia aesthetic upfront, it’s best to style as a fashion statement while you’re at work. Bonus: Not only will dressing up for your daily 9 to 5 make you confident, it will manifest the same organization skills in your work.

As a maxi dress in this pattern, it also looks good with beige trench coats and structured bags. Truly chic and effortlessly french in its style. While you’re at it you can also layer it up by wearing a white shirt underneath with a bow tie detail for a more feminine appeal to the corporate look.

Gingham Galore

Houndstooth’s other brother, am I right? This checkerboard pattern is a must-have in everyone’s wardrobe. It has both the appeal of cottage core and academia, a perfect blend to add to your dresses. A pattern like the gingham is meant to be shown, thus, a layered maxi works perfectly with this print.

Plain items work well with gingham printed maxis. Consider a shrug in a solid color, or gloves that reach up to your elbows with a ring in one finger. Pretty classy and new. Just keep in mind to choose a color that matches with all other items. For example, if the gingham print has pastel blue and white  in it, your shrug and shoes must have either of that color in order to maintain the uniformity throughout your ensemble

Stripes

Whether these are horizontal or vertical stripes, we can’t help but bring a tad-bit of American essence to it. The red and blues can be smartly styled. Think of it, the maxi dress is just that: a dress, and by the definition of fashion, a dress can be multipurpose and define multiple forms at once. So go fearless and style your maxi dress as a skirt, overlaying it with a graphic tee or a leather jacket. 

If you are exceptionally into wearing risque and avant garde for the streets, try a pair of jeans with a slit ‘n striped maxi dress and a coat for an over-the-top look. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What length is a maxi dress? 

Anywhere from below the knee to ankle length can be called a maxi. Many also consider the ones with a train attached to it as a maxi dress. However, if the hem ends at the knee or above, stay away from calling it a maxi. High-lows and midis are terms which define a particular type of maxi dress.

High-lows and midis
via bohoandgypsystyle

At which occasion should I wear a maxi dress?

Mostly formal events if the dress is made out of a luxurious-looking fabric, otherwise if it is made out of a lighter fabric such as georgette and linen, you can wear it at most places appropriate for a daytime rendezvous.

Do  maxi dresses make you look shorter?

Absolutely not. Such a notion has been tried and tested (and busted) time and again. It all depends on the type of the maxi dress you wear. Not every maxi dress will suit you, but the ones which do, they are bound to make you stand out.