We had a brief introduction to the maxi dress in ‘When (dress) length matters’ and we’ll now have a look at the different ways you can style them. Enjoy!
The casual boho maxi
The boho maxi endures for its ultra-cool, relaxed aesthetic and opportunity to play with prints. We love this Sachin + Babi maxi because it fuses old-school florals, a bohemian silhouette, and glam sequins.
Long-sleeved maxi dresses with a relaxed, loose fit are excellent for taller girls and can be worn almost anywhere depending on how you style them. This is a great style for girls who aren’t into structured dresses or anything that hugs or exposes the figure. Boho maxis are feminine without giving girly, “bombshell”, or “night on the town” attitude.
For formal-wear boho maxis, opt for heels in metallic leather and keep the hair tidy, possibly with an up-do. For casual parties or wandering, anything goes! Dress it down with strappy tan sandals and flowing locks.
The “out-out” party maxi
Parties, bars, and dance-offs aren’t solely mini-dress territory! Maxi Dresses can be worn on a girl’s night, date night, or all-out rager, but there are a few small rules. It’s all in the fabric choice, the length, and the cut.
Avoid dresses that are heavily embellished with sequins, beads, or diamantes as you’ll get too far into red carpet or wedding territory. Pick subtler fabrics and leave the glitz to your accessories.
Don’t go for dresses with any kind of train or floor-skimming hem as you’ll only trip over it, or have someone shove their stiletto through it on the dance floor. Opt for maxis that just hit the ankle. Racerback, tank-style, or even tee-style maxis with a relaxed or straight fit are excellent for going out. Avoid body-con, fit-and-flare, or fishtail styles as you’ll look like you’re off to the ball, not the bar.
A perfect example is this navy maxi with a simple V-neckline, twist front, relaxed fit, and ankle-skimming length. Remember, if it’s still too long, get the hem taken up! Pair with killer stiletto boots or heeled biker boots, a leather jacket, and some gold hoops.
The formal maxi
Now we get to the super-fancy stuff, the formal maxi. This is the stuff of red carpets, weddings, galas, and “super important black-tie functions”. This is when a maxi dress turns into a gown.
When choosing a formal maxi or gown, look for unique design features such as intricate draping, structural pleating, or flattering necklines such as sweetheart, one-shoulder, or bandeau.
In terms of fabric choice, look for light-catching details such as sequins or beading, or opt for layered tulle or chiffon. However, a formal maxi dress doesn’t have to be a glitter bomb or a structural marvel. In fact, it can be incredibly simple yet elegant and formal such as this sweet bandeau dress with layers of tulle for a pared-down princess look.
For a 90s-inspired, effortless formal dress, try a simple bias cut with a low back in a slinky, high-shine finish such as this one by Asos. Not for you? No worries, you really can’t go wrong with an embellished column dress in a block colour such as this teal dress with a flattering blousy top. The V-neckline and strategic seam at the waist flatter most figures, with a skirt that skims but doesn’t cling to the lower body. Wear a pair of high-waisted shapewear shorts underneath to smooth everything out.