Maxi dresses are sooo gorgeous. Don't you just love the way the hemline gently sways around the legs? Me likey!
Here you'll find fashion advice and styling tricks to help you look your best in a maxi dress - from how to select the right dress style for your body figure to how to accessorize a long dress.
It's all in how you wear it, hon.
Many women associate long dresses with dressy, formal occasions. However it's all changing now - and it has become acceptable and stylish to wear a maxi dress without hurting your fashion repertoire. A long dress is elegant, comfy and chic!
However, to look stylish in longer hems without projecting any signs of frumpiness is solely dependent on how you style it. You also need to work extra on selecting the right style for your body figure, scale and height.
With the right accessories, you can go from sleek and classy to trendy and chic.
If you're petite (5'4" or shorter) your main goal is to
avoid looking like a tent. So compared to taller and bigger women, you
have to be careful with your selection of maxi dresses.
Fashion Advice on Maxi Dresses for Petites
Here are a few tips on how to make it work for you if you're petite:
Fit and snug
Most long garments don't harmonize that well with a short stature and can really swallow you up, making you look shorter. But the trick here is to select a style that is well-cut - that means choose a full-length dress that sits snugly to your body figure - especially around the hips and thighs. And not least, around your waist (or below the bust).
Elongate your body figure with a V-neck
The point with a V-neck is that it shows more skin - which means you'll look taller and leaner. The V-shaped neckline also attracts the eye and makes it go up and down - creating a streamlined silhouette.
This trick applies to Pear body shapes even though they're advised to visually widen their shoulders and chest. That's because a long dress is already long and you need to balance out the proportions - especially if you're short.
For some extra height, wear pumps, wedges (espadrilles with this type of dress is my fave!) or high heeled sandals. More on what shoes to wear with maxi dresses below.
Select the right details and prints
Since you have less canvas to work on and a short stature that can't handle too much fluff - opt for solids and work strategically with prints.
Dark neutrals and colors such as black, chocolate brown, deep plums and green minimize and make you look taller. However colors that are similar to your skin tone work equally well in elongating your petite body frame.
Prints need to be scaled to your body frame - so avoid humongous patterns. If you're a petite plus size opt for medium scale prints.
Vertical and slim prints and details are your best bets.
Long dresses are the perfect match for your frame as it minimizes large hips and legs.
Here are a few tips on how to choose a maxi dress for your plus-size figure:
Wear wide Straps
Many plus size women carry weight around the upper arms, concealing narrow shoulders.
So to complement your upper body - opt for wider straps.
Spaghetti straps on the other hand will only make your frame look bigger in comparison (unless the color of the dress is similar to your skin tone!).
Scale the print
Larger prints complement your body figure a lot better than tiny ones - however solid, and dark neutrals such as black, dark brown and olive green are ideal to help slim down your shape.
If you're a petite plus size, opt for medium-scaled prints.
Tip: If you have a thick waist, place a solid black or dark brown wide stretch belt around the thinnest part of your torso. This will give you a more balanced and lean body frame as well as bring out a waist.
Wear a V-neck
Create a lean vertical line on your shape with v-neck. The more skin you show thus leaner you'll look. The V-shaped neckline also draws the eye up and down.
Hiding your body in loose-fitted long dresses will only make you look boxy, so choose a dress that sits snugly to your body figure without clinging.
Select the Right Maxi Dress Print
A rule of thumb when it comes to wearing a print dress is to select a print that is scaled to your body size.
So if you have a full-figure body, larger prints complement your frame without making your curves too obvious in comparison.
If you're petite and/or skinny, smaller prints will suit you best without overwhelming your stature.
If you're petite and a plus size - you can wear medium and some large sized prints as long as they stretch vertically to create a lean line.
Short statures are easily affected by color-blocking - it makes them look shorter and wider.
Long, vertical prints are great for elongating and slimming down any body figure.
Secure a Few Versatile Styles
Secure a Few Versatile Styles
You would want a long dress that is easy to mix & match as well as versatile enough to wear for various occasions.
You can never go wrong with solid neutrals such as black, brown, grey, white (beige, cream), dark navy blue and olive - as they will go with absolutely anything. This is a nice feat if you love wearing
accessories - because they won't overwhelm your maxi outfit or battle with the dress.
Using accessories such as jewelry, scarves and shoes are the best way to create various fashion looks with your basic long dress. Pearls and crystals tend to turn up the glam-factor - while beads and hemp infuse a casual bohemian vibe to the outfit.
If you have a classy style that prefers to look simple and sophisticated - then versatile, no print, no fuss long dresses are a must!
A solid black long dress is primed for almost anything. White is more appropriate as summer wear.
Other fail-safe colors that won't draw too much attention are earthy shades like different brown nuances, rustic red and purple.
The Right Shoes with a Maxi Dress
The Right Shoes with a Maxi Dress
So what shoes go with a maxi dress?
The long length of a maxi dress speaks for itself - so there is really no need to wear anything too trendy. Instead, you need a pair of shoes that will help bring the dress into the spotlight.
In general - strappy sandals in a neutral and simple style suit the long dress look the best.
I personally wouldn't pair it with closed flats as it doesn't quite suit the look. However, open-toe and strappy pumps will go great with is - especially with formal maxi dresses.
Boots are strictly a no-no - they'll only outdate the look!
For a casual outfit go for airy open flats such as gladiator sandals, or if you're wearing the dress to a formal party, add more height with heels.
How to Wear a Maxi Dress to Formal Occasions
You can also buy formal maxi gowns which are made of soft and sheer fabrics such as silk and chiffon - plus, they have details like pleats along the hemline or bustier neckline that make a dressy ensemble.
However, if you want to be able to wear the same long dress for both special and casual occasions, you can easily glamorize a basic long dress with sparkly jewelry and high heels. A clutch purse will definitely chic up the look.
Tip: Two of the best colors for a long dress are black and navy blue. They'll fit right in as both formal and casual wear.
There you have it embrace MAXI DRESSES and have a selective eye for your size. Be chique and add a few accessories for an exquisite look.
Written by Dorothy Osoro