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What Is a Maxi Dress?

B. Miller
B. Miller

A maxi dress is a long, flowing dress that is nearly floor length. It often features tank top style or halter style straps, with a fitted top and a high waist. It a popular summer wardrobe staple, and often available in bright colors and fun patterns. Though it makes a great maternity outfit, because it is comfortable and slimming, it can be worn by any woman looking for a more loose, flowing look. In general, a maxi dress looks better on taller individuals because the long skirt can overwhelm shorter women. This can be helped by wearing the dress with heels rather than flats, which is a more common pairing with this style of dress.

Cotton or silk are some of the most common materials for a maxi dress. This helps to make the dress lightweight, cool, and comfortable when it is worn during the summer. The skirt is typically A-line, meaning it gets wider at the bottom as it extends away from the waist and thighs. For people wanting to minimize a larger frame, for example, an A-line skirt can be a great choice. Some maxi dresses have slightly more fitted skirts, though this is not very common.

Woman posing
Woman posing

Because a maxi dress is intended for summer, the top portion of the dress reflects that. Tank top style straps are common, in varying widths. Halter straps that tie around the back of the neck are also popular, or strapless options exist as well. For women with a larger figure, tank top style straps are generally the best option. A maxi dress will generally feature a fairly high waist as well, which is what makes it a great maternity choice, though also helps to make it feel loose and comfortable. The dress can be paired with a simple sweater or cardigan for cooler weather.

This style of dress is available in many different colors and designs, from basic solid colors to bright floral patterns. Prices range depending on the materials used to make the dress. Though the dress is very long, it should generally not cover the shoes, so it is a good idea to match them to the colors in the dress if possible. People generally wear flats with a maxi dress for everyday wear, but heels or wedges can also look nice, particularly for shorter women who can be dwarfed by such a long skirt. In general, a maxi dress is a great, versatile piece to add to a wardrobe.

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Discussion Comments


This article gives me a reason to get used to maxidresses. I'm pregnant and I bought four maxi dresses all at the same time. I got so overwhelmed how it perfectly fitted me. I'm a leggings/jeans/shirts kind of girl, ut I guess I have to get used to these now. It's just that I don't think I have the guts to wear it on a daily basis. Doesn't it look too formal if it's too long?


@indigomoth - I like wearing maxi dresses to casual and semi-casual events but I'm not sure I would wear one to a formal event, even if it was a solid color, like black or something.

I might wear something similar to a maxi dress, but it seems a bit too long for that. A cocktail style dress is a better bet that you will meet the dress code in my opinion.


A maxi dress is a real classic, and is a wonderful dress to wear with statement heels you might not get another chance to wear with such casual attire.

Plus it can be dressed up until it is no longer casual, but is still comfortable. It's not the sort of dress you are going to have to constantly adjust.

On the other hand, you probably need to buy one in a very simple print or just a solid color if you really want it to be versatile enough to wear to most occasions.

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