Dressed up with simple jewelry and heeled shoes, maxi dresses give the wearer a look of casual sophistication that’s appropriate at a summer party or even at the office.
Dressed down with flip-flops and some funky bangles, a maxi dress or maxi skirt offers the perfect way to stay cool and comfortable at the beach or on vacation.
But what if you’re petite or plus-size? Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a runway model to pull off this look. Part of the fun of the maxi dress is that with the right accessories and styling, a maxi dress can work for bodies of all shapes and sizes.
The key to pulling off a maxi skirt lies in finding just the right fit for your body. Women who are of average or below average height may try on one of maxi skirts and find themselves swimming in a sea of fabric.
To create a flattering look, choose a stylish maxi skirt with a hemline that just grazes the top of your feet — don’t go any shorter than your ankle. For petite women, this may mean having the dress tailored to fit, or simply hemming it yourself if you’ve got a bit of sewing skill.
For taller women, finding the correct length often requires trying on a few different brands or styles until you find one that falls just right.
Even color and pattern can play a role in whether or not your dress flatters your figure. Plus-sized women should steer clear of intricate patterns and stick to medium or large prints.
The right accessories can also help you create a lean, sleek silhouette. Wear a belt around the narrowest part of your waste to emphasize your shape, or simply add a jacket or blazer for structure.
Petite ladies can pull off small prints, but they should avoid larger patterns that can overwhelm their shape. Dark, solid colors can make anyone look slimmer, and they offer the most versatility in terms of where the dress can be worn.
What would any dress be without the perfect pair of shoes? To balance out the length of the maxi dress, many women turn to platforms, wedges or espadrilles, which add height and length to the body. Taller women, or those looking for a more casual look, can wear these dresses with gladiator sandals or even flip-flops.
Save the spiky heels for another day, as they can easily get caught in your long skirt and trip you up. Avoid boots and closed-toe shoes, which make can make you look dowdy and dated.