Every resort-style wardrobe should include a few staples of clothing: a sexy designer bikini, a chic beach dress cover up, and a stylish maxi dress. But, what is a maxi dress? It’s a long dress that skims the top of the feet or the ankles. It can be dressed up, dressed down, and worn for nearly every type of beach-centric occasion.
Characteristics of a Maxi Dress
Aside from it being a long dress, there are a few other factors that make a maxi dress different from other dress styles. Below, we’ve outlined the characteristics of maxi dresses.
The material is typically lightweight and silk, cotton, and crepe are common fabrics used in maxi dress styles. This creates a more laid-back, breezy look than a long evening gown, which is usually made with satin, velvet, or another thicker material.
Second, a maxi dress is typically flowy. The bodice may be form-fitting, but the skirt is loose and billowy, making it comfortable to wear. Another factor is its overall aesthetic, which leans toward informal versus formal. There are several ways to accessorize and make a maxi dress look and feel fancier, but generally speaking, it’s a design made for time spent in a tropical location.
Lastly, maxi dresses are among the most versatile types of dresses since you can layer them and wear them for different occasions through multiple seasons. For example, a cropped denim jacket, moto jacket, or oversized cardigan immediately changes the look and extends the wear. Although other dress lengths offer a similar appeal, there's something about the ethereal, ultra-cool nature of the maxi dress that makes it stand out from a mini or a tea-length dress.
Plus, you can choose one to style multiple ways or fill your closet with all your favorite finds from strappy sandals or wedges, a waist belt, to your favorite pair of sneakers. Either way, maxi dress styles are fun, flirty, and comfortable to wear.
Maxi Dress Styles for Every Occasion
Now that you know what a maxi dress is, we’ve outlined some different maxi dress styles. Dive into a few of our favorite colors and designs with ideas for how to wear a maxi dress.
Girls Night Out
Red instantly spices up a wardrobe with its vibrant and timeless appeal. The Red Pepper Glenda Long Dress is what maxi dress dreams are made of. This design has it all, from the distinctive color and strapless, ruffled bodice to the front slip-in pockets. Plus, what is a maxi dress without a good leg slit? The details make the difference with this dress with no adornments necessary since the color and style speak for itself.
It looks fantastic with neutral-toned shoes, but to add a bit of shimmer, gold sandals dress up the look for a fun girls night out. Try a gladiator-style that ties around the leg or a low-heeled wedge to elevate the outfit. Layer on a few long, thin, gold chains and simple gold hoops or keep the neckline open and opt for chandelier earrings and a sparkly cuff instead.
The goal is to complement the dress without overpowering it with accessories. It’s the kind of statement dress that’s perfect for a special occasion but also worth wearing as often as possible.
Transitioning from a show-stopping red to a soft, buttery hue, the Briggite Bia Long Dress is a sweet and dreamy maxi dress that’s equally alluring. The scalloped hemline and partial sheerness of the skirt give it an ethereal appeal. Plus, the thin, adjustable straps, cutout detail, and tie at the front deliver a flirty element that’s wonderfully fitted.
The hue and subtle design is pretty on its own but looks beautiful paired with a neutral-colored jacket and sandals for an afternoon wedding or contrasted with a black or navy silk blazer and coordinating slides for an elegant evening look. The varying details of the dress work as built-in accessories. However, pair with pearl earrings or a pearl-encrusted headband for extra style.
Dinner and Dancing for a Special Anniversary
The unique design of the Fiore Bia Long Dress is ideal for a special occasion. Whether it’s a wedding anniversary or another momentous milestone in your life, this dress fits the bill for a night of dinner and dancing. The sleek blue-grey background is a stunning contrast to the vibrant dots of pink and red flowers and creates a one-of-a-kind style. The flowy hem and lightweight material make it easy to move in and comfortable to wear.
Stick with simple accessories and let the print shine. Silver jewelry adds a sparkly touch, or pink or red gemstone earrings play off the floral design. Keep the sandals neutral or metallic to prevent a sharp contrast with a shoe color that may end up clashing. You’ll feel comfortable and chic all night long when wearing this maxi dress style.
The rich, deep green hue of the Jasper Ana Long Dress works a new neutral for those who lean toward wearing primarily black or white. Yes, it’s a bold color, but it can blend in with nearly any accessory or shoe you already have in your wardrobe. Thanks to its vibrant hue and pretty cutout design, it’s a gorgeous dress to wear when you’re ready to celebrate.
Whether it’s a birthday, a job promotion, or an excuse to get dressed up and feel confident, this is your go-to dress that will deliver on all levels. Pair with a multi-colored necklace and bright stud earrings for an extra festive look. Another way to optimize the dress’s styling is to wear it with rose gold jewelry that’ll complement the dress color well. Using it as a new neutral allows you to play around with different accessory and shoe pairings depending on the specific occasion.
Most maxi dress styles have a built-in casual vibe. Embrace this aesthetic by opting for the Ava Cami Long Dress to take on your next beach vacation. The ivory and black background combined with black and copper stripes, are perfect to wear for a casual brunch, taking in local sights, or simply hanging out in the afternoon. The comfort of the lightweight fabric and high slits on the sides allow air to flow through, making it ideal when dealing with hotter temperatures.
Take it seaside by pairing with a classic pair of resort flip-flops, your favorite beach hat, and oversized shades. It’s casual chic at its finest, a must-have for any resort wear wardrobe. The dress’s low-key nature also pairs nicely with a pair of tennis shoes and a zip-up hoodie as nights become more relaxed. The dress’s versatility makes it ready to wear whenever, wherever, with few or zero accessories necessary.
Drinks by the Beach
The feminine hue of the Rose Cutout Dress is flirty and fun with design details to make it special. The cutout detail and tie in the back, plus the side slits and v-shape neckline gives it a tastefully sexy appeal. It’s an optimal dress to wear for drinks by the beach as the sun begins to dip below the horizon since it’s a style that works for both day and night.
Keep the rest of the look simple with crystal studs and tan or white sandals. The optimal aesthetic here is effortlessly chic with a hint of sparkle. It’s the kind of design that can easily be dressed up further, by swapping sandals for heels and loose locks with a chic updo, but you can change up the look for the occasion. What may start as drinks by the beach may end up being a night out on the town or a fancy late-night dinner. This dress will make you feel ready for anything.
Creating Your Own Maxi Dress Styles
What is a maxi dress without putting your spin on things? Maxi dress styles vary by color, design, cut, and details. The variety of options means you can base your fashion choices based on current trends, the season, or your mood for the day. They’re also amplified by accessories and dressed up or down based on the shoes you wear and how you do your hair. One maxi dress can be worn in several different ways, depending on where you plan to wear it.
A key part of creating maxi dress styles involves having fun with fashion. Whether it’s a dressier vibe or a casual situation, the essence of this comfortable summer dress embraces a lifestyle that allows you to go with the flow. Go bold in red or soft and pretty in light pink. Try out a colorful print or work in an unexpected neutral when building your wardrobe.
Maxi dress styles leave room for all your preferences and maintain a timeless appeal that translates to your next beach day, resort getaway, or a trip to a faraway coastal town. The maxi dress is always on trend with plenty of variations of designs and color combinations to keep things interesting and adaptable to wherever your next adventure takes you.