These days, it’s getting harder to figure out what to wear on a girls night out. Or even what to wear for a beach date outfit. You’ve heard of the maxi dress and the mini dress, but what about those garments for days when you want to strike the perfect balance of in-between?
Meet the midi dress. What is a midi dress exactly? With its hem hitting mid-way between your knee and ankle, this type of dress is the ideal length for avoiding dirt or damage to your train (a casualty of the maxi dress) and skirting any possibility of showing a little too much skin (thank you, mini). Most lengths end above or below the calf depending on the style.
If you’re still asking yourself, “What is a midi dress? “and “How do I style it?”, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’ll answer some common questions about this type of garment, along with some styling tips to inspire your next midi look.
Who Should Wear A Midi Dress?
Midi beach dresses are ideal for petite women who want to add the illusion of height to their look, but are equally great for taller women, as the dress length flatters their height. It’s versatile enough to wear for a formal event as well as casual resort wear clothing that can be slipped over your sexy Brazilian swimwear or any designer swimwear set, which makes investing in a midi dress a must. Picking a design comes down to the color, pattern, and how you choose to style it.
For those not as familiar with how a midi dress can quickly transform a look, we’ve answered several frequently asked questions about the style and offer a few favorites to spark outfit ideas for your next outing.
4 Midi Dress Looks You’ll Love—And That’ll Love You Back
The adaptability of the midi dress makes it an iconic garment—and a bonafide essential for every closet. Let’s browse our lookbook of some timeless midi dress styles that deserve a starring role in your wardrobe.
Look #1: Girl About Town
Party dresses have a reputation for looking, well, dressy, but there’s nothing like a casual midi dress to simplify your outfit selection while looking pulled together. Two looks we love for on-the-go days are:
- Yana Midi Dress – Whether it’s the classic black or cheetah print that makes your heart purr, the Yana is the perfect design for days when you’re feeling spontaneous. While spaghetti straps show skin, the Yana’s relaxed silhouette is flattering on every figure and ideal for taking you from coffee to cocktail hour.
- The Alanna Midi Dress – If there’s any fabric to keep you looking fresh while staying cool, it’s crisp, classic linen. The Alanna midi dress was designed to take the guesswork out of outfit planning so you can enjoy whatever affairs the day holds. With a casual, sarong-esque waistline and two breathtaking colors—one warm, the other blue—you can even skip the jewelry with the gold beaded details built into the straps.
Look #2: Beach Vibes
Already planning your next vacation? If beach or poolside lounging is in the cards, make sure you have these two breezy styles of midi dresses packed in your suitcase:
- The Gisa Midi Dress – With three vibrant palettes to choose from, don’t be surprised if you skip the swimsuit altogether and just want to swan around the pool in the Gisa Midi Dress. This dress has the feel of a silky slip, a thigh-skimming slit, and a drape so impeccable you’ll feel like a Greek goddess (even if you aren’t in Santorini).
- The Eyelet Fran Midi Dress – For a more casual take on the beachy look, choose a flirty eyelet motif like our Eyelet Fran Midi dress. The look balances classiness and sex appeal with a bare-shoulders neckline while the whites and creams show off your tan. With an added slip underneath for extra coverage, this look gives English garden party meets the seashore.
Look #3: Dinner & Drinks
It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, and with one of these scorching midi dresses, you may be tempted to head out for a night on the town even earlier:
- The Kate Midi Dress – Form-fitting on top and relaxed on the bottom, the Kate Midi Dress adds even more options to the midi dress’s patent versatility. No need for a bra—our corset-inspired bodice keeps everything in place, while the nautical-inspired knot details of the straps give you a subtle push-up effect to highlight your bust.
- Firenze Mag Midi Dress – There’s nothing like a coquettish, strappy midi dress to turn up the heat on date night. Made of our signature opaque Firenze crepe material, the Firenze Mag Midi Dress was designed to be universally flattering on every body type and make you feel sexy without sacrificing comfort. Balancing out the sultry silhouette, we chose a soft periwinkle color and keyhole detail to keep things playful.
- Asha Gisa Midi Dress – The Asha Gisa Midi Dress elevates our classic Gisa design with two exquisite prints. The fiery Ffuschia paisley of the Leela print was designed to show off your sun-glazed skin, while the burnt scarlet Prya Red print is elegant enough to skip the bangles and let your midi dress speak for itself. Pair with a simple heeled sandal, and don’t be surprised if you have to fend off the paparazzi while you’re dining out.
Look #4: The Classics
There’s a reason midi dresses are a closet mainstay: while trends come and go, this style of dress will always lend itself to effortless elegance. Here are two styles that embrace the timeless, sophisticated aesthetic of the classic midi dress:
- Firenze Corsage Midi Dress – With a bustier neckline reminiscent of Rita Hayworth, our Firenze Corsage Midi Dress channels martinis, red lipstick, and old Hollywood. Form-fitting micro-crepe fabric creates a long, lean, clean silhouette with zero pinching, while adjustable straps can keep things snug and sculpted up top. Choose between striking emerald or stately black for your all-time favorite little black dress.
- Nadia Midi Dress – For a posh, slightly mod-inspired take on the classic look, go for our Nadia Midi Dress. With a strapless bodice and underwire for hold, the exposed seams will add an architectural feel to this posh look. For a touch of practicality, this midi even sports two front-facing pockets if you’ve foregone your purse and need a place to stash your phone.
How Is a Midi Dress Different From Other Lengths?
The hallmark trait of the midi dress is its length—if it’s not a maxidress or a minidress, it must be a midi dress. Right?
The truth is that the production of garments is a little more complex, and the dress length is key for determining the silhouette ultimately achieved by the garment. In traditional sewing, there are four parts of every dress:
- The sleeves or straps (or lack thereof!)
- The bodice
- The waistline
- The skirt
Typically, a mini dress is form-fitting and reserved for less formal occasions—think long nights spent out in the city. The floor-skimming maxi dress, alternatively, tends to be made with loose, billowy fabrics and can be worn for all types of occasions with the right styling.
Because the shaft of a midi dress falls above the ankle, this style of dress takes the benefits of both the minis and maxis to create a host of versatile styles suited to every imaginable style or occasion.
Do Midi Dresses Only Work For Certain Builds?
Many petite women opt for the midi dress since the maxi can be overwhelming if you have less height to work with, and the mini dress isn’t as adaptable for the myriad events or seasons you’ll dress for. The midi dress also has the flattering optical effect of elongating the legs to give the illusion of height. But because the midi length doesn't reach the floor, shorter women don't have to worry about stepping on the end of the midi skirt.
As for women who already have the advantage of an extra few inches, midi dresses accentuate their figure with a streamlined cut for a statuesque appeal. Midi dresses are versatile enough to wear for a special occasion as well as for casual resort wear in which it can be slipped over your swimwear when you’re headed from the pool to dinner.
That said, with the right styling and fit, every type of build can turn heads in a midi dress. The secret is selecting a design that fits like a glove—and that you’re comfortable in, whatever gorgeous figure you’re rocking.
What Shoes Work Best With a Midi Dress?
What’s any dress without a killer pair of shoes? Because of the favorable length, midi dresses can be styled with virtually every kind of footwear (ideally designer beach sandals) imaginable:
- Gladiator sandals – The perfect embellishment for warm weather, gladiator sandals such as the Vix Paige Sandal add a touch of spice and structure to a flowy satin midi dress. Be sure to match the shade of shoe to the look you’re going for—neutrals for a laid-back, boho feel; metallic for a touch of glam; jet black for something a little sexier.
- Sneakers – To create a comfortable and casual look, pair your pleated midi dress with a fashionable set of sneakers. Rule out the running pair you’d wear to the gym and instead opt for a clean pair of cream tennis shoes or a colorful pair of statement slip-ons. The pairing is a way to pull together your look with a more casual midi dress (like the Eyelet Fran Midi Dress) for jet-set days touring a new city or running errands without feeling overdressed.
- Heels – Heels are a great way to turn up the volume on the bodycon midi dress’ lengthening properties. Whether you go for a beachy wedge or a stunning pair of stilettos, you can add the illusion of even more height by choosing a shoe shade that matches your skin tone.
Because of its versatility, the midi dress can gel with any type of shoe you’re partial to—even a comfy pair of designer flip-flops.
Are Midi Dresses Seasonal?
Midi dresses are in their prime during warmer months and in tropical climates—a perfect look for a beach date outfit. But with the right layering, accessories, and footwear, midi dresses can transition seamlessly between seasons and climates the world around.
Fall In Love With A ViX Midi Dress
When it comes to the midi dress, the question isn’t whether you need one, but which style of dress fits your social calendar, lifestyle, and personal aesthetic best.
Whether you’re eyeing the crisp, clean silhouette of the Nadia for your next wedding or have your heart set on taking the Alanna out to watch a bayside sunset, the midi is a striking, versatile style for every type of occasion. For the full picture of ViX Swimwear’s take on this classic piece, check out the full catalog and discover more styling inspiration on our blog.
- Master Class. A Guide to Dresses: 5 Types of Dresses. https://www.masterclass.com/articles/types-of-dresses#what-is-a-dress
- Who What Wear. Fake Longer Legs With These 11 Style Tricks. https://www.whowhatwear.com/how-to-make-legs-look-longer-thinner-2014