Women's Fashion

5 Rules on How to Wear Long Dresses

Long Dress Woman

The maxi dress is one of the most versatile pieces in fashion right now. It can be worn dressed up or down. You can make it preppy or boho-chic, and you can do what you please with it. However, even though there are so many ways you can wear a maxi anymore, there are a few simple style rules that will help you elevate your look. Taking it from casual to classic is simpler than you might imagine, and these rules make it easy for you to take note of the small mistakes you might be making when you get dressed in the morning.

The most important part of wearing a great maxi is knowing you feel comfortable. Don’t wear them if you don’t feel good in them, and let that be your deciding factor every time. Your maxi should leave you feeling confident and beautiful every time.

Know Your Lengths

The common misconception about maxis is that they are floor-length. This is not the case. There are maxis that come down to your ankles, and there are those that come close to the floor. Know your lengths, and know which one flatters your body type. In general, women below 5 feet five inches tend to look more appropriate in a dress that comes close to the floor. Wearing it right at the ankle can cut length off the leg and make a woman appear shorter and even stout. Of course, this is not true of everyone. You know if this applies to you.

Layering Works Wonders

Wearing a maxi doesn’t mean you’re stuck without additional accessories. You can pair it with a classic trench coat, a long cardigan, a jean jacket, or even a fitted blazer. Your personal style rarely shines more than when you have the option to layer over a maxi. For example, a floral maxi looks more structured and stylish when paired with a fitted leather jacket. A bright colored maxi might look more professional if you choose to wear it with a boxy black blazer.

Don’t think that jackets and cardigans are the only way to go, either. You can take a classic white button-up shirt and leave the ends unbuttoned over your dress. Leave it open, or knot the bottom of the shirt for a fun and casual addition to your look. The same applies to great chambray shirts, too.

Know Which Shoes Work Well

This might be one of the most difficult choices to make when wearing a maxi. What shoes work with a dress this long? The great news is that there is no right or wrong answer. There are only answers that are based on your personal preferences. If you feel comfortable and confident wearing a certain pair of shoes with your favorite maxi, then it’s not wrong to wear them.

If your maxi is a little open in the front because of the high-low feature, a great pair of espadrilles, booties, or heels works well. If you wear heels with a maxi, however, avoid wearing closed-toe shoes whether the toes are pointed or rounded. It breaks up the long lines of your legs, and it doesn’t quite flow as well as something like an open-toe bootie or heel.

Of course, this rule does not apply if your dress is one that hits you right at the ankle. The trick to keep a closed-toe shoe looking great with this style is to make sure it’s a strappy heel. It looks more casual and effortless than a pump.

Hem Your Dress

There is one simple tool that works for all women, all maxis, and all styles. Hem your dress if it’s too long. If it touches the floor and drags the ground, you can assume it looks as though it doesn’t fit. This automatically detracts from your personal style. Find a great tailor and have these dresses hemmed so they hit your feet just right. A well-fitted dress always looks chicer and more fashionable than one that doesn’t fit well.

Your tailor can help you decide the right length for any maxi. Ask yourself what kind of shoes you would wear with it most often, and go from there when choosing a new length. If your dress is long with flats, you can always skip the tailor and wear it with heels or espadrilles to get it off the ground while still allowing you to have the length you’re looking for.

Know the Style That Works for You

There are endless choices when it pertains to maxis. They come in every shape and size, and that’s where you need to zero in on what works for you. What do you typically feel most comfortable in? This applies to color, style, and even necklines. For example, some women find that they cannot wear a turtleneck or boatneck shirt because they feel that covering their collar bones makes their neck appear shorter and leaves them feeling less confident. If this is you, avoid dresses with those necklines.

Do you prefer a fitted dress or one that’s long and flowing? Furthermore, you must know where you plan on wearing this dress. If you’re trying to make it look more professional, you might consider a fitted shirt-dress that has a fuller skirt, a collar, and a well-defined waistline below the buttons of the top. This is a classic look that never goes out of style, and your accessories will dress it up or down every time.

Your personal style is never more apparent than when you accessorize, and that’s why you should not forget this one final piece of advice. You can wear any dress you want, but it’s how you accessorize it that makes it look more or less fashionable. Simple jewelry always leaves you feeling and looking timeless and classic. A pair of big, fun earrings can take any maxi to a whole new level. A gorgeous maxi can always look better with the right bag, too.

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Zara Jones is a valued contributor to various CosmoBC's blogs.

One Comment

  • Amanda

    Nice article! I amaze to hear that there are some rules to wear a long dress. I really don’t know about these rules. These rules seem very interesting and helpful. I will keep these rules in mind for next time. Thanks for sharing.

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