Wearing maxi dresses for petite women

How to Wear a Maxi Dress If You are Short

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I hate being told that I can’t wear something just because of my size, age, weight, or height. That’s why I wanted to explore the idea of how to wear a maxi dress if you are short.
Spoiler alert: It should be NO different if you are tall or medium height.
But in the interest of this concept, I will talk about some ideas that could make you feel more comfortable wearing maxi dresses.

Quote of the day: “A lot of good things don’t get made because of too much thinking.” Agnes Martin

Read that quote again. I am a firm believer that we shouldn’t overthink things. Try them. See how it works. And if it’s not right, then fix it. But don’t automatically rule it out just because you think it won’t work.
Do you think it’s important to look taller or slimmer when getting dressed? Thinking like that is against everything I believe in. Yet it takes time to counteract all of the hogwash we’ve been fed over the years.

Related post: Perfectly Imperfect

By using that “not overthinking” approach, we are showing how to wear a maxi dress if you are short. Just because there is a lot of material with a maxi dress, doesn’t mean that anyone of any size, shouldn’t wear it.
Besides, when I discussed the subject of maxi skirts, many commented that maxi dresses seemed easier to wear than maxi skirts. So that’s definitely a reason to give maxi dresses a try.

3 ways how to wear a maxi dress if you are short
1-Show skin or have a tight bodice
2-Find the right material
3-Knot up the bottom or wear heels

That being said, I have written about maxi dresses in the past

And let me introduce my neighbor Suzann again. You saw her when we styled outfits to wear in February in Arizona. Lesley was not available for this photo shoot, so I thought it was wonderful that Suzann could fill in to give us three examples of how to wear a maxi dress if you are short.
Suzann is right around my height and therefore falls into the short category perfectly.

Suzann: Show skin or Fitted Bodice

Woman over 60 for how to wear a maxi dress if you are short
Jacket: Rue 21 ~~Dress: Talbots-petite-thrifted~~ Cami: no label Shoes: Sanuk yoga sandals made from yoga mats~~ Necklaces: 2 layered~~ Earrings: Paparazzi ~~ Purse: Relativity-used to be her mom’s

Suzanne’s advice is to don’t be afraid to hem the dress so you can wear it with flats and that helps with any tripping concerns.

Insider tip: When you are trying on a dress, don’t just stand there, but sit in it, walk in it, and even crouch down in it. You want to copy the movements that will happen when you wear the piece.
And stairs are the factor that can be tricky with maxi dresses. Make sure to pull up the skirt when on stairs so you don’t trip.

She also prefers to have part of the maxi be more fitted, in this case, the bodice of her dress is tighter. But then having the front pleats gives it more flow for the bottom half. This falls into the guidelines we have heard about pairing something tight with something flowy.

Don’t be scared about having a low-cut bodice. There are so many camis, Halftees, or even t-shirts that work wonderfully for layering under it.

Since we were heading into a lecture this day, Suzann’s choice of topper was a cropped denim jacket with cool distressing on it.

You would never know Suzann’s height from these photos because the entire outfit fits marvelously and has wonderful proportions.

Insider tip: One detail that can make you look shorter is the pooling of material on the ground with dresses, skirts, or pants. It’s an easy fix to hem them to the correct (and safe) length.

Accessories and Shoes

Since Suzann’s dress has a multitude of colors in it, she used those colors for her accessories and shoes.
For the top half, she added red, funky earrings, and layered two different necklaces.

Insider tip: When layering necklaces, they can be on top of each other. That’s a great way to make them look like they were made that way.

Also, check out her cool sandals. They are made of recycled yoga mats and are so cool looking (and comfy she said).

Charlotte: How to Wear a Maxi Dress If You Are Short With the Right Material

Older women on how to wear a maxi dress if you are short
Cardigan: ~~Dress: ABYOXI-Goodwill ~~ Shoes: SO-thrifted ~~ Bracelet: Bealls~~ Earrings: Happiness Boutique c/o~~ Purse: no label-thrifted

My mom tells the story that Lesley found this dress when we were thrifting and showed it to my mom saying that it looked like my mom. Charlotte couldn’t even try it on in the store, but luckily it fits magnificently.

The material of this dress is the perfect example of a visual optical illusion. You have the stripes going vertically down the skirt portion and the stripes horizontally at the top.

The other factor for feeling more comfortable in how to wear a maxi dress if you are short would be the type of material. Instead of choosing material that is clingy like a knit, you might try a woven fabric.

Insider tip: Just like any piece of clothing, maxi dresses are not all created equal. You may need to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince, but it will be worth it.

Charlotte’s choice for her topper was a mustard-colored cardigan that matches the mustard in her dress. I love how my mom just threw the cardigan over her shoulders as a cape. This keeps the topper looking flowier and fitting into the vibe of the dress.

Accessories and Footwear

Just like Suzann, my mom matched her accessories and footwear to the colors in her dress. Also like Suzann, she wore flats with her maxi dress, although my mom’s flats are closed-toe instead of sandals.

Insider tip: I remember reading a stylist’s comment that the only footwear you should wear with maxis are sandals because they show off the foot since the dress covers so much of your body. Again, statements like this are hogwash!! Stop believing everything you read (except what I write, haha). Make sure you try it all and evaluate it for yourself.

With a print maxi dress, you may not feel the need to wear as many accessories since the print is such a focal point.

Jodie: Knot the Bottom and/or Wear Heels

How to wear a maxi dress if you are short with accessories
Bolero: from Just Be Youtiful~~Dress: NY & Co-Goodwill~~Shoes: Chines Laundry~~ Flower Pin: Came on a jacket~~ Earrings: from a local boutique~~ Purse: Marajai won in a giveaway

For my ideas of how to wear a maxi dress if you are short, I incorporated two different ideas.
First I wore heels so the material wasn’t so overpowering. In addition, I knotted the bottom of the skirt material to make it shorter and asymmetrical.

Insider tip: When you knot material this way, it does pull it in width-wise as well as shorten it length-wise. Therefore, you might need to use a hair elastic so you don’t pull in too much material.

I wore a short-sleeve bolero jacket as my topper of choice. It is from my favorite local boutique called Just Be Youtiful, and if you reach out to her, she might have a couple still in her shop. I’ve worn this bolero even when we went to Puerto Rico because it’s cotton, lightweight, and colorful.

Now I had the same feeling as Suzann with the bodice of my maxi dress. Instead of layering a cami under it though, I decided to try pinning a flower pin in the area to cover my cleavage instead.

Shopping tip: These material flower pins aren’t found at most stores, but you can find a fun selection on Etsy.

Accessories & Footwear

I decided to wear my black and tan heels to coordinate with the flower pin. Then I also wore brown/black/tan cactus earrings.
Because I had the colorful bolero, I grabbed this orange palm tree purse that I won in a giveaway.

The other detail we were talking about on this day is slips. Do women wear them anymore? Both my mom and Suzann were wearing them with their maxi dresses, but I wasn’t. For myself, I don’t consider the outline of my legs a bad thing,
However, if you are searching for half-slips, Macy’s and Amazon always seem to have a good selection.

Shop the Look:

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How to wear a maxi dress if you are short

Photo credit: Rob Filogomo

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