Ashley MacInnis: The Frenzied Fashionista


How To Properly Wear A Maxi Dress This Summer

Everywhere. Every day. With anything and everything you want.

My friend recently asked me for advice on how to wear maxi dresses and followed up her question with, “Better yet, write a post about it!” And so here we are. I love maxi dresses because I don’t have to shave my legs to wear them and they’re basically an office-friendly, stylish option when all you want to do is wear sweatpants. What’s not to love?

They’re also insanely easy to wear, because—get ready for this—you simply wear them like every other dress, ever.

Here’s the deal—maxi dresses are not all made equally, but then, neither are dresses with shorter hemlines. You can get maxi dresses that are well-structured or flowy, casual or fancy, empire-waist or body-skimming. The trick is choosing the style that you feel best in. I have a little bit of everything. Some dresses are easier to style than others—some are best as stand-alones, while others really need something extra.

Empire-waists are great to minimize and camouflage a tummy. If you’re busty, but small-waisted, look for defined waists to avoid the muumuu look. Not ready to commit to a floor-length dress? Try a hi-low instead. 

When styling a maxi dress, pretend that it is knee length and proceed as usual. Cover it up with a denim jacket to grab coffee, or pair it with a great blazer or cardigan for days in the office. Wear sandals, wedges, heels, flats, or even boots when the weather is cold. Really. It’s that simple. 

 Here’s a couple of ways I like to wear my favourite maxi dresses:

I love this grey and orange striped Calvin Klein dress I snagged at Winners on a clearance rack last summer, but the neckline does nothing for me. I like to throw my AE denim jacket or my orange Banana Republic sweater over it for interest. (And yes, I know it's too long for me—I usually wear heels with it.) Top your body-skimming maxi dresses with cardigans or blazers to dress ‘em up. Want a more casual look? Try a pull-over sweater or a Chambray button-down (left unbuttoned) on for size.

If you have a stand-alone piece (like the next two dresses), wear it alone or with another piece—depending on the weather, the occasion, and your mood. I like a blazer over this Gap yellow and navy floral number, with a pair of cork wedges for the office. The structure makes it a little dressier than my CK dressperfect for anyone who’s worried about losing their shape in all that fabric! (Blazer also from Gap.)

(Dress: Sweet Pea Boutique, Halifax; Leather-like jacket: Rickis. Also, smiling preschoolers are the best accessories ever.)

This breezy leopard-and-floral-print dress has a deep V in the front and the back, and the narrow straps make it more drink-friendly than desk-appropriate. With a leather jacket on top, the summery fabric is toughened up and Fall weather-friendly.

So, there you have it. Simple, right? Let me know if and how you wear your maxi dresses in the comments below! 

In the market for a new maxi dress? Check out these styles from Old Navy—with a great range of sizes and styles, you're sure to find one you love! Forever 21 and Gap have some great styles to choose from, too! 

Thanks for reading! See how I wear my black maxi dress here. If you're more interested in denim than dresses, check out my favourite denim brand and be sure to weigh in on the "anti-thigh gap jeans" from this Kickstarter project!