Style Remix: The Maxi Dress

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Women wearing maxi dresses


Photos: ELLE

For this edition of Style Remix, we're featuring the maxi dress -- a perfect item for spring-to-summer transitions! When you think maxi dress, what oftentimes comes to mind is a boho chic look incorporating a long pendant necklace or bangles with summer sandals. But we want you to think outside of the box, so we're here to show you how to mix things up!

First things first, if you don't already have this staple in your wardrobe, here are some basic tips for buying a maxi dress:

  • Consider Length: Women of any size or height can wear a maxi dress, but tailoring the length is a must! If you find that all dresses are a few inches too long, consider buying a dress for the fit and then taking it in to be shortened or hemming it at home.
  • Look for a Defined Waist: The most neutral and generally most flattering dresses are narrowest at the natural waist, or have a change in structure near the natural waist (think a flowy layer, an elastic band, etc.). If you're not comfortable in a silhouette with a defined waist, consider cinching a less-shapely dress with a statement belt. It helps to break up the visual line of a material-heavy dress.
  • Note How the Material Hangs: Take a few twirls in front of the mirror before you buy a maxi dress. Since there's already a lot of extra material, look for a dress that falls close to the body and flows over your curves -- meaning no squeezing and no poofing.

Ready to see some remixes on maxi dresses? Read on to find out three different ways to wear a maxi dress:

1. Va-Va-Voom Vintage

Style remix maxi funk


Product Details: Dress, Hat, Braided Ring, Black Ring, Necklace, Belt, Lipstick

For a vintage-inspired look, pair a straw bowler hat, an architectural necklace, and several rings with a solid-colored maxi dress. With this ensemble, any type of shoe works, but the real punch is in a bright lip color. Soft, wavy hair, a classic red lip, and an abundance of jewelry channels the glamour of a silver-screen siren.

2. Funky Festival

Style remix maxi fest


Product Details: Dress, Chambray, Earrings, Wristlet, Boots, Ring

This ensemble is inspired by the fresh, funky look seen at all the hottest music festivals. To show off your boots (how cool is the woven detailing on this pair?), try knotting up the side of your maxi dress for a temporary asymmetric hem. Cuff up the sleeves of the chambray shirt, and don't be afraid to mix-and-match with jewel-tones and brights, or mixed metal accessories. It's all about ingenuity and personal expression!

3. Some Enchanted Evening

Style remix maxi evening


Product Details: Dress, Necklace, Jacket, Belt, Wristlet, Flats

To dress up a maxi dress for evening or a nice dinner out, try it with a cropped black blazer and printed flats. Keep accessories clean and simple in neutral colors. While the knit material of most casual maxi dresses is not traditionally an evening fabric, it can be dressed up a little for a spring or summer evening. Here, we've paired the dress with a belt of the same color, in a deeper shade. It's a great way to add a little interest to your outfit without breaking up the long line of the dress.

What do you think?

Maxi dresses have become a great college staple. Do you have one (or a few) in your closet? Would you wear these outfits? What other college staples would you like to see featured in Style Remix? Let us know what you think in the comments below.