The Maxi Dress for Petite Ladies: 5 Simple Rules

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(Editor’s note: This post on the maxi dress for petite ladies was updated 1/17).

Petite women have certain fashion challenges, and one of those is pulling off the maxi dress effectively. You may have heard a so-called rule that you just shouldn’t wear the maxi dress at all — but we’re here to tell you the opposite. You can look fabulous in a maxi dress and we have celebrity style twins to prove it.

Nicole Richie at 5’1” and Kerry Washington at 5’4″ are our inspiration as we cover the rules for how to wear a maxi dress when you’re petite. Follow these rules and you’ll pull off the maxi dress like a true fashionista.

How to Wear a Maxi Dress if You’re Petite

 1. Watch Your Lengthpetite maxi dress

One question we hear is this: How long should a maxi dress be? 

On a petite woman, the ideal length for a maxi dress is somewhere between the ankle and the top of the foot. Click To Tweet

Go longer and you end up having to carry your dress all day. Go shorter and you look too boxy. If you’re not shopping in the petite section, you have two options:

  1. Look for a dress that is calf length for an average height woman OR
  2. Buy a dress you love and have it tailored.

2. Look for a Great Neckline

petite maxi dress

Strapless or spaghetti strap necklines can often create a boxy feel, thus making the wearer look shorter. Instead opt for a deep v-neck which elongates your upper body and creates the illusion of height.

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  • very very nice tips! I was afraid of wearing maxis before. After reading this blog, I am feeling confident to wear a maxi. thanks a lot for haring these tips with us.

  • These are great tips, I agree with the statement that when choosing dresses one should look for options that draw your eye to your neckline. I also think that choosing monochromatic ( solid colors) dresses over skirts is also a smart way to elongate one’s silhouette because the lines stay long as compared to a 2 pieces combo in different colors. I would add that if you have to go with a top and maxi skirt, then keep them in solid and similar colors and chose a top that elongates your neck – that will visually elongate as it will draw your eye to the upper part of your body.

  • tiffany

    This is really great! But I bought a Maxi dress years ago and its over my ankles. Wish I knew where the cut off for petite woman and Maxi dresses were before, but these are great tips! I love the dress…I think haha. I don’t wanna get rid of it, so I think I’ll have to get it hemmed.

  • I love these tips! I found the tip on wearing solid colors instead of large patterns particularly useful. So short people like us can wear maxi dresses, too!

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