Maxi Dresses for Every Body Type

Find the maxi dress that suits you best.
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Julianne Hough

Short on stature? Fret not. Though pint-sized princesses are typically cautioned against long skirts that hide the legs, making this trend work isn’t a Mission: Impossible. Look at Julianne Hough, although she’s only 5’4”, she looks fab in a maxi dress. The key is to find a dress that skims the floor, as opposed to a shorter version that cuts the leg off at mid-calf. Look also for fitted numbers that won’t overwhelm a petite frame. It’s important to keep everything in proportion so steer clear of heavy, long-sleeved caftan styles and over-the-top prints. Wearing a solid color or diagonal or vertical stripes can lengthen the body’s appearance, while an Empire waist can help make your bottom half look longer than it is. And don’t forget the heels—you’ll definitely need them!

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Our Picks:

Go safari-chic in this olive number by Nasty Gal ($58,, which hugs the body beautifully. Add towering clogs for extra height, plus wooden bangles and a tribal-print scarf for a trendy touch.

Maxi dress

Add chunky turquoise jewellery to the Gap eyelet-detailed convertible maxi dress ($79.99, Gold heeled sandals will liven up this sweet strapless maxi.

Maxi dress

This gorgeous blue dress by Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent ($250, has a glamorous, date night appeal. The solid color and narrow waist help elongate a short frame.

Maxi dress

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14 thoughts on “Maxi Dresses for Every Body Type

  1. Fashionista says:

    I absolutely love maxi dresses. They are so easy, comfortable and perfect for summer. The only problem I have with them is the length… sometimes they’re too short, or too long. I wonder if it’s worth it to get them altered.

  2. uptowngirl says:

    @Fashionista: Definitely! Small alterations can make a big difference in your clothes. I love maxi dresses, too – they feel as comfy as nightgowns.

  3. mothermeryl says:

    Ali Larter’s dress is so long – how does she not trip over the hem?

  4. booksorclothes says:

    I love the idea of maxi dresses, but wouldn’t they be hot?

  5. Yay heels says:

    I had no idea that Jennifer Anniston was short!

  6. miriama59 says:

    I love them but it would be nice to see one on larger women and not Jennifer. Just to see how one could wear it and not look huge.

  7. shaleeee says:

    Great dress…and Jen is not tall and it still looks perfect

  8. Yay heels says:

    @ Miriam- there’s a section for curvy gals in the article!

  9. blossom says:

    @Yay, I always thought that she was small framed and closer to 5’4″ but she is 5’6″. I was surprised by that.

  10. intrigue1 says:

    I am so glad to read this article. I am short and always thought icouldn’t wear the maxi dresses. The tip about finding a dress that skims the floor will be useful for me when I go shopping for a maxi dress.

  11. Yay heels says:

    @blossom-that’s funny, I always thought Jennifer was around 5’8! Not shorter. Oh, the magic of television….lol

  12. kkate says:

    @Miriam/@Yay heels

    it’s a little disappointing that nothing seems to come between curvy and plus size. i certainly don’t fall under average or petite, but can’t shop plus size.

  13. miss_wilson says:

    @kkate i think jessica simpson is a good example of that. shes not petite but she’s no where near plus size right?

  14. miss_wilson says:

    @kkate i think jessica simpson is a good example of that. shes not petite but she's no where near plus size right?

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