This past summer was my maxi dress summer. For some reason, despite the long run of popularity, I had yet to invest in a maxi dress. So last June I took the plunge. And I'm so happy I did. Not only were they surprisingly mom-friendly (I could chase! Carry! Bend-down! Sit in the grass and sand! Go to the playground!) but they were incredibly flattering…and ended up being the only comfortable option for this pregnant gal. (I literally wore the dress pictured at left 4-5 times a week).
I. Am. Sold.
So yeah…I'd like to keep wearing them. Especially considering that a few of my empire-waist options (perfect for pregnancy) will also be perfect for post-partum use.
However, I'm finding that the proportion is a bit tricky. Some of my shoes are too high for my dresses, some of my sweaters are too short or too dumpy when layered…the ease of the summer maxi dress doesn't necessarily translate into Fall. It requires a bit of thought.
So I rounded up three very different sources of inspiration. These three different gals are wearing their maxi dresses with various layers, which served as a perfect starting point to cozy up a summer maxi. And because we're moms, I then translated their fabulous looks into something I'd be willing to throw on amidst the chaos that is raising a 2-year old (and soon to be new baby…in exactly one week. OMG).
Maxi Dress + Long Cardigan
This first pairing, from the very stylish Lena, is the most easily translated look. She pairs a simple black maxi dress (from Target, no less!) with a long sweater and pendant necklace. Because all of the lines are long, long, long, this whole outfit works.
Also notice that her maxi dress almost grazes the ground. I like this proportion. Keeping your maxi dress within a few inches of the ground keeps your lines long, and makes you look tall.
To cozy Lena's look up even further, I paired a simple cotton maxi dress with a blanket-style cardigan and tall boots.
Want more Lena? Check out her blog, Quality Rivets.
MaxiDress+LongCardi by aintnomomjeans featuring striped cardigans
$53 - piperlime.gap.com
Halter dress »
$23 - forever21.com
Striped cardigans »
$24 - piperlime.gap.com
Cluster jewelry »
$170 - piperlime.gap.com
Maxi Dress + Belted Long Cardi
The next look is from Beth Jones of the highly addictive BJones Style blog (she also has crazy hair tutorials – so cool).
Again, the proportions are nailed. The jacket is a bit longer, drawing your eye down, but the belt gives her a waist, and the overall look a bit of structure. The skirt? Nice and long.
However, as much as I love the jacket vibe she's working, I know wouldn't be able to pull off a belted jacket for very long. I just get uncomfortable in anything not butter-soft, and I'd be messing with the jacket all day. So to translate it into a mom-friendly look, I'd suggest either belting a soft cardigan, or finding one with a belt. I cozied it up further with a turtleneck and tall boots.
I also love this look because it shows a totally amazing way to use printed summer dresses in your Fall/Winter rotation.
MaxiDress+BeltedCardi by aintnomomjeans featuring smocked dresses
$50 - delias.com
Smocked dresses »
$28 - forever21.com
Rayon tops »
$85 - piperlime.gap.com
Slip on boots »
Maxi Dress + Cropped Sweater
This last look from AnnaKatrina is my current obsession. Like most of my obsessions, there is nothing mom-friendly about a white lace shirt (nor is it winter-friendly for that matter). HOWEVER…I'm in love with the proportions. I think this look is perfect for shorter moms. So my translation is a bit loose, but, I think, still works fabulously.
MaxiDress+CroppedSweater by aintnomomjeans featuring a maxi dress
$53 - piperlime.gap.com
Maxi dress »
$24 - topshop.com
TopShop socks »
$58 - urbanoutfitters.com
$140 - zappos.com
$34 - piperlime.gap.com
What do you think, readers? Are you planning to bust out your summer maxi anytime soon? Which look will you try and re-create?
I am still on the hunt for the perfect maxi dress (on a budget). I am six feet tall and a little bit bigger with a little bit of a belly and that makes for a tough combination. Every time I try on a maxi dress my 2 1/2 year old asks me if it’s for bedtime because it looks like a nightgown! I will keep hunting because I love these looks 🙂
YAY YAY YAY! I’m such a maxi dress (and skirt) fan, so it’s like you wrote this post just for me!
I just got a Gypsy05 maxi in the most beautiful peach color, and I’ve been wearing it with brown boots and a big cozy ivory cardigan, belted with a scarf like an obi wrap. I also just ordered a fantastic printed maxi (all of my others are solid colors) by Rachel Pally that’s also long sleeved–I’m thinking a cropped cardigan on top?
Thanks, S. This rules.
Diann C – For some reason, it took me a looong time to find ones I liked. The wait was worth it, though!
Amy – Sooooo….thanks for describing your outfit! I’m particularly interested because, I believe, we own the same dress. Weren’t you the one to tip us off on the Gypsy05 sale? I also bought the long peach. And something cropped would be gorgeous with either dress. LOVE it.
Love this idea! I think I’ll start with the belted cardi until the emtpy pouch that was once my baby bump is a little less noticable! 🙂
I love this idea as well. I just bought the Mantle Dynamics Dress at Anthroplogie. It is long with long sleeves, but has a lot of drape to it. I wonder how this will translate….
Thanks for the post!
Shana–Yes! That was me…and we definitely own the same dress. I was worried at first that it would feel too “springy,” but the peach color has been a perfect match for all of my neutrals. I think I’ve worn it once a week since it came in the mail. For example, I wore it to a Thanksgiving party last week with a grey sequin tee from JCrew underneath, a belted chambray shirt from Madewell on top, and black sequin flats. I think it’s my favorite new dress! (And I bet it looks adorable on your bump!)