How to Style a Maxi Dress for an Outdoor Event

Woman lifting her hands at an event while wearing a maxi dress

A maxi dress is a versatile piece of clothing suitable for any event. Here’s your go-to guide on how to style this staple for an outdoor event.

The weather is warming up, schools are closing down, and this could only mean one thing- it’s time to start partying. Get ready for beach summer weddings, pool birthday parties, barbeque soirees and family gatherings because summer is the season of outdoor events.

But even more exciting than all the parties you will attend is the outfits you will rock in the next three months or so. For me, the ultimate outdoor event outfit has to be breezy, lightweight and easy to style. This means that 8 out of 10 times, I will choose a maxi dress with pockets over jeans or shorts.

Maxis are chic, vibrant, feminine and appropriate for any occasion, as long as you wear them the right way. And since most outdoor events tend to stretch to evenings, I never have to worry about my legs feeling cold with a maxi dress on, and it transitions perfectly from day to night.

If you are here, I’m guessing you are looking for ways to style a maxi dress for your next outdoor events. So without further ado, let’s look at the tips.

1. Consider the Dress Code and Event

Almost every event has a dress code, even if that dress code is casual and free. Confirm this when you get invited so you can dress appropriately.

For example, if the event is an outdoor semi-formal wedding, you need to dress up the maxi dress a little bit instead of showing up with sandals and a denim jacket. You will probably want to rock a belt, some high heels or wedges, choose a classier clutch and pay more attention to your jewelry.

A breezy pool party, on the other hand, calls for a less relaxed fit. A bright, lightweight maxi with sandals or embellished wedges will do, but you will also need a sun hat, sunglasses and a beach bag to put everything you will need in the pool.

2. Think about the Season

Maxi dresses are incredibly versatile, so you can wear them all year long, but not the same way. You must consider the weather and also the seasonal colors.

The weather will help you determine what kind of outer garments to wear with the dress. For instance, a simple pashmina or denim jacket over the dress will suffice during summer and spring seasons. However, you will need to wear something warmer and heavier like a coat or chunky sweater when the weather is cold.

The weather will also affect what type of shoes you wear. Warm weather calls for open, airy shoes like sandals, wedges and stilettos, while colder climate requires closed shoes like boots and sneakers.

Finally, think about seasonal colors. Save darker colors such as red and black for colder months and rock whites, pastels and bright florals when it’s warm.

To give you some ideas of how you should wear a maxi dress in different weather, look at these outfits;

Fall Season

  •  Straight black maxi dress, chunky beige sweater, sneakers and a cross-body bag for a casual event.
  •  Floral maxi dress, belt, leather jacket and high heel boots for a semi-formal event.

Summer and Spring

  • Straight red floral maxi dress with a side slit worn with a black crop leather jacket and white sneakers casually.
  • White maxi, sandals, sun hat and sunglasses.
  • Bright floral maxi dress, wedges and a denim jacket.

3.  Accessorize Appropriately

The rule regarding accessories is ‘less is more’, always. So start by identifying essential accessories you will need at the party and go from there. For example, you will need a wide-brim hat and sunglasses if the party is in an open place where the sun will easily access you.

For pool parties, get a good tote bag and stock it with sunscreen, towel, sunglasses and spare underwear.

For weddings and graduations, you want something classy, like a clutch bag or a designer sling bag. Of course, a belt to match the shoes and structure your dress won’t hurt either.

Once that is covered, choose appropriate jewelry for the event. If you have a few basic accessories, feel free to go big on jewelry with big hoops, bangles and necklaces. Otherwise, wear minimal jewelry such as dainty earrings and a watch only to avoid looking overwhelmed and tacky.

4. Shoes for Comfort

When choosing shoes to wear with a maxi dress, we always think about what will look good first. However, outdoor events tend to be social, and you may find yourself walking a lot or dancing. Sometime the surface might even be rocky or full of sand.

So before you pick up that sexy stiletto heel, ask yourself if you will be able to walk and mingle in it for hours comfortably. If the answer is no, put the shoe down and pick something more comfortable, like a wedge or a metallic sandal, depending again on the event. The last thing you want at a party is painful, blistering feet forcing you to sit down the entire time.

Can you wear a maxi dress to an outdoor party?

A maxi dress is perfect for any outdoor party because it’s chic, easy to style and free enough to let you enjoy the party. You can wear it over a bikini to a pool party or dress it up a little with nice heels and a jacket when attending an outdoor wedding, graduation or barbeque party.

What do you wear with a maxi dress to an outdoor party?

When attending an outdoor party, you want to be as free as possible to mingle, walk around and even dance when necessary. This means wearing as less as possible over your maxi. If you must, throw on a denim or leather jacket or even a simple wrap on your shoulders and then rock some comfortable open shoes such as wedges or sandals.

Lior Shapiro

I love clothes with pockets and dresses, and I think any woman can pull off a good maxi dress.
I believe women's clothes with pockets make the world a better place.