How to Wear a Beach Maxi Dress

Woman in a green maxi dress beach maxi dress
Going to the beach is always a great time to show off your maxi dress. This guide shows some the best maxi dresses for the beach you can rock.

My rules for beachwear are that it has to be classy, breezy, and loose. This puts summer maxi dresses at the top of what I wear to the beach, even if I’m rocking a gorgeous bikini set underneath.

Besides those three reasons, wearing a maxi to the beach means you can easily grab a bite or a drink with friends after, without going home to change. And if you are not feeling a hundred percent confident in your body right now, nothing conceals those imperfections better than a maxi dress.

More importantly, a maxi dress is the best outfit to wear to a beach wedding. Style it with the right shoe and accessories, and you will be the classiest-looking person at that wedding.

Types of Maxi Dresses to Wear to the Beach

Ideally, any summer maxi dress will do, provided it’s light and bright. This, however, depends on the look you are going for. For example, I find loose and straight maxis with a slit or two on the sides look better at the beach. If it has pockets, that’s a plus because you can stash some things in there or tuck your hands in the pockets.

White or beige linen maxis with side slits are my go-to always. But I recently found out that kaftan dresses are just as comfortable, not to mention more beautiful. The embroidery around the neck and slits makes for a beautiful ensemble, and you can style this dress for different occasions.

According to style expert Christian Simone, summer is the time to break out the vibrant shades that have been taking a back seat the last few months. Bold hues like tangerine, lime, magenta, neon, and white are all in for the beach.

If you prefer something more casual, a shirt maxi dress with its own belt is a fabulous pick, and you can leave some buttons open. I love shirt dresses for the beach because they are usually the perfect length, and you don’t have to worry about dragging on moisture or sand with your dress.

If you are tall and slim, feel free to rock something floral and unique too. Going back to length, if the dress goes below the ankle and you are afraid it will touch water or sand, I recommend tying a knot on the side to make it shorter and beachier.

What to Wear over a Beach Maxi

Beach maxi dresses often make up the entire outfit, rest for shoes and accessories. However, sometimes it’s necessary to throw on an extra piece over it to add some decency, warmth, or style. On a very windy day, I find a button-up shirt to be a great cover-up for your bare shoulders and hands, especially when wearing a sleeveless dress. Let the shirt fall freely with buttons open, or tie a knot on the waist to create a skirt look.

If an event extends to the evening, feel free to throw on a denim jacket over the maxi dress. It’s a great way to add dimension and warmth to an otherwise simple dress. If it’s not too cold, a wrap such as a pashmina or a shawl will do.

Footwear for Beach Maxi Dress

The shoes you wear with your beach maxi depend on the occasion. If you are just strutting around the beach on a beautiful sunny day, flat strappy sandals or flip flops are the best options, so your toes can enjoy some breeze and sand.

But if you are attending a beach wedding or party, consider a classier option, such as wedges or strappy sandals with a bit of a heel to elevate the look. Any open shoes with a chunkier heel will be perfect if they look good with the dress. Espadrilles are especially beachy because of the sandy look, and they don’t feel hot on your feet.

Speaking of feet, it helps a lot if you paint your toenails a bright color. Most beach outfits are neutral, so the toenail color creates some contrast, not to mention drawing attention to your feet. Choose popping colors like red, green, and pink.

Accessorizing a Beach Maxi Dress

Again, how you accessorize a beach maxi dress depends on the occasion. You will need to dress up a little more if you are attending an event as compared to just hanging out at the beach.

That said, there are some accessories you can’t leave behind when going to the beach. Sunglasses top that list because you must protect your eyes from direct sunlight and sand. Sunnies are also a fashion statement, so go big or go home with them.

A delightfully floppy hat is also a must-have, whether you are at a wedding or not. It’s also a multi-faceted accessory in that it protects your face from the sun and also adds an aspect of style to your beach outfit. Bucket or straw beach hats are a fantastic choice, and you can try to choose something that goes well with your dress or shoes.

The third must-have is a bag. I’m a sucker for convenience, so I always have a tote bag to keep everything I would need at the beach. Stuff like lotion, wipes, water, your phone and even a book will have a safe place to stay as you lay down on the beach. And don’t forget to carry a thick shawl or spread to sit on.

The last accessory I would recommend is a headband or a bandana for your hair. This could be functional to keep your hair off your face, but it’s mostly decorative because it adds a bit of color and style to your head.

As you can tell, I’m not big on jewelry when heading to the beach because I have lost a few there. If you are a jewelry lover, however, nothing looks better than gold or silver hoops on your ears and a dainty anklet.

You can wear more jewelry when attending a beach event, though. Layering a few gold chains on your neck or bracelets creates a more feminine look and brightens the outfit even more.

Can you wear a maxi dress to the beach?

Maxi dresses are the perfect summer outfit because they are breezy and comfortable. This makes them perfect as beach wear too, and all you need is simple accessories like a beach hat and some sunnies to pull the outfit together.

How do you make a beach maxi dress classy?

Maxi dresses are classy by design, but you can style and accessorize them to look more elegant. Throw on something like a denim jacket or shawl over the maxi dress, wear a classy wedge or chunky heel, and choose beautiful accessories to go with the outfit.

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.