How to Casually Wear and Accessorize a Maxi Dress

Wearing maxi dresses casually in summer
A Maxi dress is the queen of versatility and comfort. But does it make a great casual outfit? Learn tips for styling a casual maxi dress all year long are here.

It’s beautiful, regal, and feminine in every way possible. Of course, I am talking about the incredible maxi dress. You will see ladies rocking it in weddings, church, family gatherings, and formal parties as exquisite evening gowns.

In fact, the fashion industry unanimously agrees that the maxi dress is the most versatile piece of clothing ever. It is perfect for almost any occasion, weather, and mood, which is why it transitions so well from day to evening.

Can a Maxi Dress be Casual?

Every version of the dictionary defines a maxi dress as ‘a casual, usually sleeveless dress that falls to the ankles.’ Granted, not all maxi dresses are sleeveless or casual looking, but that is the image most people have of a maxi dress. And while there are maxi dresses designed for formal wear such as gowns, this dress is mostly worn in casual situations.

It is the dress you wear to hang out at home on your day off, run errands around town and go to the beach with friends. A maxi is also a great option for parties, whether day or night, as well as other casual events like lunch dates, family gatherings, and shopping.

To be clear, a casual maxi dress is designed to be that way from the get-go. It’s lightweight, free-flowing, and designed to allow as much airflow and comfort as possible. Most casual maxis have straps instead of sleeves, deep necks, slits, and other decorations that push the casual narrative.

How to Dress Up a Casual Maxi Dress

The beautiful thing about a casual maxi dress is that you don’t have to dress it up much. The dress alone brings all the style, femininity, and freshness you need from a casual outfit. However, you can do one or two things to make the outfit stand out even more.

Hat and Shades for Hot Weather

If I could add only two pieces to a casual maxi dress, it would be a hat and a pair of sunglasses. These two add a layer of color and style, not to mention they protect your skin and eyes from direct sunlight. For the hat, I would look at the dress colors and choose one that goes well with it. If in doubt, always go white or beige.

Statement Jewelry, Always

The other piece of accessory you never leave out when wearing a casual maxi dress is jewelry. I am talking about big, popping statement jewelry here like hoops, chandelier earrings, sleek neck pieces, and loads of bangles or bracelets.

The choice of jewelry will depend on your personal style and, to some extent, the dress itself. For example, a bohemian style person and dress call for more creative designs with lots of color, stones, and leather. On the other hand, contemporary style calls for more metallic options like silver, copper, and gold pieces.

Let the Feet Shine

As I said, you wear a casual maxi dress to relaxed settings or when busy running errands. This means you need comfortable shoes that let your feet breathe. My number one option for a casual fit is always a pair of metallic sandals because they are cute and allow me to show off my pedicure. You can switch this up with flip-flops if you are headed to the beach or simply hanging out at home.

I also find sneakers to be quite the perfect casual look when paired with a dark maxi dress like black or brown. For parties, feel free to rock a cute pair of open wedges or stiletto heels to elevate the look a little bit.

Layer Up for the Cold

By definition, a casual maxi dress is breezy and light, making it ideal for warm weather. But when evening comes or it’s a cooler season, you need to layer up the outfit for some warmth. The best way is with a fitting leather or denim jacket. If it’s too cold, throw on a warm scarf as well, or wear a turtleneck underneath the dress.

I also like a chunky sweater over a maxi dress. It’s a simple casual style you can rock with sneakers, and it looks really good. If the sweater is too big, wear a belt over it and then pull up the sweater slowly until it covers the belt. This old trick makes it look like you are wearing a skirt and a sweater.

Add some Color

The last thing I would do to style a casual maxi dress is to add some color with accessories. This is completely optional, so only do it when necessary. A good example is wearing a brown leather belt over the dress to add structure and color. You can also do a handbag or a clutch bag in bold colors like brown, black, red, and green. Make sure the accessory you choose and its color go well with the dress you have on.

How do You Wear a Black Maxi Dress Casually?

Although most people love white maxi dresses, a black maxi dress is a plain backdrop you must build and brighten up when styling. You must add other colors and textures with jewelry, accessories, shoes, and outerwear. A classic look is pairing a black casual maxi dress with metallic sandals, a white or denim shirt, and plenty of dainty metallic jewelry.

You can also switch the sandals for white sneakers and the shirt for denim or a white-fitting jacket. Play with bright colors like light blue, white, pink, brown, and beige in accessories until you get it right. Feel free to add bright colors on the purse or a hat too.

Sometimes, you can make a knot on the bottom of the dress instead of letting it free and then rock some sneakers or sandals and a denim jacket. This is a great way to wear a casual black maxi to the beach or on errand day.

Can you wear a maxi dress casually?

A maxi dress is the ultimate casual outfit. Its light colors, comfortable fabric, and simplistic design, add all the key elements of casual wear. You can wear it casually to lunch with friends, on the beach, for errands, or even while staying home.

How do you style a casual maxi dress?

To style a casual maxi dress, you have to accessorize with elements that enhance the casual look you are looking for. Choose fun accessories like a colorful belt, statement jewelry, a crossbody bag, and a light jacket or shirt. You can also make a knot on the dress if it’s too long and wear a nice pair of casual shoes like sneakers 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.