How to Wear a White Maxi Dress

Women styling white maxi dresses
The secret to looking effortlessly chic in white. Learn how to accessorize a white maxi dress and the best way to style it for every occasion.

If I had to pick only one clothing item to wear for the rest of my life, it would be a white maxi dress, and for good reasons. It is versatile, breezy, easy to style, and suitable for any weather. White maxi dresses are also very soothing to the eye and a safe choice when you don’t feel like playing with different colors.

Unfortunately, and I say this with love, not everyone knows how to wear a white maxi dress. Yes, it’s easy to style and accessorize, but you have to wear the dress appropriately first.

White maxi dress outfit ideas

White is the perfect canvas, but canvas alone is not enough. Before we begin, here are my 5 favotie ideas for white maxi dress outfits:

  1. The flag: white maxi dress, denim jacket, red accessories
  2. patterns: white maxi dress and whatever you own with patterns and crazy colors. Leapord, zebra, leaves, abstract shapes. The white is a calm base for the storm
  3. White and color block: white maxi dress accessorized with pieces all of the same color, preferably strong. For example – purple earrings, shoes, bag and scarf.
  4. Pastel: Same as the color block, but with calm colors.
  5. Bright: I won’t recommend going all white unless it’s your own wedding, but matching white with other bright colors has a stunning effect of calmness on the one hand and boldness on the other.

The Best Way to Wear a White Maxi Dress

Anyone can pull off a white maxi dress, but there is a method to that madness. First, you must get the right shade of white for you, the right silhouette, and the right underwear.

1. Think about your skin tone

Everyone has a unique skin tone and eye color. So the first step to wearing a white maxi dress well is to identify what shade of white goes well with your skin tone. If you have fair skin, go for warm or off whites because stark white will wash you out. Similarly, choose brilliant white to balance things out if you have an olive or darker tone. And for those with medium complexions, stark white will brighten you up and keep your skin from looking flushed.

2. Wear undergarments the color of your skin

White dresses are a risky wear because they allow you to see whatever other colors and patterns are under there. To keep this from happening, wear simple nude colors without lace, beading or all those sexy embellishments. The color of your underwear should be as close as possible to your skin color. It means black, white, red, and all those other colors are out. This kind of bras is a good fit and highly recommended.

Alternatively, wear a plain slip dress underneath to keep everything a secret. This is especially useful if your white maxi dress is see-through. A slip dress will smoothen out everything and help your dress maintain structure.

3. Don’t wear white shoes

This should fall in the styling category, but it’s a rule you must adhere to. Stay away from white shoes unless you want to look like a bride. A white maxi dress is all the white you will need for that outfit, and everything else should introduce color and pop. If you can, avoid wearing anything else that is white, even if it’s a purse or a necklace. There are other shoe options you can look at to look great.

4. Choose the right material for the occasion

Last but not least, match the material of the dress to the occasion you are wearing it to. White maxi dresses come in different materials like cotton, linen, crepes, and others. While a see-through, flowy maxi dress will be appropriate for the beach, it won’t cut it for church, office, or an event. A dress made of heavier materials like crepe or wool would be more appropriate.

How to Style a White Maxi Dress

Now that you know how to wear a white dress the right way, let’s go ahead and style it, shall we?

My favorite thing about white maxi dresses is that you don’t need to do much in terms of styling. You can do something simple like throwing on some metallic sandals and bangles or dress up with a pair of stilettos. Whatever you do, don’t overdress because a white dress is a statement on its own.

1. Add a Touch of Color

Again, we want to keep things simple, so you have to be careful with how many colors you add to the outfit. My advice- pick one or two things only where you will inject that touch of color. In most cases, that would be the belt and the shoe. You can also do the jacket and the shoe or jacket and handbag.

I like to wear a black leather jacket or denim over the dress for that pop of color and structure. If you go this route, keep your shoes simple and neutral to avoid color clashing.

Red, black, dark brown, blue, and emerald go really well with white if they are on a belt, shoe, or handbag. Metallics like gold and silver are also perfect.

2. Match the Shoe to the Occasion

As I have said, shoes are a great place to introduce color to the outfit. But you must also pick the right shoe for the occasion and the mood. For example, flip-flops are good for the beach, sandals for a girl’s day out or errands, and stilettos for something more formal like a dinner date, wedding, or church.

The alternative to black or metallic sandals is sneakers, and you can replace stilettos with a pair of heeled boots.  To keep things interesting, I like wearing embellished wedges to fancy lunches, parties, and weddings instead of heels or sandals.

woman with a white maxi dress and statement colorful earrings
This girl here does it right with a white maxi dress, colorful statement earrings and a small bag

3. Go Big on Jewelry

A white dress is a clean canvas for anything you want to add, especially jewelry. Because it’s white and clear, your statement pieces get a chance to shine and pop on that day. For example, long chain necklaces and chandelier earrings are a great way to make a simple maxi dress pop.

As always, however, keep the occasion in mind. This means a fancy statement necklace and earrings are very appropriate for weddings, parties, and maybe even church and lunch with friends. They will not, however, be appropriate at work on casual Friday, when meeting a client, and even for a job interview. In such cases, keep the jewelry modest with a simple gold chain, earrings, and a watch.

4. Pair the Dress with other Pieces of Clothing

While a white maxi dress is enough on its own, sometimes you have to layer up to add warmth or color to the outfit. I have already mentioned wearing a denim or leather jacket above, but there are many other ways to pair a white dress with other clothing.

Adding a cardigan over the dress is one look I love when it’s a little chilly outside. Something dark colored like black or brown will tone down the white and make it more versatile. If you are going out for some errands, a chunky sweater with a pair of sneakers is a stylish, warm and casual look that takes zero effort to pull off.

woman with a white maxi dress, a bright jacket and a bag

alternatively, you can go for an all-bright look like the cool girl from the photo wearing all bright, with bright shoes, bright jacket and bright bag.

A white maxi dress can dress up or down, from casual to semi-formal, or to a wedding in minutes. A blazer can do, but if this feels too stiff, a straight button-up sweater cinched at the waist with a belt can turn an otherwise beachy-looking dress into something you can wear to a meeting.

In summary, you can style a white maxi dress a myriad of ways depending on the occasion. Add a hat and sunglasses when it’s sunny and hot outside, or layer up the dress with a classy jacket and a winter hat when it’s cold. The idea is to complement the white and let the dress shine.

How do you wear a white maxi dress?

Choosing the right material and shade of white are the most important factors when wearing a white maxi dress. You also have to wear the right undergarments because white can be transparent and then style the dress according to the occasion.

Can you wear a white maxi dress to work?

A white maxi dress is the most versatile piece of clothing because it’s neutral and blank. You can style it any way you want to suit a particular occasion, including the office. If you choose a semi-formal dress with heavy material, you can pair it with a blazer or sweater and some pumps to get an official look.

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.