Maxi Dress Ideal Length

Maxi dresses of different lengths

How long is a maxi dress supposed to be? This has to be the most common question I hear when women are trying on a long dress at the store. It is the question we want to answer today, whether you are looking for a dress to hang out at the beach or a classy one for a moonlight dinner.

The ideal maxi dress length is 55-62 inches, depending on your height. This means the dress’s hemline should be somewhere between your ankle and the top of your feet. In other words, the perfect maxi dress stops about an inch or two above the floor.

This ideal length serves two purposes. One, it prevents the dress from dragging along on the floor, sweeping away all the dirt behind you. It also completes your frame, so you don’t look cut off at the legs, making you look shorter or awkward. And yes, this is the correct maxi dress length, whether you are tall or short.

But that answer doesn’t cover all there is to know about maxi dress length.

When considering the length of a maxi dress, you have to consider three other things; the brand, the shoe, and your body type.

A long maxi dress with pockets

The Brand

I discovered the tough way that not all maxi dresses are made equal. Two maxi dresses from one retailer may be completely different length-wise.

Why, you ask?

Because different brands do their measuring differently and interpret floor length or maxi length differently. There’s still confusion between floor length and ankle length regarding maxi dresses. It is therefore important to identify brands that carry maxi dresses that hit the right spot.

This also means finding brands that carry dresses specifically for your height. As a petite woman, you don’t want to keep taking dresses to the tailor to adjust the hemline. It’s expensive and doesn’t always turn out well, especially if the dress has a defined waist. This is why I recommend Banana Republic or Ann Taylor if you are short like me.

The Shoes

The shoes you wear are almost always determined by the occasion. For example, if you go to the beach, you’ll likely wear flat sandals, while high heels are more appropriate for formal or semi-casual occasions.

The ideal maxi dress length we gave above is perfect for all occasions, whether you are wearing heels or flats. However, we find that an ankle-length dress is more suitable for beachy or rainy days because the dress doesn’t touch the sand or the water.

If you are wearing heels to a fancier event, however, you have to consider how the height of your shoes will affect the dress length. So, how long should a maxi dress be with heels?

Floor-length will be the perfect length in this case. Size Chart defines floor length as touching the top of your feet without covering your shoes. When you wear heels, the dress will lift a bit but still be appropriately stylish.

Body Type

Finally, you have to consider your body type. If you are a curvy woman, your body will lift the dress more than it would a slim woman of the same height. Your shoulders, bust, waist, and hip width all determine how long a dress will be.

This is why I don’t advise women to measure the dress. Instead, you should try it on and see where the hemline hits your legs. But if you are shopping online, you may want to add a few inches if you are on the curvy side to compensate for the width. Alternatively, shop in the plus size section where the length is more likely to be true to size.

How Long is Too Long for A Maxi Dress?

A maxi dress is too long if it covers your feet when wearing flat shoes. It is exceedingly long if it covers your feet when wearing heels. As much as you want the dress to be long, you should still be able to show off your cute footwear because they make a big part of the outfit.

Wearing a floor-sweeping dress is also dangerous. Besides literally sweeping the floors, it can also trip you, causing you to fall on your face in front of people. The alternative to that is that you have to carry the dress with your hand all day long to keep from tripping.

Measuring the Dress Length

Again, I strongly believe you should try on every dress before buying it. But since we are now living in a convenient digital world, the next best option is to measure yourself regularly and have those numbers ready.

This will help make it possible to buy a dress without trying it on. According to Size Chart, dress length starts from the transition between the shoulder and neck and goes down to the hemline. However, most brands measure from the top of the strap or shoulder to the hemline. If the maxi dress is strapless, you measure from the hollow of your neck when standing upright and looking straight ahead to the top of your leg.

Here’s my final thought about this maxi dress length issue. If you find a dress that is perfect in every way except it’s a little long, you don’t have to take it back. There are ways to make it perfect besides taking it to the tailor. For example, you could wear heels or wedges to bring up your height. You could also use the belt trick to hide some of the fabric at the waist. But if the dress fits you perfectly everywhere else, adjusting the hem isn’t the worst idea either.

How should a maxi dress fit?

A perfect maxi dress should hit you at all the right spots, from the hips to the waist and finally to the legs. The dress should fit well at the top and be a little flowy from the waist down. Length-wise, it should touch the top of your feet slightly and avoid the floor by 1 or 2 inches.

What is maxi dress length?

Maxi dress length is considered to be anywhere between 55 and 62 inches. Petite women will find the 55-inch length long enough, while 62 inches is appropriate for tall, slender women. However, this length varies depending on the woman’s body type.

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.