What Can I Wear Over a Maxi Dress in the Summer?

Maxi dresses in a closet
Summer maxi dresses can be too revealing or light sometimes. We have a few suggestions on what to wear over a maxi dress to make it warmer and more decent.

Every year as I line up my warm-weather maxi dresses, I wonder if there’s a way to get more wear out of them. Granted, summer dresses make up most of the outfit, save for the shoes and maybe a hat and sunnies.

But how do I style a light maxi dress during those cooler summer evenings when out in the town or in a church somewhere? Summer maxi dresses are almost always sleeveless, light, and sometimes see-through. So it seems to me that wearing something over the maxi dress during such instances is a great idea.

Because I’m sure other people are wondering the same thing, let’s take care of this conundrum once and for all by suggesting things that one can wear over a maxi during summer.

Bright Cropped Jacket

The easiest way to transition a maxi dress from day to night is to throw on a bright cropped jacket over it. My go-to is always a blue, pink, or white denim jacket, depending on the dress’s color. However, I have also tried a bright leather jacket, such as mustard, over a floral maxi, and it looked fantastic.

The jacket adds warmth to your upper body and creates dimension to the outfit. If the dress is sleeveless, short-sleeved, or strappy, the jacket covers the arms to bring warmth and decency.

And since it’s a little cropped jacket, it improves the look without distracting the eyes from the dress itself. Cropped jackets are really trendy and fun, making them the best outerwear for a maxi in summer.

Button-up Shirt

Throwing on a button-up shirt over a summer maxi dress works the same as a cropped jacket. It’s the right amount of warmth and fun for summer, and it’s a look that never goes out of style.

Choose a bright shirt, such as white or light blue, and then tie a knot on the waist to create that cropped look. If it’s daytime and you still have errands to run, fold up the sleeves to expose your lower arms and show off your jewelry.

A good alternative to a button-up shirt is a regular tee. Just throw on a loose t-shirt, make a knot on the side or the front, and pair that with some sandals or sneakers. A t-shirt makes the dress look more like a skirt which is a great casual look for summer.

Summer, where I live, can be quite hot, even at night, which makes wearing a jacket or a sweater almost unbearable. That doesn’t mean that you have to expose your arms and chest, though.

A light wrap or a shawl always comes in handy when I need something to cover up my upper body. My go-to mostly is a pashmina because it’s so soft and light and cool, and I have them in different colors. I also have a dupatta which is an Indian-style wrap that transforms a simple maxi into a great evening dress.

If you have a poncho made of a light material that won’t burn you to a crisp, throw that on top of the dress for the evening.


Unless you are a student or a teacher, summer vacation happens when you are still going to work. I love wearing formal-looking maxis because of the breezy, comfortable feeling I get. I then throw a light blazer over the dress and decent shoes to pull off the complete corporate look.

Thankfully, most offices have air conditioners, so you will be cool and formal-looking throughout the day, and no one will know you wore a summer maxi dress to work.


I saved the best for last because there’s so much you can do with cardigans during summer. Check out this white crochet cardigan over a straight gray maxi matched with a floppy hat. The crochet design is fantastic because you won’t feel hot, but it’s still decent enough to give you some coverage over the sleeveless dress.

That said, any light cardigan or sweater over a maxi dress will work just fine, even if it’s not crochet. I love rocking a long cardigan over a dress and wearing a belt to cinch in the waist when attending events. You can also just let it flow freely and fold back the sleeves if you want a casual look.

Tiny cardigans with small buttons also look great over a floral or black maxi, and you don’t even need to accessorize more than that.

What can I wear over a long dress in the summer?

Wearing a cropped leather or denim jacket over a maxi is a great look in summer, and it transitions great from day to night. You can also try a cardigan, a light wrap or pashmina, and even a button-up shirt for that casual summer look.

How do you choose what to wear over a maxi dress in summer?

The easiest way to choose what you wear over a maxi is to think about the occasion. If you are going to the office, the obvious choice is a blazer. A nice denim jacket or classy wrap works best for weddings, church or a friend’s events, while a shirt will do well for casual errands around town or lunch with friends. You can also choose based on what looks good with the dress.

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.