What Makes a Maxi Dress Formal and How to Wear It Formally

formal maxi dress
Maxi dresses are some of the most versatile pieces of attire. But do they make great formal outfits? Learn how to wear a maxi dress formally here.

A maxi dress is a staple in every lady’s closet, and there is a maxi dress for any occasion. Whether going for an anniversary party, wedding, or formal event, you can rock a maxi dress for sophistication and comfort. If you have an event coming up, here are tips for wearing a maxi dress formally. 

What Makes a Maxi Dress Formal? 

Most dictionary versions define maxi dresses as informal or casual attire, perfect for everyday events like family gatherings, shopping, and lunch dates. However, you do not have to stick your little black dress with heels, a dressy suit, or a knee-length cocktail dress for formal events.

A maxi dress is an excellent alternative to floor-length gala dresses. All you have to do is ensure you pick a maxi dress with the proper cut and fabric, then accessorize well to make it formal. 

Maxi dresses made of chiffon, satin, silk fabrics, or beaded detailing can make you look proper, polished, and sophisticated at formal events. Avoid maxi dresses with a cut that reveals too much skin when dressing for a formal affair.

How to Wear a Maxi Dress Formally

One of the most attractive things about maxi dresses is that you do not have to do too much to achieve the look you want, whether for a formal or casual look. The dress itself brings the vibrance, elegance, and sexy feminine vibe you want from an outfit. However, there are a few things you could do to stand out. 

Read on for five tips for wearing a maxi dress formally.

Choose Fabrics Wisely

It is easier to lean on a maxi dress made of cotton fabrics as they are soft, breathable, comfortable, and durable. However, linen and cotton materials are casual and may make you look too understated in a formal event. 

For this reason, choose formal fabrics like silk, georgette, chiffon, or satin when purchasing a maxi dress for a formal occasion such as a wedding. 

Pair with Stilettos

Unlike in a casual event where you need to pair your maxi dress with comfortable shoes that allow your feet to breathe, you can adorn your lightweight, free-flowing dress with stilettos. Styling a maxi dress with a pair of beautiful stilettoes gives the illusion of a slender physique and slimmer body, making you turn heads your way. 

If you are not comfortable walking in stilettos or attending a formal event like a wedding where you may have to walk a lot as you mingle with guests, you could swap stilettoes with a pair of cute open wedges. Wedges are easier to walk in and allow you to show off your perfect pedicure!

Stick to Minimalist Jewelry Pieces

Big, statement jewelry pieces like chandelier earrings, hoops, loads of bracelets and bangles, and elegant neck pieces are a must-have when dressing up a casual maxi dress. However, it is best to keep accessories minimum to create a classy and timeless vibe for a formal event.

Add a splash of sparkle to your outfit with sparkling jewelry pieces and shimmering accents, but do not go overboard. Avoid anything too clingy or handbags and clutches with outrageous prints such as neon hues and animal prints because they make you appear understated or casual. 

Layer Up

Maxi dresses are lightweight and breezy, making them ideal for warmer weather or day events. But when you receive an invitation that reads “formal” during the colder weather or invites to an evening event, you should consider layering up for warmth. 

One of the best ways to layer a maxi dress with pockets for a formal event is by rocking a blazer. A blazer will not only keep you warm. It also gives your shoulders structure and adds a masculine touch to the otherwise feminine outfit, making you look elegant and sophisticated.

Cardigans are also excellent alternatives to blazers, jackets, and coats because they keep you warm and add glamour to your outfit.

With that being said, jackets, blazers, coats, and cardigans come in different styles, colors, and materials. Ensure you pick pieces that complement your maxi dress to complete a formal look.

Belt your Natural Waistline

Although a maxi dress is designed to emulate the free and flowy vibe of a Greek Goddess, throwing on a belt can help you create a form-fitting silhouette look, perfect for a formal event. Cinching your natural waist with a thin belt lets you show off your curves and gives the maxi dress a more polished look. Opt for a thicker belt to accentuate your figure and camouflage any issues with your attire.

When choosing a belt for a formal maxi dress, avoid bold patterns, colors, and textures. Instead, go for neutral colors like black, white, or beige to impart an air of sophistication. 

Go for Soft Pastel Colors

The last thing you want in a formal event is to attract excessive attention. For this reason, you should opt for soft pastel shades. Such maxi dresses will not only make you cute and pretty. They also provide more room to accessorize. You can add a statement necklace or elaborate earrings when you rock a maxi dress with soft colors.

Go Light in the Makeup Department

 When dressing up in a formal maxi dress, less is usually more. Accentuate your best features while the rest of the makeup stays light. You should also avoid heavy chunks of shimmer and glitter in your makeup. 

Be sure also to pick a hairstyle that complements the maxi dress’ collar, your face shape, and the weather. You could add a clip, hair beads, or cute barrettes to accessorize your preferred hairstyle.

 A maxi dress with pockets is not just limited to casual events. Maxi dresses made of satin, silk, or chiffon paired with stilettos, blazers, and a thin or thick belt can make a perfect formal outfit. To create a more polished appearance, stick to minimalist jewelry, wear light makeup, and choose soft pastel colors.

Can a maxi dress be formal?

A maxi dress is a versatile piece of clothing. It can be worn for different occasions, including formal events where short hemlines could be considered inappropriate. With appropriate accessories, cut, and fabric, you can wear your white maxi dress with pockets to a wedding, anniversary party, ball, or state dinner.

How do you style a maxi dress formally? 

To style a maxi dress for formal, you first have to pick a piece with the proper cut and fabric. You should then accessorize with a neutral-colored belt, minimal jewelry, and a blazer, cardigan, or jacket. You could also pair the outfit with stilettoes or open wedges.

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.