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10 Ways to Style a Maxi Dress

This week's 10 Ways to Style installment takes the ubiquitous jersey knit maxi dress and dials it up a notch by turning it into a one-shoulder cocktail dress, overalls, and so much more. With just a few key items, it's easy to get a ton of different looks with this one staple piece. Consider this a packing guide for your next summer trip. :)

If you don't already have a maxi dress to work with, you can find dresses similar to the one pictured at Piperlime, Windsor, Old Navy, and Tilly's.

Now, let's get to business.

1. A Little Bit Country

You know we're a little bit country and a little bit rock n' roll (and a little bit '90s hip hop). This look turns your maxi into a mid-length flowing skirt, tops it with a ruffly blouse and cinches the whole thing up with a belt.

The technique for shortening the skirt is simple: just roll it up! Use a thick belt to hide the rolled fabric.

2. Aviator Chic

This look also employs a little shortening action to create a different look. For the top, we took a vest and tucked it snugly into the top of the dress/skirt, and then belted the whole thing with a studded black belt.

Finish the look off with some ankle bootie stilettos and let the compliments take flight. ;)

3. Hi-Lo Sweetheart

Ready for three super current trends rolled into one killer look? This orange-y coral happens to be the Pantone color of the year (officially called Tangerine Tango and coming in at 17-1463) so start with that. The maxi is the maxi, and here we turn it into a hi-lo dress.

For the sweetheart neckline, simply pinch in the middle of the bust and safety pin from the back. For the hi-lo effect, ruche and safety pin in a few places in the front and you're done.

4. Beach Baby

For a super relaxed look, drop the bust of your maxi to your hips, throw on a skinny belt and leave your shoes at home. 

For the top, any light summery sweater, crocheted crop top or gauzy sheer blouse will do the trick.

5. Strapless Ruffle Hem

For this sweet little number, your best friend is the safety pin. It's a great way to change up your look midday and can be paired with heels and a statement necklace if you're looking to take your maxi into the evening.

To create ruffles, cinch it up in small sections, safety pin from the inside, and that's all!

6. Haute Halter

Oh hey there party girl! The drape on this look is so gorgeous, you'd hardly be able to recognize it was originally a maxi dress.

Simply turn the dress upside down so the bust is hugging your thighs, light up the skirt part and tie around your neck. Voila!

7. Belt and Fold

Actually, it's more like fold and belt. This look is one you could even rock to the office, and is a great way to add shape and dimension to your maxi.

Fold the bust over itself so you get a more refined shape at the top. Belt it around your hips, blouse it out a bit, and throw on a pair of heels. 

8. T-Shirt and Flops

Nothing's more comfortable than a pair of flip flops and a t-shirt. Turn your maxi into a high waisted skirt and that's all there is to it!

We recommend a tight-fitting tee for this look and a simple bun or ponytail. And yes, those flip flops are from our tricked out flip flop project! :)

9. Suspenders & Boots

We debated on whether to call this something like Overalls 2.0, The Newspaper Gal, or Bo Beep Goes Chic… but we settled on Suspenders & Boots.

To create the overall look, turn that dress upside down and place the bust right below your behind. Bring the skirt part of the dress all the way up, and then let it fold over, creating a layered look. Attach the suspenders on each side. For the back, gather up all of the excess fabric in a symmetrical fashion, and attach the back suspender. We promise, it looks much more complicated than it is! 

10. One-Shoulder Cocktail

And finally, a cocktail dress! This one is gorgeous and easy to put together if you've got your steps in order.

Put the dress on upside down so that bust part is tight around your thighs. Pull the skirt part up over your body, and bring one side over your shoulder. Using a safety pin, attach this to a ribbon or belt, or even a scarf. Let it hang. 

Now wrap the excess fabric around your waist. It will naturally create the line you see. To fasten it, grab that shoulder ribbon, bring it across your back and wrap it around your waist as many times as the length will allow. Tuck it in the middle and safety pin to fasten, and there you have it!

How do you rock the same awesome maxi all summer long? Got any style tricks we should know about? Leave us a note in the comments below or find us on Twitter. And if you have questions about how to execute any of the looks above, feel free to shoot us an email.