The midi dress is a versatile little invention. Whether it’s tight-fitting or free-flowing, or a formal or smart-casual design, you can’t go wrong with a frock that hits the midpoint between knee and ankle. Whilst it’s not a teeny-tiny party dress, it also moves better than a maxi dress—which, much as we love them, can catch around the ankles or even graze the ground. Read on to know how to wear a midi dress in different ways.
Midi dresses are the quintessential cocktail dress. That being said, to relegate them to a single dress code would be to do them a grave injustice. It’s hard to capture their greatness in a single paragraph, so let’s just (midi) cut to the chase! Check out these five ways to dress a midi up or down for whatever occasion you have coming up—or going down.
Once upon a time, sneakers went with dresses as tea leaves went with hamburger buns—it was a combination that just didn’t work. However, now we’re in the 2020s and people are eating matcha-infused burger buns and people are wearing sneakers with dresses. Give anything enough time and the people will warm to it!
If you’re wearing sneakers with a midi dress, suffice it to say you aren’t heading anywhere fancy. Sneakers will tone a look way down to make it appropriate for casual hangs. This is great news for girls who want to get more than the occasional wear from their dresses. Stuff special occasions—we want to look fabulous all the time!
If you’re heading down the street or going out for a day trip, sneakers can be a real godsend. If you’re fortunate to have a workplace with a smart-casual dress code, they can even make for appropriate and practical ‘work boots’. Now you can look great and give your feet a rest from (admittedly fabulous) elevated footwear.
Conversely, you can wear the opposite of Converses and elevate your formerly flat-footed stance with heels. If you’re heading out to a formal occasion, we recommend something happy-strappy! If your ensemble is all-black, then a matching pair can work wonders. Exhibit A, the Kamaria Dress:
This textured satin midi works a treat with the Laila Black Heels. This outfit doesn’t need any contrast, although the beaded white purse is a nice contrasting touch. (This totally counts as the clutch that finishes the outfit, by the way.) Exhibit B, the Ellen Dress, on the other hand:
This midi is so loud and red that it speaks for itself. And we absolutely had to include it in our list of how to wear a midi dress five ways. It needs little further embellishments. Ergo, the nude-coloured Laila Heels are an understated addition that allows Ellen to shine. So, whether you’re going for contrast or matchy-matchy, you can’t go wrong with a pair of strappy heels. Add a basic clutch and this midi-based set will be all set to go.
If heels are smart and sneakers are casual, then flat sandals are the midway point between the two: they’re smart-casual! Sandals are perfect for those hot summer days, not only because they allow your feet to breathe, but also because they suit summer to a tee.
The Ainara Dress (featured above) looks fab with those strappy, matchy-matchy red heels. However, we could see this marvellous midi working just as well with flat sandals—particularly ones made from rope or rattan. This would be a great way to tone down the look, especially with that straw sunhat in play, which would work in rustic harmony with the sandals. Whichever way you work it, you’re bound to be radiating all the #summervibes.
Well, that’s all three shades of footwear formality covered, so let’s move on to torso-based attire. You’ve no doubt heard of the oversized blazer trend, which likes the contrasting combination of bulky and skin-tight attire. It’s sort of like the sneakers-and-dress trend: it didn’t work before, but now it somehow does.
When discussing this trend, we always like to refer back to the Claude Dress above. On its own, it’s great, and you could wear it to almost any formal occasion. Wear an oversized blazer atop this black beauty, though, and you’re simultaneously dressing it down and giving it a corporate flair. How is that possible? Well, the blazer would be so large that it would largely hide the dress’s formality. And whilst a blazer is corporate, it also falls into the ‘business-casual’ zone—which would ultimately bring Claude down a peg in formality.
Translation? Pop on an oversized blazer and you can make a midi a whole lot more versatile. You may look out-of-place wearing the Claude Dress down any old street. Pop on a white blazer, however, and you can wear it almost anywhere! Why do we recommend white? Purely for contrast. Though black would work in a corporate context, if you ask us, such monochromes shouldn’t extend beyond the workplace. When it comes to neutral combinations, variance and visual interest is always a plus.
It’s amazing how, by simply adding a layer, you can change your entire outfit. You can add any tee beneath your sleeveless midi, really, but we’re endorsing a cropped baby tee for the practicality. If you’re wondering what we mean by practicality, just imagine your standard-sized T-shirt—sans cropping. Now imagine what would happen at the waist if you were to pull a dress on over it. … It bunches, right? It bunches. It’s like when you go to bed in loose-fitting pyjamas and the excess fabric clumps together with every toss and turn. It’s annoying, right?!
So, to avoid what we’re going to call the ‘loose-PJs effect’, we’re going to recommend a cropped baby tee. Alternatively, go all in the other way and lengthen things up with a T-shirt bodysuit. Whatever’s going on underneath, it will look great on the outside. It will dress the garment down and, similarly to the oversized blazer trend, make the midi more versatile. If you’re wanting a casual, youthful look, we would advise an inner ‘T-shirt layer’ over an outer layer of ‘large blazer’. The extra layer also helps during the cooler seasons, meaning you can wear your midi again and again—even when it’s cooling down.
If we were going to recommend a midi dress for this look, it would be the Rose Dress below:
Not only is the Rose Dress neutral enough to go with almost any T-shirt, but it’s also sleeveless. This dress has a blank space, baby, and you can write your name however you see fit. What colour sleeves will you add under this dress? There are so many styling opportunities here, and this is why we love the Rose Dress.
In the cases of the Zaina Dress and the Lupita Dress, this is true in the most literal sense:
Jokes aside, there certainly is more than one way to wear a midi, isn’t there? And, believe it or not, this isn’t quite an exhaustive list. We hope that we have given you some food for thought, whatever you intend to do with your appearance. You don’t need to modify much, but what you do add can make all the difference. So whether you’re wanting to wear more midis in more casual contexts or just change up the footwear, we hope we’ve whetted your sense of style. With a few small tweaks, even something as summery as a midi dress can become cross-seasonal.
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