Whether you’re heading out to a day at the beach, an errand-filled shopping trip, or a fancy nighttime soiree, there’s hardly any occasion for which a maxi dress isn’t a great option. The ankle-length (or longer) dresses are as versatile as they get, thanks to the huge variety of materials, patterns, and designs available. Going on a romantic date night? Throw on a lacy, form-fitting maxi for the ultimate sultry look. Packing for a friend’s outdoor wedding? Opt for a flowy, floral maxi perfect for dancing all night long. Truly, the options are endless.
And according to experts, right now is the perfect time to pull a maxi out of your closet. “The last few years have been all about the midi as a daytime or casual option. It’s nice to see a return to both the maxi and mini for Spring ’22,” says Arielle Siboni, the RTW Fashion Director at Bloomingdale’s.
Love the idea of rocking a maxi, but not sure where to start? No problem—we’ve got you covered. Read ahead for our top picks of the best maxi dresses for any occasion, price range, and body type.
Meet the Expert
Arielle Siboni is the RTW Fashion Director at Bloomingdale’s, where she’s worked since 2012 and guides the company’s fashion and style direction.
Best Overall: Loveappella Maxi Dress
If you’re looking for a maxi that looks just as good dressed up or down, worn day or night, and appropriate for summer or winter, this simple, stretchy dress is the one for you. It’s lightweight, comfortable, and—with its classic silhouette and four color options—a good match for any person, regardless of their style preference.
Material: 95% rayon, 5% spandex | Colors: Black, Midnight Blue, Red Lipstick, Khaki | Size Range: XS-XL (regular and petite)
Best Budget: Lulus Relaxed But Not Least Ribbed Sleeveless Maxi Dress
Under $50, this lovely maxi dress is a total steal. Not only do customers say it's super comfortable and flattering, but the minimalist design also makes it especially versatile. Style it with sandals for a day at the beach, or dress it up with heels for a more formal outing.
Material: 68% rayon, 29% polyester, 3% spandex | Color: Beige, Sage Green, Blue Striped | Size Range: XS-L
Best Designer: Christopher John Rogers Open-Back Striped Ribbed-Knit Maxi Dress
If you’re able to splurge, this remarkable dress from designer Christopher John Rogers deserves all your attention. We can’t get enough of the neon hues, intricate ribbed knit, and adjustable back straps. It’s a maxi perfect for any occasion that's worth standing out.
Material: 44% wool, 43% viscose, 10% polyester, 2% nylon, 1% spandex | Color: Green | Size Range: XS-XL
Best Floral: House of Harlow x Revolve Bloom Maxi Dress
Available on Revolve, this pretty floral maxi will make a statement whenever and however you choose to wear it. The colorful pattern and flowy fit make it casual enough for low-key use, but the deep V-neck and the striking back elevate it for more upscale events. Honestly, there are endless ways to style this dress.
Material: 98% polyester, 2% metallic | Color: Brown, Ivory-floral | Size Range: XXS-XL
Best Extended Sizes: Zelie for She Staycation Maxi Dress
Get ready to show off all your curves in this figure-hugging maxi, which features a sexy slit skirt, low V-neck, and long ties on the shoulders. You don’t have to sacrifice comfort for style, though, as the dress is made from a cozy stretch jersey material that’ll keep you feeling good all night long. Glam it up with jewelry and heels or throw on sneakers for a more low-key look.
Material: 92% polyester, 8% spandex | Colors: Black, Snake | Size Range: 1X-3X
Best Ruffle: WAYF The Emry Faux Wrap Long Sleeve Floral Maxi Dress
This vibrant floral option may look like a wrap dress, but that’s just a trick of its unique design. What this maxi boasts is a beautiful pattern, a V-neck top, ruffle hem, and a peep-toe front so you can show off your shoes, too. Plus, the lightweight fabric will let you move and dance without issue, so wear the dress to any event.
Material: 100% polyester | Color: Magenta Roses | Size Range: XXS-L
Best Knit: Reformation Castello Open Knit Dress
Knit dresses are often the softest, and this long-sleeve maxi from Reformation is no exception. Walk around in total comfort while flaunting the open back and figure-hugging fit. The gossamer color option is ideal for daytime occasions, but if you want to glam things up a bit, consider picking up the dress in black instead.
Material: 100% organically grown cotton | Colors: Black, Gossamer | Size Range: XS-XL
Best Satin: H&M Satin Bridesmaid Dress
Yes, this maxi is technically called a bridesmaid dress, but while it could certainly fit in at a wedding, you could also rock it for any other occasion. Enjoy feeling ultra-comfortable in the soft satin material, which gets its shape from the narrow (and removable) tie belt at the waist. Check out the side slit and the unique open back, too. It’s gorgeous!
Material: 100% polyester | Colors: Light Beige, Light Turquoise, Light Gray | Size Range: XS-XXL
Best Printed: Pink City Prints Isabel Dress
Pink City Prints creates beautiful screen-printed dresses hand-worked by local artisans in Jaipur, India. The dresses are vibrant, comfortable, and made in small batches from sustainable materials. This specific dress, crafted from organic cotton, features romantic puff sleeves, a tiered ruffle skirt, and a smocked bodice. We imagine wearing this to our next vacation somewhere warm, pairing it with a wide brim straw hat and espadrilles.
Material: 100% organic cotton | Colors: Vintage Poppy, Cornflower Lolita | Size Range: XS-XL
Best Bridesmaid: Shona Joy Luxe Frill Tulip Hem Maxi Dress
Got a wedding coming up? Check out this beautiful maxi, which features a beautifully layered bodice and an asymmetrically-draped skirt. With its loose but elegant fit, this dress will work equally well for afternoon socials or black-tie events, and the lovely garnet color will complement the bride’s white look perfectly.
Material: 100% recycled polyester | Colors: Garnet, Porcelain | Size Range: 2-12
Best Tiered: Anthropologie The Somerset Maxi Dress
Designed in 11 different colors and prints, this maxi dress has a beautiful tiered silhouette, V-neckline, and shirred waistline. It’s a dress you can wear and feel great in for all four seasons, and there are so many possibilities for styling it with jewelry and shoes.
Material: 100% cotton | Colors: Peach, Medium Pink, Ivory, Pink, Neutral, Brown +more | Size Range: XXS-3X (including petite)
Best for Date Night: LNL Crossback Velvet Gow
This stunning velvet maxi practically begs to be worn out to a romantic dinner. From the sexy side slit to the adjustable spaghetti straps to the mostly open back, it’s a gown that’ll make your date (and everyone around you) stare in awe. Plus, we can’t get enough of that gorgeous wine color.
Material: 96% polyester, 4% spandex | Color: Wine | Size Range: XS-L
Best for Winter: Mango Ribbed Knit Dress
This striped knit maxi from Mango is ideal for walking around in the cold weather, thanks to its cozy long sleeves and high, rounded neckline that provide maximum warmth. And that dazzling coral color is sure to brighten up even the dreariest winter days.
Material: 100% cotton | Color: Coral Red | Size Range: 2-10
Best for the Beach: Diarrablu Sirene Kimono
If you plan on spending time by the pool or ocean this year, a cute coverup is absolutely essential. Not only are they a functional part of a summer dress code, but they also provide an easy way to elevate your beach ensemble. Pair with a raffia tote and leather flip-flops to complete the look.
Material: 100% polyester | Colors: Batik Rose | Size Range: XS-3X
Best for Summer: Free People Butterfly Bliss Maxi Dress
Nothing says summer like a bright, bold look, and this eye-catching maxi is the perfect pick. The vintage-inspired design is obviously what stands out the most, but don’t ignore the pleated bottom, intricate details, and V-shaped neckline and back. Wear this beauty while sipping cocktails at the pool or roaming the city streets on a gorgeous sunny day.
Material: 97% viscose, 3% elastane | Color: Red Combo | Size Range: XS-XL
Best Petite: Anthropologie Ruffle-Sleeve Printed-Wrap Maxi Dress
Yes, petite people can wear maxi dresses, as this fun option from Anthropologie proves. A flowy, ruffled wrap-style dress with a tie closure, this maxi will make a sleek, lovely addition to your closet—no matter which of the two equally nice patterns and colors you choose to get it in.
Material: Viscose | Colors: Brown Motif, Green | Size Range: XXSP-XLP; XXS-3X
Best on Amazon: Kranda Flutter Sleeve Smocked Ruffle Maxi Dress
No matter which color and pattern you choose, you truly can’t go wrong with this flowy, smocked maxi available on Amazon. From the pretty flutter sleeves to the ruffled hem, from the keyhole back to the super-soft fit, every part of this dress is swoon-worthy. Pair it with boots or sneakers, heels or flats—honestly, any option will work.
Material: Polyblend | Colors: Camel, Green, Green Floral, Navy, Red, Rust, Yellow, Dusty Rose, Pink Polka Dot | Size Range: XS-XXL
What to Look for in a Maxi Dress
Like any other type of dress, maxis come in a variety of materials, from polyester to spandex. If you’re going for a more formal look, focus on maxis featuring lace or silk in their materials, but if your destination is relatively low-key, try out some dresses made from rayon or knit instead. It's also worth noting that cotton, linen, and silk are ideal for warmer days since these fabrics are either cooling or thermoregulating.
While you don’t have to be a certain height to wear a maxi dress, there are specific silhouettes that work better for taller versus shorter people. If you’re petite, Siboni recommends looking for maxi dresses with bodycon silhouettes “so the dress doesn’t overtake your figure.”
What’s the difference between a maxi and midi dress?
“The main difference between these two styles is the actual length itself,” Siboni explains. “A midi dress tends to hit halfway between the knee and the ankle while a maxi dress has a longer length and hits the ankles or floor.”
What shoes go best with maxi dresses?
According to Siboni, if you’re rocking a more formal maxi, heels or strappy sandals are the way to go. But if your look is more casual, consider pairing the dress with some flat sandals instead.
How do you style a maxi dress in the winter?
“In the winter, I would pair a more casual maxi dress with some chunky boots and a jacket," Siboni says. "I love an outfit that has elements of femininity and masculinity. I also love throwing on a white tee underneath.”
Why Trust Byrdie
Byrdie writer Rachel Simon has covered shopping and style extensively for publications including Glamour, InStyle, Brides, and more. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times and Vice, among other outlets, and she teaches writing with Gotham Writers Workshop and Redbud Writers Project. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College.