Midi dresses are one of my favorite pieces to wear because they’re the perfect balance of casually understated and formally polished. There is so much room to discover varying silhouettes and details, all within the midi dress category, that it can be overwhelming to choose just one or a few.
Since there are a plethora of midi dresses available to shop online and in stores, we talked with style expert Julia Gudova. Having worked with international titles of Vogue and Elle along with celebrities like Irina Shayk and Elsa Hosk, Gudova is an expert on how to narrow down the wide selection of styles to find pieces that are specific to you.
Meet the Expert
“The midi dress is the most universally flattering length of a dress—you can’t go wrong with it whether you’re tall or petite, size XS or XL,” says Gudova. She also considers the dress’ silhouette–whether it will elevate or simplify your look. She also notes that you shouldn’t be afraid to try out new color tones and patterns. “Personally, I tend to choose solid colors, both neutrals, and the fun ones,” she says. “But summer is a great time to experiment with print!”
For the best midi dresses of the season and more expert advice on how to style them, read on.
Best Overall: Reformation Nikita Dress
We see this dress around the city every season and can see that it’s a fan favorite for a reason. The Nikita dress combines a fitted bodice for shaping with the comfortability of a relaxed skirt. And you can feel good about your purchase because of its low carbon, water, and waste footprints.
Material: 100% viscose | Colors: Ivory, Azure, Mademoiselle, Black, Rhubarb, Cottage Garden | Size Range: 0-24
Best Budget: R. YIposha Vintage Dress
While this dress is from everyone’s go-to, last-minute boutique Amazon, the quality is surprising. Made of 100 percent cotton in a variety of colors, you get the peasant dress look and feel for a fraction of the usual retail price of around $40.
Material: 100% cotton | Colors: Blue, Orange, Beige, Army Green +more | Size Range: S-3XL
Best Designer: Christopher John Rogers Embroidered Crepe Halterneck Midi Dress
Designer Christopher John Rogers has become a recent favorite of the fashion community because of his unique color play. This halterneck midi dress is worth the almost $2,000 price tag with its playful play on embroidery.
Material: 92% polyester, 8% polyurethane; 100% polyester lining | Colors: Black | Size Range: 0-14
Best Satin: Ted Baker Lysette Tie Detail Satin Tea Dress
Make your afternoon tea dreams a reality with this under-$400 tea dress designed in a bold pop of color. Designed with an open back, ruched puff sleeves, and a structured bodice, this dress is utterly delightful for a summery day.
Material: 100% viscose | Colors: Orange | Size Range: US 2-14
Best Puff Sleeve: Sleeper Belle Linen Dress
It wouldn’t be a midi dress roundup without mentioning Sleeper's Belle Linen Dress. The epitome of the modern princess dress, the Belle combines the shape of a century-old bodice and perfectly rounded puff sleeves. It's as good for lounging around the house as it is for heading to brunch.
Material: 100% linen | Colors: White, Pink, Blue, Garden Roses +more | Size Range: XS-XL
Best Leather: Whistles Pintuck Leather Midi Dress
Whistles put a luxe spin on the shirtdress silhouette with the help of leather, a tie waist, and pleated accents. We dream of wearing this to work events in the spring or brunch in the fall.
Material: 100% leather | Colors: Toffee, Navy | Size Range: 0-14
Best White: Lulus Dance Into Your Heart White Scoop Neck Sleeveless Midi Dress
The drop-waist detail on this white dress from Lulus gives more interest than your typical classic white sundress. Wear this as a bride to any of your wedding events, or simply layer it with leather, denim, or cashmere to fit every season.
Material: 100% cotton | Colors: White | Size Range: XS-XL
Best Black: ASTR The Label Gaia Dress
You can never go wrong with a slip dress silhouette for an LBD, and this under-$90 version is perfect for a variety of sartorial styles.
Material: 100% polyester | Colors: Black, Sage, Wine, +more | Size Range: XS-XL
What Our Editors Say
"This classic midi slip dress is what spring and summer brunch dreams are made of. The cowl neck, slit, and cross back are all details that make an ordinary slip dress extra special." — Jasmine Phillips, Social Media Editor
Best Floral: Lulus Make A Move Black Satin Floral Jacquard Strapless Midi Dress
Lulus has updated the floral midi dress with this Make A Move dress. Detailed with accents of metallic colors and jacquard fabrication, it's destined to make a statement no matter the occasion.
Material: 100% polyester | Colors: Black, Green | Size Range: XS-XL
Best Corset-Style: Staud Wells Dress
The classic fit-and-flare dress has been reinterpreted by Staud in the form of their Wells dress. The corset-style bodice and fitted waist are balanced out by the full A-line skirt, making this a dreamy piece ready to be flaunted.
Material: 100% cotton | Colors: Tan, Biscotti, White, Peony, Turquoise +more | Size Range: 00-16
Best Formal: Lulus How Much I Love You Black Eyelet Tiered Midi Dress
The tiered eyelet midi skirt adds an extra glam factor to this black midi dress. For around $90, this dress can be accessorized to match a variety of occasions, including weddings and a fun night out.
Material: 100% polyester | Colors: Black | Size Range: XS-XL
Best Size Range: Selkie French Puff Dress
This is the internet’s favorite cream puff dress for a reason. It comes in a rainbow of colorful tulle, with a wide range of sizes in a classic, nostalgic baby doll silhouette. The dress comes in a range of colors, including Hans Christian, The Goldie, and more.
Material: 75% cotton, 25% silk | Colors: Hans Christian, The Goldie, Watercolor +more | Size Range: XXS-5X
Best Petite: Petite Studio Clara Dress
Petites, this one's for you. The white piping and a thigh-high slit on this black midi dress gives interest to the ribbed silhouette.
Material: 97% cotton, 3% spandex | Colors: Black | Size Range: XXS-L
Best Smocked: Autumn Adeigbo Winnie Dress
The smocked bodice and thin straps of this dress allow for second-skin fit on top that flares into a full skirt at the perfect midi length. The Nigerian designer stays true to her signature bright patterns, creating a sweet, playful look that captures the sweet and carefree nature of the summer season.
Material: 97% cotton, 3% spandex | Colors: Pink and yellow | Size Range: 0-12
Best Cocktail Dress: Marcella Tiffany Dress
Sophistication and sculptural detail characterize this LBD, making it the perfect option for a cocktail function. Coming in under $130, this versatile dress will be well worth the cost.
Material: 60% viscose, 30% polyamide, 10% lycra | Colors: Black | Size Range: XXS-XXL
Best Bodycon: Farai London x Revolve Mona Midi Dress
The mesh fabric of the Farai London Mona Midi Dress clings perfectly to your body. Featuring a colorful swirl design, this dress pairs best with more minimalist accessories, like a tonal purse and nude heels.
Material: 95% polyester, 5% spandex | Colors: Multicolor | Size Range: XS-L
Best One-Shoulder: Farm Rio One-Shoulder Waist Cutout Linen Blend Dress
Farm Rio has done it again with its contemporary takes on different styles. The Brazilian brand has made their version of the one-shoulder midi dress with this upscale rendition in an array of colors—both bold and neutral—to fit everyone's style.
Material: 55% linen, 45% viscose | Colors: Yellow, Off-White, Navy, Black, Red, Blue, Blush Pink | Size Range: XS-XL
Best Fit-and-Flare: Faithfull the Brand Nolie Midi Dress
If you want to make sure that color is the star of your outfit, then look no further than this cute midi dress, available in both light blue and orange colorways that are perfect for spring and summer.
Material: 100% cotton | Colors: Cornflower, Mandarin | Size Range: XS-XXL
Best Knitted: Free People Daniela Midi Sweater Dress
Free People provides us with a little black dress rendition of the sweater dress for less than $90. The Daniela Midi Sweater Dress can be worn all year round and dressed up or down depending on your mood. What more can you ask for?
Material: 48% cotton, 34% viscose, 16% nylon, 2% elastane | Colors: Black, Faded Coral, Spanish Chestnut +more | Size Range: XS-XL
Best Maternity: Hatch Eliza Dress
Beloved by Meghan Markle, the Eliza Dress from Hatch is perfect for both maternity and postpartum wear and can be styled in a multitude of ways.
Material: 72% viscose, 28% polyester | Colors: Black | Size Range: 0-16
Best Ribbed: Lulus Betting Game Ribbed Sleeveless Midi Dress
This versatile dress becomes money well spent. Great for wearing all year-round, this midi dress can be paired with everything from jackets to puffer coats—as well as sneakers, sandals, heels, or boots.
Material: 96% polyester, 4% spandex | Colors: Rust Brown, Light Blue | Size Range: XS-XL
Best A-Line: House of Aama Debutante Silk Charmeuse Midi Dress
Don’t be discouraged by the hefty price tag of this House of Aama dress. While it’s a splurge, this dress has a floaty A-line skirt that’s perfect for dancing the night away.
Material: 100% silk charmeuse | Colors: Pink | Size Range: 0-18
Best Long Sleeve: Alohas Donna Dress
A lettuce-esque hem and ribbed–almost pleated–fabric make this midi dress a best-seller from Alohas. Everything is made to order in an effort to avoid overproduction.
Material: 86% cotton, 14% PBT | Colors: Black, ivory, clementine orange | Size Range: XS-XXL
Best Ruched: Zimmermann Ruched Washed Silk-blend Midi Dress
This splurge-worthy slip dress from Zimmermann has a romantic feel from its jewel-tone colors to the ruching at the waist. It's made from mostly silk, but the small percentage of elastane in the composition allows for some stretch. Slip it on for date night, dress it up for drinks, or show it off at your friend's wedding.
Material: 92% silk, 8% elastane | Colors: Forest Green | Size Range: 00-3
Best Off-Shoulder: Cult Gaia Muna Dress
The abstract bustier detail adds all the drama to this elegant off-the-shoulder dress.
Material: 17% silk, 20% rayon, 25% wool, 38% linen | Colors: Palm, Off-white | Size Range: 0-12
Best Vintage-Inspired: Pink City Prints Isabel Dress
This style features a smocked bodice, long puff sleeves, ruffle cuffs, and a tiered midi skirt. Don it with raffia accessories and espadrilles for a night out this summer.
Material: 100% organic cotton | Colors: Vintage Poppy, Cornflower Lolita | Size Range: XS-XL
Best Colorful: Abacaxi Tiered Tie Strap Maxi Dress
This A-line midi dress isn't just cheery in appearance, it's good for the planet. It's made from the brand's custom plant-dyed yarn for a healthier approach to fashion.
Material: 100% organic cotton | Colors: Multi | Size Range: XS-XL
Best Wrap: Fanm Mon Cide Dress
This colorful midi-length wrap dress features a V-neckline, short puff sleeves, a self-tie belt, and embroidered eyelet lace details. It's perfect to wear with strappy sandals and polished jewels for your next brunch outing.
Material: 100% linen | Colors: Light Lagoon With White Embroidery, Mint With White Embroidery | Size Range: XS-XL
What to Look for in a Midi Dress
It’s no secret that there are hundreds are midi dresses on the market to choose from, but one way you can sort through the product is by silhouette. As Gudova mentioned, a dress silhouette can elevate or simplify the look you’re going for. Taking that into account, it’s worth it to examine whether you prefer a fuller, A-line shape that cinches at the waist and flares over the hips or a slimmer, body-skimming slip style dress that contours to your body’s shape. Midi dresses come in both styles but can set the tone of your look for the day.
Depending on the occasion, you’ll need to be conscious of fabric composition. If it’s a heavier material, it’ll weigh you down (but also keep you warm if wearing in colder temperatures). Casual summer dresses tend to be crafted from cotton and/or linen, both breathable fabrics that can help keep you feeling cool and comfortable. On the other hand, a 100 percent silk midi dress is thermoregulating, versatile enough for year-round wear, and might be worth the extra investment.
What is a midi dress?
A midi dress is a dress with a length that’s below the knee and above the ankles. “Think Queen Elizabeth,” Gudova says.
What shoes do you wear with a midi dress?
Since midi dresses are versatile no matter the season, you can wear almost any shoes with them. For cooler temperatures, Gudova loves pairing slouchy and over-the-knee boots with her dresses. In warmer weather, the stylist finds that it’s easy to create a chic, effortless look with simple lace-up sandals.
How do you layer a midi dress?
When it comes to layering your midi dress, it all depends on the dress itself. If your dress has a graphic print or is made of a fun fabrication (like sequins), you want to let the dress be the star of the show; the layers surrounding it should be understated, whether that's a coat, or jacket, or scarf. But if your midi dress is quite simple, you can layer it with an eyecatching blazer, a leather biker jacket, a fuzzy cardigan, or even sneakers.
Why Trust Byrdie
Byrdie contributor Mallori Albright has six years of experience writing fashion and beauty content. Mallori has a collection of midi dresses for both casual and formal occasions. You can check out more of Mallori’s work at Marie Claire and NYLON Magazine.