Although they’ve been around for ages, midi dresses have become a coveted closet staple rather recently. What started out as a trend in the length of skirts has shifted to include dresses, which as we all know are far easier to wear and style (and less restrictive) than skirts. “Midi” refers to the dress length of the hem, which is somewhere between a mini dress and a maxi dress. More accurately, the hem of the dress should fall at least two inches below the knee and at least four inches above the ankle.
This range of lengths means there is quite a variety of midi dresses out there. And, as anyone who has ever tried on jeans can attest, the more options the better when it comes to finding just the right fit for a somewhat finicky closet staple. Yes, while midi dresses are wonderful, they can be somewhat finicky; the most flattering length and silhouette are different for each person. We will help you determine the right length, fit, and dress for you so you can stock your closet full of this versatile wardrobe staple. Keep reading to learn all you need to know about how to style a midi dress and visit Karen Kane today for a better visual of how we style our maxi and midi dresses.
Why Wear a Midi Dress?
Flattering, lengthening, breathable, no fuss—there are so many wonderful reasons to love midi dresses. The midi length is a universally flattering cut on everyone, whether for petite women or modelesque in height, a midi dress can flatter your shape and lengthen your look. Plus, they range from fitted to full, so there’s also a silhouette for everyone.
Compared to maxi dresses and mini dresses, the midi dress style is often more favorable for other reasons too. You don’t have to worry about it dragging on the floor, or about too much fabric overwhelming a small frame, which can be common concerns surrounding maxi styles. You also don’t have to worry about baring too much skin or tugging at your hem 10x a day, which are problems that plague the mini dress.
The midi dress, on the other hand, allows you to show some skin without worrying about your hem being too revealing and allows your legs to breathe and move without the weight of too much fabric. It’s the perfect marriage between mini and maxi-length dresses. It has the features we love about these styles too—easy to throw on, can be worn year-round, and come in an array of designs—without any of the drawbacks.
How to Find the Right Midi Dress for You
Have we convinced you to give this length a go? Before you begin filling your cart with every midi dress you can find, there are some things you should consider to land the best fit for you, especially if you are on the petite or tall side. Here’s how to find the right midi dress for your body type.
Pay Attention to Length
When selecting a midi dress, you should consider your height to find the most flattering fit. A midi dress will fall very differently on a woman who is 5’10” versus a woman who is 5’.
The most flattering place for a midi dress to fall is just above or just below the swell of the calf. If it is too long or too short, it can miss the mark on all the wonderful benefits we mentioned above: flattering, lengthening, easy to move in, etc. In fact, it can have the exact opposite of the desired effect if it hits mid-calf or just above the ankle. When a midi dress hits at the widest part of the calf, it can be unflattering, and when it hits just above the ankle, it can be drowning or shortening. However, there is a little bit of leeway on dress length depending on the style. If the dress has movement and/or a slit, you can get away with a style that hits close to your mid-calf, but this length should be avoided for more structured or fitted dresses.
If you fall in love with a particular dress, but the length just isn’t quite right, a tailor can always help you find the most flattering length and hem a few inches off the bottom.
Pick the Right Proportions
The shape of a midi dress is also important to consider. For instance, if you are petite, but love the look of a midi dress with a full skirt, opt for a style that has a defined waistline before it begins to flare out. A defined waistline will also flatter anyone with a longer torso and shorter legs.
If you have curves you love to highlight or an hourglass figure, you may love the look of a more fitted midi dress. From knit tube dresses to structured cocktail dresses, the fitted silhouette is a hallmark of the midi dress. When you opt for a fitted midi, keep it chic by choosing a higher neckline.
If you are looking to make the most of the elongating effects of a midi dress, choose a style with a slit. A subtle slit up the side of a midi dress that ends close to the knee is tasteful, yet fun. Plus, it will make your legs appear longer and draw more attention to them, and, to boot, it makes it easier to move.
10 Midi Dresses for Every Body
Finding the right dress for you shouldn’t be difficult, which is why we have created countless styles that flatter every shape and make it easy to wear a midi well. Here are some of our most beloved designs that you will want to wear on repeat:
1. Cuffed-Sleeve Midi Dress
With a modest v-neckline, rolled short sleeves, a front slit, and a belted waist, it doesn’t get more flattering than this cuffed-sleeve dress, also available in plus size. You will love it so much you will want it in every color, denim included. After all, it isn’t very often you find a dress equally as suitable for the French Riviera as it is for the office as it is for the neighborhood block party.
2. Tie-Front Midi Dress
One of our favorite things about midi dresses is their easy and comfortable nature and no midi meets both of those marks quite like this tie-front midi dress. The knit fabric is buttery soft, the tie-front is supremely flattering, and the side pockets are oh-so practical. With sneakers and a denim jacket, it can take you anywhere.
3. Ruffle Hem Dress
This ruffle-hem dress highlights the midi length with a unique hemline that flows away from the legs for a breathable and flattering fit. It also features adjustable straps so you can choose the length that works for you. It’s innately feminine, and with the patchwork print undoubtedly bohemian as well.
4. Printed Tank Midi
If you long to look put together at a moment’s notice, a printed midi tank dress such as this one is all you need. This floral midi dress is both relaxed and sophisticated at the same time. Plus, the silhouette and length suit every frame. Throw it on with sandals or flats to run to the store or meet a friend for lunch and feel comfortable and cute in one fell swoop.
5. Sheer Overlay Midi Dress
An alluring evening look awaits you when you slip on this black midi dress with a sheer overlay and a sophisticated side slit. The stylish short-sleeve number is designed with the plus-size woman in mind to make her feel comfortable and confident. It’s only heels and jewels away from winning best dressed at a party or any special occasion.
6. Cami Midi Dress
Casual and cool like the best summer wardrobe staples are this racerback cami dress. The breathable fabric on this summer midi dress falls loosely for a fit that is flattering and comfortable even in the warmest weather. The small stitch print looks good on anyone but is ideal for smaller frames that are easily overwhelmed by big, bold prints.
7. Tie-Dye Midi Dress
Embrace the fun pattern that is having a major moment with this tie-dye midi dress, also available in plus size. This comfortable scoop neck style is designed to move with you and flatter every shape. Wear it to the store or a soccer match or just while lounging around at home.
8. Little Black Midi
When it comes to versatility, there is no better option than a solid black midi dress. The Brigitte midi is sleek and polished. It is super comfortable and perfect for almost any occasion. For the plus-size woman, this black midi offers the same great versatility and feel.
9. Tropical Midi Dress
A tropical print midi dress such as this one with a side slit is just what you need in your suitcase for a warm-weather getaway. The print may be eye-catching, but anyone can wear it thanks to beautiful sky blue hues that work well on any skin tone.
10. Lace Midi
Add even more style to a midi silhouette with lace accents. That’s what this lace midi dress offers. Well that, and a figure-flattering nipped in waist, bohemian buttons, and a feminine ruffle hem, all in a breathable vacation-ready package.