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Styling Chambray – To the Maxi

Maxi dresses + Petites = ?

Yes, petites CAN wear maxi dresses and it can look quite flattering too. Last year, I wrote about some general guidelines for selecting a maxi dress for petites. This year, I found a maxi dress with a unique graphic print. Pairing it with a chambray top only enhances the summertime look.

Check out other ways to style the chambray top here.

chambray summer maxi dress

chambray summer maxi dress

It’s June and summer should be in full swing, but over here in the SF Bay Area, the weather has been strange. It’s COLD! If you check out the cloud formations in the photos, you’ll notice that it looks like it’s about to rain. And you’re right because soon after I snapped these photos, it started sprinkling.

Weird weather aside, the chambray top is tied at the bottom to shorten the length from the front and provide some visual interest. You could wear it without the knots but I think it ends up looking a little shapeless. I got the idea from the J.Crew crewcuts catalog…I’m not original. 😛

chambray summer maxi dress

I’ve seen many people wear maxi dresses with super tall platforms, but for me, it’s not practical. I wear maxi dresses to the beach and flat sandals are paramount. Instead of flip flops (which are so uncomfortable), I prefer wearing strappy gladiator sandals.

You can still look slim and tall in a maxi dress without having to wear heels. Isn’t that the best?

chambray summer maxi dress

Though it may seem like this dress is perfectly made for petites, it’s not. In size 1, it’s huge and I folded several inches of fabric to tuck underneath the belt to make it look just right. I’m waiting for my tailor to get back from vacation so I can get it slimmed and hemmed to my proportions.

It’s too good to be sitting in the alterations pile. It was practically begging me to take it out for a spin. So, I obliged.

chambray summer maxi dress

Outfit Details: Martin + Osa chambray top – 0, Maurie and Eve maxi dress (via ShopRobertson.com) – 1, GAP obi belt, Modcloth necklace, Express bangle, Emma Stine floral ring, Longchamp  Le Pliage large tote, Muzina sandals

Shop: top, maxi dress, sandals

Looking for more ideas to wear maxi dresses? Check out my other posts:

{ 45 comments… add one }
  • rachel June 3, 2011, 7:17 am

    I think you’ve just inspired me to try the maxi dress! I’ve always thought I’m too short. I’m not that tiny so I’m just afraid they’ll make me look dumpy. 😉

    • admin June 4, 2011, 11:41 pm

      The key to a great maxi dress is a slim fit. I picked a column style maxi dress to provide a sleek, lean look without distractions from the line and flow of the dress.

  • PetiteLittleGirl June 3, 2011, 7:21 am

    Hi Jess,

    You proved that we don’t need new clothes all the time to be stylish. I am loving your chambray shirt series. I have always thought petites should not wear maxi dresses. After seeing them on several petites, I am convinced that we absolutely can. Maxi dresses are so comfortable to wear in the summer. Have a great weekend!

    • admin June 4, 2011, 11:51 pm

      I definitely wanted to show how to remix clothes because it’s the most sustainable way to curb my spending and discover new ways to wear items. =)

  • Emma June 3, 2011, 7:37 am

    What a great outfit! The pattern on the dress and the way you tie the top (which I love!) really lengthens your silhouette. Looks lovely :)

  • A Little Petite June 3, 2011, 7:54 am

    The pattern of this maxi dress is just too cute! I am still under the myth (perhaps) that i am too petite to wear maxidresses, but you pulled this off so well! So i may have to give it a try! I will check out your guideline!

    P.S. I dont like wearing flip flops either! haha uncomfortable..rather wear strappy gladiator sandals:)

    • admin June 4, 2011, 11:44 pm

      I think confidence supercedes height…if you love what you wear, it’ll show through and as long as fit of the dress matches your proportions, I think it’ll look good. Experiment and try different maxi styles. =)

  • Mae Lu June 3, 2011, 8:23 am

    A few petites like you have convinced me that maxis are a good idea.

    I bought a sheer maxi (with an opaque mini skirt underneath) to wear at a wedding and never looked back. I now have 2 more maxi skirts in my closet. I don’t think I’ll ever wear a maxi dress, but you never, ever know.

    I agree about Flip flops. They’re insanely comfortable, but in the end, I just find them gross. Mostly because people have nasty feet and they wear it without any thought… plus the streets are dirty. Gladiator or strappy flat sandals are the way to go. I usually wear my maxis with heels or platforms, though. I wear my maxis anywhere.

    Mae Lu @ thereafterish.!

  • Divina Joy June 3, 2011, 8:30 am

    I love the prints of that maxi! You look perfect in it.

  • FaithJ June 3, 2011, 8:42 am

    I’m still not convinced. Maxi dresses and skirts are not flattering on me, and their bohemian look is not my style. But hurray for all the petites who rock the maxi!

    • admin June 5, 2011, 12:47 am

      Petites have the option to wear maxi dresses, but it’s not a requirement nor mandatory. I agree, it depends on your style and what you’re comfortable wearing…not everyone wants to wear maxi dresses. =)

  • kimchi girl June 3, 2011, 8:45 am

    this is my fave summer outfit on you so far–the pattern on the dress is so O.G.

    i agree with u, instead of sky high heels, the flat sandals were a good choice. it makes the whole outfit look comfy, refreshing, and easy-breezy.

  • Sydney June 3, 2011, 8:58 am

    This maxi dress looks wonderful on you. You look very tall in it, too!

  • Elle June 3, 2011, 9:49 am

    I <3 maxi's too! You look great in this one and if you didn't mention it I wouldn't have known it was much too big! :)

    Love this series on the chambray shirt.

  • Larie June 3, 2011, 10:59 am

    I really want to try a maxi dress, but I haven’t found any that I love yet. Your outfit is so cute :)

  • Alterations Needed June 3, 2011, 11:06 am

    I love that you wore the chambray open, kinda like a jacket, over the dress! Genius!

  • Petite and Hungry June 3, 2011, 11:41 am

    it looks great on you!! i have to get my maxi dress altered, but i’m excited to wear it!


    • admin June 5, 2011, 12:48 am

      I can’t wait to see what your dress looks like! It’s so interesting to see what other people pick out. =)

  • couturecoco June 3, 2011, 12:53 pm

    You look fantastic – lean, comfortable and so stylish! I’m inspired – never thought horizontal stripes AND graphics could work so well together. Easily one of my favs looks from you.

  • Natalie June 3, 2011, 1:02 pm

    Great maxi dress, pretty lady! I’ve also taken to wearing them a bunch, even though I’m a shortie.

  • oomph. June 3, 2011, 2:11 pm

    yes, petites can definitely wear maxis! i love them to death and wrote about it as well! this one is absolutely fabulous! i LOVE stripes, too, so this is a bonus!


  • Callandra June 3, 2011, 6:38 pm

    love that maxi dress! the print is just beautiful!!

  • Olyvia June 3, 2011, 8:30 pm

    wow! this is my favorite look of the chambray series so far! I have never seen the ends of a shirt tied like that before, yay! for another genius idea (original or not, I’m so glad you introduced it to me! I’ll be trying it out asap). Usually I think maxi dresses makes petite people look shorter….so I can’t believe you don’t look short at all in it and with FLATS! how!!!! genius!

    • admin June 5, 2011, 12:51 am

      I really looked hard for a maxi dress that wasn’t what you’d typically find because I felt short in most and weren’t very flattering on me. But this one…I had to order online. I think the diagonal lines of shifting stripes create an optical illusion of height and that’s what got me. LOL.

  • Cee June 3, 2011, 9:04 pm

    Great job with the tucking and folding because I can’t tell the maxi is big on you at all! I’ve been loving your chambray series — it’s given me SO much inspiration on how to wear mine :) But I have to say this maxi pairing may be my favorite!

    PS – I’m the complete opposite. I could live in flip flops all year round if the weather cooperates. I considered gladiator sandals at one point but my flip flops would feel too neglected haha.

  • ANNIE June 4, 2011, 2:01 am

    love your pictures as always hon!
    this maxi is gorgeous =D
    I’m still kinda iffy on maxi dresses and skirts…
    I just don’t think I can pull it off lol

  • Irene (couture-petite.com) June 4, 2011, 3:31 am

    Wow, the maxi looks amazing on you! I love how you styled it – so creative with the knots on your chambray top.

    I’ve always been so hesitant to wear maxis because of my body shape. Since I’m petite and have huge hips for my size, anything that doesn’t show off my waist or legs seems to make me look like a square. :( Your post is giving me a glimmer of hope though. I want to try a maxi now!

    • admin June 5, 2011, 12:53 am

      I’m a large rectangle since the dress doesn’t really have too much shape to it but the graphic print kind of hides it well and guides the eye lengthwise instead of horizontally. It’s my optical illusion.

      There’s nothing wrong in experimenting and trying it out…who knows, you might find something great. =)

  • Rinny June 4, 2011, 11:58 am

    I love the bold print 😀 I agree that finding a maxi dress for petites is tough. I still haven’t been able to find one that is short enough for me yet :)

    • admin June 5, 2011, 12:54 am

      Length is always an issue, but that’s an easy fix. Getting the proper proportions for most maxi styles…that’s the hard part. But with more petite departments, it’s getting easier to find shorter maxi dresses. =)

  • Shen Dove June 4, 2011, 1:33 pm

    I’m a fellow petite that likes maxi’s too! You’ve styled your maxi with the chambray shirt so nicely and the belt is a perfect touch to bring the whole look together!

  • Cara-Mia June 4, 2011, 3:19 pm

    Wow, I did NOT think petites could wear maxi dresses, so I’ve avoided them. This proves me wrong. Off to check out your post you linked to!

  • Michelle June 4, 2011, 7:23 pm

    I love how you’ve styled the shirt here- the knots are a great idea!

  • Stephanie June 6, 2011, 8:24 am

    I honestly stared at the dress for what seemed like forever. It is so unique and wonderful! And I really love how you knotted the chambray button up! I might have to borrow that idea (crediting you, of course!) And the red bag, a beautiful color pop (one of my favorite colors to use for a pop!) completes the look!

    I’m new to style blogging and I love simple things that bring and outfit together (like the knotting)!

    Very cute outfit!


    • admin June 6, 2011, 10:35 pm

      I chose this dress for the reason you just mentioned…I could not pull my eyes away from it because it was so different! By all means, please do try out the knots…it’s a lovely little detail that enhances the casual look. Good luck with blogging, I’d love to see what you’ll be writing! =)

  • Sunshine June 6, 2011, 9:26 am

    you are SOOOOOOOOOO creative. seriously, if you wear every piece in your closet like this, you are definitely getting your money’s worth no matter how expensive it might be 😀

    • admin June 6, 2011, 10:26 pm

      I’m definitely pushing my remixing skills and I do hope to pull as many outfits as possible with the fewest items necessary. That way, my lack of quantity won’t be as noticeable. =)

  • Angie June 7, 2011, 4:06 pm

    Jess, this is the most awesome maxi i’ve seen on a petite! the stripes lengthen your legs forever and the blue back is crazy awesome!

    • admin June 10, 2011, 10:25 pm

      Thanks Angie! The dress was so vibrant and fun, it was the perfect trendy summer piece. =)

  • PetiteAsianGirl June 7, 2011, 8:23 pm

    Whoaa…this is such a fun print! Every angle is like a little surprise. I love how you knotted your chambray shirt on each side to make it look more jacket-like and less shirt-like. Will have to try that sometime, as I love my maxi dresses as well : )

    • admin June 10, 2011, 10:26 pm

      LOL. I agree, the dress is quite the statement piece and the shirt takes it down a notch to make it more palatable and less “crazy.”

  • Orchid Grey June 10, 2011, 6:41 am

    so great to see another petite for maxi dresses! you look fabulous in yours!

    on another note, we’re doing a clothing swap sponsored by Lulus.com in your area at the end of June and I would love to see you there! http://swaplulus.eventbrite.com/

  • Lor - Petite in the City June 13, 2011, 11:19 pm

    I would have never expected the maxi dress to look great on petites, I saw so many others wearing them too. I’m still on the fence on whether I would look good in one….still haven’t had a chance to go shop and try them on yet! Your dress is really unique – I love it!


  • Joanna Weinstein June 15, 2011, 9:25 pm

    I love love this Maxi dress…you look awesome! I love how its stripe in the front and solid in the back. thanks for stopping by my blog and the nice comments. I am having fun with this remix challenge. It’s my first time.


  • Elaine July 5, 2011, 1:38 pm

    Amaaaaaaaazing dress!

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