5 tips for wearing a maxi when you’re a mini

By A.J. Howard.

Do you ever feel grumpy and that your legs are too stumpy, just like cute little Bartholomew bear in the children’s book series by Virginia Miller?

Does your height make you rule out certain types of clothes, such as the maxi dress, because you think you’re too much of a ‘shortie’ to pull it off?

Contrary to popular belief, us short ladies can rock a maxi dress!  And with a bit of consideration, the right style dress can make you appear longer, and therefore taller. If you don’t believe me, check out Nicole Richie, Eva Longoria and Hilary Duff who are all around 5 foot 2 inches.


5 maxi tips for the vertically challenged:

1. Whether you’re petite or have a fuller figure, go for a maxi that skims your body. If you wrap yourself in too much loose fabric, it’ll overwhelm your figure and make you look like a walking tent.

2. V-necks will elongate your figure. If you have a fuller figure, try a halter-neck or a maxi with wider straps.

3. A defined waist can work well on petite women, but an empire line dress with a flowy skirt is better for elongating the figure and hiding a mummy-tummy. Add a belt if you like to add definition and interest.

4. Solid colours (especially dark colours) will elongate and slim down your figure.  If you’d like a print, select one where the size of the pattern suits the proportions of your body.  Petite frames can wear smaller prints, and fuller figures can get away with a medium to large print. Either way, keep in mind that a vertical print will help lengthen your figure.

5. Once you’ve selected a maxi (or two) have a bit of fun with it – you can tie a knot in the bottom, hitch it up at the hip with a brooch, add a belt, and accessorise with great jewellery to take it from day to night.


For more styling ideas, check out 7 ways to max out your maxi. And now, how about seeing if you can wear a dress everyday for a week? C’mon, I dare you! Find out about The Dress Dare here.


If you’re a self-defined ‘shortie’ what’s your best style tip? 

baby hanger1 7 ways to Max out your Maxi


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  • Tarsh

    Thanks for this post, at 5 foot 1 I really have struggled with Maxi dresses and skirts. I went shopping yesterday after reading your post and I am currently wearing a beautiful floaty maxi skirt from Portmans with a lovely fine print. It is super cute and I love it.

    Would have loved to get a v-neck maxi dress too but they were all too long (so long I was treading on them!!)  However I am inspired to keep looking for one of those too.

  • I’ve been loving maxi dresses for a few seasons now.  Love the idea of the brooch on the hip!  Definitely going to give that a go 🙂

    • She’s full of clever ideas, that AJ! x

  • Rachel3

    Thanks for thesee tips, Ive been wanting to wear a maxi but at 5 2″ was not sure if I could. Off to the shops I go! 

    • Oh yay! Hope you got something you love. x

  •  I got my two maxis from ebay today – they came in different lengths for different heights. So lucky – I chose the shortest length, which was still a bit long for my 5 foot 1 frame.
    I have it on now, looks fab. And the first thing I did once I put it on, was visit this site, to work out how to wear a maxi when I’m a mini. I have tied a knot in the bottom, and may even hitch it up with a belt. Thank you Fox in Flats for helping me 🙂

    • Carly, that is so cool and kind of you to say! I saw your tweets when you were on the hunt for a great maxi – and stoked you found a couple. 
      PS: I love these tips too – am sitting here with a knot in the bottom of my maxi as we speak…sometimes it’s just easier to walk that way!

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  • Sazaran

    Do you have an example of a knot at the bottom of a maxi?! I’ve never thought of that!

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  • Jacqueline Little

    Would love some pictures.

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  • I am a shortie and I love these tips. I have a few maxis that are a little too long for me. Thanks Andrea. V x

    • FoxInFlats

      Hi V,
      I’m 5 ft 6 and still find lots of maxis too long and I get tangled up in them. I often tie mine in a bit of a knot to be honest or I’ll trip over. You should check out Dannii Minogues Petite range at Target I think there are some maxis in that range, may be good for you. xxxA