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Maxi (a.k.a. Long) Dresses and Summer Fashion for Women Over 60

The sun has finally returned, and it’s time to talk about summer fashion for women over 60. I’ve been quite surprised that I haven’t seen older women wearing maxi dresses or maxi skirts during the summer months.

  1. Eliza J Flutter Sleeve Maxi Dress at Bloomingdale’s – Flattering wrap dress with flutter sleeves. 
  2. Paisley Elbow Sleeve Loose Long Casual Maxi Dress – Paisley printed half-sleeve maxi dress. 
  3. Tiered Maxi Dress at TALBOTS – Pretty printed sleeveless maxi dress.
  4. Classic V-Back Maxi Dress at Chico’s – Pretty two-toned maxi dress.
  5. Easy Print Sharkbite Dress at Chico’s – Maxi dress with a trendy shark bite hem.
  6. Crinkle Knit Short Sleeve High Low Midi Dress – Hi-low hem maxi dresses are always trendy.
  7. Comfort Apparel Plus Sleeveless Floral Maxi Dress – Sleeveless maxi dress from JCPenney. 
  8. Comfort Apparel Plus Short Sleeve Abstract Maxi Dress – Cap sleeve maxi dress from JCPenney.
  9. Tencel Lyocell Seamed Maxi Dress at J. Jill – Super soft sleeveless Tencel dress.
  10. Pure Jill Embroidered V-Neck Dress – Textured and embroidered maxi dress from J Jill.

Most of us in the older age groups aren’t comfortable wearing shorts anymore. Many women question the silhouette of capris. So, I would think the maxis would be a natural choice for our generation.

Could it be because we’ve read articles saying that if you’ve worn a trend the first time around, you shouldn’t wear it again? In reality, I don’t consider that realistic for a couple of reasons.

First of all, fashion is cyclical. There are only a certain number of items and ways to wear them. Even the crazy, creative fashion designers can’t reinvent the body shape. They must return to some tried and true styles.

Second, if you liked wearing some item years ago, why wouldn’t you wear it when it comes back in style? This is true especially if it looks good on you and is flattering. Heck, in this day and age we are living longer and healthier! We might even be lucky enough to see the same trend more than twice.

So, let’s embrace it, I say!

What Are Maxi Dresses and Maxi Skirts?

A maxi skirt or maxi dress is one where the hemline falls below the calf and can extend down to the feet. There can be a lot of leeway on the length, depending on your preferences.

Like in the example shown here, the brown print dress (on the left) would be considered a maxi, yet it’s still above the ankles. Whereas the black maxi dress (on the right), is quite longer and extends past the ankles!

What Variations and Styles Are Available?

Besides the slight differences in length, there are other maxi options available. First is material. I first started seeing this trend a couple of years ago. It was hard to get used to the fact that maxis were made of knits or t-shirt materials. I grew up as a kid wearing many long dresses. They were for dress up and made of woven materials.

The reappearing maxi trend celebrates the fact that the material can change. Knit maxis are really quite comfortable. Just like everyone loves the feel of a great t-shirt, it’s the same for the knit material maxis.

Of course, you can also find them in polyester, cotton, chiffon, among other materials. Some even have spandex in them so the shape doesn’t get stretched out!

The other option for new maxi dresses and skirts is the silhouette. The silhouette can range from a slim design to a full body skirt. Something to consider is that the straighter the line of the skirt, the more chance there will be a slit going up the side. This is designed to allow for movement.

If you like the slim silhouette, but the slit feels too high for comfort, you can always sew part of it closed. Just make sure to try walking in it before you do this!

How Do Maxis Feel?

If you haven’t worn a maxi in 30 years, you might have forgotten the wonderful sense of a breeze between your legs. Or the liberating feeling of a skirt swishing around your ankles.

Even though your lower body is more covered up with a maxi than shorts or capris, it seems cooler! This is probably due to the fact that the material is not hugging your skin as closely.

Why Do I Love This Look?

Well, to be truthful, I didn’t actually love this look at first. I’m just like everyone else who struggles with not always wanting to change with the times. I kept thinking that the new styles were for the younger crowds.

It’s taken the experience of fashion blogging to realize that fashion should be fun. We don’t need to get bogged down by the rules we were taught about clothing and style when we were growing up.

As a petite woman, my first thought with maxis was they would make me look shorter. And maybe they do. The truth is, I am short. I’m not going to hide that fact from anyone who meets me. But to me, as long as I look good and feel comfortable, I’ve met one of my goals for the day! What I really have learned from blogging is to be more adventurous in trying new pieces and to never say never.

So, I started wearing a maxi. This was partly because my friend gave me the pinkish print one shown below. I soon realized how beneficial they could be for other women my age.

Are you still wondering if you should try this trend? Then check out the pros and cons as I see them. Maybe it will help solidify a decision for you.

Pros of Wearing a Maxi Dress or Skirt

The biggest advantage of wearing a maxi skirt or maxi dress is the fact that your legs are not exposed. I have to admit; I was thoroughly surprised by the number of women that responded to the ankle pants article.

Most said they didn’t like their ankles. Maybe you are one of those women, or feel there are too many varicose veins on your legs to be comfortable showing them in public. This longer style could be the perfect summer wear for you.

Also, like I stated above, these skirts can actually keep your temperature from boiling over. They simply increase the air circulation around your legs.

Perhaps you already like wearing skirts especially in the summer but have to worry about the wind whipping the fabric up around your waist (you know, the Marilyn Monroe look). In that case, maxis are much more reliable at staying down around your feet. The wind may blow the skirt around your legs, but not far enough to cause embarrassment.

I consider the casual maxi skirt a versatile piece. It can also double as your swim suit cover up. It is basically a one-piece sarong. These skirts are also versatile in the fact that many of them have a foldable waistband. The advantage of this is you can adjust the length of the skirt without having to hem it.

Cons of Wearing a Maxi

Just like with everything in life, the good comes with some bad. As much as I like my maxis, I will tell you they are not the easiest pieces to wear if you happen to be walking up or down the stairs a lot. Of course, this is easily remedied by grabbing it and pulling it up. But if you forget, there’s the chance of stepping on the material and getting caught up in the fabric.

Another disadvantage of a longer skirt is difficulty moving around. Even in a chair, especially a rolling chair, the material can get stuck under the legs/wheels of your furniture!

What Shoes Go with a Maxi

I’ve read many articles on what footwear to pair with your maxi. The overall consensus is that open toed shoes and sandals provide the best look with them. This being said, I have also seen women wearing their maxis with ankle boots and closed toe footwear. There are no absolute rules. Remember, fashion rules have gone out the window, so experiment with maxi styles and have fun!

Where to Get the Look

Eliza J Flutter Sleeve Maxi Dress at Bloomingdale’s

Eliza J Flutter Sleeve Maxi Dress at Bloomingdale's

This pretty wrap floral maxi dress can be found at Bloomingdale’s. Wrap dresses are flattering on all body shapes. 

Paisley Elbow Sleeve Loose Long Casual Maxi Dress

Paisley Elbow Slee

Macy’s is offering this maxi dress that is ready for any occasion.  It is designed with a bold paisley print and can be worn year-round in all seasons. 

Tiered Maxi Dress at TALBOTS 

Tiered Maxi Dress at TALBOTS

This maxi dress for TALBOT’S is so pretty and polished. It is made of airy cotton and a gorgeous watercolor medallion print. The dress features a tiered maxi skirt and ties at the waist and shoulders.

Classic V-Back Maxi Dress at Chico’s

Classic V-Back Maxi Dress at Chico’s

This cap sleeve pullover dress from Chico’s has a V-back design and two-tone abstract print. An easy everyday maxi dress.

Easy Print Sharkbite Dress at Chico’s

Easy Print Sharkbite Dress at Chico’s

Here is another pretty printed maxi dress from Chico’s. The shark bite hem detail shows off a little more leg.

Crinkle Knit Short Sleeve High Low Midi Dress

Crinkle Knit Short Sleeve High

You can find this comfortable hi-low hem maxi dress at Land’s End in multiple colors and prints. 

Comfort Apparel Plus Sleeveless Floral Maxi Dress

Comfort Apparel Plus Sleeveless Floral Maxi Dress

JCPenney offers this pretty maxi dress in two print options and in plus sizes. 

Comfort Apparel Plus Short Sleeve Abstract Maxi Dress

Comfort Apparel Plus Short Sleeve Abstract Maxi Dress

Another printed maxi dress from JCPenny in plus sizes. This one has cap sleeves and comes in different bold prints. 

Tencel Lyocell Seamed Maxi Dress at J. Jill

Tencel Lyocell Seamed Maxi Dress at J. Jill

Super soft Tencel maxi dress at J. Jill is a great choice for those summer days. This style comes in petite, regular, plus, and tall.

Pure Jill Embroidered V-Neck Dress

Pure Jill Embroidered V-Neck Dress

Another beautiful design from J. Jill. This short-sleeve dress is made with ultra soft cotton textured gauze and has all-over embroidered motifs with a contrasting embroidered border at the hemline.

What is your ideal summer look? Is the maxi one of them? Do you like to wear maxi dresses or maxi skirts? What kind of shoes do you wear with this length? What do you think is the essence of fashion for women over 60? Please join the conversation.

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The Author

Jodie Filogomo is a retired cosmetic dentist turned style consultant. After over 20 years as a successful dental practitioner, she enhanced her styling talents by taking fashion, interior decorating and design classes. Jodie loves to share with others her passion for putting together outfits for women of all ages. Visit her blog Jodie’s Touch of Style http://www.jtouchofstyle.com and connect with her on social media.

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