Long Sleeved Maxi Dresses

    Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
    ― Albert Camus

    It's autumn in Australia, and although I've never been there, I love it. So much good music, fashion, art, people nature are Australian. I'm sure all the dolls down under are working their maxi dreses with minimal effort.

    Long sleeve maxi dresses are great in autumn, winter, and even spring. They are a stylish way to stay warm and great for textural layering experiments.  They can be dressed up or down for casual or formal wear.  Maxi dresses, let alone long sleeved ones, are not a look I go to often, but I am so inspired when they are done right.

    The Row


    Long sleeve maxi dresses can be tricky to pull off. There are a few tips to help with achieving balance. 

    Doing your hair and makeup can really keep the dress from looking frumpy.  Try soft curls, tousled hair, clean tight up-do, or a messy bun. Pay attention to the cut and fit of the dress. To keep from looking too conservative, try out a maxi dress with cut out designs or high slits on the sides (like the black and white dress below).
    LNA Prescilla Dress in Black/ Eggshell [available here]

    There's a variety of styles to choose from which include tailored cuts, loose and floaty, stretchy form fitting bodycon, and loosely fitted.

    Not all styles work for every body type, but there is something out there for you.  Always remember to follow your gut.  If something doesn't feel right, it's probably not gonna work. 

    Also pay attention to the material and color. Patterned fabrics look best on flowy bohemian style dresses. Solid colored dresses are neutral and classic. They can be layered to function as a maxi skirt.  Materials will factor in on how the dress will lay and stretch.

    Tiered Floral Dress with flutter sleeves. Tracy Reese Fall 2011 RTW


    Add a sweater or jacket. Try a variety of styles in varied lengths. Layer with a scarf, vest, or pashmina. Don't forget the legs. If it's cold, pair with tights.
    Adam Lippes / Tracy Reese Fall 2011

    Maxi Dresses Layered with jackets. [Source]


    Wear bold jewelry can balance out the volume of fabric. Wear a long pendant necklace or a bold pendant. Draw eyes up to your face with dramatic earrings. 


    Depending on wether the look you want is causal or fancy, go with what matches the dress. You can dress down with ankle boots, sandals, ballet flats, or loafers. Dress it up with platform pumps and ankle booties.

    Types of Dresses

    Tailored Cuts

    To keep from looking frumpy, try dresses which define the waist and accent curves. Show that you have a great silhouette instead of getting lost in material. Look for dresses with a fitted bodice, cinched waistline, empire waist, princess seems or simply use a belt.

    I came across an Arabic site, Sophia Jennah, which sells traditional clothing along with tailored long sleeved maxi dresses.  These women dress this way as a part of their culture so it's great to see how they work it.

    Black dress with pleated waist / Light blue Dress / Colour Block Dress by Sophia Jennah

    One of my favorite runway shows incorporating long sleeve maxi dresses is Roksanda Ilincic's Spring 2013 RTW. Her dresses featured bishop sleeves, an array of collars and cuffs, high wiasts, fluid lines, and long hems that echoed the 60's and 70's. 
    Roksanda Ilincic's Spring 2013 RTW
    Roksanda Ilincic's Spring 2013 RT

    Flowy Chiffon

    These types of dresses embody the glamour of the 1930's and the bohemian babe of the 1970's. They are fluid and elegant. Flowy dresses easily transform into easy-to-wear dresses when layered.  The feminine silhouette is still visible through sheer lightweight material.

    Luisa Beccria Fall 2012 RTW
    Sonia Rykiel
    Valentino Spring 2011

    Bodycon Form-Fitting

    These dresses are for the fit and confident.  Every inch of your body is visible, so engage that core and work those abs. Fabrics range from jersey to soft cottons to synthetic blends. 
    Body Con Maxi Dresses with Long Sleeves

    Loosely Fitted

    These are loose, stretchy and almost form fitting. Create texture and a break in the line by knotting the bottom.  Try layering it with a different texture like the blue dress below.
    Bright wrap dress with knot / street fashion / tumblr

    Pretty Maxi Long Sleeved Dresses For Sale

    A google search will turn up lots of choices. Vintage dresses will range from formal gowns, mod 60's sac shapes, sexy 70s disco styles, to bohemian tiered hippie frocks (which Gunne sax if famous for).
    Vintage dresses on etsy: black gown / peach gown

    Here's a roundup of modern dresses with an array of collars, sleeves, sheer material, and shapes.
    Daisy Chain Dress / Long Grey Dress / Lace and Mesh Long Dress available at Pixiemarket
    Ann Sofie Back Zip Dress. Sold here and here.
    Full Tilt Knit Bodycon Maxi dresses. Available here.
    Neiman Marcus has an exquisite array of long sleeved maxi gowns. They really show just how gorgeous one can be even when covered head to toe.
    Elie Saab Tweed Bodice Gown / Elie Saab Blue Gathered Jersey Gown

    Roberto Cavalli Pointelle Knit Dress / David Meister Cold-Shoulder Empire Waist Gown

    Give long sleeve maxi dresses a try. There are lots of modern and vintage ones available. Use these guidelines to help make this look work for you. Trust your instincts and be creative. 

    -Suki Suki


    1. Keep on writing, great job!

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