How to Wear a Maxi Dress If You Are Short and Curvy

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Have you ever heard the terms petite and plus size used together? The two terms are on the opposite ends of the sizing spectrum. Petite typically means short and thin, and plus size often means tall and curvy. But, as the average American woman’s body has evolved to being plus size, there are many different shapes, sizes and heights now associated with the plus size figure. And one of those variations is the short and curvy body, also known as petite plus. 

Understandably so, a lot of plus size styles and trends can be difficult to embrace for short and curvy gals because plus size fashion has typically been made for taller women. Plus size maxi dresses are an all-time plus size girl favorite, but for shorter, curvier figures, these dresses can be tricky to style. However, have no fear! We have put together some handy tips to help our shorter girls out. Hopefully, they inspire you to embrace the maxi this spring! Before we cover some of our favorite maxi dress styles, here are some quick tips for styling the maxi dresses that are currently in your wardrobe. 

full figure woman in a maxi dress - floral

Quick Tips For Styling Maxi Dresses on Shorter Bodies

  1. If you have a maxi dress that checks off all of your boxes, but it’s too long, get it altered or hemmed. 
  2. Stick to curve-hugging materials or dresses that cinch at the waist so that you don’t drown out your figure. For loose-fitting dresses, accessorize with a belt or a long necklace that elongates your torso. You could also add definition by styling your dress with plus size cardigan sweaters.
  3. Show some skin! Because maxi dresses can be long and show little variance, embrace opportunities to show some skin for a flattering look. 

Maxi Dresses That Enhance Petite Plus Figures

Although plus size maxi dresses may require hemming or altering on shorter figures, there are specific styles of the dress that are very flattering for shorter bodies. Here are our favorite styles for the spring and summer months that will have you feeling confident. 

Off the Shoulder–As mentioned in the quick tips above, showing some skin can create a flattering look when it comes to sporting maxi dresses as a short and curvy fashionista. Make sure your plus size off the shoulder maxi dress cinches at the waist so that the flowiness doesn’t drown out your gorgeous figure! 

High Slit–While maxi dresses elongate most figures, they can easily outshine a shorter frame, which is why we suggest investing in plus size dresses that have a high slit. Not only will the slit create the illusion that your legs are longer, but it’s also a style that is daring with a hint of sexy. 

Cinched Waist–Maxi dresses that cinch right under the bust or at the waist are ideal for shorter figures because they create shape and contour curves, ensuring that your body looks proportionate under all that dress! Embrace this with the two kinds of maxi dresses above to create your new favorite maxi dress.  

High-Low–If you love a good maxi dress, but also want to show off your legs and curves, try a High-Low style. This dress has a mini or midi length in the front and a maxi length in the back. This dress is perfect for petite plus girls because it elongates the figure! 

full figure woman in a maxi dress - Pink

Shoes to Pair With Maxi Dresses 

If you don’t want to get your maxi dress hemmed or altered, you may want to stock up on some shoes that can make up a couple of inches for you so that your dress doesn't drag. Another plus is that it will give you a few more inches of height and elongate your figure! Here are our favorites! 

Block Heels–These practical heels are easy to walk in, and they look incredibly chic with maxi dresses of all styles. Dress your maxis up with a pair of sleek block heels. 

Wedges–Not only are wedges incredibly easy to walk in, but they can keep your maxi dress from dragging. They are also adorable during the spring and summer months. 

Sandals—If you have tailored your maxi dress to hit you at the perfect length, sport chic sandals for a laid back look. 

full figure woman in a maxi dress - striped

Patterns and Colors to Embrace 

All colors are a go for petite plus size maxi dresses, but there are some patterns that can help you strut your stuff with an extra touch of fierce. The way these patterns work creates an optical illusion to help flatter your figure. 

Stripes-What are your opinions on stripes? For the longest time, plus size women were told not to wear horizontal stripes because they made the body look wider. But at Chic Soul, we are all about wearing whatever pattern you love to embrace. However, vertical stripes may help elongate your figure if you’re on the shorter side. Especially with the flowy nature of maxi dresses, stripes can help define your shape.

Florals-When it comes to prints like florals, stick to smaller prints. Large prints can make your body look shorter instead of elongating your figure. Florals can be tricky because they often have so much going on. They are great for that springtime barbeque or any type of casual get together on a beautiful day but don’t overdo it. Sticking to smaller prints will help to make sure that your beautiful florals shine without taking over the entire outfit!


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