How I conquered my fear of the maxi dress

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Summer is in full swing and I've been loving every second of it! With summer, comes a new wardrobe to embrace for the three months out of the year we get to show off some sun tanned (or burnt) skin in Seattle. One of my favorite items I love to wear in the summer time is a maxi dress! There's something so feminine and versatile about a maxi dress - they can be worn at work, on the weekend or when you're going out at night. I love a good wardrobe piece that can fluctuate its way throughout my day. 

Now, let's get to the dose of reality in this post: I'm 5'2, despite my license reading 5'4 and my sassy personality telling people otherwise. And the reality is, maxi dresses are HARD to wear when you're on the shorter side. Whether you feel swallowed up in the mass of fabric or frustrated at the fact you have to wear 5 inch heels to stand tall enough so your dress isn't dragging on the ground - I've been there. It honestly wasn't until two summers ago that I started bringing maxi dresses into the dressing room to try on and give them a shot, despite me being skeptical. I've since learned 4 takeaways as I've introduced maxi dresses into my spring and summer wardrobe that I thought I'd share to my fellow short female friends: 

1. Shoes are everything. It's true - the reality is, flats are probably not going to be your best bet when you wear a maxi dress and are already on the shorter side. Invest in comfortable pairs of shoes that give you some height - I highly recommend wedges or espadrilles for the summer. These striped Zara espadrilles give me a few inches in height but also are extremely comfortable to wear with the support of the wedge and overall padding of the shoe! Comfort is key. I always like to do a walking test with my maxi dress and a pair of shoes before I go out to ensure I can walk confidently and securely in whatever shoes I choose to wear. 

2. Shop petites when you can. I never used to consider the Petite section in clothing stores or when I shopped online until a coworker mentioned her benefits of finding items that fit her so much better when she shopped in Petites. I highly recommend trying on a maxi dress when shopping in Petites because sometimes the overall fit can be different (including chest size, arm length, etc.) I've found great success in shopping in Petites which saves me $$$ at the end of the day instead of having to seek out alterations.  

3. Adjustable straps are a must. My general rule of thumb with maxi dresses is to only purchase a style with adjustable straps. This generally helps the overall fit of the dress to raise the dress higher off the ground and keep me feeling all around more secure - especially in the fit of the chest. When maxi dresses don't have adjustable straps I tend to find that they sag in the most unflattering spots. Adjustable straps (similar to a bra strap) or options that are more stylish like a tying tassel (similar to this Maude white dotted maxi dress in this post) is not only trendy but extremely practical! 

4. Remember, maxi dresses aren't JUST for tall girls. If you're short, embrace the mindset that you shouldn't be forced to only shop for dresses that are short or mid-length. It took me years to feel comfortable wearing a maxi dress without feeling like I was going out in public in a bed sheet. It is possible to find a maxi dress that is the perfect fit for you - although, it does require some patience and a couple of trial runs in the dressing room. I assure you, it's worth it! 

Thank you to Maude for collaborating on this blog post! All thoughts and opinions expressed on West Coast Aesthetic are my own and every collaboration is done with absolute integrity.