Dresses

How to Look Modern (not Dowdy) in a Long Sleeve Maxi Dress

Long sleeve maxi dresses are an easy way to look casually chic and get the arm coverage so many of us want.  But how do you rock a long sleeve maxi dress, without looking like a burned-out boho boomer, or Ma from Little House on the Prairie? Here’s how to Look Modern In Long Sleeve Maxi Dresses.

Belted, Pleated Maxi Dress

1.  Cinch in your Waist

Loose, baggy maxi dresses with no waist definition (think mu-mus) are frumpy and aging. The trick is to find one that nips in at the waist, even if it is just a little. For example, a long sleeve maxi wrap dress crisscrosses at the bust and carves out a waist, giving you a very feminine, youthful shape.  Maxi dresses with elastic waists or belts also give you more of a beautiful hourglass shape.

 2. Choose a Shirtdress Style

shirtdress | sandals | earrings | sunglasses | bag

There are hundreds of long sleeve casual maxi dresses, but one of the most popular is the maxi shirtdress. A maxi shirtdress is a cross between a dress and a man’s dress shirt, and has a casual, sporty feel. Maxi shirtdresses are cut straight up and down, so they tend to look a little boxy. Be sure to wear yours with a belt or look for one with a drawstring waist.

Printed Half-Button Maxi Dress

3. Roll or Push Up Your Sleeves

If you like long sleeves because they cover flabby arms, but you want to look dowdy, try rolling or pushing up your sleeves to show your forearms. Three-quarter length sleeves also do the trick.  Showing just a touch of skin makes your outfit look more lightweight, more casual, and gives you a more youthful appearance.

Sheer Sleeved Maxi Dress

4. Pick Light Airy Fabrics

Maxi dresses with full-length sleeves are aging when they’re made from thick, heavy fabric. Stick to thinner, lighter materials, and when you can, go for sheer or semi-sheer sleeves.  For example, a long sleeve chiffon maxi dress is light, feminine, and modern.  Long sleeve cotton maxi dresses also have an airy feel.

Another nice option – maxi dresses made from soft, thin, silhouette-skimming fabric, follow your curves, such as a long sleeve jersey maxi dress.

Faux Wrap Maxi Dress

5.  Go for V-Necklines

Another way to keep from looking too bundled, especially if you have a short neck, is to choose a long sleeve V-neck maxi or one with a  scoop neckline. This way, even though your arms and legs are covered, your decolletage is revealed, giving you a more alluring, youthful look.

The open neckline of a wrap dress makes your neck look longer, making you look slimmer. Shirtdress maxi dresses can be unbuttoned at the neckline with a couple of buttons, or you can leave them done up but roll up the sleeves and open up the last few buttons to create a slit.

Falling Leaves Maxi Dress

6. Look for Trendy Colors and Edgy Prints

Drab, dark, or muted colors can make you look dowdy. So can old fashioned prints like paisley, which look Victorian.  In summer, go for light/bright modern prints to look festive and fun or a dark solid with splashes of lighter or bright color. Striped and color block maxi dress with long sleeves are also on-trend.

A long sleeve floral maxi dress is always lovely, but tiny florals can make you look dated. Stick to small to medium florals, real or abstract, in currently trending colors

Sweater Maxi Dress

7. Try a Sweater Dress Maxi

Knit maxi dresses are fresh and quite popular. You can wear something a little chunky and cozy, or sleek and fitted. Whatever the case a long sleeve maxi is a modern way to make a statement.

Front Slit Maxi Dress

8. Slits are Sexy

Sexy slits at the front or side of your long sleeve maxi open up the dress and lighten the look.  Slits give you the leg coverage you want but a flash of legs does wonders to keep the frump away.

Long sleeve maxi dresses are definitely on-trend and can look Fabulous after 40, 50. Follow these tips to choose the right one, and you won’t have to worry about looking dated.

Here are some more long sleeve maxi dresses that you can find in stores now.

Join the Conversation