Long Sleeve Maxi Dresses: Tips to Look Modern, Not Old!

Long-sleeved maxi dresses are always popular because they cover aging arms well and can look elegant.

But not all long-sleeve maxis are created equal, and how you style them can make a big difference between looking youthful and chic and dated and old!


If you want to know how to wear a long-sleeve maxi dress without looking like a burned-out Boho Boomer or Ma from Little House on the Prairie, read on.

I’m sharing 8 style tips for looking modern in long- sleeve maxi dresses.

maxi dress cinch

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, try a long-sleeved maxi wrap dress that crisscrosses at the bust and carves out a waist. Maxi dresses with elastic waistbands or belts also give you a youthful hourglass shape.

gray shirtdress

 2. Choose a Shirtdress Style

Less is often more when you are 40+ and want to look current. A maxi shirtdress, which is a cross between a dress and a man’s dress shirt, is classic and simple and feels more elegant than something very flouncy and busy.

Pair it with sleek accessories for an upscale everyday look.

maxi dress push up sleeves

3. Roll or Push Up Your Sleeves

Long sleeves cover flabby arms, but sometimes, they can also make you look too covered, which can come across as dowdy or old. Try rolling or pushing up your sleeves to show your forearms and see how it changes the look.

Three-quarter-length sleeves are also great because they provide upper arm coverage, but showing some skin below the elbow makes you look more relaxed. This also leaves room to show off a pretty bracelet!

maxi dress airy fabrics

4. Pick Light, Airy Fabrics

Thick, opaque fabrics are heavy-looking and aging, while long-sleeve maxi dresses with lightweight sheer or semi-sheer sleeves are more inviting. For example, a long-sleeve chiffon maxi dress is soft, feminine, and modern.

Long-sleeved cotton maxi dresses also have a light, airy feel.

Another excellent option is a long-sleeve maxi dress in a soft, silhouette-skimming fabric that follows your curves. A jersey maxi dress is a good example.

maxi dress vneck

5. Go for V-Necklines

Another way to avoid looking too covered up, especially if you have a short neck, is to wear a long-sleeve maxi with a V or scoop neckline. Even though your arms and legs are covered, your decolletage is revealed, giving you a more alluring, youthful look.

If you are wearing a maxi shirtdress, Leave a few buttons undone at the neckline to create a V-neck and a slimming effect.

maxi dress trendy print

6. Wear Trendy Colors and Edgy Prints

Drab, dark, or muted colors can make you look dowdy. Retro prints like paisley, which looks Victorian, can also do this. In summer, go for light/bright modern prints or a dark print that has splashes of light/bright colors.

Striped and color-block maxi dresses with long sleeves are also on-trend.

A long-sleeved floral maxi dress can be stunning,  but tiny florals can look dated. Stick to prints with small to medium flowers, real or abstract, in currently trending colors.

maxi dress sweater

7. Try a Sweater Dress Maxi

Long-sleeved knit maxi dresses are classy and cozy. Some are more chunky and textured, while others are smooth and stretchy. Both are very modern and my favorite way to make a style statement.

maxi dress slits

8. Seek Out Slits

Sexy slits at the front or sides of a long-sleeve maxi dress look feminine and youthful.  A flash of leg counterbalances the long length and keeps the frump away.

Long-sleeve maxi dresses can make you look Fabulous after 40 or 50. Just follow these tips to choose the right one and style it right, and you will have no worries about looking dated. 

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