Sneakers and maxi dresses have become staple items in many women's wardrobes. While some may feel apprehensive about pairing these two very different styles together, with the right sneakers and maxi dress, this combination can actually look quite chic and stylish. In this article, we'll explore whether sneakers and maxi dresses can be successfully paired together and tips for pulling off this look.
Key Considerations When Pairing Sneakers with a Maxi Dress
There are a few key things to keep in mind when wearing sneakers with a maxi dress:
Choose the Right Silhouette of Maxi Dress
Not all maxi dress silhouettes work equally well with sneakers. The best maxi dress styles to pair with sneakers tend to be more casual, relaxed silhouettes rather than extremely fitted or formal gowns. Some examples include:
- Casual jersey maxi dresses
- Maxi dresses with defined waists but looser skirts
- Maxi dresses made of flowy, lightweight fabrics like chiffon or crepe
- Maxi shirtdresses or maxi dresses with shirting details
Structured maxi dresses with very full, voluminous skirts can also pair well with sneakers. Stay away from extremely tight, bodycon maxi dresses - these tend to look incongruous with casual sneakers.
Pick Appropriate Sneakers
Just as the maxi dress silhouette matters, so do the actual sneakers you choose. Bulkier, chunkier sneakers generally pair better with maxi dresses than low-profile, minimalist sneakers. Some good options include:
- Platform sneakers
- Sneakers with thick, exaggerated soles
- High-top sneakers
- Dad sneakers
- Retro-style sneakers like Air Jordans or Adidas Gazelles
Slimmer sneaker silhouettes can work but tend to look better with tighter maxi dresses rather than voluminous ones.
Aim for Complementary Colors and Textures
When selecting a maxi dress and sneakers, consider colors and textures. For example, an all-white sneaker looks fresh with a patterned chiffon maxi dress. Or, distressed leather sneakers add edge to a casual jersey maxi dress.
Textural sneakers like suede or nubuck sneakers can provide visual interest against the smooth drape of a maxi dress. Colors should complement each other rather than compete - go for adjacent shades on the color wheel rather than opposites.
Finally, think about proportions when wearing sneakers with a longer maxi dress. Those with taller, slimmer frames can likely get away with minimalist sneakers. Petite figures may be overwhelmed and can balance the maxi length better with chunkier sneakers.
Now let's look at some examples and styling tips for achieving a casually chic sneakers-and-maxi look.
Examples of Stylish Ways to Wear Sneakers with a Maxi Dress
Monochrome Athletic Maxi Dress and Sneakers
An athletic-inspired maxi dress in a dark color like black or navy pairs perfectly with white or matching-color sneakers. This monochrome look is easy to pull off and looks sporty yet stylish.
Keep other accessories minimal with this look - simple jewelry and a hands-free bag like a crossbody or belt bag work well. Ponytails, braids or unfussy hair down complement the casual vibe.
Flowy Maxi Dress and Chunky Sneakers
As mentioned earlier, a flowy, lightweight maxi dress balances well with substantial sneakers. A billowy chiffon or crepe maxi dress offsets thick retro sneakers or dad shoes for a playful oxymoron look.
This combination works especially well for outdoor casual events like music festivals, backyard BBQs or relaxed summer weddings. Finish the look with fun hair accessories like bandanas or hair clips for a boho vibe.
Structured Shirtdress and Sporty Sneakers
Prefer something more tailored and smart casual? A long-sleeve maxi shirtdress in a cotton-linen blend or denim nicely complements white leather sneakers.
This put-together look maintains a bit of polish but still feels modern and youthful. Wear it for daytime activities like museum visits, lunches out or running errands.
Maxi Dress with Slits and Low-Top Sneakers
To balance a slimmer sneaker, pair it with a maxi dress featuring leg-baring slits or cut-outs. The reveal of skin prevents the silhouette from appearing too bulky on bottom.
This sexier take works for dates and social gatherings. Finish with some layered necklaces or a statement bag. Pull hair up or style waves to further elongate the look.
Tips for Successfully Styling Sneakers with a Maxi Dress
Here are a few final tips for flawlessly wearing this combination:
- When in doubt, opt for black sneakers - they go with everything! White sneakers also pair well with vibrant or pastel maxi dresses.
- In terms of fit, the maxi dress should not completely hide the sneakers underneath - letting the sneakers peek out ensures balance.
- Add jackets like jean, leather or denim jackets for cooler weather. Longline cardigans can also feminize the look.
- Skip delicate jewelry and opt for statement pieces that can hold their own against the casual vibe.
- Use accessories strategically - belts, hats, hair scarves and handbags all provide visual interest.
- Get playful with patterns and textures - pair graphic print maxi dresses with camo sneakers, for example.
- Cuff or tie long maxi skirts that are too voluminous or dragging underneath at the ankle.
With the right stylistic choices, sneakers and maxi dresses can be successfully styled together for everything from daytime outings to nights out. Have fun mixing these comfortable essentials!
What kind of sneakers go best with a maxi dress?
Chunky sneakers like platform, thick-soled or dad sneakers generally pair best with maxi dresses. The substantial shape balances out the volume of a maxi dress. Minimal sneakers can work too depending on the maxi dress silhouette.
What maxi dress styles work best with sneakers?
More casual, relaxed silhouettes like jersey, shirtdress or flowy chiffon maxi dresses complement sneakers most naturally. Form-fitting gowns or very dressy maxi dresses tend to look less cohesive with sporty sneakers.
What other footwear options work with maxi dresses?
In addition to sneakers, maxi dresses can be paired with sandals like strappy heels or flat styles, espadrilles, wedges, casual slides or loafers. For dressier occasions, strappy heels, boots or booties can be worn.
What if my maxi dress length is too long with sneakers?
If your maxi dress drags on the ground with sneakers, try cuffing or tying a knot in the skirt fabric on one or both sides. This prevents tripping and shows off the shoes. Wearing nude-colored shoes also elongates the leg visually.
How do I style sneakers with a maxi for fall/winter weather?
Transition to cooler temps by layering pieces like denim jackets, leather/suede moto jackets or long cardigans over your maxi dress. Try tights underneath or taller boots instead of lower sneakers. Scarves and beanies also keep you cozy.
While it may seem counterintuitive at first, with the right combination of dress silhouette, sneaker shape and thoughtful styling, sneakers and maxi dresses can be a stylish pairing. The trick is to aim for balance - the proportions of the maxi skirt and sneakers should complement each other.
With so many options for both sneakers and maxi dress styles today, feel free to get creative mixing and matching to find a blend that speaks to your personal taste. The end result is an effortlessly cool, casual look perfect for relaxed weekends, travel days or just everyday wear.