The History and Evolution of the Maxi Dress: A Fashion Icon

maxi dress

The history and growth of the maxi dress fashion is a fabulous ride. The first maxi dresses came from the Mod fashion that broke out in London during the 1960s. 1967 is the year it first appeared on a runway as fashion designer Oscar de la Renta created its design. Towards the end of this era, mainstream style emulated psychedelic patterns.

The maxi remained a popular style during the 1970s with different styles and cuts. It then went down in the 1980s and the years that followed, but it managed to bounce back again, recently equaling its popularity from the past, along with different changes.

What Are The Trending Maxi Dress Styles? 

The Maxi dress is very popular and can be worn on many different occasions in all kinds of styles, but regardless, the maxi dress remains an iconic fashion in the world. The maxi dress has also evolved over the years and remains very popular among women. Some of the most popular styles of maxi dresses include: 

  1. Boho-Chic Maxi Dresses

A Boho-Chic maxi outfit has a flowing silhouette, tiered structure, and playful prints. Due to its inherently casual and laid-back style, it is a perfect fit for those sunny beach days or lazy brunch. It would work incredibly well with lightweight cotton or chiffon, allowing for breathability and movement.

  1. Off-Shoulder Maxi Dresses

Off-shoulder maxi dresses have a neckline that lies below the shoulders and brings attention to the collarbone. They can be tailored or loose, adding an element of romance. Ideal for date nights, weddings, or any occasion where just a hint of elegance is required.

  1. Cutout Style Maxi Dresses

This style features cutouts or open designs, giving a modern and pretty look to the maxi dress that is not only suitable for casual occasions but also for those who are formal, making it perfect depending on every specific design and fabric used.

  1. Slip Maxi Dresses

Slip maxi dresses are inspired by lingerie; they’re sleek, often made of smooth materials like silk, and have fine spaghetti straps. This type of dress is best for occasions like evening events, cocktail parties, or date nights where a slight sense of sophistication is required.

  1. Mermaid or Fishtail Maxi Dresses

Mermaid or fishtail maxi dresses are body and hips fitted and flare out at the bottom in a sort of mermaid’s tail silhouette. It is Ideal for events like red carpet appearances, formal galas, or elegant evening outings. 

  1. Casual Everyday Maxi Dresses

Casual maxi dresses such as cotton or jersey are crafted from comfortable and soft fabrics that feel lightweight all day long. They have less complex designs and solid colors and are quick to wear on a daily basis. Perfect for errands, casual hangouts, or laid-back weekends.

  1. Empire Waist Maxi Dress

Maxi dresses with a high waistline just below the bust have an empire waist that flows down into a long skirt. This silhouette lengthens the body and is typically characterized as Grecian or otherworldly. It is perfect for formal occasions, bridesmaid dresses, or when a sophisticated line is required.

  1. Wrap Maxi Dresses

Wrap maxi dresses feature a bodice that wraps around the body and closes in front, creating a V-neckline. This style includes a figure-flattering design and adjustable fit. They are suitable for both casual and semi-formal situations, which makes them very versatile depending on the occasion.

  1. Strapless Maxi Dresses

Strapless maxis have bare shoulders and a fitted bodice that turns into an extravagant full skirt. They can be classy and elegant or unformed and easygoing. It is ideal for summer festivities, weddings, or late-evening parties.

  1. High-Low Maxi Dresses

When the hemline of high-low maxi dresses is shorter in front compared to the back, this asymmetrical maxi dress has a contemporary edge to the needs of an old fashion. Perfect for those day-to-night transitions, semi-formal events, or occasions when you want to become the highlight of the event. 

  1. The Shirt Maxi Dress

Lastly, we have a Shirt maxi dress. Since it has a rather structured appearance combined with the casual feel of such dresses, this style is at once very comfortable and stylish. This style takes its cue from shirt dresses but, with the extra features of button plackets and collars, provides a more structured, polished look that can take them seamlessly from format meetings to casual outings.


The evolution of the maxi dress from its introduction as a revolutionary new style in the 1960s to its modern-day return demonstrates that it still holds an undeniable appeal. From the bohemian freedom of the 1970s to the sleek sophistication of the 80s and through modern twists today, a maxi dress is an icon representing timeless elegance.

In this ever-changing world of maxi dress styles, from more relaxed boho-chic to the siren allure of strapless or mermaid cuts, there is a perfect silhouette for every occasion. Hello Molly offers almost every style of maxi dress that is both timeless and new. Go and shop Maxi Dresses at Hello Molly and let your style embrace the enchanting history of this fashion icon! 

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