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Ask Belle: Black Maxi Dresses

It’s midterms at school, so I figured the easiest way to have content and pass my exams was to have an Ask Belle week.  So let’s get started…

Hi Belle,

As a former skeptic of the maxi dress craze, I’m warming up to the idea of a comfy, go-to that’s cuter than sweats. Can you recommend a few basic black maxis that would be good for a beginner? For context, I’m hoping for something under $100. If you’re short on post ideas, a full maxi dress primer would be supremely useful.

Thanks! JNick

Because I’m spending my summer in heavily air-conditioned classrooms, maxi-dresses are my salvation.  If you’re looking to get in on the look, a basic black maxi is a great place to start.


Alternative Sleeveless Dress ($68) // Splendid T-Shirt Maxi Dress ($79) // Off Shoulder Ruffle Trim Maxi ($59)

The basic styles for a summer maxi dress are the tank and the short-sleeve dress. I love this alternative tank dress with a racerback.  It comes in four lovely, neutral colors and has just the right amount of drape.  I also like this Felicity & Coco dress with a blousy top and a slimmer shape.  Need a v-neck?  Try this LoveAppella dress.

If it’s short-sleeve you’re after, this Splendid dress is a great buy.  Splendid is one of my favorite brands for jersey dresses.  I also like their v-neck maxi dress with a drawstring waist–it has a very relaxed feel to it.

Lastly, I just thought this off-shoulder dress was super cute with a flirty feel.  I also like this strappy tank dress with a ruffle front and this Calvin Klein dress with sheer straps.

Plus-size? Try this Calvin Klein sleeveless pleated maxi or this Elementz v-neck sleeveless dress.  Petite?  This Caslon halter maxi is lovely, as is this short sleeve LoveAppella dress with a side slit.  Tall?  This short-sleeve Dorothy Perkins dress is nice.



  1. Sarah says:

    Good luck on your midterms!

    July 8, 2014/Reply
  2. Elinor says:

    White House Black Market had several on sale this weekend. I’m 5’3″ and I was thrilled to discover that their XXS and petite sized maxi dresses didn’t make me look like I was drowning in fabric

    July 8, 2014/Reply
  3. Emily says:

    I am loving the Merona Black maxi from Target. Affordable and thankfully long enough, I hate when Maxis hit above the ankle.

    July 8, 2014/Reply
  4. Molly says:

    I just tried on three from FELICITY & COCO and really liked them – feel like they could be much more expensive. They’re here:

    I kept this one, which looks nicer in the non-black photos:

    I’m 5’10” and they’re the perfect, foot-grazing length for me, so someone shorter will have to get them hemmed to wear with flats.

    July 8, 2014/Reply
    • Molly says:

      Oops – you posted the one I kept! But I’m here to vouch for it’s quality and rec the others, too. 🙂

      July 8, 2014/Reply
  5. Anna says:

    Nope, still can’t, but I respect the ladies who do wish to indulge in this trend. Just one thing though, if it’s too long, please get the darned dress hemmed. I saw so many girls this weekend holding up their maxi dresses as they were walking down the street. You’re not a princess in a ball gown.

    July 8, 2014/Reply
  6. Christina says:

    I’m seconding Anna on my feelings of disdain towards maxi dresses. If you do indulge in this trend however, please for the love of all that is holy wear the appropriate undergarments. Jersey, which I’ve found most maxi dresses to be made of, is not a forgiving fabric so please plan accordingly.

    July 8, 2014/Reply