FLASH SALE ON NOW ONLINE AND IN STORE

The Dress Guide & Styling Advice - Maxi, Midi and Mini Dresses

DRESSES

Dresses!  What would we do without them!  We don’t know about you but we can’t imagine life without dresses!  They are the epitome of femininity – exuding elegance and singing of love, romance, adventure, freedom and fun.  We love dresses – can you tell?

Dresses are a hot topic with an abundance of questions being asked.  What dress should I wear to a wedding, job interview, party…?  What shoes should I wear with a maxi dress, mini dress, shift dress, slip dress…?  Every bohemian girl wants to put her spin on it too, so what suits your style?  How can you tweak it to add your authentic touch but still meet the brief?

Since the dress has raised so much interest and questions and there are an abundance of styles to choose from with such a diverse range of variations, we thought we’d explore the topic and give you the low down.

Starting with the history of a dress, let's get to know this inspired piece of clothing a little better.  Before the Victorian period a dress was referred to as a gown or a frock.  In the last few decades “gown” has lost its general meaning of a women’s garment in favour of “dress”.  In the 19th-century dress length only varied slightly between ankle length and floor sweeping.  In around 1915, hemlines for daytime dresses left the floor to make way for shorter hemlines. This length dominated the fashion scene until the 1930’s when longer and shorter dresses began to alternate in popularity.  Since the 70’s mini dresses, midi dresses, maxi dresses and long formal dresses have often appeared side by side in the fashion scene.  

Maxi Dress

This popular dress type - “Maxi” - is a term used since the late 1960’s to describe a floor or ankle length dress crafted with a soft, free flowing fabric.  It is formfitting at the top and loose flowing at the bottom. 

Perfect for almost any occasion and can be layered upon for the winter season or paired back for casual events and summer days.

Cleobella AUDEN MAXI DRESS - VINTAGE ROSE

Cleobella
AUDEN MAXI DRESS - VINTAGE ROSE

Free People EMBROIDERED ELAINE MAXI SLIP DRESS - TERRACOTTA

Free People
EMBROIDERED ELAINE SLIP DRESS

Auguste DELILAH SLIP MAXI DRESS - BLACK

Auguste
DELILAH SLIP MAXI DRESS - BLACK

Midi Dress

The “Midi” refers to any dress style that falls to mid-calf – halfway between the knee and ankle.  This dress type is super versatile and can be worn as a head-turning ensemble for any event depending on fabric, footwear choice, style and jewels. We swoon over the understated elegance of a midi.

Midi Dress - Nala Lace, Rust Color

Kivari
NALA LACE DRESS - RUST

Midi Dress - Sheer Bliss, Black Sands

Amuse Society
SHEER BLISS DRESS - BLACK SANDS

Midi Dress - Andromeda Pinafore, Nougat Color

Shona Joy
ANDROMEDA PINAFORE - NOUGAT

Knee Length Dress

The Knee Length Dress is self-explanatory – the hemline ends at knee height.  Knee length dresses are sophisticated and sexy in the one breath.  Depending on how you style it you can allow one or both of these attributes to be the hero.  Knee length dresses can also take you from a 9-5 workday to after work drinks with ease, grace and style. We are big fans of this style for its versatility as it can pretty much be adapted for any occasion and any season. 

Mini Dress

The “Mini” comes to us from the 60’s and refers to a very short dress with a hem that hits high on the thigh, above the knee.  We love the mini for its fun, flirty and whimsical vibe and especially enjoy this style in a wrap, slip or shift variation.  It is also versatile and the look can be shifted hugely depending on which footwear and accessories you pair with this type.  A mini dress can take you from beach to bar in the flutter of an eyelid and a quick footwear change.

Shona Joy CASSIOPEA LAYERED FRILL MINI DRESS

Shona Joy
CASSIOPEA LAYERED FRILL MINI DRESS

Free People VOILE AND LACE TRAPEZE DRESS

Free People
VOILE AND LACE TRAPEZE DRESS

Auguste DELILAH WRAP MINI

Auguste
DELILAH WRAP MINI - NATURAL BLOOM

Somedays Lovin DANCE AT DUSK WRAP DRESS

Somedays Lovin
DANCE AT DUSK WRAP DRESS - DUSTY PINK

There are many variations of these dress types – the wrap dress, slip dress, halter dress, v-neck, shirt dress, tunic dress, pencil dress and strapless – to name a few.  You will see them in bold colours, vibrant florals, micro-prints, subdued hues, checks, gingham and stripes.  And you’ll find them crafted in rayon, cotton, linen, silk, lace and more.

Now we are all familiar with these dress types, let's delve deeper and answer some frequently asked questions to help you look and feel your best and sparkle like the light that shines within you!

What shoes and accessories do I wear with my…

Maxi Dress?

Our bohemian babes love the maxi and are seen pairing this versatile garment with ankle boots, biker jackets and chokers to give it a raw 90’s style edge – perfect for autumn/winter wear.  In the summer time we are seeing this dress shine with accent braids in loose flowing hair, Greek sandals, refined jewels and straw hats (Brixton has some beauties in this department!)

Jump on the latest trend and pop on your favourite kicks to team with your maxi or offer a shout out to the 90’s with a pair of Doc Martens

Midi Dress?

Again the sneakers!  Wearing sneakers with your midi dress is a definite yes and a very on-trend style that has emerged and become super popular.  Celebrities are rocking this look and you can too.  We also love the Midi styled up for evening and formal occasions with strappy heels and sparkling accessories.  For summer loving style we adore it paired with flat-soled mules or sandals and a big straw hat and for chilly days and nights team with ankle boots and a faux fur jacket. 

Mini Dress with Knee-high Boots

 

Gigi Hadid rocks a mini dress with over the knee boots and a leather jacket.  Seriously stunning party or date night ensemble!

Maxi dress with Doc Martens

 

Jessica Alba embraces 90’s style with Maxi Dress and Doc Martens

 

Tunic Dress with Knee Boots

Kourtney Kardashian wears an understated tunic mini dress with over the knee boots – taking a daytime outfit to the next level.

 

Midi Dress with Sneakers

 

Lily Aldridge pairs back a black midi with Adidas sneakers and round sunnies. Perfect weekend wear.

 

Knee Length Dress?

For an understated, simple and sophisticated style we are loving the mule or slide sandals paired with this no-nonsense length. A pair of chucks and a slouchy bag gives it a casual weekend wear vibe and closed toe heels and a cropped jacket can shift it into the corporate world with ease.

Mini Dress?

For a touch of rockstar glamour be brave and pair your Mini Dress with over the knee boots – taking ‘show stopper’ to the next level!  This look is ideal for any evening event where you want to make a statement.  Ankle boots will work too with your mini – creating a grounded aesthetic – add a denim jacket (cue Levi’s Trucker Jacket!) and a felt fedora for an authentic bohemian style.  And, yes they get a mention once again – the humble sneaker – looks divine with a mini and works perfectly to pair back and balance the sexiness of this length.

So now we know the in’s and out’s of these dresses, let's take a look at where to wear them.   We’ve chosen 4 of the most popular events we are asked about and we’ve matched the perfect dress type, our number 1, with each event.  Because we love versatility and these dresses rock that ability we will also share our number 2 dress in the running for these events.

What dress to wear to:

A PARTY:

  1. The Mini

The delightful Mini Dress is perfect for a party!  Emanating freedom, fun and whimsy whilst turning heads with its leg revealing length.  This is your chance to rock those over the knee boots and stop the party (for a second!)  Accessorise with pieces that are authentic to your bohemian style.  Pop on a wool felt fedora and a silk necktie to complete this party ensemble.

  1. The Midi

For a more refined party, we do love the Midi.  It is feminine and subtly flirtatious.  Its elegance always wins our hearts and for this occasion it is paired perfectly with strappy heels and minimalist jewels (Temple of the Sun will add that subtle sparkle you are looking for)

​​​

Knee-length dress and closed shoes


Your knee length dress can take you from a day at the office to after work drinks at a city bar. 

Knee length dress for the races


Jennifer Hawkins in a knee length dress looking stunning as always – Spring Races style.

Maxi Dress for Wedding

English model, Poppy Delevingne, shows us how it’s done with a perfect wedding guest outfit - a stunning maxi dress, cropped jacket, heels and refined accessories.

THE RACES:

  1. The Midi

We love the Midi Dress for the races.  It is elegant and graceful and looks amazing teamed with a headpiece, practical yet pretty heels and a simple clutch.  Stay true to your nature-loving roots and choose a headpiece that resonates with your bohemian heart – think feathers, flowers and natural fabrics. 

  1. The Knee Length

For the races we say to the knee or longer for length and keep it simple yet stunning.  Let your hat or fascinator be the hero and pair it with a bold hue knee length dress and closed toe heels.  A silk necktie looks gorgeous as a waist sash and this can add a little texture and luxe to your dress.

A WEDDING:

  1. The Maxi

The beautiful Maxi Dress is perfect for a wedding guest dress – feminine, celestial and gracious.  There are so many pretty florals, vibrant and subdued hues to choose from.  Pop on some heels and refined jewels (we love the simplicity, beauty and meaning of the Violet Gray Designs jewellery) and you’re set.

  1. The Knee Length

The knee length is such a versatile dress and can be a gorgeous yet functional dress for a wedding – comfortable and elegant in the one breath and perfect for dancing.  Finish with heels and a clutch (The WolfGang Clutch - pom poms on or off – depending on the look) is perfect for this occasion too.

A JOB INTERVIEW:

  1. The Knee Length

The knee length dress has the ability to hit the corporate world with class and grace. A stylish knee length dress with a closed toe heel, sleek hair and immaculate make-up will give you the confidence to land that dream job!  Look at popping a crisp white collared shirt underneath your dress too – to change the look and to add layers for winter styling.

  1. The Midi

The Midi Dress is another good option for an interview – pair it with a cropped jacket, closed toe heels and a stylish satchel to look, feel and be the part.

Dress Muses

For further inspiration let's admire some beautiful muses as we take a walk back in time to the girls that made awe-inspiring music and wore pretty dresses!

Stevie Nicks rocked the lace maxi.

This gorgeous Queen of Rock n’ Roll inspired the fashion world with her mystical, bohemian style and to this day is a muse to us and many!  We love her relaxed layering, exploration with textures, love of lace and accessory donning.  Visually she is a bohemian goddess and if you look you will find abundant inspiration from her on how to wear your maxi dress ‘Stevie Nicks’ style.  

 Stevie Nicks and Lace Dresses

One of our favourite muses – Stevie Nicks – known for her music and her love of lace dresses!

Joni Mitchell has us swooning – in slip dresses and boho maxis, midis and minis

Rolling Stone called her “one of the greatest songwriters ever” Influential and romantic in her songwriting and her fashion sense, we love her look – sensual, cool and soulful – when we think of Joni we see her in a flowing boho midi dress holding her guitar with accent braids in her hair.  Totally inspiring!

 Joni Mitchell with Guitar and Slip Dress

Joni Mitchell rocking her guitar and slip dress like the folk goddess she is!

Joplin’s bohemian threads – minis and maxis

Janis Joplin’s raw and uninhibited singing style was also reflected in her fashion style.  We love her true bohemian look, her love of layering and the way she owns her style.  

 Janis Joplin in Mini Dress

Uninhibited Janis in a mini dress.

Labels

With this inspiration fresh in our minds lets look at the labels that can offer you the threads to bring Stevie, Joni and Janis’ style to life.

If you want to manifest these musings into reality which labels can deliver?  We’d love you to meet 3 of our favourite labels - all designed in Australia:

Spell Designs

Spell Designs are known for their attention to detail and authentic bohemian styles.  Leading the female fashion world with its classic vintage prints, impeccable lace and quirky earthy patterns, becoming the number one Australian fashion label that every woman wants to be seen in.  The label began when Isabella (nickname, Spell) started selling her hand-crafted jewellery at Byron Bay’s local artisan markets. This sparked an interest to her sister, Lizzy, who was living in Bondi at the time. Soon Lizzy joined Spell to become her business partner.

From there, Spell has expanded far and wide, growing both nationally and internationally as a must-have clothing item for any festival, island adventure or road trip. Spell delivers not only the most sought after materials to adorn in, but offers every woman happiness in a skirt, romance in a dress and hope in a top with intricate details and design that delivers ­– encouraging women everywhere to dance, play, twirl, laugh, love, be free and be wild.

We especially love this label for their take on the boho maxi, midi and mini and their inspired use of lace to create Lace Maxis to swoon over.  We think it’s a beautiful blend of 2 muses – Stevie Nicks and Joni Mitchell!

Spell Designs  SUNDAY FEELS TUNIC

If you lean towards Stevie Nicks boho lace style – midis and maxis – then Spell Designs have got you covered.

Auguste Maxi Dress

If you lean towards Stevie Nicks boho lace style – midis and maxis – then Spell Designs have got you covered.

CLASSIC 90'S SILK SLIP DRESS - BLACK

Silk Laundry Slip Dress – if you love to layer like Janis this is a must-have for your wardrobe!

Auguste

Auguste The Label balances playful and sensual with elegant ease, in pieces that are both vintage-inspired and timelessly bohemian. An all Australian label influenced by designer Ebony Eagles’ beachside childhood spent in the free-spirited village of Byron Bay.  With fresh prints and simple designs, it whispers of coastal living, salty sea air and days of fun and adventure.  Each piece encapsulates comfort and beauty in one, and many feature signature details of hand-stitched embroidery, hand painted prints and appliqué. The Auguste The Label collection is diverse with maxi and mini skirts and dresses, rompers and tops – an offering of versatility and femininity with soft, delicate separates, floaty silhouettes and sensual design.  With Auguste you will find pieces for your everyday adventures, weekend road trips, island holidays, festival days and special occasions.  The range is flattering, pretty and subtly sexy – celebrating and embracing the female figure and essence.  

Auguste have nailed the floral maxi dress like no other.  Crafted in beautiful fabrics that fall elegantly and whimsically to the floor in vibrant, joyful prints - they take us back to the joy Joni Mitchell exuded in her songs and fashion.

Silk Laundry

Silk Laundry is a boutique, Gold Coast label operating out of picturesque Tallebudgera Valley.  They offer a thoughtfully curated collection of elevated silk basics.  This beautiful label began in 2014 by Katie Rackley out of the desire to meet her own wardrobe needs.  Silk Laundry is Australian owned and designed and believes less is more.  The Slip Dress was Silk Laundry’s first design and has become their signature piece – a bias cut dress with endless possibilities. 

Silk Laundry has won our adoration for their superbly crafted silk slip.  We love this dress on its own with some gypsy jewels or layered upon in true Janis Joplin style – giving it a raw and textured edge.

Accessorise!

By this stage you are super informed and inspired and have no doubt chosen your favourite style dress and your ‘go to’s’ for certain occasions.  Let's now look at accessories.

Every bohemian, wanderlust and gypsy loving girl needs accessories to add that unique touch, texture and glimmer.  A perfect accessory can take a dress to the next level in the blink of an eye.  So, what are the must have accessories to pair with your dress?

Let's explore from head to toe!

 Sandals

The Freedom State
LIVINGSTON SANDALS - BLACK

Jewelry

The Freedom State
GOLDEN DISC EARRING

Hats

Brixton
BENT CAP (UNISEX) - NAVY

Bags

The Wolf Gang
THE BEDOUIN CLUTCH - LEAF

Hats

Oh how we love hats!  Whether it’s a cap, wool felt hat or a straw hat there is a plethora to choose from and there is a hat for everybody even if you think you can’t wear hats!  You can – you just have to find the perfect one for you.  But, beware – it's an addiction – once you start you can't stop and before you know it you will have a hat wall in your home displaying all your beautiful hats like the artworks that they are.  We are loving the straw hat comeback for the day and especially enjoy these paired with all the dresses, sandals and a sunny day.  Caps look super cool paired with a dress and balance the femininity of the dress with a masculine vibe, giving your look a little edge and character.  The wool felt hat range is very abundant and we love these creations paired with dresses, especially for the evening and autumn/winter seasons.

Jewels

Accessorising with jewellery is signature to bohemian style dressing.  Whether its bold, weighted, Turkish inspired silver jewellery or refined, gold leaf jewels inspired by Egypt and exotic faraway places, adding jewels to your dress will raise its style level to the stars.  Earrings, ear cuffs, chokers, necklaces, neckties, bolo ties, arm cuffs, bracelets and rings all have their place.  Get to know your authentic style – are you minimalist bohemian or eclectic bohemian?  Do you favour clean lines or do you prefer a little grit and grunge in your look?

For a minimalist bohemian look to labels we love like Temple Of The Sun, Violet Gray and Vanessa Mooney for feminine styling perfect with any of your dresses.  Or, if you want to make a statement with your jewels and add a little more structure and weight to your look check out our own label The Freedom State for intricate yet bold Turkish jewellery.

Belts

Belts and sashes can give your dress a completely different look and feel and are a must to add some versatility to your wardrobe in general.  A boho dress can be cinched in at the waist to give this free flowing number a more fitted look.  A leather belt with silver or gold buckles can add structure and a little bling to a dress and is gorgeous coordinated with ankle boots.  A sash gives your dress more of a romantic, feminine feel and can double as a necktie.

Bags

Bags and clutches can add more punch than you’d realise and can transform your dress from weekend/beach wear to bar and dance floor worthy.  A big, jute tote (we love the Juju & Co slouchy bag!)  paired with a knee length dress and sneakers sings of sunny, lazy weekends and a sleek suede clutch (check out The Wolfgang) and heeled mules with the same dress takes it up a level – perfect for sunset cocktails and dance floor dates.  From braided leather clutches to tassel adorned leather bags there are a myriad of choices to suit your dress, occasion and mood.

Shoes

We love shoes! What girl doesn’t right? 

The thing we adore most is the shoe’s ability to transform a dress from effortless and casual to refined and elegant.  Take a maxi dress for example.  First pair your favourite sneakers with it and a big straw hat – hello sunny Sundays!  Then change to your heeled ankle boots (we adore the Chicko Boot) and a felt fedora – ready and stunning for Sunday night/date night!  We also love heeled mules, flat soled slides, sandals, wedges and strappy heels with maxi, midi and knee length dresses and especially adore over the knee boots with mini dresses.

And, that my lovelies is the lowdown on dresses! 

Now you have the ultimate guide to wearing any style dress confidently – dressed head to toe with style and authenticity.  With a myriad of options you are certain to be inspired with a look that suits your mood, vibe and your true self.  You are now up to date with the latest and greatest ways to wear a dress, keeping you on trend and fresh as a daisy!  And, you have all the options and ideas at your fingertips to style your dress your way.  Walk tall and feel amazing at your next event or occasion dressed to steal the show in the dress and style of your choice – dressed to impress and inspire your way and The Freedom State way! 

JOIN US FOR NEWS AND PROMOTIONS

SEARCH THIS STORE