We don’t tend to think about midi dresses in the historical context of hemlines. Of course we don’t. We think about “what shoes would go with this?” But the historical context bit is actually kind of fascinating. Because the length of a dress often coincides with the economic climate of the time. For instance, shorter hemlines were all the rage during the roaring 1920’s, fell down with the Great Depression and rose again in the 1950s and even further again with the emergence of the mini skirt I the 60s. It’s what’s known as the hemline index and generally speaking means that hemlines rise and fall in accordance with the stock market. In this article, we’re going to home in on the midi dress.
What is a midi dress?
A midi dress is any dress that falls below the knee and above the ankle, the “mid-calf” hence where it gets it’s name. The difference between a midi dress and a maxi dress is that a maxi dress falls below this point, either at the ankle or the floor.
Timeline of the midi dress
Types of Midi Dresses
OK, you’re sold on the length, and you know it’s a midi dress you want. But that’s only the start. There are so many types of midi dress to choose from. If you have food-based plans and want something that’s bloat-friendly, a midi wrap dress is an excellent place to start. The Yondal in a natural leopard print is a firm favourite, and looks great whether paired with trainers in summer or ankle boots in autumn.On the other end of the spectrum, you have bodycon midi dresses. They might not be as roomy as a wrap dress, but are ideal when you’re after more of a sleek, streamlined aesthetic. This bardot midi is a major hit for weddings throughout the year and has been worn by women between 18 to 80! Sometimes, sleeves are a non-negotiable. And for such occasions, we have an edit exclusives dedicated to long sleeve midi dresses. One of our favourites is this graphic print wrap midi from Foreva Young. The wrap design means it’s an easy option, but the jazzy print ensures it’s far from boring. Lace has this cool way of making you look and feel instantly elegant, even if you just had cold pizza for breakfast. Our edit of lace midi dresses is a very handy shortcut if you’re looking for that Kate Middleton level of royal sophistication. The Gemma dress in light blue was made for upstaging brides at every wedding it attends.
Midi dresses for Tall and Petite women
Petite dresses can be hard to find, but the good news is that you don’t *need* to find a midi dress that’s been specifically designed for those who are 5’4 and under. The same goes with finding a midi dress that doesn’t transform into mini dress when you’re over 5’9. A midi dress will typically fall just above your ankle when you’re Petite, but you can use a belt to push the length up a little. Conversely, a midi dress will typically fall just below the knee if you’re in the tall category. But unlike maxis which you’ll likely need taken up if you’re short, or minis that don’t even cover your bum if you’re tall – a midi dress won’t require a seamstress (or you know, your mum).
A Guide to Styling Midi Dresses
Summer midi dresses are perfect for weddings because they’re that Golilocks length that’s just right for formal occasions, not ball-gown level fancy but far from casual too. We’re currently enamoured with the Keisha midi dress from Pretty Lavish because it works for weddings all year round. In fact, throw a black roll neck underneath, add boots and you have a cool daytime outfit for winter too.
Black midi dresses are ideal for work. They’re an appropriate length if you’ve got a more corporate dress code and they’ll hide 10am coffee spills on a Monday morning – sold. Our top pick is this knitted number from Sosander. Bonus points for a work-friendly dress that looks great at the pub for happy hour, too.
Floral midi dresses, like this standout from Charlie Holiday, are great for holidays because while they’re summery enough for Santorini, you’ll still get plenty of wear out of them when you come back to reality (i.e. British weather).
A midi is the perfect throw-on-and-go for weekend brunches and impromptu picnics in the park (when the weather permits). This red midi dress from Angeleye is the perfect example and can be dressed up or down depending on what the occasion calls for.