| to the max | 49 Ethical Maxi Dresses To Get You Through the Summer


Well, it’s the official first day of summer and the weather in San Francisco has been downright balmy these past couple of days — which, FYI, is incredibly uncharacteristic (case in point, the weather today is foggy and the temp is currently 53 degrees).

And nothing screams summer like a maxi dress (and a margarita, but that’s a different post). Basically the epitome of effortless summer style. Big on style, low on effort — now, that’s my kind of outfit. And similar to a jumpsuit, a maxi dress is kind of a one-piece wonder.

Comfortable. Need I say more.

Universally flattering. There’s a maxi dress out there for pretty much everybody, regardless of age, style or body type.


And versatile. When the weather is hot, I basically live in maxi dresses because they’re super light and airy. But they’re also great for when there’s a slight chill in the air (#everydayinsanfrancisco), or when the sun goes down because they offer a little more coverage. And they can take you from work to cocktail hour, from weekend errands to a evening out — usually in one swift swoop (or maybe an accessory change).

That being said, the maxi has been around for a while, and some may say they are past their prime. “Bollocks!” I say.

I’m not ready to give them up yet, and from the looks on the runway, to the stores, to the streets (and by streets, I clearly mean Instagram), I’d say the fashion world isn’t yet, either. Some bloggers are breathing new life into the maxi look with interesting styling, while some brands are updating by making tweaks to the silhouettes and details. Either way, I’m in.

And whether you’re looking for a new way to wear that old maxi, or just want to find an updated maxi dress from an ethical brand, I’ve got you covered (okay, okay, I technically threw some midis in there, but they could play the part of maxi in a pinch).


The Knit Maxi

The knit maxi is the tried and true. I think every woman probably has one in her closet. A slinky maxi paired with a top knot and some cute sandals, and you’re good to go. And let’s be real, sometimes minimal styling = maximum reward (I’m talking about being comfortable, people). But, if you do want to update the look, try knotting your dress at the bottom — on one or both sides. I promise, it will look like a whole new dress.

Alternative Apparel Double Scoop Eco-Jersey Tank Dress

Annukka Ava Maxi Dress

Groceries Apparel Corkscrew Maxi

American Giant Premium Maxi T Dress


The Striped Maxi

While the striped maxi has been around the block, I’m really digging this year’s fun stripe combos and updated silhouettes. Easy to pair with your favorite denim jacket, and easy to update by adding a cool straw bag.

Amour Vert Evette Slip Dress, $188

Amour Vert Evette Slip Dress

Reformation Safari Dress, $218

Reformation Safari Dress

Flynn Skye Phoenix Dress, $187

Flynn Skye Phoenix Dress

Mara Hoffman One Shoulder Midi Dress, $395

Mara Hoffman One Shoulder Midi Dress


The Festive Maxi

Absolutely nothing, and I mean nothing, screams summer like a festive maxi dress. Whether it’s a fun color, fun embroidery or a fun print, the festive maxi is just plain…well, fun. Add a wide brim hat and platform sandals and you’ll be the life of the party.

Mara Hoffman Embroidered Midi Dress, $515

Mara Hoffman Embroidered Midi Dress

Same Thread Rai Leh Maxi Dress, $150

Same Thread Rae Leh Maxi Dress

Proud Mary Cordoba Dress, $192

Proud Mary Cordoba Dress

Cleobella Amery Maxi Dress, $198

Cleobella Amery Maxi Dress


The Floral Maxi

On the opposite side of the spectrum, go a little more flirty fem with a floral maxi. P.S. loving the updated colorways in a lot of this years floral prints. Grey ground? Yes, please. And since the floral maxi is not new on the scene, pair it with metal accessories like a ring-handle bag or grommet sandals for a cool-girl contrast to the feminine print.

Reformation Renee Dress, $218

Reformation Renee Dress

Yireh Rue Maxi in Fleur, $115

Yireh Rue Maxi in Fleur

Cleobella Aster Dress, $198

Cleobella Aster Dress

Flynn Skye Bardot Maxi, $198

Flynn Skye Bardot Maxi


The Breezy Maxi

Because we all want to feel ethereal every once in awhile, the breezy maxi is an easy choice for summer. Give it some edge by adding some sleek pointed flats or some heeled mules (and toss on a leather jacket when the sun goes down, obvi).

Reformation Sasha Dress, $248

Reformation Sasha Dress

Ocean + Main Watercolor Silk Long Caftan Maxi in Chocolate, $335

Ocean + Main Watercolor Silk Long Caftan Maxi

Yireh Kaya Maxi in Nagini, $118

Yireh Kaya Maxi in Nagini

Flynn Skye Maple Maxi, $187

Flynn Skye Maple Maxi


The Tie Maxi

Whether a tie front or tie back, this updated detail offers a sexy new twist (or tie) to the maxi dress.

Reformation Amalfi Dress, $218

Reformation Amalfi Dress

Shaina Mote Tie Dress, $297 from Elborne

Shaina Mote Tie Dress from Elborne

Cleobella Capulet Dress

Flynn Skye Faith Midi

Flynn Skye Adaline Maxi Dress in Grey, $176

Flynn Skye Adaline Maxi Dress



The Button-Up Maxi

Really, really digging this new silhouette for summer. And as an added bonus, you can get more bang for your buck by styling an unbuttoned maxi dress over jeans or pants.

Khadi Tiered Dress in Black by Indigo Handloom, $250 from Modavanti

Khadi Tiered Dress in Black by Indigo Handloom from Modavanti

Mara Hoffman Tie Front Button Up Midi Dress, $325

Mara Hoffman Tie Front Button Up Midi Dress

Ozma Mal Pais Dress, $278

Ozma Mal Pais Dress

Reformation Joanie Dress, $248

Reformation Joanie Dress


The Wrap Maxi

The wrap dress has been around forevs (thanks DVF), but the wrap maxis this year have really stepped up the wrap dress game. Or vice versa. You choose.

Mara Hoffman Midi Wrap Dress, $425

Mara Hoffman Midi Wrap Dress

Reformation Mathilde Dress, $218

Reformation Mathilde Dress

Bleu Salt Cayman Wrap Dress, $110

Bleu Salt Cayman Wrap Dress

Reformation Safari Dress, $218

Reformation Safari Dress


The White Maxi

White maxi’s were all over at Coachella and are pretty much a summer staple, as they’re a great way to stay cool in the heat. For an update skip the boho sandals and go for slides.

Mara Hoffman Backless Maxi Dress, $250

Mara Hoffman Backless Maxi Dress

Tissue Knit Ibiza Dress in Cloud by Synergy Organic Clothing, $84 from Modavanit

Tissue Knit Ibiza Dress in Cloud by Synergy Organic Clothing from Modavanti

Cleobella Milonga Dress, $189

Cleobella Milonga Dress

Same Thread Mekong Maxi Dress, $199

Sam Thread Mekong Maxi Dress


The Black Maxi

Who says you can’t wear black in the summer? Because a maxi dress is so airy, it’s the perfect way to sneak some black into your summer wardrobe. Add a straw hat for a summer vibe, or a wide brim to keep that mysterious train going.

Everlane The E1 Dress, $195

Everlane E1 Dress

Groceries Apparel Avalon Dress, $118

Groceries Apparel Avalon Dress

Ozma Fairyduster Dress, $245

Ozma Fairyduster Dress

Shift to Nature House Dress, $72.20

Shift to Nature House Dress


The Sexy Maxi

With low backs and a fit that skims pretty much every curve of the body, these guys are great for when you want to take your maxi for a night on the town. Pair with a sleek ponytail, cool jewelry and heels to pump it up a notch.

Vivien Backless Dress by Frock LA, $235 from Modavanti

Vivien Backless Dress by Frock LA from Modavanti

Flynn Skye Tyra Maxi, $192

Flynn Skye Tyra Maxi

Flynn Skye Unbutton Me Fresh Dress, $196

Flynn Skye Unbutton Me Fresh Dress

Cleobella Auden Dress, $249

Cleobella Auden Dress


The Ruffled Maxi

Because ruffles are everywhere this summer, of course the maxi wants to get in on the action. Kind of a new spin on the breezy maxi, these puppies are a nice update to the breezy maxi.

Cleobella Aster Dress, $198

Cleobella Aster Dress

Flynn Skye Ruffle Slip

Flynn Skye Ruffle Slip

Doen Caraway Dress, $285

Doen Caraway Dress

Reformation Odessa Dress, $248

Reformation Odessa Dress


What are your thougths on the maxi dress? Any tips on styling to update the look?


2 thoughts on “| to the max | 49 Ethical Maxi Dresses To Get You Through the Summer

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