I love the lengthening effect of a good maxi dress, but it can take some trial and error to find one with the right fit (given your height, proportions, and whether you want to wear flats or heels with the dress). Maxi dresses in petite sizing are not created equal – I’m on the shorter end of the petite spectrum, and have tried on options that were either ankle-length on me or over a foot too long! In my experience, Banana Republic petite maxis typically run on the shorter side (I can usually wear them with flats), Eliza J and INC ones tend to run on the longer side, and ones by LOFT and ASOS fall somewhere in between.
Whether you need a maxi for a special event or just casual weekend wear, below are 8 petite-friendly styles that are each under $100. And if you’re mulling over what bra to wear with some of these necklines, here’s my undergarments guide for reference!
Boohoo plunge drape dress (0p – 10p) // I’ve posted about the UK-based retailer Boohoo a handful of times before (and still wince whenever I have to say that brand name, lol!). Their items are always fast fashion quality, reflective of the super low price points, so I usually don’t shop there unless I’m drawn in by something specific that I can’t find elsewhere.
This dress is made of a thinner, slinky unlined material, with a wide elasticized waistband and a plunge neckline and sides. Quality is as-expected for the price. The petite length is several inches too long on me with flats, but hits just above the ground with my high platform wedges on. You can wear a lace cami or bralette underneath to avoid showing too much skin (or a swimsuit of course, if at a resort). I experimented here with hair down and wavy for a dressier look, versus pulled back with a scarf for a more boho-casual poolside vibe.
The LBD, long edition (xxsp – xslp) // LOFT is having an amazing sale on dresses right now – this cute pom pom maxi and this elegant off-shoulder maxi are at a great price, and still left in small petite sizing. Also, both dresses have reviews by sub-5 feet tall petite customers! From the review photo, the pom pom one looks perfect on someone shorter, even with flats on.
Wildflower maxi dress (xxsp – xlp; bottom right) // This boho-chic dress features sweet little details, including a cross-over strap back, tassels, a waist tie, and a flounce skirt at the bottom. With this weekend’s promo, it’s a great value for a lined maxi dress that shouldn’t require any alterations! And here’s another tassel-tie option by ASOS (~ $30!), in a red striped pattern.
Charles Henry blouson dress (xsp – xlp): a romantic, floral print dress with a slightly vintage-inspired vibe. It features adjustable shoulder straps (yay!) and a lining. The style of this reminds me a lot of my dress here, with a similar blouson waist and side slits.
INC ruched maxi dress (xsp – xlp): bright blue and ikat print on a knit dress, with subtle ruche detailing by the waist. This could take you from day to dinner on summer vacations.
ASOS striped off-shoulder dress (00p – 12p): a playful, 100% cotton striped dress with an on-trend, off-shoulder ruffle. Also, love the fact that ASOS actually uses petite models now for many of their petite pieces!