What are the Types of Dresses by Length?

woman in black and white dress
The 4 main dress lengths

Dresses are among the fashion items reserved only for women and girls (at least in most cases). They are the symbol of femininity and grace, and we believe dresses should be worn as often as possible to underline the gentleness of a woman. Of course, the lengths diverge from practically tank tops to gowns that float several meters behind. However, there are 4 main lengths that classify the dresses, although there are styles anywhere in between. Depending on the occasion, your preference, body type and requirements, with the guide below you will be able to choose the appropriate length. These 4 main length of dresses are:

  • Mini dress or Short dess
  • Knee length dress
  • Midi dress
  • Maxi dress, Long dress or Gown

Below we explore the parameters of each dress length and will suggest some of the best dresses we found online.

1. Mini dress or Short dress

This trend began with a scandal in 1965 with model Jean Shrimpton wearing a what was then considered a mini dress (10 cm above the knee!) during the Melbourne Cup, showing her knees to the world. Today, mini dresses can be much smaller and far more scandalous - it's an excellent way to catch people's attention and highlight your pins! This gown is ideal if you want more leg display to make your body stand out.

These dress styles are the tiny dresses that range from barely covering the buttocks to about one span above the knee. They can be fitted or flared, and are normally either for a cocktail event or a casual day dress. Favorite to younger girls and ladies, but also to those with perfect body shape, these types of dresses don't look appropriate on women of age, or really massive ladies. Most of the shirt dress, blazer dress, sweater dress, tube dress, mini dress, and skater dress models are short.  If you don't care about the looks, and feel comfy in such a garment, don't hesitate to get yours - see our vast selection of short dresses.

2. Knee length dress

Dress skirt lengths of slightly above the knee to right under the knee classify in this category. Very apposite for your office outfit, university classes, or any occasion as a matter of fact. Most knee-length dresses portray a very feminine look, especially if they are fitted, or flared with a tight waistline, as they show off the beauty curves of the lower legs - considered very attractive by men. The shift dress and pinafore dress lines, the shoulder dress, as well as the smock dress, are usually with knee length.

3. Midi dress

The length of the midi dress is mid-calf, stretches from below the knee to a span above the ankles. Both formal dresses and casual ones are with midi length and are suitable for various occasions. These types of dresses may also have a very feminine look, such as the tea length dress, the slip dress, the empire waist dresses, the qipao dress, and the handkerchief hem dress. Others are more casual - the longer shirt dress, the drop waist dress, some of the A line dress type, suitable for a cozy day at home, a walk with friends or a leisure outing.

4. Maxi dress, Long dress and Gown

The long or maxi types of dresses stretch to full length, meaning anything from just above the ankles to floor length and can even have a train, considerably longer than the front side of the skirt. These may be both formal dresses or casual ones. The evening dresses mostly differ in their bodice - it can be a one shoulder dress, V-necked, both sleeveless or with sleeves, a strapless dress, a shoulder dress, backless, halter dress, etc. The skirt may be A line dress type, mermaid silhouette dress, empire waist dress - these three are perfect for bridesmaid dresses - or also a fitted dress, or a ball gown dresses type with a voluminous skirt. These are usually of one or two colors, may have some embellishments, but usually do not have prints, and are  not appropriate for a daytime wear.

The gowns are the most formal of the dress types, and are always of maxi length, thus classified here.

Casual maxi dress are ideal to wear during the day. The key to an informal daytime look with a maxi dress is actually dressing it down. Choosing colorful or printed motifs, such as flowers or shapes, will help in accomplishing a more relaxed look. The shape also needs to be more relaxed, as would be a long boho style or smock dress. Although rare, the belted long shirt dresses are also an option. For an outing at the beach, a long and loose-fitting cotton strapless dress will ensure both the style and the comfort you need.

Are these all the dress types? Nooooo!

Read our comprehensive list of 45 dress types by style or see what dress is appropriate to wear by occasion.

Accessories are of utmost importance. Get inspiration from our post on the designer handbag classics.

For advice on outfit color mix & match read here.

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