How to wear a vintage maxi dress this summer (without looking like Margot)

When I think of summer I think of maxi dresses. There is something so romantic and also practical about wearing a long flowing dress on holiday or on a balmy afternoon. But how about choosing a vintage maxi dress rather than a modern one, and be unique (as well as being ethical). But how do you wear one without looking like a reject from The Good Life or Abigail’s Party (saying that, I don’t actually mind embracing my inner Margot!).

How to wear a vintage maxi dress this summer (without looking like Margot)

Choose an on trend print

We loved pattern and colour in the 1970s and there sure is nothing wrong with that. But if you want to create a modern vintage look, search for styles with a pattern that is on trend. So for this year (Summer 2017) keep your eyes peeled for blocks of bright colours, stripes or tropical patterns such a large leaves.

green 1960s vintage maxi dress as featured on Kate Beavis blogMy carboot 1960s find, photographed in Sicily

Avoid too many ruffles

1970s and 1980s vintage maxi dresses are covered in ruffles; along the neckline and hem line. The trick here is to look out for one with ruffles in just one place (i..e the top or the bottom) so as to not overdo it if you want a day time look. Anyone that knows me well, knows that I love a ruffle or a ra ra, but I would try to choose something with ruffles on the skirt part and then not on the top half to create a sense of balance.

How to wear a vintage maxi dress blog 4My latest dress from a vintage shop in Herne Bay called Maison Classique

Find one with a nipped in waist

To create a flattering look, try to find one with a nipped in waist which will naturally sit well on your curves. There are also quite a lot of empire line vintage maxi dresses available but make sure you try these on before buying as they don’t suit everyone.

Add a belt

A great way to modernise a vintage maxi dress is to add a belt whether modern or old. I always ditch the matching tie belt (well, carefully store it in my drawer) and add a contrasting style. I love to add a battered leather belt to a pretty dress which works well for a more casual look.

How to wear a vintage maxi dress blog 4

Wear with flats

All maxi dresses look better with a flat shoe or at least something less smart such as a clog. I love Saltwater Sandals which come in a variety of colours so you can co-ordinate with your frock!

Add chunky vintage jewellery

Create a boho, summer look by adding vintage chunky jewellery and a stack of coloured bangles. I love my Bakelite ones, and they always go really well with this look.

Add some glitz for the evening

If you are wearing a vintage maxi dress to an evening event then add some glitz! Look out for beaded detailing and over the top sleeves that will create that WOW effect. This is my favourite vintage maxi dress!

A stunning beaded 1960s vintage maxi dress fashion as featured on Kate Beavis blogDo you love a vintage maxi dress? Do share images on Instagram to @ihavethisthingwithvintage


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  1. 23 June 2017 / 8:22 pm

    Do I love vintage maxi dresses? Heck, I’m wearing one right now! Those are some really beautiful prints, but I also love the green one shoulder. And the beading and trim on that last one is fabulous. No surprise it’s your favorite:)

    If I can get a photo before I head out, I’ll post it on IG.


    • Kate Beavis
      10 August 2017 / 10:15 am

      Glad you too like a maxi dress – I like to wear them all year round too! Especially a maxi dress! Kate

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