Can curvy women wear maxi dresses?

Q. In shopping for summerwear, I have yet to buy into the maxi dress phenomenon. I see stars (Angelina Jolie, Katie Holmes) in them all the time, and they are all over my favorite stores but I worry about purchasing one for myself because of my large chest and plus size shape. I feel like a maxi dress is a nice way of calling something a muumuu! Is there anyway to avoid looking preggers in one of these?

A. The maxi dress continues to be a big trend this season. Maxi dresses are meant to fit loosely, so they’re a great option for curvy women, and there are many plus size options available. Here are a few tips to help you find the perfect maxi for your plus size/chesty shape:


  • Make sure that the fabric flows loosely over your body – you don’t want any pulling or gathering over your hips or tummy – but make sure there isn’t too much fabric so it looks like you’re wearing a muumuu.

  • Look for styles that fit your chest well and allow you to wear a supportive bra underneath. You probably want to avoid spaghetti strap styles which tend to fit smaller chests.

  • Bold patterns are ideal for camouflaging lumps and bumps, so don’t be afraid of prints and color.

  • If you’re on the shorter side, wear wedge heels, espadrilles or the new chunky heeled gladiator to add some height and elongate your figure.

The surplice front maxi dress shown here ($89.50 at is a great style for you to try. It has ample room up top for a large bust, a flattering empire waist style and a gorgeous boho print that’s right on trend. It’s loose without having too much extra fabric.

Here are some more plus size maxis for you to try:

  • Nikki

    I think we had a conversation about this.

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