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If there’s one thing we hate about summer, it’s the fact that it ends. The death of summer means the death of rosé season, open-toed shoes, sun-kissed complexions—need we continue? But before you start mourning #hotgirlsummer, don’t think you need to immediately bundle up in coats, sweaters and boots. Fall maxi dresses are having a major moment, and they’re the perfect transitional fashion staple to bring a bit of summer’s breezy aura into your autumn wardrobe.
To cure your end-of-summer blues, we suggest donning a maxi dress: the grass-skimming, breeze-catching item everyone should own. It’s the perfect piece for the transition from summer to fall—flowy enough to keep you cool on the hottest summer days, but long enough to protect your bare legs from the cold breeze that often strikes during post-July evenings. You can style them with everything from an oversized denim jacket and chunky kicks to your go-to leather jacket (Nothing like the first wear of the season!) and some boots.
If the idea of a maxi dress only brings to mind flowy, prairie girl energy—which, not for nothing, is a huge trend for 2021 anyway—you should know that there are actually far more options than you might think. There’s nothing prairie about a body-con maxi paired with Docs and a moto jacket, is there? Maxi dresses are the kind of staple you can style a million ways, and while I do suggest getting some tiered, patterned statement options, a few basic layering maxis should make the cut, too.
With that, read on for 14 maxi dresses that are perfect for styling this fall. Not only are these picks completely practical for cross-seasonal wear, but they’re also so cute, you’ll forget how sad you are that summer is pretty much over. (Sorry, too triggering?)
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1. ASTR the Label Romance Me Dress
The Romance Me Dress by ASTR The Label is the perfect fall staple. The tiered chiffon skirt and subtle balloon sleeves make for a beautiful, floaty vibe, but the colorway still screams autumn.
2. Reformation Kellie Dress
If anyone knows how to make a good fall maxi dress, it’s Ref. The Reformation Kellie Dress has the brand’s signature square neckline and a floral print against a creamy backdrop. Gorgeous.
3. Christy Dawn The Basil Dress
Christy Dawn has just launched extended sizing, and their fall maxi dresses are major must-haves. Exhibit A? The Basil Dress in Mauve Berry—BTW, it also comes in black and a dark ditsy floral.
4. Amazon Essentials Maxi Tank Dress
OK, hear me out. This Maxi Tank Dress might seem like nothing special, but you can layer it a million different ways. With a chunky cropped cardigan and Western boots? A leather moto and Docs? Get creative with it.
5. English Factory Swiss Dot Smocked Maxi Dress
Is it just me, or does the English Factory Swiss Dot Smocked Maxi Dress serve major Kate Middleton vibes in all the right ways? I love the Swiss dot chiffon for fall, and this dusty pink hue is a dream.
6. Good American Corset Puff Sleeve Maxi Dress
A little leopard print for the fall is essential, and this Good American Corset Puff Sleeve Maxi Dress is just begging to be styled with your best black boots. Give the dress what it wants!
7. STAUD Amaretti Dress
Who says a white maxi won’t work for fall? The STAUD Amaretti Dress is a beautiful transitional piece to style with everything from vests to Western boots to a pop of faux fur. Just don’t try cramming those gorg bishop sleeves into a jacket, OK?
8. Christy Dawn The Bergen Dress
Another Christy Dawn must-have (Can you tell we’re obsessed?) is the The Bergen Dress in Persimmon Blossom. The wrap detail and balloon sleeves are gorgeous, and the orange florals are the perfect autumnal touch.
9. OPT On The Run Dress
A sheer sleeve on an autumn maxi dress can make the whole look feel lighter, and this OPT On The Run Dress is a great example. The sheerness perfectly balances the dark floral and gorgeous high neckline.
10. Reformation Alessi Dress
If you thought baby blue was only for summer, think again. The Reformation Alessi Dress in its beautiful Suzette colorway is such an autumn standout. With creamy boots and gold jewelry? Yes, please.
11. SEA Dogwood Floral Dropped Shoulder Dress
12. Eloquii Sheer Maxi Dress with Puff Sleeves
I’m a lover of any pink-red color combination, so the Eloquii Sheer Maxi Dress with Puff Sleeves might just be my favorite piece on this entire list. I’m in love with those sheer, mid-length puff sleeves.
13. Primoda Turtleneck Bodycon Maxi Dress
Another absolute staple, the Primoda Turtleneck Bodycon Maxi Dress is the kind of piece you can throw on with a wide-brimmed hat and booties for a one-and-done look that still feels put-together.
14. STAUD Gage Dress
Last but not least, I’ll leave you with this dreamy color-blocked splurge: the STAUD Gage Dress in Bordeaux and Fuchsia. When it comes to fall maxi dresses, does it get any better than this?! I think not.
A version of this story was originally published on August 21, 2019.