What Is a Midi Dress: The Ultimate Guide to Origin, Types, And Styles

What Is a Midi Dress: The Ultimate Guide to Origin, Types, And Styles

Ankle-skimming length, waist-cinching style, breezy flair, or form-fitting — a dress that will help you take on the trend is, of course, a midi dress. Perfect for seasonal transitions, it is an apt combination of a maxi dress’s coverage and the bodaciousness of a mini. What is a midi dress? To make it simpler for you, a midi dress is an apparel whose hemline ends halfway between the knee and ankle. So, if you have any dresses above the ankles but below the knees in your closet, call yourself a proud owner of a versatile fashion piece that can be dressed up or down depending on the event or occasion. 


Midi dresses come in an array of styles, shapes, sizes, and fits. In terms of comfort, you can expect it year-round and make it a wardrobe staple. The best time to wear it? You can slip into it during spring, summer, fall, and even winter. Just get your styling game right and you are ready to conquer the world, just like your favorite celebrities, including Mariska Hargitay, Cindy Crawford, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kelly Clarkson, and Blake Lively. They made statements and set serious fashion goals, sprucing up their midi dress style.


What Is a Midi Dress?


Midi style dress features a skirt hemline, hitting halfway between the knee and the ankle. The word midi dress is formed by combining two words; “midi” and “dress”. Midi is derived from the word “middle,” signifying how the hem of the dress sits right halfway down your leg at the middle of the calf or mid-calf. Now that you are armed with the overall idea and meaning of the midi dress, scroll down and get to know how it originated and evolved.


Origin of Midi Dresses


Where did midi dresses come from? Early 1900s! This was the time when women wore a maxi dress that covered their ankles. Basically, the initial era was all about floor-length dresses. On the other hand, working women were seen wearing shorter dresses paired with sturdy boots. 


As time passed, throughout World War I, the length of the dresses got shorter. The French fashion designer, Coco Chanel played a significant role in this change. This is stated in the book, "Living with Coco Chanel,” written by fashion journalist Caroline Young. In the 1920s, women started making fashion statements effortlessly in their midi dresses after being influenced by designers like Chanel, who focused on creating both comfortable and stylish clothing for women who were increasingly entering the workforce. 

The fashion of midi dress boomed in the 1940s, exuding a more elegant and feminine touch. The 1960s was the period of fashion explosion with a wide variety of dresses and skirt lengths, starting right from mini to midi and maxi.

Time passed and in the 1970s midi dresses made a comeback, with Jean Muir, Britain's renowned fashion designer, introducing nostalgic-style calf-length dresses, which was associated with the growing trend for vintage clothing.

For you to understand where should a midi dress fall, we managed to jot down a few commonly available lengths. Scroll down and check it out. 


Lengths of a Midi Dress



The length of a midi dress varies depending on its design, pattern, style, and overall craftsmanship. Additionally, the height of the wearer is also a factor that determines the length of the dress. Based on our first-hand research, the average length of a midi dress falls within the range of 40 to 44 inches, or 102 to 112 centimeters. There is no proof stating that midi dresses make one look taller, However, it creates an elongating effect, starting from the shoulders to the mid-calfs. Here are some of the commonly found midi lengths:


1. On or Below-the-Knee Dresses



This is a type of dress that features a hemline that either falls on the knees or slightly below it. These dresses are a perfect pick for days when you don't feel comfortable revealing too much skin. Secondly, you can flaunt an on or below-knee dress on various occasions like formal occasions or casual outings. Overall, the look of the dress is pretty elegant and sophisticated. 


2. Calf-length Dresses


Calf-length define midi dresses at their best. These dresses have a hemline that sits at the middle point between your knees and feet. Since they are more trendy and casual, they are the perfect pick to channel the inner fashionista residing within you.


3. Tea-length Dresses Or Mid-calf Dresses



Tea-length or mid-calf dresses will help you accentuate your natural curves and look more flattering. They fall between the knee and ankle, typically hitting at about mid-calf level. So if you are more inclined towards investing in a flowy, bohemian-inspired dress for a tailored look, then there is always a tea-length or mid-calf dress to suit your style.


What Is the Good Time to Wear a Midi Dress?


Saying it loud! Midi dresses are the perfect pick for all occasions and seasons. Be it summer, spring, fall, or winter, you can wear one all year round. Equipped with great styling skills, you can seamlessly dress up or down, depending upon the occasion. For added breathability and comfort during summers or warm weather, you can pick a flattering and breezy midi dress with sufficient flare. Whereas a bodycon or dark-colored midi dress is apt to be worn for evening occasions. Honestly, the length of the midi dress makes it a versatile piece.  


How to Style a Midi Dress?



Styling a midi dress is easy if you possess a collection of jackets, accessories, and footwear. They not only help elevate your style game but also emphasize your personality. Keep reading to learn more about how to style your dress and build your own collection to cast a lasting impression.


Jackets for Midi Dresses



Denim Jackets 



For an edge look, pair your midi dress with a denim jacket as they tend to be more versatile and can easily be worn with varied types of midi dresses. The contrast between a soft and flowy midi dress with that of a structure or rugged denim adds an interesting element to your overall OOTD. 


Leather Jackets 



Just like denim jackets, leather jackets, too, are versatile. They differ in texture and style and thus add the missing sass to your midi dress effortlessly. Perfect for a night out or any fun event, a black or brown leather jacket will make you look classy, whereas bright colors like yellow, red, or blue will aid in exuding some chic vibes.  


Cropped Jackets


What makes a cropped jacket a must-have styling element is its contemporary touch. It has the power to accentuate your curves, especially your waistline, and gives birth to more of a fitted silhouette. When a full jacket is too much for the day, a cropped jacket can be a reliable choice to add a stylish transformation. 


Puffer Jackets



Puffer jackets are a great way to add a sportive and casual touch to your midi dress. They are more apt for colder weather and can keep you warm and cozy without compromising style. To sum up, it adds interest to your outfit. 


If you are wearing a patterned midi dress, choose a solid-colored puffer jacket to keep the focus on the dress. If you are wearing a solid-colored midi dress, pick a bold color puffer jacket with a fun pattern to add some interest to the outfit. 


What Shoes to Wear with a Midi Dress?


Boots with Midi Dresses


For a casual look, ankle boots are one of the chic options to consider. On the other hand, knee-high boots are the best for adding a dash of sophistication to your overall look of the day.

Ensure that you consider the color of your boots. Boots in neutral colors like black,  brown, and beige go well with a variety of midi dresses.

Next, pay heed to the length of the dress. Ankle boots are perfect if your dress hits just above the ankle. However, when it comes to longer midi dresses, knee-high boots can balance the proportion of your outfit. 


Heels for Midi Dresses


Wearing a midi dress with heels or wedges can help elongate your figure. and create the illusion of height. Drawing from our findings, block heels, kitten heels, and stiletto heels are the best to team with your midi dresses. Block heels are comfortable and lend a sturdy base while balancing your midi’s longer length. Kitten heels are more stylish and highly recommended to be worn on casual occasions. Stilettos are the go-tos for more of a feminine touch. However, it is advisable to pick a pair of heels that you are comfortable in.  


Types of Midi Dresses

Midi dresses are crafted in an array of styles, making them versatile enough to be worn at plenty of events and occasions. Below are some of the most popular types of midi dresses:


1. Bodycon Midi Dresses



Bodycon midi dresses are form-fitting dresses. They usually hug your curves and lend you a more sleek and stylish look. 


2. Flared Midi Dress





Flared dresses are more airy and breezy. They are specially designed to flatter your figure by highlighting your body type’s best features. They typically have a well-defined waistline and a flared skirt pattern that falls right below your knees.


3. Midi Shirtwaist Dresses 


Midi shirtwaist dresses have a button-down front and feature a collared neckline. They have a causal touch combined with a relaxed look. They are perfect for a day out or a casual brunch or get-together. 


4. Wrap-around Midi Dresses



Wrap-around dresses cinch at the waist, stressing more on creating a flattering silhouette. These dresses come with a knot that allows you to customize your style and fit, as per your comfort levels. 


5. Fishtail Midi Dresses


Featuring a fitted bodice and a flare at the bottom, a fishtail midi dress resembles a fishtail. This type of midi dress looks extremely alluring, at formal events, special occasions, or weddings. 


Styles of Midi Dresses


Midi dresses are found in astounding styles to suit your fashion quotient. Some of the popular styles of midi dresses are as follows:


1. Wide Strap Midi Dress


It features a midi dress with wide straps that cover the shoulders.


2. Cross-back Midi Dress

It comes with straps that cross over at the back, creating a unique and eye-catching look.


3. Belted Midi Shirt Dress


It looks like a shirt or a flared midi dress featuring buttons down the front and a belt around the waist.


4. Floral Ruffle Square Neck Midi Dress



These dresses look flattering and usually come with a square neckline, ruffled detailing, and a floral print.


5. Lace Midi Dress


This type of dress is made from lace fabric, which is delicate and feminine.


6. Bardot Style Midi Dress



It features a midi dress with an off-the-shoulder neckline, which is also called the Bardot neckline. This style is perfect for a romantic and elegant look.


How Different Are Midi Dresses from Other Dresses?


Midi vs Mini Dress



Midi dresses fall between the knee and above the ankle. Midi dresses are the perfect choice for women who wish for a dress that is neither too short nor too long  On the other hand, mini dresses are much shorter in length. They fall at or above your mid-thigh. They are more casual and best to be worn in fun events or warmer temperatures. 


Maxi vs. Midi Dress



The difference between a maxi and a midi dress lies in their length. They are longer, typically, floor-length. They tend to be more flowy and comfortable, thus making them an ideal choice for fancy dinners or a summer fit. 


What is a midi dress? Apparel that’s versatile and timeless! Midi dresses have been in the industry for decades and to date loved by women of all ages, and from all walks of life. Being the perfect combination of maxi and mini dresses, it offers you decent coverage without making you sacrifice your personal, preferences, style, and comfort levels. Whether you have a party to attend or a formal meeting, a midi dress, with the right styling will fetch you a plethora of compliments. Once you master their style, type, shape, and fit, you can spruce up your fashion game by several notches. We hope this style guide helped you unlock the mystery of a midi dress, giving you cues to buy not just one but many!



  • Is it true that midi dresses make you look taller?
There is no evidence clearly stating that a midi dress makes one look taller, however, it can create an elongated effect. 
  • Is a midi dress flattering?

Yes, midi dresses look flattering on all body types.  

  • Is it okay to wear a midi dress and attend a wedding?

Yes, you can wear a midi dress to a wedding by completing your look with the right footwear and accessories. 

  • Can tall girls wear a midi dress?

Yes, tall girls can wear a midi dress.

  • Do midi dresses look pretty on petite women?

Yes, because a midi dress with a fitted waistline and a slightly flared skirt, it can help create the illusion of a longer silhouette.  

  • Are midi dresses in style today?

Yes, they are timeless and here to stay for years.

  • Are midi dresses ideal for black-tie events?

Yes, just make sure you style them wisely. 

  • Are midi dresses suitable for cocktail events and parties?

Yes, midi dresses are apt for cocktails events, and parties. 

  • Are midi dresses formal or casual outfit?

They are both causal as well as formula, depending on the length and your way of styling

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