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Leveling Up A Casual Cotton Maxi Dress

Cotton dresses are front and center in my thoughts this week as we gear up for triple-digit temperatures. I used to think that dresses were too fussy or dressy for my casual lifestyle but not anymore. My lifestyle hasn’t changed but my choice of dress has. Today’s ootd is just one way to dress up a casual cotton maxi dress that could take you to a summer wedding or a backyard barbeque with a quick change of accessories.

blonde woman walking in hallway wearing cottom maxi dress with linen blazer

This knit jersey dress is a cotton blend with spandex for stretch. It pulls over your head like a tee shirt and couldn’t be easier. It’s available in regular, petite, plus, and plus petite sizes XS-XL. Even though I’m 5’4″ and technically petite, I chose the small in regular because I have a long torso and I wanted the seam to be right on my waist. I also like my maxi’s to be really maxi and the petite is 3″ shorter.


woman stading in hallway wearign paisley dress which a blazer held over her shoulder

It has a vibrant color block print with ties at the neck which I simply folded to the inside to create a deeper v neck and make room for my necklace. This is a slightly different take on the tiered dresses I’m seeing everywhere this summer. Because the fabric is a soft knit, it lays against your shape rather than stick out which gives you a much slimmer look.


over 50 blooger showing how to dress up a casual cotton maxi dress

You saw me style this linen blazer over shorts last week, so I have a feeling it may get almost as much wear as my white linen blazer this summer. Adding a structured blazer over a jersey dress may seem out of place, but why not? The color ties the look together and they’re both summer fabrics. I realize I didn’t get a photo of the blazer buttoned closed, which looks great! A cardigan over a sleeveless dress can look like you’re trying to hide your upper arms, while a blazer looks intentional.


blonde woman stanging in front of fireplace wearing Talbots casual jersey dress and wedge sandals

To dress it down, I would exchange the linen blazer for my favorite white denim jacket, swap the wedges for flat sandals like thesethese, these silver ones, or some comfy espadrilles. The flatter the shoe, the more tempted I would be to choose the petite version so I didn’t trip on the hem:)

I would choose a small crossbody bag for ease when running errands and pop that into a large tote that holds everything and stays in the car. I’d also just wear simple hoop earrings, a bracelet, and loop the dress ties on the neckline.


blonde woman wearing aqua blazer over paisley dress in front of blue wall


More Casual Cotton Maxi’s


The warmer the weather the more appealing a one-and-done casual dress feels for my lifestyle.

Are they in your wardrobe this summer?

Thanks for reading ladies and remember to wear what makes you feel confident.




  1. Love the blazer and love the dress. However, in my personal style preference, a blazer looks too structured with this fun dress. The white denim jacket or a lightweight cardigan that you mentioned would seem to be more compatible if in style. Nevertheless, you look lovely in all the pictures, and those are definitely your colors.

  2. Thank you for all of your ideas and fashion expertise, Jennifer. Because of you, I have broadened my fashion confidence and found new ways to wear new and existing pieces. You look beautiful in this outfit!

  3. I think we all agree that blue is definitely your color. MIght i ask where the pics were taken. Looks like the Awanee in Yosemite to me. Cuse the spellin
    g, but you know how us Southerners are!

  4. It is 101F outside my window right now, and the AC is set higher to avoid any threatened blackouts. I am wearing my usual cotton maxi dress. I can’t imagine a scenario where I would wear a blazer with it. Of course, I don’t own any blazers since I prefer cardigans, but even a cardigan sounds like torture today!

  5. This is a beautiful dress and a great look for you! The colors look great on you and work really well together. I appreciate your willingness to experiment with looks and share with us – it is not about the perfect look, but the willingness to try something new. I particularly like that you outline the various ways to wear it with different jackets and shoes. Some of my favorite looks have been things I tried after seeing someone else wearing and having an “ah-hah” moment. I never thought to pair with a blazer. I have two fun gingham blazers that will work great with my black or red maxi dresses. I will have to try that look.

    I personally love maxi dresses in summer – it is one of my go-to looks. I used to live in Las Vegas and they were great for the hottest months, much more comfortable than pants. And I felt dressed in an intentional way. I now have a wardrobe of maxi dresses – three solid color ones in black, red, and a rich lavender blue and three classic prints in black and white graphic, blue and white stripe, and blue and white polka dots. All are cotton jersey fabric which makes them so comfortable. One of my criteria is that the neckline be classic and I can wear my regular bra with them. So I have V-necks and round collar dresses and all are sleeveless but have straps wide enough to wear my normal bra. And I also have three maxi skirts in black, black and white, and a gold batik print that I can pair with a tee for a casual look or a dressier top for a more formal event. I love to wear these with my denim jackets, short cardigans, or casual linen jackets. I always pack a maxi dress for a summer trip or a cruise as they work for dinner in a nice restaurant. I like them best with flat sandals or wedges. I just got a pair of Valentino Rockstud flat sandals in silver from a resale site to wear with my maxi dresses. I have several outfit options to try based on this post. Thank you!

  6. Maxi’s are great! So easy and effortless, and yet you feel dressed up!
    This one looks beautiful on you and I love the way you’ve styled it; all so pretty with your coloring. Love the jewelry, but a little too pricey for me.

  7. Very pretty on you and the perfect color. The bottom tier of the dress does blend in as you mentioned. That is the reason I don’t care for tiered dresses but this is subtle. I like the blazer and for me the white denim jacket is more my style. I would wear this on a hot day. Very flattering and cool.

  8. I love dresses in general and they are definitely my go-to in summer. Knit dresses are my favorite because they are so comfortable and easy to wear. I’m always conscious of volume so I’m not drawn to really full multi-tiered dresses but this one is very appealing. I have never liked how a blazer looks on my body so, while the blazer/maxi combo looks nice on you, I’d pass on the blazer.

  9. You look lovely.. powerful…vibrant today, Jennifer! I can see why your smile is so bright!

  10. Love the dress on you! I don’t know if I can pull that much dress off at 5’1 but at least it’s not as flouncy as some. Just need to try some on. Seems the maxi is what to wear right now.

    1. This might be a lot for someone who is 5”1. Even in petite so you’d have to try on to see the proportion for you.

  11. This is a beautiful summer dress that would suit all kinds of occasions. I would prefer your white jeans jacket with it as I’m not comfortable mixing the boho style of the dress with the tailored style of a blazer. In truth, I got sick of wearing blazers years ago & haven’t owned one in years. I find their stying too severe for me. I would wear it with a fancy white cashmere sweater or a shawl & sandals with a small heel or wedge. Keep showing us dresses, please!

  12. I love this dress. Have always been partial to longer lengths are my legs are not my best asset. I do wear mine slightly shorter. Since letting my hair go white, I prefer an ankle length on me. It just looks more modern. The print is beautiful and suits your colouring. It is a fun dress to wear.

    1. This maxi (yes, with the ties tucked in!) seems more versatile than the tropic print from the other day, but to me, your gold metallic ballet flats would be a dressier choice than the white sandals. Love the color of the blazer.

  13. Very pretty dress! The colors are spectacular! Like a comment earlier, I believe the jacket is too bulky for the dress. But I will also add the sandals as well. They add extra bulk to the bottom of the dress where there is already extra material. Just not the right shoe for the dress. Separately, I love all pieces. Just not tigether.

    1. This is not a “how would you style this” post. It’s how I styled it 🙂 You do you, and I’ll do me.

    2. Love the maxi dress! I don’t wear blazers. In warm weather, I like thin floaty kimono toppers and flat dressy leather sandals, while cool weather calls for long duster cardigans and ballet flats or boots. I wear a maxi pretty much every day. Yours is very pretty.🙂

  14. What a beautiful color combination with the dress, jacket, and jewelry. I could totally see myself wearing that to a summer wedding or other nice event. The basket handbag is a great touch.

  15. I just bought this dress last week and love the manny ways you suggest to style it. I can’t wait to try it with my white denim jacket!

  16. Blue is definitely your color. I’m not a fan of dresses with a flounce but I would try this one on because it only had one flounce. Don’t worry about hiding your arms. You look terrific!

  17. I was excited to see you feature this maxi dress since I bought it at Talbot’s last month. It has my favorite blue colors and is easy so pretty and easy to wear. I’m not sold on wearing it with a long blazer, but I do like your other styling ideas. I hadn’t thought of tucking in the tie strings. I’ll have to give that a try!

  18. This is a fantastic look. Like you, I like my maxi to be to the heel of the shoe. That is an enlightening statement about a cardigan hiding and a blazer being intentional. The blazer looks fresh and actually cooler than a body hugging cardigan. Of course in your super hot weather nothing will feel cool while outside. I am glad you found a long dress without the layers of fabric, this is perfect.

  19. Love the dress, the shoes look comfy. The blazer is a beautiful blue , but as another person comment about the blazer looking out of place with the dress, but would still wear it with a pair of white jeans or capris. But you look “fabulous”.

  20. The dress, bag and sandal look terrific on you. I’m just not sold on the blazer with that dress. Maybe it’s the flounce at the bottom paired with a tailored jacket? I’m not sure. Of course you look dazzling in nearly everything you put on. I love the jacket. I love that dress. Together? Not certain.

    1. I’m not flounce or ruffle person so this is how I’m dialing it down. It works for me but not everyone 🙂

  21. You look great and the dress is really pretty! I am not a fan of a blazer over a long casual dress. To me, the two are not meant to be together. Either a little light weight sweater or shawl would do the trick if you need a wrap. I hope it is ok to have an opinion! I love your blog!!!

  22. I really love these maxi dresses but I’m 5’3”, would the prints be overwhelming? Guess there’s only one way to know, I’ll have to try them on ;)!

  23. The dress looks very nice on you. I avoid tiers on a dress because of the fullness factor. This works because there is 1 tier. 2 or 3 just add fullness in a way I don’t like. As usual, you prove that BLUE is your color.

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