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70s Maxi Dress

No one really calls a long, floor-length dress a maxi dress anymore.

But when this fad was introduced in the early to mid 1970s, everyone referred to them as maxis.

This was in contrast to the two other most popular dress lengths of the decade – the mini (a short dress) and the midi (a dress that reached mid-thigh).

Fashion aficionados note that the maxi dress appeared as early as the late 1960s.

But the trend didn’t really catch on until about 5 years later. Some of the world’s best designers would soon jump on the maxi dress bandwagon and these dresses started appearing regularly in runway shows offered by designers such as Christian Dior, Oscar de la Renta, Halston, Yves Saint Laurent, and many others.

Soon, women were wearing long dresses just about anywhere, whereas, previously, long dresses were only worn to formal events. However, 70s maxi dresses weren’t at all dressy.

Most were made of cool, comfortable cotton or some sort of polyester material. Many were peasant style – fashioned in small floral prints with a ruffle on the bottom and sometimes a laced bodice. Some were also caftan style, made of slightly bolder prints or bright solid colors.

Everyone wore maxi dresses, from teens to young adults and even middle aged women. It wasn’t unusual to see one in the workplace, at school, or even worn for a leisurely picnic at the park.

But though they were fashionable, they weren’t very practical. Even though most of them reached just above the ankle, it was easy to trip on them and they weren’t very adaptable to doing certain activities. Nonetheless, if you wanted to be fashionable, you owned at least one or two.

Before long, designers also started to make maxi coats to wear over maxi dresses. Soon, every woman who owned a few long dresses needed one of these coats, because it looked strange for one’s dress to be hanging out of the bottom of their coat.

Most of these coats were of a high-waisted style with a slightly flared bottom and reached the area just above the ankle.

By the late 1970s, when the disco era was taking hold of the fashion industry, maxi dresses – and their midi counterparts – were being replaced by shiny jumpsuits and other new fads.

If you were still wearing your maxi by 1977, you were passé and it was time to clean out your closet!