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Which mini dresses are best?

A dress is always easier to throw on, regardless if you’re running behind, have to be somewhere quickly or need to be out the door fast. A nice mini dress that is simple to style and available in different shapes will be a great addition to your current party outfit lineup. Flirty and fun, mini dresses can be dressed up or down and be worn any time of year, even if you’re transitioning through different seasons. 

Whether you plan on styling them with tall boots or tights, a simple timeless frock that is also super stylish and cute, like the COTTON ON Essential Mini Dress, will be a great buy.

What to know before you buy a mini dress


The majority of mini dresses will be short in length, hit mid-thigh, with the hemline varying based on your own specific height and proportions. If you’re more on the tall side, most dresses will fall above the knee, while shorter people will notice that the hemline can fall past knee-length.  Those of average height don’t have to worry about the hemline being different once worn.

Even if you keep in mind your natural height, a mini dress can still hike up when you sit down or bend over so be aware of exactly how short its length is. Performing a sit test beforehand will help you figure out which position you will feel most comfortable sitting in.


Overall, there are several different dress necklines you can pick for your dress, with jewel necklines and turtlenecks being some of the most popular high necklines. The former will simply round out around your collarbone and won’t have a collar. 

Lower necklines, like the V-neck, are just as equally popular and can feature either a short, medium or deep plunging neckline that falls well below your bust line. This type of neckline provides more options to experiment with based on your comfort level.

Round necklines are also a great option, the most common ones being the boatneck and crew neckline, which sees the former have a wider fit that exposes the collarbone by resting on your shoulders.


Mini dresses can notoriously be on the short side, so if you’re looking for a fit that’s neither too small or voluminous, be on the lookout for bodycon that allows for more give in the fabric. Ones that are too wide will engulf your curves if you have a smaller frame. If you have longer legs, a mini dress can feel revealing or over-exposed if fitted to be micro.


Ultimately, the dress’s cut, line and fit will determine if you can achieve a balanced look. Different silhouettes allow the wearer to experiment with more adventurous looks more commonly seen on short mini dresses. Sheath, shift, fit-and-flare, A-line, empire waist and swing dress styles will all feature a mini length, so choose wisely. 

Mini dresses will typically hit about mid-thigh and with their shorter length, you won’t have trouble pairing one with sexy high heels and flats equally. Styles like the shift dress, in comparison, create straight lines that start from your shoulders down to your hips and waist, while a fit and flare creates a more youthful look.

What to look for in a quality mini dress

Textile quality

Always double check a dress’s textile percentages on its label, so you can ensure your dress is made with premium textiles that don’t wear down easily. If an item is advertised as being made from a fabric as 100%, it doesn’t mean that the garment isn’t blended with other materials to save costs. Several brands are notorious for cutting corners by mixing cheaper textiles with a blend of premium fabrics, so always be on the lookout.

Fabric quality

The dress’s thinness and weave tightness will help you figure out if your dress has been made with cheaper materials that can easily wear down, even with regular wear. Doing a scrunch test on the fabric helps you determine whether it wrinkles easily and if the garment is made well. A hand test also allows you to understand if the fabric will irritate your skin and if it’s comfortable to wear.


Check your dress’s seam and hem allowance each since the amount of additional fabric on each side, will tell you whether or not the dress can be tailored up or down a size based on your unique body size. Well-made dresses will feature a higher thread count and will use more stitches per inch in their garments than poorly made pieces.


A well-made dress lining will keep your dress looking nice for extended periods of time, while also functioning as a slip. A properly sewn lining will lay flat against the interior of your dress no matter what and will give you enough room for you to move around freely.


Due to the mini dress always being popular and in demand, they will have a wider price range than most fashion items and can start as low as $15 and go upwards of $500. If you don’t want to break the bank, prices for a well-made non-designer mini will fall somewhere in between the $30-$75 range.

Mini dress FAQ

Does a mini dress need alterations?

A. Although a few designers will be happy to alter a dress for you so it is fitted perfectly, alterations in general are an essential finishing touch to any outfit, especially if you want the item to fit just right. Make sure to measure yourself so you can discern what your standard sizing is beforehand. A tailor will help you determine what works best for your figure.

Are mini dresses within your budget?

A. Most fashion brands will offer an incredible and high-quality selection of mini dresses that you can choose from that can be priced from affordable to moderately expensive. If you’re still unsure of which one to choose, ask a clothing stylist for help finding the right dress that’s also in your price range.

Is a mini dress considered semi-formal attire?

A. Although typically mini dresses are worn during special occasions, it’s not the only semi-formal attire you can choose from. A fancy blouse and pants pairing or a jumpsuit work just as well, as long as they follow the event’s dress code and can both be dressed up further if you wear heels.

What are the best mini dresses to buy?

Top mini dress

COTTON ON Essential Mini Dress

COTTON ON Essential Mini Dress

What you need to know: This cute mini is well fitted throughout the chest, hips and waist, meaning it’s the perfect casual going out dress.

What you’ll love: Showcased as a timeless shift dress, this cinnamon-colored mini is the perfect essential for your wardrobe thanks to the frock being able to be dressed up and down depending on the occasion. Sizing measures about 33.1 inches in length from center back neck to hem, length is based on size small and varies 0.5″ between sizes

What you should consider: Although true to size, the bodycon silhouette of this dress naturally runs small, compared to similar American-made clothing items. 

Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s

Top mini dress for the money

COTTON ON Ella Long Sleeve Mini

COTTON ON Ella Long Sleeve Mini Dress 

What you need to know: Available in several flattering neutral shades, this long sleeved mini also features a fashionable crew neck and reaches down to your mid-thigh.

What you’ll love: A cozy and comfortable wardrobe addition for the cooler, months ahead, that can be coupled with fancy heels or casual flats or sneakers. Approximately 33.1 inches in length, this dress is guaranteed to effortlessly make your legs look longer.

What you should consider: The fabric is very stretchy and can become deformed with repeated use.

Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s

Worth checking out

GUESS Lamé Mini Dress

GUESS Lamé Mini Dress

What you need to know: A beautiful high shine mini dress in an eye-catching metallic blue that features a bodycon silhouette that hugs every curve nicely.

What you’ll love: featuring a deep, yet flattering v-neckline that is further complemented by the dress’s chic and sleek silhouette. The dress fully measures 33-¼ inches long from center back neck to hem and can vary about ¼ inch between each rack size.

What you should consider: There aren’t a variety of sizes you can choose from, and the sizes available run pretty small.

Where to buy: Sold by Macy’s


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Ashton Hughes writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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