How to style an off-the-shoulder dress

Black print dress worn for the day

My friend and I had a chat over coffee the other morning about how to look chic at whatever height you are. I often get questions about what to wear if you are “petite”. My friend Dee is 5 foot 2 while I am on the taller side at 5ft 7. We decided to run a series on how to look good in the same outfits. We have started with how to style an off-the-shoulder midi/maxi dress.

Dee’s recommendations:

The long and the short of it is that in many cases Petites don’t always have to hunt out items in the specialist sections. Currently, many designs both in dresses and skirts come in midi or maxi lengths. MarksandSpencer offers many styles in three length options short regular or long. The dress I am wearing in the photo above has an elasticated waist so that you can hoist it up and belt it or leave it to flow freely.

Black print dress for the day

Dee has added a wedge sandal to add a little height. You could equally wear the dress with flats. This particular style can be worn on or off the shoulders or jazzed up with jewellery to give it a different look.


Black print dress worn off the shoulder

The dress is shown here worn off the shoulder by Dee for an evening out.

Black print dress worn off the shoulder

In the photo above I have added a string of pearls and pearl earrings.

The dress we are both wearing is the off-the-shoulder Midaxi dress from MarksandSpencer US link)


  1. Gloria
    25th July 2023 / 16:33

    I LOVE that you are featuring a person of 5’2”!!! I always feel overwhelmed by midi or maxi dresses, but she looks great in this dress!!!

  2. 25th July 2023 / 17:20

    You both look gorgeous. How interesting to see your contrasting natural looks. Really enjoyed this refreshing take on what to wear and looking chic at any age! Thank you Josephine and Dee.

    • 25th July 2023 / 17:36

      Thank you Karen for your kind comment.

  3. Julia
    25th July 2023 / 18:26

    The dress is nice but I fear it would be uncomfortable with the elastic cutting into your shoulders. Also, you’d have to keep your arms very still to avoid the elastic bouncing back. If you lift up your arm to say «  oh look at that lovely chateau! », the off the shoulder look will be no more.

  4. 25th July 2023 / 18:43

    Hello Julia
    I wore the dress for quite a while to take the photos and the elastic did not feel uncomfortable it seemed quite soft. Think I would wear the dress for an evening out with the off the shoulder look not really for sightseeing.

  5. Arati
    25th July 2023 / 21:05

    I am so happy you are running this series. I am petite and I love that you are including fashion for petites

  6. trudy
    26th July 2023 / 10:01

    I am 5foot 4 ins and feel awful in midis especially now as I am unable to cope with heels.

    • Fran Williams
      26th July 2023 / 19:12

      Thank you so much for this very interesting article. You always look wonderful! So good to see a fellow shortie….I am 5 foot! Tres chic

  7. Lynne
    26th July 2023 / 22:50

    I am 153cm, 5 foot in the old money and always wear flat shoes as I don’t have a problem with my height and refuse to risk my feet in heels. You look lovely in that dress by the way.

  8. 30th July 2023 / 09:15

    I really like the pattern of the dress! At first sight it reminds on the usual leo-print, but it is a giraffe! SO Great!

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