This Magical, Affordable Maxi Dress Will Make You Want to Twirl

Clothes on Amazon get mixed reviews, but this versatile frock is worth a try this summer.

Rachelle Hampton in a red-and-white floral maxi dress standing by the water.
The author looking fabulous in the Amazon Dress. Naib Mian

The Milumia Women’s Button-Up Split Floral Print Flowy Party Maxi Dress reads like a corny mouthful, a parody of overdescriptive yet somehow sterile ad speak. The women modeling the dozen-plus patterns in which the Milumia maxi is available seem to be going for a look between “Blue Steel” and European milkmaid, ending up somewhere in the region of constipated iciness. It’s sold on Amazon, which is something of a … mixed bag when it comes to the quality of clothing, and the reviews range from glowing endorsements like “[This dress] made want to frolic in a meadow” to screeds against the quality of material used and its inability to be washed—arguably a requirement for clothing.

And yet, here I am to extoll the virtues of a dress that, as soon as it arrived on my doorstep, became an instant summer staple. The Amazon Dress, as I’ve taken to calling it, is so beautifully versatile that not only have I taken it on almost every trip I’ve taken since buying it, but I’ve ordered another and have my eye on acquiring a third.

I was a senior at Northwestern counting down the weeks leading up to graduation when I first saw the Milumia dress on a BuzzFeed roundup of “maxi dresses you can get on Amazon that you’ll actually want to wear.” The issue of money—how much I needed and how much I didn’t have—was a permanent, worrying presence. I had a fellowship lined up in New York with no money to move there. I was staring down a year of trying to scrape by in one of the most expensive cities in the world while working a job that paid a hair under $15 an hour. I had no savings to pay for the myriad costs that come with the privilege of walking past piles of garbage and sitting next to pole-dancing rats on the train. My family still hadn’t finished paying tuition for my last quarter of school, and so I wouldn’t be receiving my diploma at the journalism school’s graduation ceremony—one of three that I had to attend, and none of which I had a dress for.

All that is to say that when I saw this cornily marketed dress with mixed reviews, I was both desperate and wholeheartedly convinced that anything would be better than being surrounded by my wealthy classmates while wearing the same dress I graduated high school in. Reader, I completed the purchase. Because it wasn’t eligible for free two-day shipping, there was plenty of time between when I placed the order and when I received the Amazon Dress. Plenty of time for me to experience that intimately familiar regret and trepidation that comes after purchasing clothes online from a new store. But those feelings turned out to be entirely unnecessary. As soon as I shook the Amazon Dress out of its packaging, I knew I would end up buying it in a pattern different from the red-and-white floral one I had chosen. Not because I didn’t like it, but because for a dress so inexpensive, it was truly stunning.

The material is thin—breezy but not insubstantial—and the wide skirt drapes elegantly when still. In movement, it does actually make you want to frolic in a meadow like a Disney princess. It’s impossible not to twirl in it, just to see the skirt flare out. The Milumia maxi is a chameleon, blending in perfectly to any situation from work to parties to the beach, and it’s also one of those items that receives boundless compliments in whatever scenario you chose to wear it to. Friends and co-workers whom I’ve inducted into the Order of the Dress have similarly glowing reviews, lauding its ability both to work as a fancy swimsuit cover-up and to gracefully tolerate amateur alterations like trimming the hem if it’s too long. (I’m 5-foot-4, and the medium is just long enough to work with both heels and sneakers.)

Though the Milumia dress did shrink the tiniest bit when I first put it through the laundry, I fully chalk that up to the fact that I put it in a laundromat dryer instead of allowing it to air dry. Otherwise, it washes like a champ, and I’ve had plenty of opportunities to test that ability out. For example: I happened to be wearing the Amazon Dress when I, rather stupidly, wore platform sandals to a park and tripped badly enough to require eight stitches on my knee. Even while I was bleeding, a passerby who helped me limp my way to a bench commented on how beautiful the dress was. But importantly, the Amazon Dress ended up being the perfect thing to accidentally maim myself in, because the split front meant I didn’t have to disrobe for the X-ray or suturing process. I eventually healed, and as for the maxi, after a wash, no one was the wiser.

If you need a dress this summer that can handle you at your worst while making you look your best, then this one might be worth taking for a spin.

Milumia Women's Button Up Split Floral Print Dress