Dress Styles For Different Body Shapes

So, you’re in need of a new dress for your next party, girls’ night out, or date night. But which dress style is best for your body type?

The key to a great evening look – or any look, for that matter – is to emphasize your best features while concealing your least favorite ones.

It’s all too easy to fall for the season’s “must-have” in the gloriously changeable world of fashion. We are “sold” into believing that in order to be fashionable, we must purchase the most recent style, which often leads to us purchasing the incorrect clothing for our body shape.

I shared a few of my favorite little black modern hanfu skirt in my previous post to help you get into the party mood. But, before you go out into the night, every lady should know her best characteristics or, better yet, her body type. Knowing your body type will assist you in determining which clothing style is best for you. Who wouldn’t want that?

So, how do you pick the best dress for your body type? Here’s how to do it:


* The goal is to direct the eye upwards, away from your least favorite parts, to your neck and shoulders. Wide boat necks, deep V-necks, and neck or shoulder accents that lead the eye up are all good choices. A V-back dress is a beautiful alternative to strapless or off-the-shoulder gowns. Wear your hair up to bring attention to your neck and maximize your style advantage if you have long hair.

Closed necklines, detailing below the bust, and bright and busy bottoms should all be avoided (skirts, pants, or dresses).


* Tailor-made clothing is ideal for you, but whatever you choose, make sure it has adequate built-in support. Dresses with darts or seaming through the waist are a good choice. A scoop or low-cut V-neck will show off your cleavage while also balancing your curves. Alternatively, you might go with a keyhole or square design. Dresses with a baby doll or empire-line silhouette are also lovely. Look for silhouettes in materials that skim your body rather than cling to it, slightly emphasizing your curves.

AVOID breast detailing, fragile soft styles and billowing fabrics, buttons in the wrong places, high necklines, crossover styles that cut your bust in half (a wrap-front style is preferable), and waist details.


* For you, it’s all about the details. Pleats, frills, beading, or corsetry on the bodice will add interest and attract the eye upward, producing the illusion of a larger breast.
* Try halter-necks, strapless styles, or dresses with spaghetti straps if you don’t need to wear a bra (lucky you!). From the waist up, look for jersey and silk gowns that fit like a glove.

If you have a flat breast, stay away from elastic tube dresses.


* Choose a dress or top with sheer sleeves in a contrasting material to amp up the sensuality factor. While hiding less-than-perfect biceps and triceps, these can be just as sultry as sleeveless ones. Upper arms that are obviously unattractive, also known as “tuckshop” arms, are difficult to hide in sleeveless styles! Look for styles with three-quarter sleeves and little detail, as well as darker tones. Of course, you may always layer with a light jacket, cardigan, or wrap.

AVOID patterned sleeves, bust features that are too prominent, and puff sleeves.


* You’re lucky to have an hourglass figure, so enjoy it! Fabrics that drape rather than cling to a curvy form look ideal, but don’t leave your waist unclear. Even the little waistline curvature will improve your figure. You will look stunning in a corseted dress. In a wrap dress, you’ll be the talk of the town. Also, don’t be scared to show a little shoulder. It’s ideal to wear a wide V-neck that skims your collarbones. Keep the fabric fluid and the skirt silhouette soft if you want to hide your hips.

AVOID shapeless shifts and drop-shoulder styles, since they will merely add width to your figure.


* The most flattering shapes are a fitted A-line skirt or dress with a V-neck. A V-neck dress or top elongates the breast and attracts the attention downward, making the waist appear slimmer. Look for items that have built-in darts and panels to assist define your figure. The wider hemline of an A-line skirt will help make the waist appear slimmer. Drawing the eye up to an exposed shoulder, on the other hand, is a terrific balancing trick. If you don’t want to expose your shoulder, a wonderful piece of neckline jewelry (either a brooch or a necklace) would suffice. To gain the most height, choose a length that is slightly below the knee.

AVOID two-piece outfits, anything high-waisted, straight skirts, cropped tops and jackets, as well as belts and sleeves that end at the waist.


* You’re one of the few people who can get away with a minor adjustment. If you think that’s too plain, add curves to your waist with a belt or darts and seaming. A sleeveless dress with a tiny cutaway at the shoulder will also enhance your appearance. A voluminous skirt and nipped-in waist, on the other hand, will offer some feminine appeal and provide the illusion of shape. Ruffles and frills, which are figure killers for many, can also be worn.


* Because a broader torso lacks a defined waistline, you’ll need to use fashion methods to create one. To create the illusion of a nipped-in waist, look for a straight, somewhat fitting style with darts through the waist. A shirred or ruched dress, on the other hand, cinches in the waistline, making it appear slimmer than your top and bottom portions. Alternatively, a gently fitted shape and empire-line dress that skims straight over the midriff can conceal a less-than-slim torso. Choose an A-line dress or skirt with a matching short or cropped jacket that can be buttoned as an alternative.

AVOID anything fitting or elastic that stretches across your stomach and midriff.

LARGE HIPS (pear shaped)

* The goal is to draw the eye up and away from the parts of your body that you don’t like. Pear shapes, or individuals with wider hips than shoulders, will benefit from defining and emphasizing their shoulders to help balance out their wider hips.
* To offset your broader hips, look for pointed shoulders or add little shoulder pads. A-lines are the most effective hip-minimizers. A waisted A-line dress that flows lightly over the hips is another option. The length can be anything from mid-thigh to ankle-skimming. A plunging neckline (that isn’t too deep) will also distract attention away from your hips.

AVOID fitting straight skirts or dresses, straight tunic shapes, voluminous skirts (which can make your hips appear even broader), dropping waistlines, tight mid-thigh mini-dresses, and any type of detail at the hip area.


* Long or maxi dresses are easy to find for women who want to hide their legs.
Try full-length dresses if you’re tall; if you’re short, seek for three-quarter length dresses instead.


* Just because you have long legs doesn’t mean that a short dress is the ideal choice for you. A hem that sits on or just below the knee (at the narrowest part of the thigh) with flippy accents or an airy fabric that moves with you (like silk or viscose) is far more seductive.


* Any style that ends at the narrowest section of the leg – just below the knee – will flatter if your knees are less than svelte (honestly, who has fantastic knees?)

AVOID styles that go all the way across the knees.


* Empire waists make small figures appear longer. Monochromatic attire – one color from head to toe – also works. Your go-to style should be a sheath dress. The smooth, elongated shape makes you appear taller and thinner, especially if you choose one that rests just above or in the center of your knee (never longer) to highlight your leg’s narrowest area.

About the author: Nancy Greiner

Related Posts