What Is the Best Dress for My Body Shape?

Shani Jay
Woman comparing dresses in store

When it comes to finding the dress that best flatters your figure, it's vital that you understand your body first. Understanding your shape is the key to selecting clothes that make the most of what you have been blessed with. You don't need to spend loads of money on a stylist, and you definitely don't need to change your body.

Finding Balance

The first step to finding your dream dress lies in discovering what your body shape is. If you're not sure what your shape is, read this article on fashion tips for your body shape to discover which shape you are.

The aim here, no matter what shape you are, is to create the illusion of a balanced figure. This means that your shoulders and hips are in line, and your waist and bust are defined.

Dresses for Apple Shapes

When choosing a dress for a more rounded body type like an apple, consider the following:

  • A dress with a split or several splits at the waist will look very flattering on your figure.
  • Opt for straight or slightly fitted silhouettes, and avoid anything bulky around the bust, waist, and tummy area.
  • A dress that is fitted under the bust, and sitting below the knee will work best for you.
  • V-necks are also flattering.

Halter Dress

A great choice for apple shapes is this Alfani printed halter neck dress, available at Macy's for about $60. It's available in black or a gorgeous green, and comes in a wide range of sizes, from 2 all the way up to 18. The length, finishing just below the knee, is perfect for apple shapes.

The halter neck will help to draw attention away from your middle area, and the straight cut will skim right over your middle, disguising any of your problem areas. The dress length means you'll have the slimmest part of your legs on show, adding to the illusion of an overall slimmer figure.

Best Dress Tips for Pear Body Types

In order to find the right balance in a dress for a pear body shape:

  • Look to always accentuate your waistline, and wear a dress that is fitted around this area.
  • A good example of this is an empire line dress, or a wrap dress.
  • Try to create drama around the top half of your body, and shoulders. You can do this by selecting a dress that has pattern or embellishment on the top half, or sleeve detailing.
  • Avoid dropped waistlines as these will make your hips look wider.
  • Look for styles that flow loosely or skim over the hp area for the most flattering look.

Empire Waist Dress

A great look for pear shapes is this long, plunging-neck Rachel Pally empire dress available at Neiman Marcus. The wide and dramatic kimono-style sleeves will draw attention to your upper half, making your shoulders appear wider and helping to balance out your wider hips. It's available in black or white, and in sizes extra small through large just over $230.

Inverted Triangle Dress Tips

Before choosing a dress an inverted triangle shape, which typically has broader shoulders and narrower hips, keep in mind the following tips:

  • You are looking for a dress that makes your lower half look broader.
  • Look for a waist tie or belt (or add one), anything with a straight silhouette to balance your lower half out, or anything with volume and detail in the lower half of the garment.
  • A dropped waistline dress will work well on this shape, and will balance out your wider top half.
  • Halter, strapless, and sleeveless styles can work well with this body type.

Dropped Waistline Dress

If you're a inverted triangle figured lady, try this fun print drop waist dress by Nicole Miller. The decorative drop waist exaggerates the hips, helping to balance out your top half. Simply add a belt of your choice, and you'll have incredible waist definition that you've never seen before. This is available in sizes 0 to 14, priced at just under $300, and sits flatteringly just above the knee.

Hourglass

This is the most flexible shape when it comes to finding clothing that is flattering. Opt for anything that follows the natural curves of your body, and avoid anything that hides your shape. Body-con, wrap, and tailored styles are just a few that will make the most of your figure.

V-Neck Dress

This elegant 'Park' v-neck sheath dress by Likely, available at Nordstrom, comes in a classic black, or myrtle green. Priced at about $190, this is a piece that you will wear time and again, getting your money's worth in no time. This dress is perfect for hourglass ladies, as it is figure-hugging, and will cling to your curves in all the right places (accentuating your already balanced and defined figure). The black color also creates a slimmer more streamlined silhouette. The v-neck draws attention to your bust, which is one of your best assets as an hourglass shape.

Ruffle Dress

Another option from ASOS is this gorgeous orange tea dress with an open back detail. This style is perfect for the hourglass figure, as the soft v-neck is very flattering to your bust line, the short sleeves offer arm coverage (if needed), and the tie waist hugs your feminine silhouette. This dress is about $70, and available in sizes 0 to 14.

Dress Styles for Straight Figures

Body types that are straighter often lack obvious curves. To create more balance for this type of shape:

  • You need a dress that creates a waistline for you and exaggerates your shoulders and hips.
  • Frills, ruffles, and embellishments are your friends!
  • A halter neckline is great for widening the shoulders, and a full skirted dress will give you that extra volume in the lower half of your body.
  • You can pull off above the knee and mini-skirt lengths, too.

Wrap Dress

If you're going to splurge on a new dress, Diane Von Furstenburg offers great selection and a wide variety of wrap dresses. If you're a straight-figured lady, check out the Penelope wrap dress. It is about $570, comes in a gorgeous floral print, and can easily be dressed up or down. It's available in sizes 0 to 10. The tie waist detail will give you great definition in that area, creating a more feminine figure for you. The slightly pleated skirt will also help to exaggerate your hips.

Full-Figured

Depending on your proportions, there are some areas you may want to conceal, and other areas you'll want to highlight to create the look of a balanced figure.

  • For areas you want to downplay, you'll need to find a dress that reduces these in size, and creates shape and definition for you all over.
  • Wrap dresses that nip in at the waist, then fall straight over the hips, will give you definition whilst skimming over your stomach area.
  • A dress that falls below the knee and has sleeves will typically be most flattering for the fuller figure.

Plus size dress

The soft v-neckline of this Ashley Stewart printed maxi dress is really flattering, drawing attention to a delicate part of the body. It starts in a size 12 and goes up to size 32. It is available for around $40. This dress is perfect for full-figured shapes because it is nipped in under the bust, giving you definition. The cap sleeves are simple and stop at a flattering point on the arm, and the maxi length skims over the thighs and legs - fitting not too tight nor loose.

Another flattering choice is the Fit and Flare Dress by London Times, about $150 in sizes 14 though 22. This stylish dress is great for plus size ladies with its nipped in waist, complete with black lace trim to create the look of an hour glass figure. The v-neck also elongates the body, and the swingy skirt helps conceal any problem areas.

Embrace Your Shape

No matter what your body shape may be, embracing it is the first step to looking fabulous! There is the perfect dress out there for everyone. Learn to love and understand your body - because when you feel good, you will look good.

What Is the Best Dress for My Body Shape?