What’s the best dress style for your body?
Even if a dress looks fabulous on the hanger or mannequin, it might be a dud once you try it on. When shopping for a new dress, consider your figure type in order to find the best style for your body.
Full hips and thighs
For pear-shaped or plus-size women with full hips and thighs, you can hide figure flaws with an A-line dress. Look for dresses that hit at the knee or just above. Draw the attention to your shoulders and neck (and away from your lower body) with a halter style or ruffled neckline. You'll adore the Lilly Pulitzer Bernadette printed A-line dress ($248 at Bloomingdale's). Add a cute cardigan for extra coverage.
For apple-shaped or short-waisted women, you want to make your midsection look longer and leaner. Look for fabrics that skim rather than cling to your body. An empire or drop waist dress is a good bet as it takes the attention away from your natural waist. A wrap dress can also create the illusion of a thinner waist. You'll love the Shoshanna beaded-neck empire-waist dress ($440 at CUSP). This gorgeous dress is perfect for a special night out.
Skip the deep v-necklines and instead choose a dress with a scoop or cowl neck. You can also add some depth up top with a colorblock dress that is brighter on the upper half and darker on the lower half. Check out the INC sleeveless cowlneck colorblock sheath dress ($70 at Macy's). You can go from the office to a dinner party without missing a beat.
Women with ample breasts should select deep plunging necklines or halter dresses, if you want to show off your assets. The Nicole Miller scalloped lace halter dress ($400 at Neiman Marcus) is just perfect. However, to diminish the look of big breasts, pick fabrics that flow and skim over your curves without being too tight.
Women with wedge-shaped figures with broad shoulders and smaller hips can balance out their body by wearing dresses with flared skirts. Avoid halter and strapless dresses, which will just emphasize your wide shoulders. Consider the Tibi Melange fit-and-flare dress ($330 at Neiman Marcus) with its vintage appeal and flirty hemline.
Those women with heavy arms should avoid sleeveless and cap-sleeve dresses. Try a dress with trendy kimono sleeves instead. Bell-shaped, billowy sleeves are also pretty for women who want to hide their arms. Choose a dress in a fun print like the T-Bags floral jersey kimono sleeve mini dress ($75 at Bluefly). This floral print works well for any season.
Straight and narrow
Thin, rectangular-shaped figures need to create the illusion of curves. Try a dress with a bubble or flared skirt to add some bulk to the lower body. A ruched dress can make you look more curvy as well. A belted sweater dress in a chunky knit is also a good option for straight figure types. Try the Kensie short sleeve belted sweater dress ($88 at Macy's) for a flattering fall look.
Hourglass figures feature a proportional upper and lower body with a thin waistline. Don't hide your curves; show them off in a body-hugging dress. Cinch your middle with a unique belt to emphasize your waist. For your next cocktail party, wear this gorgeous Alice + Olivia one-shoulder peplum dress ($396 at Neiman Marcus).