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How to find the best holiday dress for your body

With the holiday season in full swing, it’s time to start thinking about what you’re going to wear to all of those cocktail parties, dinners and other seasonal events. To help you narrow down your choices, we’re helping you choose the best dress based on your body type.

Body shapes

Dress For The Date’s CEO, founder and lead stylist Jennifer Kelton works with women of all shapes and sizes on a daily basis and she’s got the scoop on how to find the perfect holiday style for your body type. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but there’s a confirmed science behind male attraction, and it lies in the waist-to-hip ratio. Whether skinny or plus-sized, there are fashion tips and tricks that women of all sizes can implement to make sure they look their best this holiday season,” she tells us.



While most women are trying to camouflage their curves, Kelton says rectangle shapes need to play theirs up. You can do this with dresses that have ruffles, peplums and swingy skirts, all of which create the illusion of curves, she explains. Other styles that work on a rectangle shape include rounded hemlines, asymmetrical outfits and boat neck tops. Kelton advises against boxy jackets, A-lines and details at the waist.

Holiday dress for rectangle body type

Your best holiday look: An empire-line dress with a round neckline and flirty shoes (look for platform pumps or something embellished with a pattern or sparkle). Try this raspberry-hued holiday dress (Mod Cloth, $48).



If your body shape is a wedge (sometimes referred to as inverted triangle), your shoulders are wider than your hips, and you may have an athletic-looking physique with minimal waist definition. When this is the case, Kelton encourages women to choose clothes that create a more feminine look. Choose a holiday dress in soft, sexy fabrics that drape, she advises. In general look for drop-waist dresses, long skirts and big belts. Avoid shirts with ruffles, statement necklaces and wide necklines.

Holiday dress for inverted trianble body type

Your best holiday look: Go for a full or tiered skirt with a simple, modern top. Dress to impress with this full skirt frock with a V-neck (One Dress a Day, $169).



Your lower body is larger than your upper body so the goal when it comes to choosing a holiday dress is to create balance. Kelton suggests wearing a dress that has bright or other eye-catching details at the top to draw attention up. When you’re not wearing a dress, other styles that work include layered tops, boot-cut pants and cropped jackets. Avoid light-colored pants, pleated skirts and anything with a high waist.

Holiday dress for pear body shape

Your best holiday look: Choose a classic A-line dress and pair it with a chunky necklace. We love this classic A-line dress with playful polka dots (London Times, $88).



“Lucky you, you were born with the figure that everyone else is trying to fake,” says Kelton. She encourages those with hourglass figures to flaunt it with no apologies, choosing dress shapes that accent a tiny waist. Wrap dresses and belted dresses work well. In terms of general looks that work on an hourglass shape, Kelton suggest simple tops with three-quarter sleeves, pencil skirts and skinny jeans. Steer clear of showing too much skin, short skirts and too much layering.

Holiday dress for hourglass body type

Your best holiday look: A scoop-neck princess dress with a sparkly belt. Create an elegant yet understated look with this black Trina Turk princess dress (Zappos, $168).



Circle or “apple” shapes tend to be slim everywhere but the belly area. “Show off your slender legs and feminine shoulders with dresses that add structure to your shape, like those with V-neck tops and empire waists,” Kelton advises. She also recommends playing around with structured jackets, shorter hemlines and larger prints. Stay away from small prints, baggy clothes and flimsy fabrics.

Holiday dresses for apple body type

Your best holiday look: Go for a cowl-neck dress with ruching and heels. Strike a balance between comfort and style with a ruched jersey cowl neck dress (Splendid, $128).

More style tips

Dressing for your body type
The dos and don’ts of menswear for women
How to pair wine and navy blue in your outfit

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