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How to Pick the Best Dress for Your Body Type (Because, Yes, It Matters)


Small bust

Cameron Diaz dress
Image: Getty Images Entertainment

If you weren’t endowed with ample breasts, avoid deep plunging necklines. Instead, select dresses with a scoop or bandeau neck and sequins or other adornments to add a little dimension up top. Layered necklaces are very popular right now and they can add some dimension and depth to your bust.

To draw some attention away from your bust and balance out a smaller lower body, choose a dress with an A-line skirt that falls one or two inches above your knees.

More: Yes, You Totally Can Wear White After Labor Day — Here’s How


Kelly Ripa dress
Image: WireImage/Getty Images

Sweater or knit dresses are terrific options for thinner women. You can add layers to your dress, such as a cardigan or fitted jacket to give you some bulk. You can also add a thick belt to give your waist more definition. Bubble dresses are very trendy right now and can also give the appearance of a larger lower body.

For slim gals who are lean, lack curves and often have a more athletic build, Dr. Walsh recommends, “Add curves through ruffles, peplums and curvaceous patterns on your lower half.”

The shift dress

Jordana Brewster dress
Image: Getty Images Entertainment

The shift is a dress, flattering on almost everyone, that hangs straight down from the shoulder. It skims your body nicely, but doesn’t cling. For summer, you can find shifts in cool cotton, linen and light knits. When fall arrives, wool and heavier knit shifts will continue to be popular. Though the typical shift dress has a straight skirt, some fashion designers have created stylish shifts with a slightly A-line cut.

Dunn says, “Whether your legs are skinny, thicker or just right, there is always the question of proportion throughout the leg line. The most common imbalance in a woman’s legs is a disproportion between above the knee and below the knee. Here a woman’s upper leg (waist and thighs) will often look thick in comparison to their lower legs (calves). In this scenario, the best skirt and dress length rests at the top to the middle of the kneecap.”

Whatever your body type, you can find a beautiful dress that will flatter your figure. Dr. Walsh says, “Learning your body type will help you select the right clothes to create a balanced, and when needed, curvy silhouette. You’ll save time shopping and hours of frustrated moments trying to decide what to wear. Regardless of which category you find yourself, the key is to love you and let someone like me handle the rest!”

Remember to accentuate the positive and don’t obsess with the negative. If you dress with confidence, you’ll look and feel beautiful too.

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