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No matter what trend is hottest at the moment, when it comes to dress shopping for any occasion, knowing what shapes and silhouettes to look for can be your secret weapon and saving grace. Of course, shades and silhouettes are dictated as much by your body type as they are by the hands that design and sew the dresses, so it all comes down to knowing what’s best for you.
Body types can vary; as I’m sure you know. It’s completely possible to be petite and athletic, for instance, but simply paying attention to the way that your weight is distributed can help you to determine your exact body type, and from there, all the dress styles that’ll make you a fall fashion favorite among your followers and friends.
If you’re shopping online (let’s be real, most of us are) be sure to follow the measuring tips which can also be found on the site’s “size guide”. This is useful when making your purchase–no matter what body type you fit into. Make sure there aren’t any surprises with the size, and consult the size guide before checking out! You’ll also find the diagram below helpful if you’re not yet making a purchase.
Smaller shoulders than hips, exactly 5% smaller according to celebrity stylist and fashion author Bradley Bayou, as well as a smaller bust, make for a pear shape, one where, weight is carried in the hips; think celebrities like Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Leighton Meister, or Shakira.
A two piece dress, where the area above the belly button is revealed, is extremely flattering for a pear-shaped figure as that area is usually thinnest on all body types and serves as a point of visual redistribution, balancing out your figure in an amazing way.
Another option includes wearing tops with a little volume on top like ruffled details and pairing them with fitted bottoms such as a denim skirt or skinny jeans, or even a fitted high neck top and miniskirt that will accentuate all the right areas of your body.
This is another body type with weight distributed in a single area. As opposed to the pear-shaped body type that holds weight in the hips, the apple figure holds weight a little higher, in the midsection.
A cute shirt dress, of which there are so many varieties, could be the perfect style for the apple shaped woman. The style is of the moment and fabulously effortless, balancing out the midsection with a luxurious flowing way of falling over the body that even the most casual shirt dress will have. This style of dress also allows you the opportunity to show more or less leg depending on how much you want to play them up. According to Who What Wear, a little skin goes a long way if dressing to slim yourself.
Our favorite silhouettes for apple figures are shift dresses and flowy tops paired with fitted skirts. You can even try a wrap top that hits you right below your natural waist and high waisted jeans for added cinching.
While for many this is the go-to, knockout body type example, there are likely just as many hourglass shaped women out there wondering why nothing looks like they thought it would on them, as there are women of every other body type thinking the same thing.
The wrap dress has accentuated the curves and tiny waist of women who, among other things, look their best for a living; from old Hollywood pin-up types like Jayne Mansfield to contemporary beauties like Penelope Cruz, this Diane von Furstenberg popularized style is everything!
Skater dresses also look great on hourglass body shapes. Avoid high necklines or shimmery materials that can make your upper body look bigger (unless that’s what you’re going for). Instead show a bit of skin with a neckline that exposes your decollatage and maybe even a little cleavage. When shopping for hourglass shapes, just be sure that you’re finding pieces that accentuate the waist; something like a shift dress may be far less flattering than a skater dress, wrap dress, or even a bodycon. Think wrap styles, waist details, high waist anything and lower necklines.
One of those anomalous body types that you could possess along with some other distinctive, physical, descriptor, the rectangle shaped body is easily associated with a taller frame. How will you know if you have a rectangle shape? Look for squared off shoulders and hips, and weight that is, more or less, evenly distributed throughout the body.
An a-line dress provides an amazing tailored look that seems to lengthen the spine, accentuate the shoulders and collar bone, and fall loosely over the body at just the right place, giving the impression of subtle curves.
A naturally athletic build and bigger bone structure can be innate; really pushing through to define your physicality should you choose to actually become athletic.
An off the shoulder dress will allow the woman with an athletic body type to show off a strong feature in a feminine way, and because the athletic body type can yield to a combination of others that mean different things for the waist, hips, and midsection, confining only to the limitation of looking for off the shoulder design can go a long way in helping you to keep an open mind when it comes to searching for the length of it that will be best. You’ll also look amazing in a shift dress, believe it or not. Without looking too dressed up, a shift dress will drive focus to your amazing arms and strong legs.
The tiniest of the tiny, generally around 5’ 3” and under, for whom maxi dresses can end up dragging the floor and midi dresses end up being maxi dresses that only drag the floor a little bit.
Forget the done-to-death trick of wearing a mini dress and pairing it with nude heels to create the illusion of height (or don’t forget it but embrace more than one styling trick!). Find a flowing high low dress in a print or color that screams you, for an elongated flash of skin that’s ultra flattering.
Whatever your body type, there’s a dress out there that will look and fit like it’s made for you; inspiring more than a couple of hauls in search of that next great dress in that style. From brunch to happy hour, late night cocktails, and even errand filled days with full to-do lists that require an off duty look you can feel good about running into old friends in, finding the right dress style for your body type is major!