Holiday party season is in full swing, a time to slip into those sexy cocktail frocks and dress to impress. It doesn’t matter how stunning the dress is or how high-end the label is, if it doesn’t work well with your shape, it ain’t worth a thing.
Dressing for your body type is the most essential tool when it comes to looking, and feeling, absolutely amazing. I’ll take a dress from Forever 21 that fits me to perfection over an ill-fitting super pricey piece from Bergdorf that emphasizes my problem areas any day of the week.
While there are some general slimdown secrets that work for all, nothing beats knowing exactly what works for your figure.
Read on to find out which dress style will work for your body type!
The goal with this body type is to conceal a tummy or add more shape to a shapeless waist. Two-toned dresses can add more shape and create the illusion of a more defined waist. Nothing conceals a tummy better than an empire waist, just make sure the dress grazes your body and doesn’t appear too flouncy- like the Elizabeth and James dress ($375) seen on Hayden Panettiere. And of course, a loose-fitting minidress paired with heels is the antidote of choice to conceal the bulge and show off those gams!
Pear shaped ladies should use a neckline that broadens the look of the shoulders, creating a more balanced effect- just look at how proportional Jennifer Lopez looks in her beaded Herve Leger dress, which extends at the collar-bone. Cowl-necks, deep crew, and square necklines work best when it comes to balancing out bigger hips. Another option is to emphasize your slim upper torso with strapless or sleeveless dresses that flare at the hips.
Look for dresses in bold patterns, which can create the illusion of more even proportions, v-necks to draw the attention upwards, loose sleeves for extra coverage, and empire waists to create more shape. And of course, a perfect LBD that shows off what you want it to and camouflages the rest, is a MUST have. A v-neck black dress like the one seen on Queen Latifah is beyond flattering for plus sizes- and everyone else for that matter!
Pencil shaped ladies should aim to add more shape and dimension to their figures and can end up look shapeless and prepubescent without taking the right precautions. To add shape, try blousy mini dress, which can add fullness to extremely narrow hips. Tiered dresses are also a great way to add more shape and femininity to a shapeless-frame. Dresses with banded hems are also flattering and can add shape while highlighting slim calves. A dress with an embellished neckline and strong shoulders like the Antik Batik dress ($474) seen on Taylor Swift can create the illusion of a shapelier figure.
Empire waist dresses are ideal for apple shaped ladies like Jessica Simpson, pictured above in a v-neck empire waist dress from her Jessica Simpson clothing line (v-necks are incredibly flattering for ladies with large busts). Empire styles can add some definition to an apple shape by separating the space between the tummy and chest and emphasizing the rib cage- a slim spot on almost everyone. They also work wonders when it comes to concealing a tummy. When it comes to fit make sure the dress grazes your body and doesn’t appear too flouncy (which could make you look pregnant which we definitely DON’T want!). And definitely avoid anything skintight at all costs!
Hourglass gals look great in v-necks, dresses with defined waistlines, and any dress that cinches the waist and has a full skirt. V-neck dresses that narrow around the bust line and flow around the hip area- like the Chris Benz dress ($1,025; NOW: $512.50) seen on Kim Kardashian, create more movement and are ultra flattering. Shoulder-bearing halter dresses are also a great option and will draw attention away from the hips for a more balanced effect.
Petite gals need to pay special attention to the length of a dress- a dress that hits several inches above the knee can make a HUGE difference when it comes to achieving a leggier look. To avoid looking like you’re peeping out from a pile of fabric, stick to simple silhouettes and keep things fitted without being too tight. A dress with an asymmetrical hem can also works as long as the front part hits a few inches above the knee, like the Nina Ricci dress seen on Mary-Kate Olsen. Cinching the waist with a belt like MK is also a smart move and will add more shape and definition to a tiny frame.
- SABRINA ALEXIS