How to Pick the Perfect Dress for Your Body Shape

These days, with the abundance of in-store and online shopping options, searching for a new dress should be easy. There are choices galore, at all sorts of prices to suit every budget, and you can even have a new item shipped to your door the next day. However, unfortunately for many women, finding the perfect dress isn’t always such a breeze. We all have different body shapes and sizes, and the dresses we initially love can look not so great once we try them on ourselves.

As a result, to not walk out of a store empty-handed, or have to face returning a dress bought online because the fit is terrible, it’s important to accept your body as it is, and understand how to dress it appropriately. Whether you need to find a little black dress for your next date night, a fun number for a girls’ night out, or even prom or wedding party dresses for your memorable occasions, it’s possible to shop smart and buy right. Read on for some tips you can follow today.  

Understand Your Specific Body

For starters, get to know your specific body and its proportions. You’ll probably have parts of your body you’re proud of or okay with, plus noticeable areas where you may not be in perfect proportion. This is normal! Once you understand your body, you can look for the types of silhouettes which give your figure balance and enhance your best assets, rather than least favorite.

It pays to look at a garment in relation to your entire body. Consider everything from the tops of your shoulders, down to your feet. Divide your body into thirds and examine how each part works on its own and as a part of the whole. Based on this, you will get a better idea of whether you want to, for example, elongate a shorter top half; give yourself more of a waist and hourglass figure; or create the illusion of longer legs or a bigger bust.

Be Open to Numerous Styles

Next, while you might have one or two favorite dress silhouettes you always turn to, remember that it’s worthwhile trying on many styles –  your shape and preferences can grow and change over the years; new designs come into fashion, and you may never have realized that certain silhouettes actually suit you.

It is particularly important to keep an open mind when searching for a bridal gown. These can be very different to dresses you wear on an everyday basis, so it’s likely you have never actually tried on styles like the trumpet, mermaid, or ball-gown. Keep in mind, too, that the styles you like in magazines and on models may not suit you, and similarly, the shapes you don’t love on others may actually look just right on you. As such, try on many different options, instead of limiting yourself.

Getting the right size and ensuring you have the perfect fit can also make the world of difference. While you might not have liked a certain style in the past when you tested it, it’s possible you were trying the wrong size or that it simply needed to be specifically altered to suit your proportions.

Know Which Styles Maximize and Minimize Features

A good way to reduce the amount of time it takes to find the perfect dress for your body shape is being clear on what kinds of styles maximize and minimize the features you love or dislike on yourself. Once you know the optimum shapes to choose, you can concentrate on spotting them in your size and budget.

For example, if you’re a pear-shaped woman with full hips and thighs, you want a dress that will skim over your lower half, yet not be too full. An A-line skirt typically works well. Pear shapes should stick with hemlines which don’t creep up any shorter than an inch or two above the knee too. You are also advised to add width to the top half of your body by choosing dresses with horizontal stripes and/or bright bold colors on top; keep the lower half of the dress in darker colors to make the area appear slimmer.

Alternatively, if you have a thicker middle, look for ways to draw attention away from your waist. Perfect styles include empire or drop waists. Be wary of thick belts or ruching that cinches around your midsection.

Women with a small bust should avoid deep plunging necklines; opt instead for dresses with draping, gathering or ruching around the neck, and/or adornments (sequins, bows etc.) to add depth to your chest. For large-busted women, choose sturdy fabrics for extra support, plus something fitted through the chest is best. A V-neck or scoop neckline works well.

Confessions of a Scorpio

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  • Reply 21flavorsofsplendor

    These are great tips! Learning to love and dress the body you have is so important.

    February 1, 2018 at 10:25 AM
  • Reply Keating Bartlett

    So many great tips! And this dress is super adorable too. I always feel so awkward in dresses for some reason. Some look super cute and then others just look ridiculous haha so I’ll have to keep this in mind the next time I go shopping!

    February 1, 2018 at 4:03 PM
  • Reply Heather ♥

    I love these tips! I love to wear dresses in the summertime especially down here in the south where it is extremely hot and humid.

    February 1, 2018 at 8:33 PM
  • Reply Kate

    Great points! For me, being super short has always been my biggest hurdle fits/style wise.

    February 1, 2018 at 11:03 PM
  • Reply Cristina - Memories of the Pacific

    Dresses are so flattering, but it’s important to know which type suits you best. In my case I avoid bodycon and go for skater or swift shapes instead.

    February 2, 2018 at 11:00 AM
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