How to Choose the Perfect Dress for your Body Type

Spring is in the air, and soon summer dress season will be upon us.  Here are some tips for choosing the right style to flatter your figure:

1. TOP HEAVY/BUSTY: Firstly, before we even get to clothing: a well-fitting and supportive bra will be your best friend if you are on the busty side.  Clothes will fit better because you’ll have the right amount of lift, and lumps and bumps caused by an ill-fitting bra will not be a factor.  V-necklines and wrap styles are most flattering to this body type.  Show a little cleavage with a low V if it’s your thing, or layer the piece over a cami for more coverage. Choose a dress with a defined waist and an a-line or full skirt.

2. STRAIGHT/BOYISH:  If you’re bust, waist and hip measurements are all similar, this is your body type.  The challenge here is to add volume strategically while minimizing broad shoulders.  Choose a flowy and loose a-line, sheath type for soft lines.  Higher necklines are best.  Leave the dress loose or cinch it at the waist with a belt.

3. MIDDLE HEAVY/APPLE: If your waist is your widest point, balance the proportions with a shift dress that has some tailoring.  You need structure that will fit at the shoulders and skim over the waist, not tightly cling.  Details near the neckline will draw the eye away from the waist.

4. BOTTOM HEAVY/PEAR: Many women fall into this category.  The goal here is again to balance proportion by adding width at the shoulder.  One-shoulder dresses, boat necklines, cap sleeves and off-the-shoulder detailing all help to draw the eye upward and take the focus off the hip area.

5. TALL/BALLERINA: A tall frame needs a tall silhouette to match.  Maxi lengths work beautifully, as do horizonal lines, halter necklines and draping.  Large-scale prints are flattering here as well, and ombre-style fabrics that mimic horizontal lines.

PRO TIP: Do you find yourself wearing one size on top, and a different size on the bottom?  This size disparity is at the root of many fit problems women experience.  If this sounds like you, try mixing separates in place of dresses, and consider having your clothing altered.  Fit the garment to your largest fit point (ie bust or hip) and have the other area taken in for the perfect fit.


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  1. Nicely shared.