Face it, ladies; nothing makes us feel more feminine or beautiful than wearing the perfect dress. But, sometimes, finding the perfect dress can take even longer than finding the perfect mate. With this guide, though, you’ll be able to walk into any store and find exactly what you want. I wonder if I could use it for finding a mate…
Opps, sorry for getting distracted. Back to dresses!
First things first; get in touch with your body. Understanding your body shape will save you a massive amount of time, money, and frustration. There are six basic plus-size body shapes: apple, rectangle, pear or triangle, inverted triangle, hourglass, and diamond.
Wide and rounded shoulders
Most weight is in your stomach and shoulders
Little or no waist definition
Breasts and butt are small or average
3. Pear or triangle
Shoulders are significantly more narrow than hips
Small to average breasts
The waist curve is well-defined
Hips and thighs are prominent
4. Inverted triangle
The upper body is wider than the lower body
Wide and broad shoulders
Breasts are large
Hips are narrow compared to the shoulders
Butt is the flat or average size
Large breasts and wide hips
Shoulders and hips are well-proportioned
Waist is well-defined
Shoulders-waist-hips proportion is approximately 4-2-4
The hips are the widest part of the body
The lower stomach, buttocks, and back of the hips have the most weight
Legs and arms are slender
Shoulders are less bulky than apple
The waist is a sloping outline versus the rounder one of an apple
OK, now that you’re more familiar with your body, let’s dress it up! There are 7 main types of dresses that work best for us curvy gals; A-line, Empire-waist, Bodycon, Peplum, Straight, Corset, and Off-the-shoulder.
Remember being taught how to make the letter “A” in kindergarten? This is just the same; A-line dresses are designed with a fitted top and torso, then flare out at the waist to complete the triangle and all body shapes can wear this ultra-versatile style!
NOTE: Plus size women can look for dresses with stiffer fabrics like cotton, rayon, denim, and polyester to keep the shape instead of floating, clingy silk and satin.
Our favorite: Kiyonna Mademoiselle Lace Cocktail Dress
Channel your inner Queen Elizabeth I with a regal empire-waisted dress that cinches just under your breasts instead of at the natural waist, draping beautifully over the body below and drawing attention to the upper body and away from the lower. These are best for oval, rectangle, or triangle body shapes and are usually available in a wide assortment of lengths; short tunics, mini dresses, and elegant floor-length options.
Our favorite: SACHIN & BABI Sherri Gown
Introduced in the 1990s as a pushback to the oversize, shapeless fashions of the day, Bodycon, short for “body-conscious”, is a more provocative style that uses stretchy fabrics to hug and flaunt your curves.
Different body shapes wear the bodycon differently. Just remember it’s all about proportion. For example, pear shapes should choose one with patterns on top and a plain bottom to call attention to their upper half.
No matter what shape you are in, wearing the proper undergarments (bras and shapewear) is essential with these figure-hugging dresses. Here is my interview with the Bra Fairy who discusses how to find the right underwear.
INSERT LINK TO BRA TENDER INTERVIEW HERE.
Our favorite: Eloquii Flare Sleeve Scuba Dress
Peplum can be found in any type of clothing; tops, dresses, even swimsuits (Click HERE for peplum swimwear) (ADD LINK TO SWIMSUIT POST) and is so popular because it creates an hourglass figure with a simple flare of material. The basic structure underneath is usually a Bodycon dress and then the peplum wraps partway or completely around the natural waist, flaring out for several inches, giving the illusion of a smaller waist in proportion to the shoulders and hips, perfect for rectangle or apple shapes who want to balance their waist against the rest of the body.
Our favorite: ASOS True Violet Plus puff shoulder plunge ruffle front midi dress in black
Comfortable, easy, and uncomplicated, this type is best for women with a casual and laid-back sense of style. Since it doesn’t have a waistline built into it, it falls straight from the shoulders and is fabulous for rectangle and apple shapes who have shouldered the same width as or wider than their waists.
Our favorite: Universal Standard Geneva Dress
There was a reason why women forced themselves to wear those stiff contraptions made with steel and/or whalebone for centuries; they created that hourglass shape that we are still enthralled with today. Thankfully, though, modern corsets are much more comfortable; while they may or may not be boned or shaped to emphasize the waist, they are designed so that the waist is cinched, the bust is pushed up, and the hips are free, creating the coveted hourglass shape. The corset is good for anybody type!
Our favorite: ASOS DESIGN Curve drape Bardot corset pencil midi dress
Dare to bare that decolletage in an off-the-shoulder dress! These dresses have sleeves that wrap around your shoulders instead of across from front to back, adding emphasis on your upper half, and are best for women with shoulders that are more narrow than hips, such as a rectangle body shape.
Our favorite: Shein Plus Off Shoulder Shirred Split Ditsy Floral Dress
Keep in mind, that fashion is all about self-expression and this is just a guide. Rules were made to be broken so if your heart is pulling you toward a different type of dress then we recommended, don’t be afraid to follow it!
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