What Dress is Best for My Body Type? (Discover & Flatter Your Shape)

Are you tired of feeling like you can’t find the perfect dress that flatters your body type? Trust me; I’ve been there. But the good news is that there’s a dress for every body type, and I’m here to help you find it!

Finding the perfect dress for your body type doesn’t mean you have to follow strict rules or limitations. It’s all about finding a style that makes you feel comfortable and confident. Whether you prefer a flowy maxi dress, a fitted sheath dress, or a classic A-line silhouette, there are plenty of options.

I have some tips and tricks for finding the best dress for your body type. So get comfy, and let’s dive in!

Understanding Your Body Type

As a curvy woman, I know that finding the perfect dress can be a challenge. But the key to feeling confident and beautiful in any outfit is understanding your body type and dressing for it.

First, take a look at your measurements.

a plus-size woman in her yoga attire looking at the full body mirror

Measure your bust, waist, and hips to determine your body type. This will help you understand which areas to accentuate and which to minimize.

Here are some common body types and their characteristics:

  1. Hourglass: This body type is characterized by a well-defined waist and balanced proportions between the hips and bust. The shoulders are also often slightly rounded, giving a soft appearance to the upper body. Hourglass figures typically look great in clothing that emphasizes curves, such as fitted dresses or high-waisted pants.
  2. Apple: Apple-shaped bodies carry more weight around the midsection, with a larger bust and narrower hips. The waist may be less defined than in other body types. Clothing that draws attention away from the midsection and towards the legs or shoulders can be flattering for this body type, such as A-line dresses or V-neck tops.
  3. Pear: Pear-shaped bodies have a smaller bust, wider hips, and a defined waist. The lower body may appear larger than the upper body. Clothing that balances out the proportions between the upper and lower body can be flattering for this body type, such as tops with a bold print or shoulder details and A-line skirts.
  4. Rectangle: Rectangular-shaped bodies have a more straight-up-and-down figure, with little definition at the waist. The hips and bust are typically in proportion to each other. Clothing that creates the illusion of a defined waist, such as belted dresses or tops with ruching, can be flattering for this body type.

It’s important to remember that everyone’s body is unique, and these body types are just generalizations.

Once you know your body type, choosing clothing that flatters your curves and highlights your best features is important. Here are some tips for dressing for each body type:

Dress Styles for Hourglass Body Type

If you have an hourglass figure, you have a well-defined waist, and your bust and hip measurements are roughly even. Try wearing form-fitting dresses that hug your waist and hips to accentuate your curves.

Here are some dress styles that you may swear by:

Wrap Dresses

a plus-size woman wearing a purple wrap around dress

Wrap dresses are great for hourglass body types because they cinch at the waist, highlighting your curves. Look for wrap dresses with a V-neckline to show off your décolletage.

A wrap dress with a flowy skirt is perfect for a summer day, while a wrap dress with a pencil skirt is great for a more professional setting.

Bodycon Dresses

a woman in plus-size wearing a white bodycon dress

Bodycon dresses are perfect for showing off your curves. Look for a bodycon dress with a stretchy material that hugs your body without feeling too tight.

A knee-length bodycon dress is perfect for a night out, while a midi-length bodycon dress is great for a more formal event.

Remember, accentuating your curves is the key to finding the perfect dress for your hourglass body type. Don’t be afraid to show off your waist and décolletage.

And always choose a dress that makes you feel confident and beautiful.

Dress Styles for Apple Body Type

If you have an apple-shaped body type, your midsection is your widest area. Wear dresses that cinch at the waist and flow away from the body to create a more balanced look.

Empire Waist Dresses

a plus-size woman wearing a pink dress with ruffles on the hem

Empire waist dresses are a great option for apple-shaped women because they cinch in at the smallest part of your torso, just below your bust, and then flow outwards, creating a flattering A-line silhouette.

This dress style is perfect for showing off your legs while giving you the coverage you need around your midsection.

When choosing an empire waist dress, look for one with a defined waistline and a flowing skirt.

A-line Dresses

woman in plus-size wearing an overflowing red dress posing at the green outdoors

Another great dress style for apple-shaped women is the A-line dress. This style of dress is fitted at the top and then flares out gradually, creating a flattering silhouette that skims over your curves.

When choosing an A-line dress, look for one with a defined waistline and a flared skirt. In terms of length,

A-line dresses that hit just above the knee are a great option for apple-shaped women. They show off your legs while giving you the coverage you need around your midsection.

Dress Styles for Pear Body Type

If you have a pear-shaped body type, your hips, and thighs are your widest area. Try wearing dresses that accentuate your upper body to balance out your proportions. 

Here are some dress styles that will flatter your figure and make you feel confident and beautiful:

Fit and Flare Dresses

woman wearing an emerald green wrap around dress walking in a lavender flower garden

Fit and flare dresses are a pear-shaped girl’s best friend. These dresses are fitted at the top and flare at the waist, creating a beautiful hourglass silhouette.

Look for dresses that cinch at your natural waistline to accentuate your smallest point. When it comes to fabric, opt for something that is not too clingy but loose.

A medium-weight fabric with some stretch, like cotton or jersey, will hug your curves in all the right places without making you look bulky.

Off-Shoulder Dresses

woman in plus-size all smiles wearing an off shoulder maxi dress with slit on the left leg

Off-shoulder dresses are another great option for pear-shaped bodies. They draw attention to your upper body and neckline, balancing your wider hips.

Look for dresses with a sweetheart neckline or a V-neckline to elongate your neck and create a more vertical line.

When it comes to length, choose a dress that hits just above or below your knee. This will show off your legs and balance out your proportions.

In terms of accessories, keep it simple. A pair of statement earrings or a delicate necklace can add sparkle to your outfit without overwhelming your figure.

Dress Styles for Rectangle Body Type

If you have a rectangular body type, your bust, waist, and hips are roughly the same size. To create the illusion of curves, try wearing dresses that cinch at the waist and flow away from the body.

Belted Dresses

woman in plus size wearing a flower print flowing maxi dress accessorize with belt

One of the best ways to create the illusion of curves is by wearing a belted dress.

A dress with a cinched waist will create a more defined shape and accentuate your curves.

In addition, a wrap dress is a great choice for a rectangle body type as it pulls in at the waist and gives the illusion of an hourglass shape.

Peplum Dresses

a plus-size woman weaing a red peplum dress paired with brown sandals with heels

Peplum dresses are another great choice for rectangle body types. The peplum detail adds volume to your hips and creates the illusion of curves.

Look for dresses with details around the waist, such as peplum, ruching, or gathering, to create the illusion of curves. Avoid loose or shapeless dresses, as they can make you appear boxy.

Another thing to consider is the length of the dress. A midi-length dress is a great choice for a rectangle body type as it hits the narrowest part of your leg and creates a more balanced silhouette.

Dresses Ideas for Each Occasion

Dresses are a versatile wardrobe staple that can be worn for various occasions. From weddings to beach outings, different dresses are suitable for different events.

To help you choose the perfect dress for any occasion, I have created a table categorizing dresses based on the type of occasion they are suitable for.

OccasionTypes of Dresses
PromFormal, floor-length gowns, A-line dresses, ballgowns, and embellished styles.
WeddingLong and flowy dresses, lace dresses, pastel colors, and floral prints.
Cocktail PartyShort or midi length, a little black dress, fitted sheath dress, or cocktail dress with embellishments.
Black-tie EventFormal, floor-length gowns, ballgowns, or elegant evening dresses with luxury fabrics, intricate details, and shimmering accents.
Business or OfficeFormal yet comfortable sheath dresses, midi-length or knee-length dresses, and neutral or dark colors.
CasualSundresses, maxi dresses, shirt dresses, boho-style dresses, and shift dresses.
Beach or VacationLoose-fitting sundresses, off-shoulder maxi dresses, cotton dresses, and breezy styles with light colors and prints.
Date NightFigure-hugging bodycon dresses, slip dresses, lace dresses, and playful or flirty styles.
Note: These dress types are just suggestions and may not be suitable for every occasion. The appropriateness of a dress for a particular occasion can depend on factors such as the dress code, location, and personal style.

Additional Tips for Choosing the Right Dress

6 women in different sizes and shapes of dress

Emphasizing your Best Feature

When choosing a dress, you must consider what feature you want to emphasize. If you have great legs, consider a shorter hemline or a dress with a high slit.

If you have a small waist, try a wrap dress or a dress with a cinched waist to highlight your curves. If you have a fuller bust, opt for a V-neck or scoop-neck dress to draw attention to your upper body.

Accessorizing Your Dress

accessories placed in a wooden organizer box

Accessories can make or break an outfit, so choosing the right ones to complement your dress is important.

If your dress has a lot of embellishments or patterns, keep your accessories simple. A pair of stud earrings and a delicate necklace can add sparkle without overwhelming your look.

If your dress is more understated, wear statement jewelry or a bold clutch to add personality.

Choosing the Right Fabric and Texture

woman choosing dress at a boutique store

The fabric and texture of your dress can also greatly impact how it looks on your body. If you want to create a slimming effect, look for dresses made from fabrics with a bit of stretch, like jersey or spandex.

Try a dress with ruffles or layers to add some volume. Remember that certain fabrics, like silk or satin, can be less forgiving and may highlight any areas you’re trying to hide.

Trying on Different Styles

woman picking a red dress and checking on the mirror

Finally, don’t be afraid to try on different styles of dresses to see what works best for your body type.

When trying on dresses, move around and sit down to get a feel for how the dress looks and feels throughout the day.

And don’t forget to bring a trusted friend or family member along for a second opinion – sometimes, an outside perspective can be just what you need to make a decision.

Wrapping Up

Understanding your body type is the first step in finding the perfect dress. Each body type has different characteristics, such as where you tend to carry weight or where your curves are most prominent.

Once you know your body type, you can look for dresses that accentuate your best features and minimize areas you’re less confident about.

Finding the perfect dress for your body type doesn’t mean you have to follow strict rules or limitations. It’s all about finding a style that makes you feel comfortable and confident.

By taking the time to understand your body type and exploring different dress styles, you can find the perfect dress that makes you feel your best.



  • “The Curated Closet: A Simple System for Discovering Your Personal Style and Building Your Dream Wardrobe” by Anuschka Rees
  • “Dressing Your Truth: Discover Your Type of Beauty” by Carol Tuttle
  • “The Dress Doctor: Prescriptions for Style, From A to Z” by Edith Head

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Maggie Walker
Maggie Walker

Certifications: Fashion Design (BA)
Education: School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Lives In: Chicago
Maggie has invaluable experience working in the fashion industry. Regarding fitting and clothing, only a select few can match up with her experience.
She oversees every aspect and has put her heart and soul into MadisonPlus.

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