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Finding the best dress for your body type
Feminine and versatile, nothing boosts your confidence and expresses your personality quite like the perfect dress. Read on for our top tips on how to find the most flattering style for you–and which ones to avoid. Once you know the key pointers for your body type, choosing the ideal dress for casual daytime or a special occasion is easy.
How to dress for your body type
Pear shapes (also called triangle)
A classic British figure type, pear women have a relatively narrow top half, a defined waist and tend to carry weight around their hips and thighs. When dressing a pear, the aim is to balance out your top half to add volume to your bust and shoulders to show off your small waist to its best advantage.
- Dresses with embellished, cowl or V-necklines will elongate your torso and add volume to your upper body and accentuate your waist. The overall effect of this is to equalise the proportions of your top and bottom halves and create a more balanced outline with stunning curves.
- Top choices for pear-shaped ladies are A-line cuts that skim your hips and thighs, fit and flare dresses that emphasise your feminine silhouette and elegant shift dresses for a classic, timeless look. Dresses with dramatic sleeves and hemlines that fall to the knee or below–and even maxi styles–will ensure that you turn heads.
- Accessorise your look with jewellery that draws the eye to your upper body with statement earrings or a fabulous necklace. And at a big occasion or on a hot summer’s day, no-one can carry off a wide-brimmed hat quite like a pear.
- Best avoided are dresses in very figure-hugging or clingy fabrics, ones with very short hemlines that cut you off at the thigh or unstructured, voluminous pieces that do not allow you to emphasise your narrow waist.
Apple shapes (and inverted triangles)
If you have broad shoulders, narrow hips and a less defined waist, chances are that you are have an apple-shaped or inverted triangle figure. To be strictly accurate, apples will generally carry more weight around the middle, whereas inverted triangles carry less. In both cases you are likely to have fabulous long, slim legs.
- Again V-necklines are an excellent choice to guide the eye to give the impression of a narrower waist. Also opt for shorter swing styles that accentuate your legs and midi and empire-line dresses that will optically adjust your proportions.
- If you want to show off your toned arms, apples and inverted triangles can really rock sleeveless and strapless dresses. If you prefer to cover up, choose more fitted sleeves that skim your arms and optically balance out your middle. To show off a great pair of legs, wear shorter lengths such as minis and on-the-knee, although maxi dresses with low necklines will also cut a fashion dash you if you fancy something a bit less revealing. Wrap dresses are a perfect choice for creating stunning curves, although apple and inverted triangle ladies are well advised to wear a camisole underneath, as broad shoulders can mean that you otherwise reveal a bit more than you intended to.
- Accessorise your look with striking bracelets, earrings and rings for maximum impact.
- Avoid styles that add more volume around your shoulders or waist, for example horizontal stripes, dresses with peplum features and anything with lots of fabric or detailing.
Hourglass-shaped women typically have a fuller bust, narrow waist and curvy hips. If you’ve got it, flaunt it by emphasising your feminine silhouette with fitted dresses that really show off your figure.
- The best necklines for an hourglass include Vs, low scoops and romantic sweethearts.
- Structured fitted and tailored dresses that are hug your figure are go-to pieces for hourglasses everywhere. Stop traffic in bodycon or jersey wrap dresses, both of which are immensely flattering and will show your body off to its best advantage.
- Hourglasses are lucky enough to suit dresses of all lengths, so if you want to show off your legs, go for mini or above the knee. But midi and maxi styles will also look wonderful if you want a little more coverage.
- When it comes to accessories, belts will accentuate your slim waist and a striking mid-length necklace will draw attention to your bust. Small, structured bags such as clutches are feminine and provide a striking counterpoint to a curvaceous figures.
- Designs to avoid include flowing and unstructured dresses, particularly oversized ones which hide your stunning curves.
Athletic shapes (also called rectangles)
- The essence of dressing the athletic body type is to add volume to either the top half or the bottom half, but not both. To show off your legs, choose mini length hemlines or to highlight your arms or bust, don’t be afraid to go strapless or choose a dress with a plunging neckline for a dramatic look. With your slim and sporty physique, you will look wonderful in wrap dresses, halter necks and asymmetric designs.
- Add curves to your overall look by wearing dresses that are draped or ruched and that can be belted at the waist to create a gorgeously feminine silhouette.
- To draw attention to your upper body, accessorise your dress with a gorgeous scarf, statement earrings or a striking necklace. Alternatively, draw attention to your arms with chunky bracelets or cuffs.
- Best avoided if your body type is athletic are all-enveloping pieces and very structured dresses that create harsh artificial lines.
Whatever your body type, find the perfect dress to flatter your figure and express your personal style in MONA’s extensive collection.