I’ve always believed that fashion is about looking and feeling your best in what you wear – in short, self-expression and confidence. The female body comes in many different shapes and sizes, all of which can be celebrated. Learning how to dress your body shape is crucial to finding the most flattering fit for your silhouette (as you see fit!). It’s not always about wearing the trendiest outfit but really about choosing clothing that suits you and makes you feel confident. Dresses can definitely be a girl’s best friend. No matter what shape you are, they’re versatile, comfortable and fun. But the first step is being able to identify your body shape. Most women fall into one of four categories: Pear Shaped, Hourglass Shaped, Apple Shaped and Athletic Shaped. Once you’ve figured out your shape, then the next step is matching your body type to the perfect dress, style and cut. I’ve put together a guide and some of my favorite dresses that I would recommend for every figure; from there, it is up to you to decide which features you want to highlight or conceal (if any). Remember, the choice is always yours!

Pear Shaped Body Type

  • You usually carry weight on your hips or thighs.
  • You have relatively narrower shoulders and bust in comparison to your hips.
  • You have a clearly defined waist.

Pear Shaped Body Type

 

What to look for in a dress:

Definitely consider your waist as a focal point when it comes to choosing a dress for any occasion. An Open or V-neckline will help to elongate your overall look.  If desired, you can also create the illusion of an hourglass figure by adding more volume (like a ruffle or puffy sleeve) to your upper body so that it balances with your relatively wider lower body. Fit-and-flare is the way to go if you’re looking for more symmetry with your hips or thighs.

Here are a couple of dress styles that can perfectly suit your pear figure:

  1. Maxi dress
  2. Shift dress
  3. A-line dress

What might not be as flattering:

Oversized/shapeless styles, super short hemlines and curve-hugging fabrics, especially if you want a more symmetric look.

The upside:

A Pear Shaped figure, especially when dressed in a flattering way, can look exceptionally beautiful and curvaceous! Popular culture certainly considers curves on the lower body aesthetically appealing, but the best part is that you can dress your body shape up as a unique representation of you!

Hourglass Shaped Body Type

  • You describe your body as curvy.
  • You have a well-defined waist.
  • Your bust and hip measurements are roughly even.
  • You may have fuller bust, hips and thighs.
  • You may have a rounded bottom.
  • You have a beautifully symmetric front and side profile. From top to bottom, your figure may be described as in harmony or balance.

Hourglass Shaped Body Type

What to look for in a dress:

Flaunt your curves!!! Since you already have a well-balanced figure, your dresses can reflect the same. Figure-hugging and form-fitted should definitely be top considerations – you’ll be able to accentuate those beautiful curves and follow your body line. Just be sure that the dress sits well at all the right places. As for necklines, consider a V-neck, sweetheart or scoop neckline. Narrow necklines slim down your bust, keeping your look balanced, and low necklines draw the eye closer to your narrow waist which will naturally play up some of your best features.

Here are a couple of dress styles that should sit perfectly on your hourglass figure:

  1. Bodycon dress
  2. Wrap dress
  3. Mermaid dress

What might not be as flattering:

Baby doll dresses, shapeless styles and oversized dresses. If you love a dress (but it’s a trapeze or other loose-fitting silhouette), simply add a belt. In fact, as a general rule – when in doubt, belt it!

The upside:

The hourglass figure, often considered the quintessentially “perfect body”, is also one that allows for tons of flexibility in dressing choices and accessories! There is nearly an unlimited number of looks you can create that will express your taste and personality!

Apple Shaped Body Type

  • You are generally well-proportioned.
  • Your shoulders are broader than your hips.
  • You are not necessarily as curvy through your hips.
  • You tend to carry weight in your mid-section.

Apple Shaped Body Type

What to look for in a dress:

When it comes to styling the apple shape, things that can draw away attention from your upper body alone (i.e. using belts and waist-ties to create a more defined waist) are worth considering. V-necklines will also draw attention to your waist and give you an instantly flattering look without looking top heavy. If you want to change it up and show off those gorgeous legs, then consider a short smock tunic.

Here are a couple of dress styles that sit perfectly on an apple figure: 

  1. Flowy tunics
  2. Midi dress
  3. A-line dress

What might not be as flattering:

Anything that is too form fitting, peplum dresses, excessive fabrics and horizontal lines, especially if you want a more balanced look.

The upside:

Those with an apple-shaped figure, especially when dressed up in flattering ways, have a huge advantage in looking like runway models! As the upper body announces one’s presence to a room, the right dress choices can make someone with this figure look especially tall, slender and graceful!

Athletic Shaped Body Type

  • You’re not especially curvy.
  • You’re slightly more narrow in the hips than in the shoulders.
  • Your waist is less well-defined (more straight up and down).
  • Your weight is fairly evenly distributed throughout your body.

Athletic Shaped Body Type

What to look for in a dress:

For athletic figures, it is perfectly possible to enhance your figure in a way that will bring more of an hourglass effect! Dresses with draping or ruching or those that are cinched at the waist can play up your curves. Working with volume, angles, unique necklines, swirls or embellishments can all help balance your upper body to your narrow hips by giving your body a slightly fuller shape.

Here are a couple of dress styles that would sit perfectly on your athletic figure:

  1. Asymmetrical dress
  2. Halter dress
  3. Wrap dress

What might not be as flattering:

Avoid wearing rigid and shapeless clothes, especially if you’re looking for a fuller look.

The upside:

What’s not to love about this body type?! Those with an athletic shaped body can certainly dress up for fuller or more enhanced figures, but they don’t often have to be concerned about appearing too full-figured! As an additional bonus, this body type CAN be dressed up to appear like one of the other body types (along with the accompanying styles that flatter them)!

Conclusion

Style isn’t one-size-fits-all, so why should your dress choices be the same? That’s not to say that you can’t experiment with other dress styles, prints and fabrics. You definitely can, but just keep in mind that the most flattering fits (your opinion comes first!) showcase your shape best. The key is to get YOUR personal best mix of creativity and aesthetics to make yourself as happy as possible!

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Katia Nikolajew
Bewolf is a little something that was created by Katia Nikolajew four years ago as a side project. She was on a mission to inspire the world through her personal vision and her love for fashion. She has always been extremely excited about the idea of working for herself, and with a little elbow grease and lots of support from her loved ones and followers, she is finally spending 100% of her time on something she truly loves and enjoys. Every day is filled with an exciting little adventure.