How to Select Perfect Dress for Formal Events
If you’re getting ready for prom or trying find a formal dress for a gala, you’ve probably been scouring fashion magazines, online dress boutiques, and blogs looking for the perfect dress.
You may have even found it already, only to be underwhelmed or disappointed. Choosing the wrong dress for your body type is a common problem. Read on to discover your body type and the dress that’s the perfect fit for you.
Many people assume that curvy only applies to women with big chests, big hips, and round thighs. In fact, when clothing is designed for curvy women, it’s designed for any body where the waist is 75% of the hips. For example, a woman’s hip measurement might be 36”, but to be considered curvy, she would need to have a waist of 27” or less. The same goes for a woman with hips that measure 50”. To achieve a curvy figure, she needs to have a waist 75% of 50”— meaning her waist must be 37.5” or smaller.
Ideal dresses for this body type are generally built to accentuate the curves and show off the hips. In this case, belted, A-line dresses can be the most flattering. Additionally, uneven hemlines, buttons, and intricate embroidery can add interesting, complementary details without overpowering the dress.
If you have a straight shape, your waist, hip, and chest measurements are more likely to be pretty consistently even. Even though you may be athletic, you may struggle to define your waist. To counteract skinny body shape, you need to choose dresses with strategically placed embellishments.
Dresses with a ruffled bust area will create the illusion of a curvy chest, while a peplum will make it look like your hips are slightly larger. When trying on ruffled dresses, avoid overly busy dresses so that your body is the main event, instead of hiding behind extra fabric.
Pear shaped women generally have slender upper bodies, very defined waists, and thicker hips and thighs. If your hips are 2” or more larger than your bust and your waist is 7” or smaller than your bust, then you are considered pear shaped.
Dresses that are fitted at the hips are best for you. A-line dresses and vintage, pin-up inspired gowns will hide your insecurities and highlight your most flattering features. An important thing to remember is that stiff fabrics and dresses that flare at the hip will make your lower half look larger; avoid them at all costs!
A goblet or lollipop shape is defined by a body that has a larger bust than the hips, but still has a defined waist. Women with this shape often have wider shoulders and bigger chests. This body type is essentially the reverse of the pear shape.
To balance your larger top, scooped necks and fitted tops are recommended along with dresses that flare at the waist. A slim silhouette at the top of the dress with a puffed out skirt gives the impression that your hips match your bust.
Another option is the empire waist. Dresses with an empire waist have a very fitted bodice that ends just below the bust with a loose skirt that floats around the body rather than hugging it.
For full chested women, a good bra is the basis for any dress. Choose your most comfortable bra and build your dress around it. Dresses with built-in bras and adjustable straps help bolster the support you get from your bra.
Fitted dresses with minimal details are best. Since your body may already garner plenty of attention, adding too many details is unnecessary. If you insist on interesting details, bandage dresses, a playful hem, and front cutouts can be the most flattering.
Women with small busts have the most versatile dress choices. Strapless, sweetheart necklines, and backless dresses all work with your bust size. If you really want to stand out, skip the strapless and go straight for a plunging neckline. A deep neckline elongates your neck and exaggerates the difference between your bust and your waist.
For ladies under 5’4”, the right dress can add two inches. To make yourself look taller wear dresses that cut off above the knee. A long silhouette will make short girls look even shorter; there’s no need to drown in a floor length gown. To elongate your torso, choose a strapless, sweetheart neckline and a dress that pulls in at the waist.
A Tall Drink of Water
For tall girls who want to look even taller, floor length dresses and an empire waist add inches to your frame. Make sure the bust of a dress is always fitted, so your figure isn’t lost among folds of fabric.
Today, a popular option for tall girls with less curves is the two piece dress. The two piece outfit should be very fitted in order to make your exposed waist look tiny. A pencil skirt and a long sleeve crop top are formal enough for most events and have the added benefit of creating curves on a lean frame.
A Bit of Everything
Most women in the world aren’t just one body type; many are a mixture of two or more. You may be a pear shaped beauty, but still have a full bust, or you may be a lean looking lady who is under 5’5”. After determining which dress cuts suit your body types best, mix and match shapes until you find the right one. Once you discover the right cut for you, dress shopping will be a breeze.