Okay, so you need a new dress for the Christmas party, but what is the best style for your body?

THE secret of any great evening look – or any look for that matter – is making the best of your good points and disguising the bits you like the least. 

In the fabulously fickle world of fashion, it is so easy to buy into the must-have of the season. We get sold into believing that to be on-trend, we have to buy the latest new style, often resulting in buying the wrong clothes for our body shape.

In my last post I shared a few of my favourite little black dresses to help you get into the party spirit. But before you head off into the night, every woman needs to know her good points or, better still, her body type. Knowing your body shape will help you identify which style will be best for you. No matter what your body type, you can find the perfect dress for you! Now, who doesn’t want that!

So how do you choose the right dress for your figure? Here’s how:

A wide V-backed dress is a stunning alternative to strapless or off-the-shoulder styles. Draw attention to the nape of your neck. If you have long hair, wear it up to show off your best features and maximise your style advantage.

Tailored clothes are perfect for you. Opt for dresses with darts or seaming through the waist. Show off your cleavage with a scoop or low-cut V-neck. Or try keyhole or square styles. A V-neck will balance your curves. But whatever your choice, make sure there’s good support built in. Look for fitted, body-skimming silhouettes in fabrics that skim your body accentuating your curves subtly. 
Avoid flimsy soft styles and billowing fabrics. Avoid round necks, high necks or turtlenecks. Also avoid crossover styles that cut your bust in two. A wrap-front style is better.

If you have a small bust, go for jersey and silk dresses that fit like a glove from the waist upwards. If you dont need to wear a bra, try a strapless dress, halter-neck or a style with  spaghetti straps. A pleated, frilled, beaded or corseted bodice will interest creating the illusion of a bigger bust.
Avoid stretchy tube dresses if you are flat chested.

Obviously, tuckshop upper arms are hard to disguise with sleeveless styles! Choose a dress with sheer sleeves in a contrasting material. These can be just as sexy as sleeveless styles while covering less-than-perfect biceps and triceps. Alternatively look for styles with three-quarter sleeves. And, of course, you can always wear a light jacket, cardigan or wrap of some kind.

A corseted dress will look fabulous on you. And you’ll stop traffic in a wrap dress. Don’t be afraid to bare a shoulder. A wide V-neck that skims your collarbones is great. But if you want to disguise hips, keep the fabric fluid and the skirt silhouette soft.  A curvy figure looks best in fabrics that drape rather than cling. But don’t leave your waist undefined. Even the subtlest curve in at the waist will enhance your shape.  You’ve got the figure, so embrace it!
Avoid shapeless shift, drop-from-the-shoulder styles as they only add width.

A tailored A-line and a V-neck are the most flattering shapes. Accentuate your middle with a V-neck dress and/or a tailored A-line skirt. It opens up the chest area and draws the eye downward, making the waist appear narrower. Look for built-in darts and panels, which also help define your figure. Alternatively, drawing the eye up to an exposed shoulder is also a great balancing trick. If you don’t want to bare a shoulder, a great piece of jewellery at the neckline (either a brooch or necklace) will be just as effective. Opt for a length just below the knee to get as much height as possible. 

You’re one of the few who can get away with a simple shift. Create curves with a belt, or darts or seaming at the waist. A sleeveless dress that’s slightly cut away at the shoulder will also strengthen your look. You can also get away with ruffles and frills, which for many are figure-killers. A full skirt and nipped-in waist will add some feminine appeal giving the illusion of shape.

Your thicker torso lacks a defined waistline, so you need to fake it with fashion tricks. Thick waists are relatively easy to disguise. Look for a straight, slightly fitted design with darts through the waist to give the illusion of a nipped-in waist. The gathering effects of a shirred or ruched dress pulls in the waistline causing it to appear slimmer than your top and bottom halves. Or hide a less-than-trim torso with a gently tailored style and empire-line dress that skims directly over the midriff. Alternatively, go for an A-line dress or skirt with a matching short or cropped jacket that can button up. 
AVOID anything stretchy or fitted that stretches over your stomach and midriff area. 

BIG HIPS (pear shaped)
As your hips are wider than your shoulders, pear shapes will benefit from defining and emphasising your shoulders. Look for sharp shoulders or add small shoulder pads to balance your wider hips. A plunging neckline (it doesn’t have to be too deep) will also draw the eye up away from your hips. A-lines are the best hip minimisers. Alternatively, choose a waisted A-line dress that falls gently over the hips. The length can vary from mid-thigh to ankle-skimming.
AVOID straight tunic styles or pencil and full skirts – all can make your hips look even wider. Also avoid tight mini-dresses that stop mid-thigh and dropped waistlines.  

For women who want to cover their legs, long or maxi dresses are easy to find. If you are tall, you will carry off the flattering full-length versions; if you are shorter, look for three-quarter length dresses instead.

A short dress is not necessarily the most versatile LBD. A hem that sits on your knee with flippy details or a floaty fabric that moves when you move (such as silk and viscose) is way more seductive. 

If your knees are less than svelte (honestly, who has great knees?) any style that stops at the narrowest part of the leg – either just below the knee – will flatter. 
Avoid styles that cut right across knees.

Empire waists lengthen petite frames. As does monochromatic dressing – one shade head to toe. A sheath dress should be your go-to style. The clean, elongated shape helps you appear taller and leaner – even more so if you choose one that sits just above or in the middle of your knee (never longer) to play up the narrowest part of your leg.

Feeling the spirit? Your body shape not covered here? Or maybe you have a style secret of your own. Want to share, then drop me a line and ket me know.

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