When it comes to dresses, there is classic fashion that works for every single woman’s body type: this silhouette is named an A-line, because it starts at your waist and flows outward to the bottom of the dress, just like the shape of a capital A. There are 5 different body shapes that are common among women, and it determines what styles will look best on you. Remember that body shape is not equivalent to your weight; you can be any weight, but it’s the proportion of your shoulders, waist, and hips that will determine your body shape.
First, a woman has an hourglass shape when her shoulders and hips are evenly proportioned with a smaller waist. One commonly thought of celebrity who had an hourglass shape was Marilyn Monroe. But did you know that Audrey Hepburn (who was tiny, tiny, tiny!) also would be considered an hourglass shape? Like I said before, it’s your proportions that determine your body shape, and not your size or weight.
The second body shape is a pear shape, which is if a woman’s hips are larger than her bust, with slender shoulders and a narrow waist. One celebrity example is Kim Kardashian, but I myself am also a pear shape. The third body shape is an inverted pear (or inverted triangle), which is the opposite of a pear shape. In this case, a woman’s bust is large, and she has a small waist and hips. Teri Hatcher is an example of this body type.
Next, the rectangle body shape is when a woman’s bust, waist, and hip measurements are mostly the same (a la Nicole Kidman). It’s sometimes viewed as a boyish or athletic figure. Last, the apple body shape is when a woman has an average to large bust and broad shoulders with a less well-defined waist. There is more roundness around the middle, but the hips and legs are smaller. Jessica Simpson is a great example of this body type (Her legs looked great as Daisy Duke!).
If you’re not sure what your body shape is, there are calculators to help you figure it out. All you need is a measuring tape to measure your bust, waist, and hips, and then enter in your measurements into this website (https://shopyourshape.com/calculate-your-body-shape/). This can help you to know what are the most flattering silhouettes for your body. Most style guides will tell you how to highlight your best features and how to create balance with your outfit.
Here is my first look for an A-line dress. Because I am a pear shape, my goal is to accentuate my small waist while creating balance between my top and bottom half. A wrap dress or belted dress really defines your waist and does the job! Black and white is always a classic, as far as I’m concerned. FYI about the shoes: I am really loving the mid-height, chunky heels. As a clumsy lady, I can really use the extra balance and stability. Plus, I’m a teacher, so I need shoes that I can walk around in all day long that are comfortable!
- Wrap dress: New York & Company
- Shoes: Apt. 9, Kohl’s
The second look is a green leaf print overlay dress. An overlay dress is when the dress has a shorter skirt underneath a midi or maxi length overlay. The reason that this dress is so flattering is that the black band around the middle of the dress highlights my waist. I just love the color of this dress, too!
- Dress: New York & Company
- Shoes: Apt. 9, Kohl’s
My third look is a company that is no longer in business! This dress is an Eva Longoria dress from The Limited. The hot pink floral dress and two-tone pumps paired together very nicely. This dress came with a black patent skinny belt around the waist. I don’t always keep the same belts that come with the dresses I buy; sometimes other belts that I already have work much better. But in this case, the belt really worked!
- Dress: The Limited
- Shoes: Apt. 9, Kohl’s (Can’t you tell that I love their shoes??)
Dress No. 4 is another wrap dress, but this time it’s a multi-colored striped sleeveless dress. Wrap dresses really make me feel fabulous and beautiful. Also pictured are a pair of multi-tone earrings (they remind me of planets or atoms!) and a star choker. The multi-tone jewelry is one of my favorite things of the moment. The heels are studded, mid-height chunky heels.
- Dress: Apt. 9 by Kohl’s
- Shoes: New York and Company
- Earrings: Charming Charlie
- Choker: Urban Outfitters
So, now you’re probably wondering how you can change up an A-line dress depending on your body type.
- For pear, hourglass, and rectangle shapes: Belt your waist! Whether the belt comes with the dress (wrap dress, shirt dress), or whether you put it on the dress, it will make you look amazing and curvy!
- Also for pear shapes: A fit and flare A-line dress is a dress with a fitted bodice area and then a full skirt. The pink floral dress is the best example of a fit and flare dress. The skirt is just a little fuller than a normal A-line silhouette. I assume that my larger rear may be better disguised by the full skirt of the fit and flare dress.
- For apple shapes: An empire waist A-line dress will skim over your tummy area. An empire waist dress is a dress that fits tightly right under your bust but then flows outward. Another similar style that will also cover your stomach is a swing dress. A swing dress is a flowy dress that will not be as fitted as a typical A-line dress. The top of a swing dress will fit snugly around your chest and flow out.
- For inverted triangle shapes: Lucky you! The A-line dress is simply perfect for you, as it helps to balance out your broader shoulders and bust and create more of an hourglass figure. Take your pick!
Tell me: Which kinds of dresses make you feel fabulous?