How to Choose the Best Dress Style for Your Body Shape


One of the top problems that most mothers of the bride and groom have is choosing the best looking dress to flatter their body shapes. Plus size or not, the cut of the dress will determine whether it will fit properly or not. Just choosing a dress in a particular style simply won’t do, especially if you have no idea what body type you even have!

Which Body Shape Do You Have?

Before going out to look for dresses, it’s very important to find out which body shape you actually have. I know most women will immediately say “hourglass” because they have heard that anything curvy is considered as such, however, there are six very common body shapes that require different dress cuts and styles.

#1  Triangle

A triangle shape, also known as the “pear”, is one that has a wider lower body compared to the upper body. This means the hip area is wider or larger than the chest and shoulder area.

To balance out this body shape, it’s important to find a dress or outfit that draws the eyes up and away from the hips. Choose ruffles or beading around the chest and neckline, or pair a tailored jacket to achieve this.  It’s also important to consider an outfit with a plain slightly flared bottom. Avoid ruffled or ruched areas below the waist.

#2  Inverted Triangle

An inverted triangle is exactly the opposite to the triangle. This is when the body has a wider upper body compared to the hip line. The ideal dress or outfit will have a flared skirt with either ruffles, ruching or tiers. These will easily give the body more shape to balance out the heavy top area. Make sure the top is fairly plain to avoid adding more bulk to the top.

#3 Rectangle

A rectangle or “straight” figure is one that does not have clear curves or waistline. To add more feminine curves to the body, choosing an outfit that’s more fitted at the waist will immediately help balance the body out. Try adding a cinched belt at the waist, opt for flared skirts or pair up a straight skirt with a flared jacket to give the illusion of curvy hips.

#4 Hourglass

The hourglass figure is one of the most sought-after looks that women try to achieve when they don’t have it naturally. This body is most proportionate with feminine curves. The hourglass body can wear almost anything, however it is important to avoid making the upper or lower body look too bulky or heavy, making the body look disproportionate.

#5 Diamond

The diamond body shape is sometimes called an “apple” shape and is essentially the opposite of the hourglass. Instead of having a smaller waist, this area of the body is wider than the rest. Choose outfits that emphasize the shoulders and hips more and make sure to keep the midsection plain in order to draw the eyes away from that area. Add a shawl or jacket to add shape to the upper body and choose a flared bottom to give the hips more shape as well.

#6 Oval

An oval body shape is one that essentially looks elongated and rounded from top to bottom. There are generally no definite curves, so choosing outfits wisely will help avoid looking shapeless. Just like the rectangle body shape, it’s important to define a waistline without bulking it up. Tight ruching, a belt or decorative bead work to one side of the waist immediately gives the illusion of feminine curves. Choose dresses with more structure, emphasizing hips and shoulders to add more shape. Avoid choosing dresses with a lot of ruffles, tiers or textures since they will only add extra bulk to the whole body without shaping.

Assess your body before choosing a dress style. Once you identify “problem areas”, it will help narrow down dress style options, making the buy much more efficient.