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Jan 9, 2013

The Best Evening Dress Silhouette for Your Body Type

By Ashley Henshaw

Have a special evening coming up? Whether it's a hot date, a work event or a night out with friends, a new dress could be just what you’re looking for to make the night a little more exciting. Unfortunately, many women struggle to find a dress that not only looks good but makes them feel good, too. Check out this guide for how to find the best evening dress silhouette for your body type with tips and advice on flattering your figure.

Are You Busty?

Sometimes a larger bust can make you look a bit heavier than you really are. Therefore, the best way to flatter a busty figure is to use dresses with great support and fit in this area of the body. A chic choice is a dress with an empire waistline to emphasize your waist. Skip the spaghetti straps and strapless dresses and go for a dress that has wide straps that provide ample coverage and allow you to wear a supportive bra comfortably. Tadashi Shoji Embroidered Jersey Gown, $508 from Sak's Fifth Avenue.

Is Your Body Pear-Shaped?

With a pear-shaped body, your bottom half is a bit larger in proportion to your top half. You can disguise this incongruity by getting a dress with a fluid bottom and a fitted top. You can also choose a dress that emphasizes your shoulders and arms, such as a strapless dress, to draw attention to your best features. JS Collections Dress, Strapless Long Evening Dress, $210 from Macy's.

Do You Have a Boyish Figure?

Women with straighter figures will want to create the illusion of curves. A halter dress or a dress with a V-neck are both excellent options. You can also choose a dress with jewels, sequins or other added visual interest in the bust or hip area – both will add a more feminine shape to the dress. Ever Pretty Elegant Evening Dress, $100 from Amazon.

Do You Have a Boyish Figure?

As far as materials go, you can really experiment with some fun and flirty dresses when you have a straight figure. A dress made of gathered chiffon will help add curves in all the right places, for example. A color-block dress is another option to help break up the torso. BCBGMAXAZRIA Maxine Evening Gown, $449 from Zappos.com.

Are You Petite?

Petite ladies may find it a challenge to get a dress with the right proportions. First and foremost, you should look for stores and brands with petite sizing. Then, pair a short or knee-length dress with some cute heels for the illusion of an elongated frame. Avoid long dresses as they can make you look even shorter. ML Monique Lhuillier Bridesmaids Dress, $188 from Nordstrom.

Are You Petite?

Don't choose a dress with high-volume material as that could create a short and stout look. Instead, pick materials with lots of color and texture for added interest. Ginger Fizz Tutu Dress, $67 from ASOS.

Have a Plus-Size Figure?

Like petite women, those with a plus-size figure should shop in a store or brand that specializes in their size whenever possible. Then, it's as simple as choosing your favorite assets and playing them up. Many plus-size ladies like a dress with an empire waist and a flowing bottom to hide the stomach area and emphasize the bust. Adrianna Papell Iridescent Chiffon Petal Gown, $249 from Nordstrom.

Have a Plus-Size Figure?

Dresses with sleeves are also great if you’d like to cover your arms, but play up your legs. The options are endless, but keep in mind that clingy dresses and those made from shinier materials may not highlight your curves in a flattering way. Go for matte or patterned dresses instead. "Lourdes" Cold Shoulder Stripe Maxi Dress, $198 from Monif C.

  • The Best Evening Dress Silhouette for Your Body Type
  • Are You Busty?
  • Is Your Body Pear-Shaped?
  • Do You Have a Boyish Figure?
  • Do You Have a Boyish Figure?
  • Are You Petite?
  • Are You Petite?
  • Have a Plus-Size Figure?
  • Have a Plus-Size Figure?
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The Best Evening Dress Silhouette for Your Body Type
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