Which Dress Style Best Suits Your Body Shape?

Our bodies come in all different shapes and sizes, no two are the same and our uniqueness is what makes us all beautiful. Some bodies are naturally curvier, and some are naturally more athletic-looking, but our differences are something that should be celebrated. Identifying your body type is the first step in finding the best dress style to suit your shape. 

Perfecting your style is not just about choosing the trendiest outfits of the moment but it’s about finding the right clothing that flatters your body and makes you feel your best every day. With thousands of different dress styles to choose from, it’s difficult to know where to begin to find the right dress that highlights your best features and suits your shape, which is why our style experts at Lily Ella are here to help.

Keep reading as we delve into the various types of bodies out there and what features you should look for in clothing to ensure you’re choosing dresses that best suit your body shape.

How do I choose a dress for my body type?

The first step in choosing a dress for your body shape is to figure out what body type you have. Learning to embrace your natural figure, no matter what shape it takes, is key to feeling your best in any outfit. There are four main body types used to describe most body shapes; athletic, hourglass, apple and pear. 

Athletic body type

An athletic body type is one where the top and bottom halves of your body are similar measurements with little waist definition. This body type usually means you have broader shoulders and narrow hips and the key to finding the right dress for this shape is to choose a style that balances it out.

The best dress for an athletic body type is one that draws you in at the waist and flares out at the bottom - an A-line or drop waist dress is ideal for this shape, especially if the dress has ruffles, embellishments or any other volume-increasing fabrics. If you have an athletic body type with a larger bust then an asymmetric or V-neckline will help create a flattering silhouette that flaunts your assets. 

Hourglass body type

Having an hourglass shape describes a curvaceous figure with proportionate hips and bust, with a narrower waist. For this body type any dress that has a cinched-in waistline and low neckline that helps to draw the eye to the waist will naturally highlight your shape.

One of the best styles for an hourglass figure is a wrap dress, as this draws in your waist and highlights your natural curves. Dresses made from soft, mouldable fabrics that fit your body and help accentuate your figure are also a great fit for hourglass body types.

Apple body type

Women with an apple body shape typically have a natural fullness in the midsection, with a less defined waist and more slender legs. For this body type, you should opt for dresses that are made from lightweight fabrics and bold prints and have a shorter length. 

A shorter-length dress, one that has a belted waist or an empire waistline is best for those with this body type who may want to draw emphasis off the midsection, and instead create a shape that accentuates your legs.

Pear body type

A pear body shape describes a figure that has a small upper half and a defined waist with more shapely hips and thighs. Choosing a well-proportioned dress that fits you well and draws attention to your waist is the perfect way to balance out your shape. The best way to do this is to add more volume to your upper half and keep the fabric on the hips more streamlined.

Dresses that are strapless or have V-necklines and are long in length are ideal for pear body shapes. Focus on dresses that have a fit-and-flare style and stay away from shapeless styles - a strapless maxi dress that comes in at the waist is perfect.

How do I find a dress that suits me?

By recognising your body shape and taking into account the styles of dresses that will help accentuate the parts of your body you want to flaunt and conceal the parts you’re less confident about, you’re on the right track. 

Below we have curated a collection of dresses available at Lily Ella that are suitable for the four main body types we have outlined above, to help make the process of finding the perfect dress for you simple.

Ladies dresses for an athletic body

The perfect dress for an athletic body is one which helps to create curves that you may naturally lack. A drop-waist dress such as the Bobby Dress is made for those with a more straight figure as the flowy skirt and voluminous sleeves help to create a more proportionate and curvaceous silhouette. Featuring sheer sleeves, a subtle v-neckline and a bias-cut long bodice, this dress is structured to help create a feminine fit whilst highlighting your features.

If you’re looking to draw more attention to your narrow waistline, we would suggest accessorising with a thin waist belt or adding a cropped jacket that hits your waistline to create more definition.

Ladies dresses for an hourglass figure

A dress made for the hourglass figure, this Kimi Dress is the perfect all-occasion dress to carry you through every season. Featuring a feminine yet strong all-over print with a contrasting border that helps draw your attention to your waist, this dress is shaped to help accentuate your natural curves in a modest and sophisticated way. 

Boasting a mock-wrap upper and a flared-out skirt, this dress helps to create a figure-flattering A-line shape that gathers at the waist. With a slight V-neckline to elegantly showcase your decolletage, this luxurious dress is made for the hourglass figure and is sure not to leave you short of compliments.

Ladies dresses for an apple body shape

Cleverly shaped to make you look and feel your best, the Sahara Dress is a figure-flattering stretch dress with a side-ruched bodice and mock-wrap skirt that helps create shape definition. With a shorter length to accentuate your legs and a bold print to draw the eye, this dress is ideal for a classic apple-shaped body.

With a flattering scoop neck and long sleeves, this dress can be worn throughout any season and for any occasion. Simply add a block colour jacket to contrast the bold print and a pair of heels to elongate your legs and create an elegant silhouette.

Ladies dresses for a pear-shaped body

Featuring a sleeveless design and scoop neckline, the Constance Dress is perfect for those with a pear shape as it accentuates your small upper half with a fitted bodice that goes in at the waist and subtly flows out. The beautifully cut, draping material of the lower half of the dress helps to flatter your figure, with the longer length creating an elegant look. 

The contrast of the exposed neckline and arms, and the fitted upper half of the dress with the flowing lower half helps to create a well-proportioned silhouette to your pear shape. Boasting a stunning powder blue colour with subtle embroidery, this dress is ideal for any formal occasion year-round. 

If you’re not particularly fond of having your arms and shoulders on display, we suggest using a stunning scarf or blazer such as this matching Constance Jacket, as a cover up whilst still showcasing this beautiful dress.

Discover the perfect dress for you at Lily Ella

Flaunt your favourite features and feel confident in the perfect dress with the help of Lily Ella designs. Made exclusively to complement all body types, our ladies' dresses ensure you look sophisticated and stylish no matter what body shape you are. Shop our full collection of ladies' clothing available at Lily Ella to find the perfect outfit to make you look and feel your best.