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Whether attending a wedding reception, theatre event, or charity ball, an evening gown is your best bet for looking elegant and confident. The dress you select should suit your body type, the season, and the event’s level of formality while reflecting your style.

Pear-Shaped Body

Pear-shaped women tend to have wider hips and thighs compared to their shoulders and bust. This means they need to balance their curves by accentuating the upper half of their bodies with dresses that show off those beautiful, defined shoulders and necklines.

The sheath or fit-and-flare dress silhouettes are perfect for pears as they hug the waist tightly and flare out flattering around your hips. Other good options are wrap dresses, shirts with shoulder details, puff sleeves, and boat or Bardot necklines. Crop tops that end right at your waist and don’t hug your body too tightly will also work well on this body type.

As for skirts, avoid any patterns or colors that draw attention to your lower half, as this will make your hips appear even more prominent, and opt for a high-waisted option instead. Also, steer clear of mini skirts, peplum skirts, and any styles that add volume to your hips, like pockets, waist embellishments, and cascading sleeves.

Hourglass Body

Hourglass bodies are all about curves, so fitted silhouettes are a great fit. But they can also handle some volume if it emphasizes their waistline. Women’s evening gowns that feature wrap or peplum details and strategic vertical lines can help create the illusion of a narrower waist.

You’ll want to avoid wide necklines because they will make your shoulders look wider and can throw off the balance of your figure. Instead, opt for a v-neck that draws attention to your bust while accenting the curves in your arms and shoulders.

Be wary of clingy fabrics that can accentuate the wrong areas, so choose heavier, structured materials like cotton and denim to maintain structure. Invest in a bra supporting your bustline to rock those smoldering hourglass shapes.

Apple Body

People with an apple body shape tend to have slim legs and thighs but a heavier upper body. The weight gathers around the midsection and creates a broader look, so dresses with a defined waistline will look gorgeous. A-line, wrap, and maxi dresses that cinch in at the waist are fabulous for this body type. Also, tops with a plunging neckline or a deep V will be flattering.

Apple-shaped women often have great arms, so shorter or flare-out sleeves are flattering. Sleeveless and cap sleeves are also good options, as they won’t visually define where your arm begins and ends (horizontally). Avoid fitted or overly tight shirts and dresses.

Rectangular Body

Rectangle body shapes have perfectly balanced hips and shoulders that need no help stealing the spotlight. The challenge is shining the same attention on a narrow waistline that might otherwise get lost.

Look for details that add curves like embellishment, ruffles, pleating, and front panels to soften the angular lines of your figure. Also, choose blouses with a relaxed fit instead of tight, slim styles that can make you look shapeless.

Dresses with a sheath silhouette are very flattering for this body type, as are wrap dresses and jumpsuits. As for pants and skirts, look for flounce skirts that add volume to the hip area. Try a high-waisted style to define your waist. For tops, go with high-v or halter necklines to flatter your bust. You can add a bold pop of color to your outfit with patterned tops to draw the eye up.

Athletic Body

For girls with a boxy body shape, choosing dresses with a cinched waist or skirts that flare from the hips is the best way to create curves. This Mori Lee evening gown in lace is ideal for this body type, with its slim fit and feminine details. If you’re going for a bolder look, consider choosing this dress in an alternative color.

While some designs, colors, and embellishments can become out of fashion in a few months or weeks, safe choices like this A-line lace gown from the Jadore collection are bound to be elegant and stylish for many years. The criss-cross ruched bodice, sweetheart neckline, and gently shirred skirt make this gown the perfect choice for any formal occasion.

The most important thing to remember when shopping for a prom or wedding gown is always to reflect your style and what looks best on you. Finding the perfect dress will be accessible once you understand your body shape and which types highlight your features.

Petite Body

Women with petite body shapes are typically under 5 ft 3 inches tall and have a slimmer physiques. They may find that their shoulders are broader than the rest of their frame or that their torso is longer than their legs. To balance their proportions, they should look for dresses that flatter their figure and elongate their silhouette. Short dresses that show off some portion will help them look taller, while curve-hugging dresses with a plunging neckline add a bit of seductive flair. Dresses with vertical prints will also accentuate the torso to lengthen it visually.

Petite size is a common term for body sizes smaller than standard. These girls can fall into any of the five body shape categories: hourglass, pear, apple, or rectangle shapes, and often have a combination of different features in their body type. However, when shopping for formal dresses, they must choose styles that suit them well and fit correctly.