Whether you’re making an effort to get a little fitter and slimmer, or whether you just want to change up your silhouette on certain days, a cleverly-designed dress can hold the answer. In this article you’ll find the most flattering dresses that are slimming, no matter whether you have a special occasion to attend or you simply want to feel confident every day.

Also, don’t forget to check out our articles on dresses to hide a tummy and how to look taller and slimmer.

Do you need to look slimmer to look good?

Before we dive into this article on flattering dresses that are slimming, I want to emphasize that this is not a requirement for style. You don’t have to be slim to look stylish. You don’t have to dress in a flattering way. You can show off your body any way you like.

So why do this article then you may wander? It’s my experience that many women prefer to look slimmer when they dress. Unless I consciously choose to wear an edgy, voluminous dress, I usually prefer something that highlights my best assets. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with choosing clothes that are flattering on you and show you off in your best light.

What dresses are slimming?

There’s no ‘one’ answer to this one. But you’ll find lots of ideas below. You’re looking for dresses that elongate through clever draping or patterns, color blocking, sleek styles, v-necks, and darker colors.

Do long dresses make you look thinner?

They definitely can do, because they create a ‘column’ effect. But, there are dresses of all lengths that are flattering. We take a look below at dresses of all lengths.

What style of gown is slimming?

If it’s a gown that you’re looking for – a dress that you are more likely to wear to a special occasion – then make sure you invest in quality fabrics and a style that you will be happy to ‘wear’ on photos for many years to come. Choose a fabric that doesn’t cling (silk is always a good option) and easily flows around your body.

Don’t try to ‘hide’ your figure to look slimmer

Don’t go big and billowy because you want to ‘hide’ your figure. You’ll simply add unwanted bulk. Instead, choose your dress to skim over any ‘imperfections’ and highlight the slimmest parts of your body.

Alison in printed A-line dress | 40plusstyle.com

Alison @wardrobe_oxygen above (read her style interview here) chooses a dress that is slimming and flattering. A v-neck tends to be slimming, and note how her dress highlights her slim waist. Because the arm length ends at the bust, the attention is drawn there before the dress nips in, helping to create an hourglass silhouette.

She s wearing a dress from Tanya Taylor. Check out this similar pair of sandals, clutch and necklace.

Dresses that are slimming

Let’s look at some slimming dresses we’ve spotted in stores now, and why they could work for you.

Darker colors

Darker colors tend to be slimming. Black is classic, although it can also drain some skin tones. You can also look for other dark shades like navy, gray or burgundy. The shirtdress (below) works well as it has a v-neck, as well as a slit at the front. Plus the belt will help to emphasize or create a waist.

Dresses that are slimming:  Derek Lam 10 Crosby Lucy Utility Shirtdress | 40plusstyle.com

Derek Lam 10 Crosby Lucy Utility Shirtdress

Quality material

ARGENT Crosby Blouson Bodice Long Sleeve Dress | 40plusstyle.com

ARGENT Crosby Blouson Bodice Long Sleeve Dress

Vertical lines

Dresses with vertical lines are a good choice to create a slimming effect. Avoid horizontal lines. But, you don’t necessarily have to opt for straight up-and-down vertical lines. We love the diagonal stripes on the knit maxi dress (below).

Staud Katie Striped Knit Maxi Dress | 40plusstyle.com

Staud Katie Striped Knit Maxi Dress

The blazer dress (below) hugs the figure in the right places, creating subtle sex appeal. Add pumps and a clutch for dinner.

Dresses that are slimming:  Norma Kamali Pinstriped Fishtail Blazer Dress | 40plusstyle.com

Norma Kamali Pinstriped Fishtail Blazer Dress

We also love the diagonal stripes on the maxi shirt dress below. The stripes and the color-blocking effect help to create a long-column effect. You can unbutton the top of the shirt collar to create a v-neck, and the slits at the legs also help to create flattering vertical lines.

CIEBON Jynai Long Sleeve Shirtdress | 40plusstyle.com

CIEBON Jynai Long Sleeve Shirtdress

Karen Kane is often a good starting point for flattering, slimming clothes, including the shirt style dress (below), which features vertical lines of studs down the center.

Karen Kane Studded Sheath Dress | 40plusstyle.com

Karen Kane Studded Sheath Dress

Barb in striped shirtdress | 40plusstyle.com

Barb @barb_styling above shows how a striped shirtdress can be a super flattering choice. Create a v-neckline by opening the buttons at the top.

Get her look with this similar dress (another option here), sandals, handbag, earrings and belt.

Structured

Don’t choose baggy dresses to hide your figure. You shouldn’t be afraid to wear figure-hugging dresses, as these can create a slimming column down your body. Just be sure to choose quality fabrics that keep everything tucked in as you want it.

Dress the Population Ivy Sheath Midi Dress | 40plusstyle.com

Dress the Population Ivy Sheath Midi Dress

The GRACE KARIN dress (below) is well-reviewed by women who say it is lined and the material is thick, helping to camouflage areas that you aren’t so keen on while showing off curves in a classy way.

GRACE KARIN Cross Over Fishtail Sheath Dress | 40plusstyle.com

GRACE KARIN Cross Over Fishtail Sheath Dress

If you’re looking for a gown for a formal occasion, the clever paneling in the beaded maxi dress (below) creates long columns that slim the body.

Xscape Keyhole Beaded Cap Sleeve Gown | 40plusstyle.com

Xscape Keyhole Beaded Cap Sleeve Gown

A long column of color

Creating a long-column effect by opting for a dress in a shade that contrasts with your skin tone is a great slimming technique. You could easily dress the blue shift dress (below) up or down. A halterneck style works particularly well for inverted triangle body shapes.

MELLODAY Fringe Hem Shift Dress | 40plusstyle.com

MELLODAY Fringe Hem Shift Dress

Super flattering dresses that are slimming | 40plusstyle.com

Tanasha @letsrecreatethelook above opts for an olive maxi dress and adds a pop of color with her accessories.

Check out the pleated dress options from Amur, COS, Loveappella and Amazon, similar satchel and earrings.

Choose a dress that emphasizes your slimmest point

While there are some universal guidelines about what dresses will look most slimming, what is slimming for one woman isn’t necessarily slimming for you. Choose dresses that are fitted at your slimmest point. We love the stripes and asymmetrical styling of the shirtdress (below).

Cinq à Sept Marcella Belted Stripe Shirtdress | 40plusstyle.com

Cinq à Sept Marcella Belted Stripe Shirtdress

The print shirtdress (below) will also work well if you want to show off (or create) a waist. Unbutton some of the top buttons to create a slimming v-neck.

Reiss Tabitha Belted Animal-Print Twist-Front Shirtdress | 40plusstyle.com

Reiss Tabitha Belted Animal-Print Twist-Front Shirtdress

Try clever color blocking

Color blocking is another clever technique to create a slimming effect. Choose dresses that ‘break’ up your figure, creating slimming lines and columns.

Staud Shoko Colorblocked Midi-Dress | 40plusstyle.com

Staud Shoko Colorblocked Midi-Dress

The Desigual dress (below) breaks up the figure because of the graphic print, drawing attention to the top of your figure and away from the tummy (if that’s an area you aren’t so keen on).

Dresses that are slimming: Desigual Poppy Floral Rib Long Sleeve Midi Sweater Dress | 40plusstyle.com

Desigual Poppy Floral Rib Long Sleeve Midi Sweater Dress

The cream and black panels on the BOSS dress (below) create long, slimming panels. Wear with other neutrals, or add a pop of color with red shoes and accessories.

Dresses that are slimming: BOSS Slim-Fit Dress With V Neckline | 40plusstyle.com

BOSS Slim-Fit Dress With V Neckline

Robbi in colorblocked dress and flats | 40plusstyle.com

Robbie @robbiesue1970 above opts for a pink and red cardigan dress.

Recreate her look with this similar dress, flats, necklace and fedora.

Avoid lots of volume

Choose a slimming neckline

Generally, a v-neck is the best neckline to choose to create a slimming effect. That’s because the v-neck draws the eye inwards and down rather than across the body.

Dresses that are slimming: Fraiche by J Wrap Front Long Sleeve Dress | 40plusstyle.com

Fraiche by J Wrap Front Long Sleeve Dress

Strategic silhouettes

Another strategy to think about when looking for slimming dresses is to carefully consider the silhouette of your dress. For instance, the shirtdress (below) draws attention to the bust and hips, nipping in at the waist to make your waistline look slimmer and give an hourglass effect.

J.Crew Contrast-Trim Cotton Poplin Shirtdress | 40plusstyle.com

J.Crew Contrast-Trim Cotton Poplin Shirtdress

Eugenia in a puff sleeve, structured midi dress and feather sandals | 40plusstyle.com

Eugenia @theeageofgrace above (read her style interview here) chooses a coral-colored shirtdress that would be perfect for vacations.

Check out these dresses from Pari Passu, Du Paradis and MELLODAY that you can wear with this similar pair of sandals (another option here) and micro bag.

If in doubt, choose a wrap dress

If you aren’t sure what will look slimming on you, then a wrap dress with a v-neck tends to be universally flattering for all figures. The v-neck points the eye up and down, while the wrap style drapes and slims.

Dresses that are slimming: Black Halo Joan Turtleneck Long-Sleeve Dress | 40plusstyle.com

Black Halo Joan Turtleneck Long-Sleeve Dress

Karen Kane faux wrap dress | 40plusstyle.com

Karen Kane Karen Kane Cascade Faux Wrap Dress

We’re sure that’s given you lots of inspiration when looking for dresses that are slimming to help you feel at your most confident.

Do you have a favorite among the dresses below. What is your favorite slimming dress? Let us know in the comments below.

shop flattering dresses that are slimming below:

Continue reading:

  1. The Best Dresses To Hide Your Tummy
  2. How To Look Taller And Slimmer
  3. The Best Dress Styles For Your Body Shape

Like this article on dresses that are slimming? Share it on Pinterest!

Super flattering dresses that are slimming | 40plusstyle.com

Feature image by Tanasha @letsrecreatethelook

Sylvia

Sylvia is 40+style’s editor-in-chief and has been helping women find their unique style since 2011. She is devoted to empowering women of any age to look and feel their best. Read more about Sylvia and 40+style on this page.

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