Whether you’re an hourglass, a rectangle, an apple, a pear or an inverted triangle, here are some top tips to help you find a dress to flatter your body type.

Different types of dresses to suit your body shape

While shopping for a dress can seem daunting because there are so many styles, colors and shapes to choose from, once you know what your body shape is, choosing a dress becomes so much easier. If you’re not sure what your body type is take a look at this guide to determining your body shape.

Plus, when you find the perfect dress to fit and flatter, whether you’re attending a special occasion or you are looking for vacation wear, you’ll feel so much more confident.

The best dress styles for your body shape | 40plusstyle.com

A dress like the one worn above by Erica can fit and flatter many different body shapes. The V-neck can elongate your figure while the empire waist can be flattering for those with an apple body shape. The flared skirt can also be great for pear shapes.

Read more about Erica in her style interview.

Here are my picks of dresses in stores now to suit the main body shapes.

Best dresses for apple shape

If you tend to put on weight around your tummy, then you’re likely to be an apple shape.

The key is to look for knee length or midi dresses which won’t cling to your belly, but which will skim over it. That way, you can cover up the parts of you which you aren’t so confident about and show off your shapely legs.

Read our article on the best midi dresses in stores now.

Look out for shift styles which will skim over the body, rather than clinging to every contour! Knee-length styles will show off your calves.

Eileen Fisher is always a good go-to for body-skimming shift dresses. New colors have been added this season, and you can use these flattering tunic styles as a base for layering with long vests or cardigans.

Tommy Bahama also has some good vacation shift dresses.

For formal summer events, Alex Evenings is worth a look, particularly as there are often matching layers to create a lean silhouette.

There are more tips here on how to dress the apple shape.

dress for the apple body shape | 40plusstyle.com

Halogen faux wrap dress

dresses for rectangle body shape

If your shoulders and hips are the same widths but there is little contrast between those and your waist, then you need a dress for the rectangle shape. Most dress shapes can work for you.

You could choose to ignore the fact there’s a waist under there at all and opt for a shift dress or a trapeze style like the apple shape, or you could go with an illusion dress to create curves where there aren’t any, which use strategically placed patterns and panels to create curves.

Look for strategically placed patterns, stripes, pockets and ruffles to add shape to your figure.

There are more tips here on how to dress the rectangle, including a great video from stylist Ruth Essex in which she explains why stripes are a good choice for rectangles!

Vince Camuto asymmetrical hem dress

dresses for hourglass figure

Look for dresses which have a defined waistline.

They don’t necessarily have to have a belt, but they should follow your own shape. That way, you show off your slimmest point, and don’t make yourself look heavier than you actually are.

I always think hourglasses look especially beautiful when they channel some old school Hollywood glamor and dress as if they were Marilyn Monroe vacationing in St Tropez! Give it a modern twist with a high-low effect.

More tips here on how to dress the hourglass shape.

dress for the hourglass body shape | 40plusstyle.com

Eliza J ruffle high/low maxi dress

dresses for pear shaped body

Pear shapes will carry weight on their hips and thighs, but will usually have a trim waistline and nice, shapely shoulders.

Choosing a sleeveless fit-and-flare style will allow you to show off the top half of your body, drawing attention to your toned arms and slim waist, while the full skirt will hide anything you’re not so confident about.

Eliza J is a good brand to take a look at for fit-and-flare dresses. They can be dressed down with your favorite jean jacket and sandals or sneakers, or you could team them with heels and a clutch bag for summer events.

There are more tips here for dressing the pear shape body.

dress for the pear body shape | 40plusstyle.com

Chelsea28 floral print ruched dress

dresses for inverted triangle

If you’re an inverted triangle, then your shoulders will be wider than your hips. To create balance, you can opt for slimming necklines and wearing less material on top.

A halter neckline usually looks beautiful on the inverted triangle shape, as it has a slimming effect on the upper body, while still showing off shapely shoulders and toned arms.

There are more tips here on dressing the inverted triangle.

dress for the inverted triangle body shape | 40plusstyle.com

Gal Meets Glam Collection fit & flare midi dress

Different dress styles and dress shapes to suit your figure

By knowing, or discovering, what your own body shape is, you can learn what will suit you best and what won’t.

Choosing a dress style to flatter your own individual shape can make a huge difference to the way you look and feel, whether you are looking for a summer vacation dress or a dress for a formal event.

What do you think are the best dress styles for your body shape?

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The best dress styles for your body shape | 40plusstyle.comFeature image by @ericabunker

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