As a woman, it’s hard to know when to wear the right dress at the right time (and even more complicated is knowing which dress will look good on our body).
In order to pick the right dress, you need to be honest with yourself and ask a couple of questions.
- What are your assets? What part of your body are you the most fond of? For me, it’s my shoulders and chest.
- What is your body type? Pear, Apple, Athletic, or Boy-Shaped. Different dresses look better on different body types.
- Are you willing to wear Spanx? Seriously. A good pair of shapewear can make you go from ho-hum to va-varoom. (If you don’t have Spanx, here is a resource of where to buy spanx.)
So think about your next event (if that is only going to work or the grocery store), and think about the pros and cons of these Fashion Dresses for Women.
Fashion Dresses for Women
Maxi refers to long…so a true maxi dress will hit the floor (regardless if you are wearing heels on or not). In most cases, maxi dresses are either sleeveless or short-sleeved. A staple in the summer time (I’ve talked about them being great for sporty mom fashion), maxi dresses look great on just about anyone. They are especially flattering on taller, more full-figured women because of their ability to hide “offending” areas.
Things to keep in mind while finding the perfect maxi dress: find one that hits you true to waist, pick breathable fabrics like cotton or cotton blend, and make sure you have a bra that fits the dress (nothing is worse than bra straps showing). (Shown: Bisou Bisou® Knot-Front Maxi Dress from JCPenney)
We all remember sundresses growing up. Cotton, full skirt, fun patterns, and when we spun around it looked like we were a pinwheel of color. It isn’t that different as a grown up, except the skirts aren’t as flowing and the material isn’t cotton.
Sundresses (and sometimes called rompers or jumpers) are for the hottest part of the summer when the idea of putting on a pair of shorts seems like a hassle. They are traditionally sleeveless, short, and made out of thin material.The tricky part for us adults is not picking a dress that makes us look like we are trying to relive our Tiffany and Debbie Gibson days.
Remember, just because it is short, doesn’t mean it has to be tight and that’s why sundresses look good on any body type. Pick a dress in a solid color, that is a-line in style and flowing, put on some self-tanner, rock your best sandals, and wear it like you own it. (Shown: Slub Knit Hi-Lo Hen Trapeze Dress from Express)
Think of a shift dress like straight-leg jeans. It hangs straight. No cuts, no curves, no waist. It can be worn with or without a belt. Shift dresses are usually it is made from either a viscose or silk (or blend). Because of it’s straight nature, it runs tight in the hips and usually looks best on thinner women whose hips are narrower than shoulders. Or be brave and wear a good set of spanx. (Shown: Putney Shift Dress from Boden)
It’s exactly like it sounds…it looks like a shirt, but it is long enough to be a dress. The right shirt dress is sexy as HELL-O because most men are pretending you running around in one of their button-down work shirts instead of this awesome dress.
Look for a dress that hits just above your knees, is full button-down, and is made of a non-clingy fabric (cotton or cotton blend is best). The right belt can make or break this dress, so don’t be afraid to purchase a special one. This dress is a year-round favorite and looks good with flats, heels, or boots and is flattering on any body type. (Shown: Striped Shirt Dress from Lane Bryant)
Made famous and popular by Diane von Fürstenberg, a wrap dress is created by wrapping one side across the other, and knotting the attached ties that wrap around the back at the waist. As you may have gathered (no pun intended), this forms a V-shaped neckline that hugs a woman’s curves.
In a nutshell, wrap dresses either build up what you already have or give the illusion you have more than you really do. (Yes, I’m talking in code, but it is really about boobs and waist.) With the right undergarments, a wrap dress looks good on every body type because of it ability to hug each curve the right way. Look for dress with a some spandex (5% or under), so it has a little stretch, but not too much because you don’t want it to sag by the end of the day. (Shown: Gemma Wrap Dress from Banana Republic.)
A-Line or Empire Waist Dress
A-Line and Empire Waist Dresses are similar and yet different, so stay with me. With both, the “waist line” of the dress is above your natural waist. The dress then flows from the new waist in a relaxed manner.
The difference between to the two is an empire waist starts at the top your rib cage, where an a-line may start in the middle of your rib cage. Typically, empire waist dresses are more formal and a-line are more casual. Both produce the desired result of creating a new waist at one of the smallest parts of your body. A-Line or Empire Waist dresses look good on about every body type, but as especially flattering on women with more fuller chests, hips and thighs. (Shown: Planet Gold Striped Empire-Waist Dress from Macy’s)
It’s time to get “gussied up”. Formal dresses are the attire of award shows, black-tie affairs, and fancy weddings. In most cases, you will only wear the dress one time. (Because honestly, how many black-tie dinners do people go to?)
The great thing about formal dresses is they are more about the material and less about the style. So choose a style of dress that looks great on you and pick the one with the most bling or beautiful fabric. (Shown: Floral Jacquard Strapless Gown from Ann Taylor)
Little Black Dress
Or LBD as it likes to be called, because it is cool that way. A little black dress is like a uniform for any occasion. It can be worn to any formal, business meeting, wedding, or funeral.
Since it is so versatile (and if bought properly, should never go out of style) allow yourself to spend a small fortune on a dress that fits you like a glove. Remember, this is a dress that you will be wearing for the next five to ten years so stay away from embellishments, fancy fabrics, or too-short/long lengths. The ideal LBD will have simple styling, sleeveless, made of a durable fabric like wool or viscose rayon, and lined. (Shown: KAMALIKULTURE Shirred Sleeveless Dress from Nordstrom.)
The key to buying the best dress? Be willing to take some time, try lots of different styles and dresses on, wear a set of Spanx, and walk with confidence. Because in the end, it isn’t about fashion dresses for women, it is about the women who wears the fashion dress.