When you know which dress shapes work for your body, it’s a shortcut to style. It makes shopping for plus size clothes faster since you know which dresses you should be considering. And you look better since you’re wearing clothes that flatter your figure. Win!
So without further ado, here’s our rundown on the best dress shapes for plus size women of every shape and size!
We’ve included a handy tool tip, showing the Body Shapes each style is best for. If you know you’re a Rectangle, Triangle, Hourglass, Oval, or Inverted Triangle, look for your shape to guide you to the best style for your body.
Jackie Onassis and Audrey Hepburn both wore sheath dresses beautifully. These days, Michelle Obama and Princess Kate wear sheath dresses pretty often. Sheath dresses are made to fit close to the body, and end at or above the knees. They’re one of the classic silhouettes of the little black dress, but the close fit makes sheath dresses tricky for some plus size women.
What you need with a sheath dress is the same amount of ease all over. Ease is how much bigger a garment is than your body. Unless you’re wearing something skin-tight, your clothes have ease. Since sheath dresses have less ease than other dresses, you have less wiggle room when it comes to fit. You need the same amount of ease all over. If a sheath dress fits your upper body, but pulls across your hips, it will feel and look uncomfortable.
So if your bust and hip measurements are pretty close, then a sheath dress will work on you. If your hips are a little larger than your bust, then you can buy a sheath dress that fits your hips and have it taken in up top. If your proportions are more than a little uneven, then you may want to skip sheath dresses entirely.
A-line dresses and skirts are universally flattering. They fit at the hips, then get wider towards the hem. The key here is proper fit at the hips. If an A-line skirt fits your waist, but is tight across the hips, then it’s too small. You’ll be uncomfortable, and everyone’s eyes will be drawn to the fabric pulling across your hips. If you have this problem, get an a-line skirt or dress that fits your hips and have the waist taken in if it gaps.
The Pencil Skirt
Pencil skirts are narrow and snug, so you might think that they just don’t mix with plus size clothing. But that’s not the case. These slim skirts are available in larger sizes. As long as a pencil skirt fits your hips perfectly, then you’re good to go.
Just keep in mind that pencil skirts’ slim fit means that you won’t be taking long strides as you walk. You won’t be able to run for the bus in a pencil skirt. But you may just look fierce enough that the bus driver waits for you anyway.
The Trapeze Dress
Trapeze dresses are 1960’s chic. They’re narrowest at the shoulders and get wider the longer they get with no waist shaping at all. If you’re short, you might be overwhelmed by all the excess fabric. But if you’re tall, you’ll be able to rock a trapeze dress like nobody’s business. Trapeze dresses are Fashion with a capital F, so they’re not for the shy. But if you want a dress that says, “Hey look at me and how amazing I look!” then a trapeze dress will do the trick.
Fit still matters with trapeze dresses. They won’t hang right if they don’t fit your shoulders properly.
The Circle Skirt
A circle skirt is similar to an A-line skirt, except that the skirt is fuller. The name comes from the shape of the pattern – literally a giant circle of fabric with a smaller circle cut out of the middle for the waist. If you don’t have much of a defined waist, a circle skirt will define it for you by adding volume away from your waist.
There really aren’t any dress shapes that can’t be worn by plus size women. But not all silhouettes are equally flattering on all women. Knowing what shapes work for your figure means that your wardrobe will be working with you, not against you. Hopefully this guide will be helpful!
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