Belfast Telegraph

Rock that frock: What dress type suits your body shape?

By Katie Wright

A fabulous new dress is a must for the Christmas party season, but what style will flatter your figure best?

The illusion dress

BEST FOR: Curvy figures

WHY? Avoiding horizontal stripes is obvious for larger ladies, but an illusion dress goes one step further: carefully placed panels or embellishment giving the impression of a narrower silhouette. Just make sure the fabric is dense enough — jacquard is perfect — so it skims over any bumpy bits, and steer clear of ruffles or sparkle on areas you don’t want to draw attention to, like the hips or bust.

You could also try a double layer dress, where the drape will accentuate an area such as the waist.

WEAR IT WITH: Super-supportive underpinnings. Spanx or high-waisted control pants will enhance the slimming effect of your frock.

Sizeable accessories are good too — chunky earrings and court shoes are proportionally better than dainty chains and skinny-strapped heels.

The Bardot dress

BEST FOR: Boyish figures

WHY? Because you’re lucky enough to be able to wear a strapless bra — or even go braless — without feeling dangerously unsupported in the chest region, so this sexy off-the-shoulder style fits like a glove. Keep the focus on your pins with a clingy bodycon number, or go girly with something skater or full-skirted.

A word of warning, though; make sure the neckline doesn’t fall too low. It should hit just below the shoulder, otherwise it can have a depleting effect on your bust. If your Bardot has an empire line or high waist, even better.

WEAR IT WITH: A moulded cup or push-up strapless bra to add curves.

The dip hem dress

BEST FOR: Tall girls

WHY? So you can show off your enviable pins, but won’t feel so exposed at the back. Plus, it’s more dressy than a straight-up cocktail frock. A dip hem gives you the best of both worlds and it’s easier than trying to find a maxi dress that doesn’t stop somewhere north of your ankles.

Still worried about looking too lanky? Try a dress with contrasting colours on the top and bottom halves, so that it breaks up the long silhouette.

WEAR IT WITH: A skinny belt, if the dress is all one colour.

The wrap dress

BEST FOR: Those with a larger bust

WHY? Because, in contrast, a high neckline gives the impression your ‘ladies’ are what is delightfully termed a ‘uniboob’. Same goes for halter necks, which can push them too far north. A wrap or V-neck dress, on the other hand, separates and showcases your best assets beautifully.

Darker colours are more slimming, so if you want to go for a festive hue, make it burgundy rather than holly red, and be careful with all-over sequins or frills which can add bulk.

WEAR IT WITH: A supportive plunge bra. If you’ve never been properly measured, what are you waiting for? While you’re shopping for your dress, head to the nearest lingerie department and do so immediately. It will change your life — or at least the fit of your party look.

The prom dress

BEST FOR: Pear shapes

WHY? Because you want to draw attention to your top half and skim over your bottom. A traditional Fifties prom style will do just that — as long as you bear in mind a couple of other pointers. First, the skirt shouldn’t be too big, so a million layers of tulle is a no-no, and dark colours on the bottom are preferable. Second, make sure the waist is cinched in at your narrowest point, and look for eye-catching embellishment on the top half.

WEAR IT WITH: A blingy necklace (if the dress hasn’t already got embellishment up top) to draw the eye upwards.

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