There are so many options when it comes to dresses — whether you’re seeking a show-stopping number or simply an everyday look that fits and feels great, figuring out silhouettes that work best for you is not necessarily an easy feat.
Dresses are the ultimate in classic feminine ensemble — not to mention, they are one of the simplest items of clothing to just throw on and head out the door while appearing super put together and trendy. From minis to maxis, a-line chic to dramatic slits and trains, dresses often find a way of joining us during some of the most memorable moments of our lives. Allow yourself to embrace your personal taste while looking and feeling fabulous with some easy tips for finding your perfect dress.
Take Cues from Your Body Type
You probably already have a good idea about which parts of your body you prefer to play up and those you’d rather cover up and enjoy filling your closet with tops, jeans, and even athletic wear that do just that. Finding flattering dresses that enhance your unique shape and size follows the same guidelines, and luckily, there are tons of cuts, silhouettes, patterns, and details for you to choose from.
If you want to flatter your middle section, but want to show off your neckline or collar bone, go for a piece with a fun v-neck and flowier fit. Ladies who adore simple, feminine pieces will love tunic dresses that are easy to wear, fun to dress up, and look amazing and stylish.
If you love your shoulders and arms, a tank or sleeveless dress is the perfect way to embrace your body and show off some of your best assets. From flirty summer dresses to gorgeous maxis, tank dresses are the perfect option to help you take on the warm day or head to a special event. If you opt for a maxi, you can easily disguise your hips or tummy with a dark color of gorgeous pattern (not to mention covering your legs if you forgot to shave that day!).
While taking cues from your body type is a great jumping off point for finding cute dresses, remember that there are no rules you *must* follow as a fashionista, and discovering new styles that you love is the best way to grow your wardrobe and evolve your fashion sense!
Consider Your Personal Taste
While it can be freeing to step outside of your comfort zone, it can also be helpful to narrow down the countless dress silhouettes by using some of your own filters. If you like florals over stripes, pleats over fringe, or lace details over embroidery, let those preferences guide you. The more comfortable and confident you feel in your dress, the more beautiful you’ll be!
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to dress shopping, so incorporating your tastes will make the process more exciting and rewarding for you. Let your personality shine when it comes to the details of your dresses. If you fall in love with a certain shape, find different dresses that can be dressed up or down, are offered in different colors, or feature details that set them apart — from ruffled hemlines to lace patterns, halter necklines to illusion styles — embracing what makes your wardrobe specific to you is half the fun!
Try Universally Flattering Cuts
While a form fitting bandage dress or a dramatic open back number might not be the best fit for everyone and every body, there are a number of dress cuts that tend to be universally flattering and dependably stylish. With a little bit of accessorizing (choosing the right shoes, jewelry, purse, etc.), you may be surprised what will suit you! Here are a few that are universal:
Cold Shoulder Shifts
A casual, off-the-shoulder shift dress is the perfect mix of classic and modern and is cute on just about every woman. This has a relaxing fit throughout the body and a shorter hemline, allowing you to show off your legs or add some length to them with taller shoes, if you desire.
The off-the-shoulder style is super trendy and lets you show off some gorgeous shoulder. It works beautifully with a messy bun or no-fuss long hair, allowing you to play up and draw attention to your décolletage tastefully. A casual shift dress can easily be dressed up with heels and jewelry to take you from day to night in a flash.
Ruffled, Sleeved Minis
If you’re seeking a dress that’s just as versatile with some more feminine details already built in, a lovely long, or three-quarter sleeve mini with a subtly-ruffled hem or sleeve accent is a lovely go-to to have in your wardrobe.
This can be worn in just about any season, thanks to its comfortably-fitted sleeves and above-the-knee hemline.
During the cooler months, let the ruffled hem peek out underneath a bomber jacket and wear it with tights and tall boots for a super cute ensemble, or go bare legged with your favorite sandals in the summertime. If you opt for this in a comfortable cotton material, you may never want to take it off. The relaxed fit paired with adorable details make this dress a no-brainer for just about anyone!
One of the great things about the tunics trend is how versatile these pieces are. Many can be worn as long tops over your favorite jeans or leggings or on their own as adorable mini dresses that are super flattering and easy to dress up or down.
Tunics are generally loose-fitting and are offered in a variety of sleeve lengths, so it’s easy to find one for an upcoming special occasion or for every day. Because of their easy fit and diverse sleeve options, patterns, colors and materials, tunic dresses are the perfect staple for every lady’s dressy wardrobe. They are also offered in styles ranging from super casual (think beach cover-up) to gorgeously dressy, which is another element that makes them a must-have for every girl’s closet.
Cassandra Cross is a freelance writer and fashion enthusiast who has collaborated with industry insiders, from independent boutique owners to leading fashion brands.