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By Nazy Rafaeil, Senior Content Writer.
Blue Formal dress:
No matter what type of black-tie or evening event, you need the perfect gown that best reflects you. This means a flattering fit for your body type and a dress that shows off your figure in the best way.
Figuring out which body shape you are in will help you in your quest to find the right formal look. Once you understand your shape well, you can dress accordingly.
Today, we will be discussing the most common body types. We will explore which clothing styles are most flattering for each body type. What to steer clear of, and how to choose for your special event.
Choosing a Formal Dress For Your Body Shape:
What Body Type Am I?
Look at your natural shape; what shape is your silhouette (the outline of your body)? If you aren’t sure of your body type, measure yourself across the shoulders, bust, hips, and waist. You’ll start to see where your body inclines and where you are widest.
This is going to help you determine which shape you are. Please read over the most common types below and our tips for formal dressing for each shape to look its best. Remember, it doesn’t matter what size or shape you are. There’s a perfect black tie dress that will flatter you and make you feel beautiful!
So follow these steps:
- Take measurements: Use a measuring tape to measure your bust, waist, and hip circumference. Note down these measurements for reference. Also, refer to our body calculator and measurement video.
- Compare proportions: Look at your shoulders, waist, and hips. Determine which area is wider or narrower in comparison to the others.
Now that you understand different body types, you can identify if you have an hourglass shape.
Hourglass: If your bust and hips are wider than your waist, you will likely have an hourglass figure.
Pear shape: If your hips are wider than your bust and you have a well-defined waist, you probably have a pear-shaped body.
Apple shape: If your bust is wider than your hips, and you carry more weight around your midsection, you may have an apple-shaped body.
Rectangle shape: If your bust, waist, and hips are all similar in width, with minimal waist definition, you may have a rectangular body shape.
Inverted triangle shape: If your shoulders and bust are wider than your hips, and your waist is less defined, you might have an inverted triangle shape.
The Apple Body Type commonly has slim legs and thighs but a wider upper body frame and a rounder mid-section. To dress an apple body shape the best, look for pieces that create a defined waist around your midriff. A plunging neckline such as a sweetheart shape or deep v will look gorgeous. As well as an off-the-shoulder style.
If you’re attending a cocktail party, take the chance to show off your legs since you tend to have beautiful gams. For a formal event, opt for a dramatic strapless ball gown with plenty of skirt volume in an A-line structure to create more volume for your frame.
Peplum dresses are a great choice for individuals with an apple body shape. This dress style can accentuate your curves flatteringly while drawing attention away from the midsection. Here are a few reasons peplum dresses are good for apple body shapes. The peplum ruffles or flare starts from the waistline and flows over the stomach area, effectively camouflaging any concerns about the tummy.
long dress formal
If you’ve been blessed with a fuller bust, by all means, flaunt it in a fitted look with a slim waistline! The Busty Body Type has a bigger chest but narrower hips. The key to striking balance is looking for pieces that highlight and support your bust and flatter your lower half.
Empire waist dresses:
Empire waist dresses have a high waistline below the bust, emphasizing the smallest part of the torso. This style helps balance the proportions. The Design accentuates the bust while providing a flowing and flattering fit below the waist. Look for dresses with a fitted bodice and a flowing skirt that skims over the midsection and hips.
Hourglass Body Type
The Hourglass Body Type is easily identifiable. You’ll have a narrow waist with a fuller bust and hips about equal width. This creates a symmetrical curve on your upper and mid-body. This is a very desirable shape in the fashion world!
You’ll look stunning in figure-hugging styles that show off this natural silhouette. Look for body-conscious jersey fabric formal dresses. This design with an open back is particularly attention-grabbing.
A high neckline will show off your hourglass figure even more, as will a dress in a block color. Avoid oversized styles that drown out your natural figure. Search for pieces that add curves and have a slim waistline. If desired, skirts can be bodycon or flared at the end, with a long train.
- Wrap dresses:
- Fitted dresses:
- Mermaid or trumpet dresses:
- Belted dresses:
- Off-the-shoulder or sweetheart neckline:
- Sheath dresses:
Pear Body Type
A Pear Body type has a narrower upper half (shoulders) with wider hips, thighs, and bottom. This body shape is easy to flatter. All you need is to place pretty details on top. Pick a flowing skirt for your lower half that gently skims over your bottom.
Pear shape body types look beautiful in a halterneck or plunging bodice dress. That includes a style with beadwork on your upper half to draw more attention upwards. We love this gorgeous chiffon gown option for pear-shaped women.
One thing to try to steer clear of is entirely body-hugging dresses. Always opt for evening gowns with a loose or flared skirt. An attention-grabbing bodice can form your focal point for your formal look, so choose a top that makes a statement. Choose an A-line style with a pretty off-the-shoulder bodice for a black-tie gala.
For Pear Shape, the goal is to draw attention upward and balance the proportions. The design highlights your upper body while minimizing the lower body. Here are some perfect dress options for a pear body shape:
- A-line dresses:
- Fit-and-flare dresses:
- Empire waist dresses:
- V-neckline dresses:
- Off-the-shoulder or boat neck dresses:
- Dark or solid-colored bottoms with patterned tops:
Petite Body Type
A petite woman is generally considered shorter, typically under 5 feet 4 inches (162.5 cm) tall. However, being petite is not solely determined by height but also by overall body proportions. Petite women often have shorter arms, legs, and torso than individuals of average height.
Recommended Silhouettes for Petite Women:
Empire waist dresses:
“Finding Elegance: A Petite Woman’s Quest for the Perfect Formal Evening Dress at Jovani Collection”
Excited yet anxious, Clara eagerly composed an email to Jovani’s design department. She described her petite stature, emphasizing her desire for a dress that would flatter her figure. She also wished for a long sleeves dress covering her arms and a high neckline that exuded elegance. A few days later, Clara’s inbox chimed with a reply from Jovani’s design team. The email conveyed warmth and genuine interest in helping Clara find her dream dress. The designers kindly requested precise measurements, ensuring a customized fit highlighting her petite frame flawlessly. She excitedly sent another email with her measurements, awaiting the designers’ expert guidance.
Our Team asked about her favorite colors. They were looking for hues to complement her figure and enhance her beauty. She chose darker colors in Tea Length. Our Team suggested the off-the-shoulder fitted bodice Tea Length gray dress, style 08657. However, she had some concerns regarding the off-the-shoulder design. Clara hesitated similarly regarding the blue crepe midi dress with a sweetheart neckline, Jovani style 09059. After much deliberation and consideration, Clara chose the Jovani 09645 blue knee-length evening dress. This stunning dress featured elegant cap sleeves, perfectly meeting her desire for arm coverage while exuding grace and sophistication.
Slender Body Type
The Slender Body Type, also known as Athletic or tall, has a rectangular frame and a square shoulder and midsection. Thankfully, adding a few gentle curves with the right evening dress is easy. Look for designs that subtly hug the hips and bust with a narrowed waist or flared tail.
Individuals with slender body types have numerous formal dress styles that can beautifully enhance their figure. If you’re interested in learning more, here are a few suggestions:
Mermaid or trumpet dresses:
A mermaid gown with Sweetheart necklines helps create sexy curves and femininity in your figure.
High-neck halter dresses:
Opt for dresses with a high neck and an open back, which enhance your height and slender frame while creating a sophisticated and alluring effect.
Dresses with high slits can beautifully showcase your long legs.
Look for jumpsuits with a defined waistline, wide-legged trousers, or flared bottoms to add volume and balance your proportions.
Plus Size Formal Dress Trends
Numerous flattering and stylish options are available for a plus-size woman attending a wedding as a guest. Here are some recommendations for plus-size formal dresses that would be suitable for a wedding, including a style suggestion from Jovani:
A-line dresses: A-line dresses are a great choice to flatter your curves. They cinch at the waist, providing an hourglass effect to your figure. Jovani’s A-Line Jacquard Dress with Illusion Neckline (style 23398) is an excellent option for plus-size women.
Empire waist dresses: Choose an empire waist dress with a cinched-in waistline that is lightly gathered and flows down to the floor in a smooth silhouette. This style will draw attention away from your midsection while creating a sleek and elegant look.
Maxi dresses: Maxi dresses with an empire waistline and a full skirt create the perfect silhouette for plus-size women. Pair them with sparkly statement jewelry or other accessories to add a touch of glamor and complete the look.
More Dress Options & Ideas
Don’t forget – pear, apple, hourglass, busty, and athletic are typical body types. If you don’t necessarily fit into one of these body categories, don’t panic! You can use your measurements to decide what aspects to highlight and hide.
Still don’t know what to wear to your formal event? You can make a start by narrowing down your choice by color or by the type of event you’ll be attending. You can also email our team for more assistance. You can stay updated with new trends by signing up for our regular email updates. Don’t miss out on our picks of the best gorgeous floral print designs. These are just right for Spring and fall events too!
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