The Best Dresses and Romper Styles for Your Body Type

Last updated on : September 11 2020

dressing for body types

A quick Google search delivers several insights into body types and style recommendations for each. Fashion designers and stylists often center their creations on the unique body profiles of their models and clients.

As a result, the struggle of dressing your body type is not always straightforward, a tad overwhelming, and confusing.

It's a challenge because often our bodies are a combination of two body types. Our bust line is a bit heavier, or our waistline is not defined.

The Key to Dressing Your Body Type

With trends changing every season, it becomes challenging to dress fashionably while also picking clothes that genuinely flatter our style and feminine proportions. 

The goal is to look fabulous no matter what the current trend is but not to forget those methods we have created and love.

Experts say that understanding your body type is essential to ensure that you use fashion like it is intended to be used – as a tool to create a look for yourself that you love. Knowing your body type helps you develop a sense of balance through the clothes that you wear, the makeup you apply, and hairstyles you create.

So we thought it is fitting to provide a guide to the best romper and dress styles for body types.

We cover simple tips and tricks to help you embrace your natural body and bring out its lovely curves, angles, bulges, and sags. For example, a woman with angular limbs and curves needs to wear fabrics that add softness and fluidity to her look, while one with softer curves should add structure with her dress.

Here are the best dresses and romper styles for a variety of body types. Your body may be a mixture of the two - so use your style instincts and fashionista gut to pull your look together more thoroughly.

How to Dress Your Apple Shape

The apple body shape has a waistline that is wider than the hips and bust. Sometimes more substantial on the top, with a bustline that is few inches bigger than the hips. The waistline is usually narrow, and limbs are slender. At times, the midriff may appear heavy with the weight concentrated on the upper body.

Celebs with this body shape include Eva Longoria and Drew Barrymore. 

Without a defined waist, you can be at a loss when it comes to choosing the right dress or romper. However, the goal is to create a sensual silhouette by adding vertical lines and drawing attention to the cleavage area, bust line, or your shapely legs.

apple shaped body type

Skintight, tiny and strapless dresses work well for apple shapes.

Best assets

Your best assets are your slim, long, and shapely legs.

Dos

  • Pick short skirts, skin-tight tiny dresses, etc. to flaunt those lovely legs while also drawing attention away from your mid-section.
  • Empire and A-line hemlines create a balanced, feminine look.
  • Use V-necks and low, round necklines to give a torso-lengthening effect. Avoid tops in darker hues because they make your bust look smaller.
  • Go for good bras that lift and support well to avoid a droopy effect.
  • Choose flared, boot-cut, and straight styles in pants or jeans so that they are not too tight and create a smooth silhouette from the shoulders.

Don’ts

  • Outfits with shoulder pads—this will add more weight to the upper body.
  • Dresses with a pinch at the waist or belts will accentuate the parts of your that you do not wish to flaunt.
  • Skinny jeans or wide, baggy pants can make your torso look even more full, and create a shortening effect.

Recommended Styles 

Choose dresses with an empire waist or baby-dolls which serve to draw the eyes upwards. Strapless dresses are fabulous for this body type as they help to channel attention to your fuller bust line and demure shoulders.

Instead of picking dresses with a defined waistline, opt for shift dresses that afford movement. Pay attention to fabrics as well. Go for chiffon, silk, cotton blends, and linen. Apple body shapes easily pull off shorter hemlines so be daring and show a bit more leg. A-line dresses provide a similar look to empire-waist styles as they create the illusion of more full hips.

When it comes to rompers, choose one with no pleats because pleats will add more bulk to your stomach area. Steer clear of loud patterns and large geometric prints, mainly above your waist. Drive attention away from your midsection by choosing a romper with a double-layered top detailing – the free second layer provides a cover that conceals your problem areas with ease.

Women with an apple body type should create an elongated look to add height to their frame and enhance their best features. Showing off long legs create an overall balanced, slimming appearance.

Simple Ways to Style Your Straight Body Type

This body shape has straight lines and proportions going from the shoulders to the waist and sometimes continuing to your hips. Also known as the rectangular or ruler body type, this shape has almost an appearance that looks straight, so the key is to create curves with your dresses and rompers naturally.

Hilary Swank, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz, and Natalie Portman are some famous figures with this body type.

a line dress for straight body types

A-Line bandage dresses add shape to a straight body.

Best assets

Your best assets are toned and sexy legs and arms.

Dos

  • Wear tops or dresses that are sleeveless to draw attention to your shapely limbs.
  • Experiment with blouses that have V-necks, ruffles, fancy collars, and other details to add texture and a feminine form to your bust area.
  • Boot-cut pants or skirts that are fitted at the hip and flare out in the lower portion create lovely curves. Experiment with colors in bottom wear.
  • Use shapewear to achieve a curvy look with minimal effort. For example, a padded bra or shaping undergarments can create a refined, feminine look.
  • Wear outfits that cinch at the waist and have a soft, feminine shape to enhance your curves. Short, fitted jackets and belts with dresses are easy ways to do that.

Don’ts

  • Clothes that are either too tight or too loose and flowy, as these look unstructured around the waist area.
  • Fabrics that are too clingy, since these make the rectangular shape overly visible.
  • Upper wear with big shoulder pads.
  • Men’s clothing—baggy outfits or pants in a stiff material do not lend a flattering look.

Recommended Styles

An A-line or baby doll dress with a deep-V neck may look racy and a bit more risky on other body types, however, these styles provide instant curves to your linear body shape. Look for dresses with draping, frills, or prints on the bust area to create more depth.

V-necked rompers with darts at the waist are a great idea for this body shape, as is wearing a light-colored dress or romper with a waist-cinching belt in a darker hue.

Resist wearing dresses or rompers with a square-neck, as they create a boxy silhouette instead of a curvy one. Keep your look fluid and soft and avoid tight and tailored rompers and dresses. Instead, go for loose-fitting clothing to provide a comfortable and natural illusion of feminine curves.

Women with a rectangular body type often feel boyish because of the lack of sharp curves, but in truth, it is a relaxed body shape to dress. Choose fitted tops and jackets with bottom wear to highlight your waist and give the illusion of curves — embrace ruffles and frills to soften your natural silhouette.

model wearing v neck romper

Dressing Your Hourglass Figure

Perhaps the most coveted body shape since the beginning of time, an hourglass figure is characterized by a narrow waist and full bust and hips.

For this body type, there is only one cardinal rule – always accentuate your thin waist. When you emphasize your smaller waist size, you can conceal problem areas quickly, such as a protruding stomach or smaller breasts.

For celebs with this body shape think Scarlett Johansson, Vanessa Joy Lachey, and Salma Hayek.

v neck dress for an hourglass body

V-neck bandage dresses work well for hourglass shapes. 

Best assets

Hourglass figures have curves in all the right places.

Dos

  • Choose clothes that flatter your curves and fall nicely on your body to enhance your shapely figure. Tailored well-fitting clothing will add feminine grace and sex appeal to your form. For added appeal try sexy red
  • Go for slightly flared or straight skirts and pants to make your lower body look slender and tall.
  • Tops and dresses with a V or round neckline work well for this body type. However, pay attention to how much cleavage you are showing to fit the occasion.
  • Try wrap dresses with pure jewelry to highlight your figure in a visually-pleasing way minus too much bulk.
  • Make your waist the focal point when choosing clothes — direct attention to your waist area with narrow belts and bandage dresses that nip at the waist.

Don’ts

  • Do not wear loose, baggy clothing as these can hide your curves and give an unflattering effect.
  • Stay away from clothes that may make you look ‘boxy’ such as oversized cardigans and tunics.
  • Big belts make your midsection look broader, steer clear.
  • Pants and skirts with a low waistline as these make your hips look more significant than their actual size.
  • Avoid tapered trousers and skirts.

Recommended Styles

Choose a bandage dress that cinches at your natural waistline or a floral fashion dress worn with a belt that defines your waist. However, avoid empire-waist dresses because they can make you look larger.

You have your pick of trendy dresses and rompers as your form continues to rule the roost at all fashion houses. A classic fit-and-flare dress or a bandage dress is perfect for this body shape.

Steer clear of oversized or loose dresses and rompers as they conceal and ruin your beautiful shape and silhouette. A structured romper is perfect for this body shape as it does not look frumpy, cinches at your best asset – your waist, and emphasizes all your curves.

Choose light fabrics and patterns that fall nicely on your curves to bring out your best features. Balance your outfit to protect your shape and show off your well-proportioned curves.

Realizing the Beauty in Your Pear Shape

If you need help understanding what the pear shape is, look at Beyoncé or Rihanna.

For years being a pear shape was frowned upon, yet thanks to celebrities and socialites like Kim Kardashian West - the form is lovely, feminine, and alluring. Pear shapes have backside and hips distinctly larger than bust and shoulder area.

lace corset bandage dress on pear shaped model

Pear-shaped in a bandage dress - Draw attention to the neck, shoulders, and arm areas. 

Best assets

Women with the pear body type have narrow shoulders and a well-rounded bottom. The torso is also usually shapely, attractive, and well defined.

Dos

  • Draw attention to your bust and broaden your shoulders with puff sleeves.
  • Choose necklines that accentuate your shoulders, like scoop-necks and sweetheart. Ruffled tops also work great.
  • Wear strapless dresses—an excellent way to flaunt your toned arms and upper body while balancing out your overall look.
  • Play around with combinations of light-colored tops and darker-hued lower wear.
  • Opt for pants that have a straight-leg cut with heels for a slimming effect.
  • Accessorize with a cropped jacket. These jackets highlight your slim waist and give a leg-lengthening effect.
  • Have fun with hemlines—a tulip skirt or hi-lo and A-line styles keep things visually appealing and give a slimming look to the lower body.

Don’ts

  • Jackets that fall midway on your butt can make you look short, frumpy, and choppy.
  • Capri-style or cropped pants—these make the legs appear full and short. Also, stay away from overly flared pants.
    • Stretched fabrics on trousers will draw attention to your lower body and appear strained when you walk.
    • Shapeless clothes—these rarely do good for any body shape.

    Recommended Styles

    The best way to set off a pear body shape is to choose A-line hems, dresses, and rompers with an open neck or flowing robes with tea-length hem. All these options should draw attention to your delicate throat, shoulders, and arm areas.

    An empire waist dress is also a good idea for this body type as it helps accentuate the smallest part of your body, thereby distracting from other regions.

    Choose strapless rompers and fitted dresses that enhance your upper body. When picking rompers, go a size up so you can show off your curvy rear without the material stretching at the seams.

    To give your body length, consider footwear with pointed toes to give your legs an elongated effect. But keep the ankle straps at bay.

    How to Pull Off Your Ballerina Shape 

    Women who boast a slender and muscular frame like that of a ballerina (this is also an inverted triangle or wedge shape) are ideally placed to try avant-garde styles – think modern florals and slinky materials like crepe de chine.

    With a more muscular body shape and profile, you run the risk of looking hard, so the goal is to appear soft and lovely. With your ballerina shape, you can pull off anything because of your toned physique. However, you should take your cues from the straight body types above.

    Actresses Angelina Jolie and Renee Zellweger have this body shape.

    gold v neck dress for ballerina shape

    Show off ballerina tones in a striking metallic bandage dress. 

    Best assets

    Long and toned legs.

    Dos

    • Use A-line and full skirts to create a broader silhouette on the lower body and achieve a balance.
    • Open necklines like scoop necks and V-styles to highlight a vertical line.
    • High-waisted styles to give your midsection a flattering shape.
    • Wear belts over soft fabrics to define the waistline.
    • Choose refined textures and soft fabrics like chiffon to soften your shoulder area.
    • Celebrate your shape and muscular tone in tight-fitting dresses with open or v-necklines.  

    Don’ts

    • Significant patterns and elaborate details around your neckline and shoulders will make your upper body appear more substantial.
    • Wear boat-styles and spaghetti straps necklines which broaden your shoulders.
    • Shapeless dresses and chunky knits as these hide your silhouette.

    Recommended Styles

    This body type works with a slip dress or a slinky halter neck dress that draws attention to your athletic frame. Choose a modern floral patterned dress that will add volume to your frame. Dresses with a drop waist are perfect for giving shape to your hips.

    A narrow frame gives you the freedom to play around with silhouettes, ruffles, and frills. Be sure to try rompers with ruffles or bows for a fun and flirty style.

    How to Love Your Petite Body Type

    Also known as a compact or petite body shape, a petite woman is one who is under 5’4” tall, with overall smaller proportions.

    If you are petite, try mini dresses as these suit you well. Whether or not you choose to wear heels to complete the look, a mini dress elongates your entire frame and particularly your legs.

    Gaining the illusion of being taller is a simple way to give you confidence in your smaller body type. It is also straightforward to achieve. 

    Recommended Styles

    Choose dresses that are short and vibrant. Dresses and rompers with collars are also an excellent fit for this body type. Breezy and floral fashion dresses are ideal for providing an ultra-feminine allure, while a round-necked peplum dress quickly fills out your petite frame in all the right places. 

    Mixed textures, layered rompers, and bright colors all work for you. For rompers, opt for form-fitting ones with tiny spring flowers, or stripes and prints. One of the hottest ongoing trends is vertical stripes. This pattern works for petite women, so pick a waist-cinching short romper with vertical lines to lengthen your small frame.

    deep v romper

    Body Challenge: Full Bust in Everyday Clothes

    Women with full busts (think Christina Hendricks of the Mad Men fame) may look like they have it easy and can pull off any styles, however, they face the issue of looking matronly.

    It can be challenging to find dresses that are not over the top or frumpy and unkempt. If this is your body challenge, get into the habit of trying clothes on before making any purchase or style decisions. 

    Recommended Styles

    Choose dresses with a modest V-neck, slim waist, and flared hems, perhaps in a jacquard style like the dress Kim K wears below. A high-necked dress with shoulder cut-outs serves to highlight your bosom without making it look risqué. A body-contouring bandage dress with a modest V-neck and a hemline that stops just above the knee draws the eyes from your legs to your understated cleavage in a seamless manner - and you maintain your dignity.

    Color block rompers with subtle accents at the waist create a marked line between your upper and lower body, as do rompers with a tie at the waist or those worn with a belt. To create the illusion of a curvier rear, look for rompers that have a generous amount of fabric in the seat and legs. 

    Kim k bandage dress

    Summary

    Dressing for your body type and shape takes planning and a bit of forethought. However, no matter your body shape, with some guidance, you are easily able to find an abundant selection of styles, dresses, and rompers to fit and flatter you.

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