Finding Flattering Formal Wear

Written by Anza Goodbar (last updated September 22, 2017)

Before shopping for a formal wear, take time to identify your body type. There are five basic body types; most of us can easily identify which category best defines our shape. Below are definitions to help decide which body type describes you best, and what type of formal wear will be most flattering:

  • Inverted Triangle. When compared to an hour-glass figure, an inverted triangular shape will have broader shoulders, a fuller bust line, and smaller hips. This is not a common figure type, however, with and increase in breast augmentation surgeries, it is becoming more stylish. Princess lines or drop waist dresses are most flattering; however, an A-line gown with a plunging neckline would also look lovely. Fabulous accessories will draw the eye up and create a more balanced appearance. Darker more subdued colors will de-emphasize the larger upper body while emphasizing the slimmer hips and legs.
  • Triangle. A triangle shaped figure is the most common figure type for women. It is identified by hips that are wider than the shoulders. Thicker thighs and a smaller bust line define the triangular shape. A-line silhouettes, V-neck tops, bateau necklines scoop necks and strapless necklines all disguise fuller hips by giving the appearance of wider shoulders. Shoulder pads may be added for a more dramatic affect. A fuller skirt gives the illusion of an hour glass figure by balancing out the upper and lower halves of the body. The goal is to slim hips and legs while adding width to the shoulders and upper body.
  • Circle. Narrow shoulders and hips with a fuller mid-section and ample breasts define a circular body type. Most women fit this description at one point in their lives, especially during pregnancy or just after childbirth. Similar to a triangular shaped figure, an A-line dress will be the most flattering as it will accent the features that produce the most feminine shape. Vertical lines and darker colors will be most flattering. The goal is to lengthen and slim torso while giving the illusion of a waistline.
  • Hour-Glass. An hour-glass figure has a well defined waist accented by proportional breasts and hips. Statistically, a woman with an hourglass figure will have a waist that is 10 inches smaller than her bust and hip measurements. Since there is already a natural symmetry, a corset gown or ball gown with a fitted top will be the most flattering dress for an hour-glass figure as will accent the waist line. A mermaid style would highlight the curves of an hour-glass body type beautifully. The goal is to slim the body while accenting curves.
  • Rectangle. Rectangular body types typically have proportional bust and hip measurements, however, unlike an hour-glass figure; it does not have a well defined waist. A sheath with a bias cut will cling to curves and show off your slender figure. A minimalist look will give you an air of sophistication. The goal is to define curves and give an illusion of a waist which will give the appearance an hour-glass.

The most important part of buying formal wear is to feel confident when wearing it. When assessing your body type, choose a dress style that maximizes your best features and minimizes the most prominent feature. Make selections that give smooth lines and colors that compliment your skin tone. The ideal dress for each body type will provide balance and give the illusion of an hour-glass.

Author Bio

Anza Goodbar

Anza is a single mother of four who makes her home in Colorado. She enjoys writing, hiking and is an avid football and hockey fan. She is the owner of a virtual business services company; writing is just one of the many services her company offers. ...


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