Ah… the perfect dress! It’s kind of like the perfect pair of jeans—just put it on and look and feel great. Finding the perfect dress style for your beautiful body should be fun and easy. Let’s look at some tips to get you started.
Where do you anticipate wearing this dress? Is it strictly for special occasions, something to wear to work, a casual dress you would like to be able to dress up a bit if you like? If you want great versatility in this area, consider a fit and flare dress. These make excellent wardrobe staples because they are easily dressed up or down depending upon what shoes and jewelry you wear (as well as how you choose to style your hair and makeup). Most fit and flare dresses sport either a V-neck or scoop neck and are gently fitted from the shoulders to the waist and then flare out into an A-line shape from the waist to the hem. Often, the hem falls at or just below the knee.
This style has the advantage of being easy to move in while looking both polished and graceful. For an easy, breezy dress, start with the measurements of your current curves, and try on a fit and flare dress in a color you know will make you look great.
How conforming or flowy a dress fits is a matter of personal taste as well as what is appropriate for the occasion. In general, a dress will be most flattering if it skims your body but is still comfy. With that said, many women love a dress that is more fitted on top and drapes gracefully from the waist down. You will want to create a silhouette that makes you look and feel great while wearing a garment that is so easy to move in that you forget about what you are wearing and concentrate on the fun activities you are enjoying.
Current fashion gives us more choices in this area than we used to have. Bodycon dresses hug your curves while showing them off, while flowy maxi dresses for women can give you the ultimate in coverage and sophistication.
Fabric content, cut, and whether you layer your dress will determine how warm or cool it is. Take the season into account (don’t you just love buying a new summer dress?), but also stay aware that the same cotton dress that is perfect when the sun is shining could get chilly in the evening or in an environment with aggressive air conditioning. If you opt for a lightweight or sleeveless dress, consider buying a cotton cardigan to keep you comfy.
A great choice for warm weather is a shirt dress. They are typically lightweight, and the cut is breezy. When shopping for a shirt dress, keep in mind what hem length you are comfortable wearing. Many shirt dresses have long sleeves that create a more finished look (and can easily be rolled up to create the look of ¾-length sleeves to keep you a bit cooler).
A consideration in buying a dress is whether it will be daywear, eveningwear, or if you will want to be able to transition between the two. Special occasion dresses, for example, are often designed more for eveningwear (although with dresses appropriate for daytime weddings and Easter events, this is not a hard and fast rule). If you are looking for a dress that can transition from day to evening, it’s best to avoid fabrics that have a high level of sheen like satin or embellishments on the fabric like lace or beading. A matte fabric is easier to dress up with jewelry and heels or dress down with flats (or even tennis shoes!).
Black dresses used to be reserved for the evening. Although an LBD is still a great wardrobe staple, casual daywear can include black dresses (which are among the easiest to transition to evening). If you wear a black dress for daywear, consider a fun color for a blazer or cardigan to go with it to brighten it up.
A sophisticated choice is to wear a dress that is one color from shoulder to hem. This is one of the easiest outfits you can create—just add shoes! If you choose a patterned dress, make sure to try it on with lighting that is like where you will wear the dress. Patterns can be a pretty and a lovely diversion from the same old same old, but they can also reflect light in interesting ways. This is one of the reasons that professional photographers often suggest that people wear solid-colored clothing for portraits. It’s just easier to know that you will look good in a flattering solid color.
Take a little time and treat yourself to a new dress that makes you look and feel great!