We’ve all been through this predicament. We go into a shop, find a gorgeous dress that speaks to our soul and we head excitedly to the dressing room to try it on. Unfortunately, you can’t say yes to the dress because it made you look less than amazing and confident. Why? Most of the time it boils down to the silhouette and cut — given that the most flattering sort differs for each body type.

Below, a comprehensive guide.

Identifying your body type:

Apple: The opposite of an hourglass where your waist is wider than your shoulders and hips.

Pear: Similar to a triangle, pear body types have fuller and wider hips and butt which contrast against less broad shoulders.

Inverted triangle: People with this body type have wider shoulders that taper to narrower hips and waist.

Rectangle: Rectangular body types have similar widths from shoulders to waist and there’re no defined curves and waistline.

Hourglass: You have a curvy body with a fuller bust, hip and thighs while your waist has a smaller circumference. You have the “ideal” body shape that suits most, if not all, dress types.

Now that’s out of the way, let’s look at the different types of dress silhouettes.


#1: A-Line

What it is: An A-line dress is fitted at your natural waist and then flares out.
Who it’s best for: A-line dresses are great for all body types. For apple, rectangle and inverted triangle body types, the cinch helps accentuate the waistline, while the flare further de-emphasises the bottom-heavy look of a pear shape to help create the hourglass illusion.

Read more on the next page.

#2: Bodycon

What it is: A form-fitting, body-hugging dress that emphasises the curvatures of the body.
Who it’s best for: Hourglass body types. The hourglass type is considered the most traditionally feminine body shape, and a bodycon fit will accentuate that even more.

#3: Layered

What it is: Panels of fabric are added to give extra volume and texture to the dress. One good example would be ruffle dresses.

Who it’s best for: This depends on where the layers are located on the dress. Ruffles along the shoulder and bust are great for pear and apple shapes to draw the eyes away from the hips and waist, while ruffles located at the waist and below are geared towards inverted triangles. Rectangle body types can wear both to create an hourglass silhouette.

#4: Mermaid

What it is: The mermaid dress takes the form of a bodycon dress and then flares out from the legs down.
Who it’s best for: Because the main form of the mermaid style is bodycon, it will be best suited for the hourglass type. Rectangle body types may like this style to help them look taller as it elongates the torso.

#5: Shift

What it is: Much like a rectangle body type, the shift dress falls straight from the shoulders without any curvatures around the waist and hip area.

Who it’s best for: Rectangle body types would be most comfortable in this style because the straight cut lines of the shift dress is reflective of the body shape. In addition, those who are conscious of their waist and hips might appreciate this form as can downplay curviness.

#6: Wrap

What it is: The wrap dress can be identified through three elements: V-neckline, an A-line shape and most importantly, a tie that goes around the waist.

Who it’s best for: Everyone actually. The front closure of the dress helps to cinch the waist and create that pinched-in hourglass shape. You can opt for a deeper neckline to further juxtapose against the A-line for a more curvaceous look, especially if you have a boxy or inverted triangle body shape.