I have -- according to many popular rap songs -- some junk in my trunk. And while I can certainly appreciate Sir Mix-A-Lot's enthusiastic love of big butts and hips, I don't always love mine. But this blog isn't about my self-esteem issues; it's about dress shopping. When a special occasion rolls around I spend weeks (no joke) trying to find something to fit my pear body shape. (Don't know your body type? Find out here.) So, with my dad's big retirement party looming in the near future, I decided to try dress shopping with a different mindset.
First, I called in the pros. It turns out that the best way to find your perfect dress has a lot to do with body type. Like I said, I'm a pear, so these tips are especially handy. But no matter what your shape -- petite, plus-size, hourglass -- they each have their own set of rules. (Click here to get all the tips for every body type.) And once I put that fabulous body shape advice into action, dress shopping wasn't so horrible; in fact, it was kinda … fun.
Scroll down for more tips on dressing for your body type, or see the entire story right here.
Petite Body Types
The number one piece of advice all our fashion stylists gave us about petite body types? Show off your tiny shape -- don't hide it! Celebrity stylist Leila Wolford says, "Long, billowy gowns will make you look like you're drowning and overwhelm your small frame. Keep it short, sweet, and feminine." Fashion editor Stephanie Rygorsky agrees, "Petite girls can get lost in fussy floor-length gowns." Bottom line: Aim for a short dress without a bunch of fabric.
Rectangular Body Types
Girls with a rectangular body type or a boyish figure should look for dresses that create the illusion of curves. Before you reach for a push-up bra or a pair of padded panties, we'd like to suggest another way. Wolford suggests looking for a dress that cinches in at the waist. Rygorsky says that you can also create shape with color blocking. "Look for a dress with a different color on the top than the bottom; this will help visually break up the torso," she says.
Hourglass Body Types
Good news for girls with an hourglass shape: "Hourglass is the new black. Girls with an hourglass body can wear anything," says Wolford. Fashion stylist Stacy Cox agrees, "It's a very desired shape, and considered by society to be very pretty." But, while you might have a lot of options, that doesn't mean you can just throw on a sheet and call it a day. You still need to highlight your curves so they don't disappear under a ton of fabric.
Pear Shaped Body Types
If you have a pear body shape, you definitely want a gown to highlight everything from the waist up. "Make sure the bust of the gown is fitted so there is a balance between the upper part of your body and your lower," says Wolford. As for the bottom half of the dress, look for one that flares out into a full skirt
Apple Shaped Body Types
When looking for a dress for an apple body type, aim for one with an empire waist. "Girls with apple shapes look great in solid colored empire waist dresses since they accentuate the bust and then flare out below," says fashion editor Stephanie Rygorsky. And because these dresses have a lot of flowing fabric, Wolford recommends looking for a gown that shows off your shoulders and arms with a strapless neckline.
Plus-Size Body Types
Plus-sized girls actually have a lot of options when it comes to dressing their body type. "It's all about what your favorite body part is and showcasing it. If you want to hide your stomach, stick with empire waist gown that has a good amount of flow. If you want to hide your arms, go with the embellished sleeves. The options are endless," says Wolford.
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