The Little Black (Flattering) Dress for Different Body Types

Having a ready to wear “little black dress” in my closet has saved me many, many times. It’s definitely on my list for wardrobe must-haves. However, when it’s time to shop for one, it’s not a one-size-fits all deal.  There are a lot of black dresses to choose from and it can be very overwhelming to find the right one. The key is knowing your shape and what flatters you. It will cut down your shopping time when you already know that a ruffled flapper dress will make you look like a gift box or if an A-line makes you look like you’re swimming in fabric. I know for a fact that a drop waist dress does not suit me but I have friends who look stunning in them. May I add these are the same friends who say they can’t get away with a fitted cocktail dress.

When I shop, I have an idea of what will fit my body and it cuts down on the “this looks terrible” dressing room experience, where you end up leaving with nothing and spending your money on shoes instead. There’s always something we want to hide but in order to find the right fit, you have to note what you’d like accentuated. Whether it’s great legs, a beautiful neck or an hour glass figure, we all have something to show off! For example, I like my calves and ankles (yes, ankles of all things) but I’m not crazy about my thighs. Therefore, I pick dresses that will balance out my proportions, like the dress I’m wearing in the picture below.


  • Know your shape 1 of 7

    My weight fluctuates drastically. With a few extra pounds, I'm more on the pear-shaped side. When I'm thinner, I'm narrow. Either way, I find that pencil skirts suit me the best, especially if the length hits the small of my knee. This style elongates my legs and enhances my curves while tucking in where I need it!

    Purchase Ottoman Dress at Zara for $59.90

  • Pear Shape 2 of 7

    Another style that suits a pear-shaped figure is an A-line dress with an empire waist. A halter top is also perfect in helping to create a more triangular shape and proportional look.

    Purchase Jones New York Marilyn-Empire Waist Dress at Lord & Taylor for $110.00

  • Petite 3 of 7

    I fall more and more in love with Ann Taylor every season. This sheath dress is flattering for many body types, but is ideal for petite women who want to look taller and leaner. If the dress hits right above the knee, it creates the illusion of a longer leg. 

    Purchase Side-Swept Sheath Dress at Anne Taylor for $59.88

  • Curvy 4 of 7

    The wrap dress is flattering for most figures. I have one myself that I purchased from Banana Republic years ago, and it's served me well! It's a classic fit and always perfect if you travel often.

    Purchase Whimsy Black Dress Kiyonna for $98.00

  • Expecting 5 of 7

    When I was pregnant (14 years ago!), I wore dresses that clearly stated I was with child. An empire waist and A-line was my go-to silhouette because anything that draped just made me look like I had gained 60 pounds over night. I say dress for the belly and show it off.

    Purchase Strapless Jolie Maternity Evening High/ Low Dress  at Trendy Mummy Maternity for $109.00

  • Boyish 6 of 7

    If you don't want to call attention to your waist, take advantage of the modern flapper dress trend. A drop waist dress will hide the mid section and call attention to your legs.

    Purchase Jamysen V-Neck Feather-Hem Dress at BCBG for $398.00

  • Full-figured 7 of 7

    Again, you can't go wrong with a wrap dress, especially one with a sexy 3/4 sleeve. I prefer this sleeve over the ones that cut right below your shoulder. In fact, I feel they make the arms look bigger. If you're going to cover up, try a lace dress instead of going full black.

    Purchase Gigi Lace Cinch Dress at Kiyonna for $96.00 (and note the real pictures of women wearing the dresses featured. Love that!)

Article Posted 5 years Ago

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