Shopping for special occasion dresses to wear for Prom, evening, formal, cocktail and weddings can be super challenging if you’re unsure which style best fits and flatter your body type. 

To learn the shape of your figure, ​start by looking in the mirror at those gorgeous curves that are uniquely special to your body.  Note the widest measurements on your body and also the narrowest measurement. You want to spot an outline of a shape that -  for most of us - falls into one of these six basic body types:

  • Apple Shape Body
  • ● Inverted Triangle Figure
  • ● Hourglass Shape
  • ● Pear Shape Body
  • ● Rectangle Figure
  • ● Petite Figure

     Once you’ve identified your body shape, take a look at these ​fool-proof tips from the fashion experts at Sydney’s Closet on how to select the perfect Prom, evening, formal, cocktail or wedding dress to best suit your body type. 

    Styling Tip: The secret to shopping for the perfect special occasion dress hinges on finding the dress that smooths, slims, contours your body shape and gives proportion to your figure.  Remember, it’s about all playing up your figure assets and down playing figure flaws! 

    Apple Shape Body
    Your figure gets its name from the curved middle section of your torso that rounds out like the side of an apple. That shape makes your waist the widest measurement.  You  have slim legs and hips.

    Apple figures should favor styles that take attention away from your waist and put the focus on your beautiful face, neck and shoulders.
     ●           A-line formal dresses work perfectly for you by adding volume to your lower body to balance out the round middle.
    ●            Empire designs disguise your bulging midsection. The high set waist of an Empire makes you look taller and overall slimmer while whittling down your waistline. 

    Bodies shaped like apples should avoid designs that magnify your waist and middle:
    ● Belts
    ● Princess lines
    ● Basque or dropped waist dresses
    ● Sheaths

    Inverted Triangle Body Type
    if you’re blessed with a voluptuous bust and wide-set shoulders that sit on narrow hips and slim legs, then you have an Inverted Triangle figure. 

    If you have a busty figure, you want to strike a balance between your generous top and your narrower bottom.  Do that by drawing ​up to your face and wearing designs that add curves to your hips and define your waist. 

    Shop for A-line dresses that create a proportion for your figure by adding volume to your hips with a more full skirt.  Necklines that work for you include halter, scoop, sweetheart, V-neck or plunging, but not too deep to reveal too much of a good thing. Sleeves can take attention away from your cleavage onto your arms.

    You want to keep an eye out for special occasion dresses with the support and structure to give those girls the support they need. ​A gown with a corset bodice gives your bust a big boost. Also, look for these design details to cater to your large chest:
    ● built-in bustiers
    ● bra-friendly straps
    ● Bra cups graded to your dress size

    If you’re an Inverted Triangle shape, avoid designs that make your bust cups look like they runneth over. Best to avoid high, scoop or square necklines.  


    It’s easy to spot your Hourglass Body Shape because your va-va-vroom figure features graceful proportions and overall sensuous, symmetrical curves.  Your hips and bust measurements are close in size with a narrow and oh-so well defined waist. 

    Celebrate your sexy Hourglass figure wearing dresses that highlight your well-defined natural waist. Your stunning figure looks gorgeous in curve hugging ​Mermaid silhouettes and designs with form-fitting bodices, V-necklines and open  and body-con dresses. Form fitting bodices, Vnecks, open neck. A wrap dress showcases your fabulously proportioned curves.

    Hourglass figures should avoid shapeless silhouettes like Empire that only hide your figure. 


    If you’re a pear-shaped figure, you have full hips, a bodacious bum and a well-defined waistline. Take note that your body is smaller above the waist. 

    The key to dress shopping for a pear body type is to even out your body. You want to find a dress design that de-emphasizes the size of  your lower body and adds volume to your upper body. 

    Shop for A-line dresses with open necklines and other attention-grabbing details that can make your shoulders appear wider than they really are. One-shoulder designs drive the eye up shifting attention to your neck and face. You’ll look so sexy in fit and flare, trumpet and Mermaid silhouettes. 

    Avoid ball gowns with voluminous skirts that will only make the top of your body look smaller.

    Rectangle Body Shape

    Look in the mirror.  Does your figure create the same rectangle shape as a box of cereal or a newspaper page. Then you’re a rectangle body shape.  For your special occasion, shop for a  dress that works magic by adding the illusion of curves to your straight up and down figure.

    Ball gowns work great for you. The full skirt instantly adds volume to your lower body and makes the top of your body look proportionate. A fitted Mermaid gown, preferably with a lace-up back, puts attention on your hips and makes your waist look smaller.  One-shoulder gowns shine attention on your shoulder making your lower body look slimmer.

    Avoid sheaths and Empire dress designs that will only exaggerate a rectangle shape body.


    Petite and curvy
     If you’re 5’4” and under, then you’re petite. Not all short girls have the same body type but in general the best dresses for petites are ones that make you look longer and leaner.

    Go for silhouettes like an A-line or sheath dress that slim your  petite figure. You’ll get the bonus of adding an illusion of length to your small frame.  A gown with an Empire waist is a great choice if you want to hide a tummy bulge. 

     Elongate a petite frame by selecting a dress in one color. The ​monochromatic look avoids being broken up by color.  Opt for a long formal dress with a slit. When you show a little leg you look taller.

    Skip ball gowns to avoid drowning in a gown that overwhelms your petite body. Avoid heavy fabrics that weight down your figure. 

    Are you still not sure which style dress is perfect for your body shape?  Just remember, A flattering choice for nearly all figures is an Aline gown.