Special Occasion Dress Silhouettes to Flatter Your Figure

With an endless choice of special occasion dresses online and in stores, finding the perfect one for your body type can easily be overwhelming.  Sydney’s Closet styling experts make the challenge less daunting. Just follow their three easy fashion tips before you go shopping. 

Tip One:  ​Learn your body shape. You’ll need to identify the body type that best describes your figure before you can shop for a special occasion dress that fits and flatters your curves.  Are you an Apple, Pear, Hourglass, Rectangle, Inverted Triangle, or Petite figure?

Tip Two: Know the fashion lingo that identifies different dress silhouettes:

  • A-line
  • Ball Gown
  • Empire
  • Fitted
  • Mermaid
  • Princess
Tip Three: Discover Sydney’s Closet ​Fit and Flatter Guide below to find the style of a special occasion dress that best suits your body shape. ​Note: This simple guide is to help you plan for wearing a dress that makes you look and feel fabulous, no matter what!



A-line Plus Size Formal Prom Dress Sydney's Closet

This classic and graceful design takes its name from elegant style lines that narrow at the top, taper at the waist and flare gently into an A-shape skirt.  Remember, A-line evening dresses always flatter every body shape, size, and type.

This figure-friendly silhouette: 

  • Minimizes hips and bottoms for pear-shaped figures.
  • Accentuates your waistline, especially if you’re an Hourglass shape. 
  • Balances your proportions if you are a Triangle-shaped body.
  • Creates curves to round out a straight figure (think Rectangle body),
  • Makes you look taller and thinner if you have a Petite figure.
Shop all A-line Gowns


    Empire Plus Size Formal Prom or Bridal Dress Sydney's Closet

    Are you a die-hard romantic with a passion for heroines? Then a regal Empire-style formal dress works for you. The classic design features a high waist seam that falls directly under the bust then flows into a long, loose skirt with no defined waistline.

    The Empire evening gown magically:

    • Hides thick waistlines or bulging stomachs on Apple and Pear shaped figures.
    • Makes petite body types appear longer and leaner.
    • Plays up a small bust to amplify an Inverted Triangle shaped body. 
    • Flatter a boxy figure that is Rectangle shaped.

    Fit tip:  Make sure an Empire evening dress fits snug to your bust then let flow freely to the hemline of your skirt. Without a defined waistline, you’ll be challenged to find a more comfortable formal dress than the Empire silhouette. 

      Shop all Empire Gowns


      Ball Gown Plus Size Formal Prom Dress Sydney's Closet

      No other formal dress style says “fairy-tale” more than the romantic Ball Gown. Who can resist the irresistible look of a Princess when dressing up for an occasion as special as Prom, military ball, winter wedding or black tie event?

      The tightly fitted bodice and nipped waist give way to a poofy full skirt lined with layers of crinoline.
      The ball gown design:

      • Flatters the well-proportioned Hourglass figure.
      • Hides heavy hips on a pear-shaped body.
      • Plays up your full bust line if you’re an Inverted Triangle shape with a cup that runneth over.

      Fit tip: shop for a ball gown with a lace-up corset back for an easier and more comfortable fit.  If you have a Petite body shape, avoid wearing a ball gown. The voluminous style can easily overpower your small frame. 

      Shop Ball Gowns


      Shopping for a special occasion dress that lets you show off your fabulous curves? Then opt for a fully fitted formal.  We love this super sexy style that features a bodice and skirt that tightly hug the curves of your body on the top and the bottom of the design. 

       A fitted formal dress works best for: 

      • Hourglass figures with bust, waist, and hips evenly proportioned. 
      • Pear shaped bodies with full hips.   

      Tip:  Smooth out your fabulous curves wearing a body shaper under a fitted dress.

      Shop Body-Con Designs









      Mermaid Prom Formal Gown Plus Size Tips by Sydney's Closet

      There’s something so sexy and mysterious about an evening gown designed in a Mermaid silhouette. Who can resist a form-fitting dress that hugs your bodice and hips then flares out at - or below - the knee into a fishtail. 

      The sleek Mermaid design features a glamorous red-carpet look that: 

      • Flatters tall, trim figures with even proportions that create an Hourglass body. 
      • Accentuates hips on a Pear-type figure 
      • Draws attention tummy bulge on Apple bodies 
      • Fits best if designed with a lace up back instead of a zipper closure. 

        Shop Plus Size Mermaid Gowns







        Princess Silhouette Plus Size Sydney's Closet Gowns

        The popular Princess silhouette dress features long vertical seams that start at the shoulder and continue vertically down the skirt.  These vertical panes create the shape of the dress by closely following the natural curves of your body. Unlike an A-line evening gown, a Princess silhouette avoids darts to create style lines and lacks a defined waistline.  

        A Princess formal:

        • Hides larger hips and thighs on Pear shaped figures.
        • Disguises a thick tummy for an Apple body.
        • Creates a longer, leaner look for Petite bodies with long vertical seams.


        Tip:  Plan on wearing shape wear to smooth out your curves under a Princess style dress.

          Shop Princess Styles