How to Find the Right Dress For Your Body Shape


how to find the right dress for your body shape

I know that many of my readers are in the northern hemisphere where it’s currently winter, but here in Melbourne, we’re sweltering – or in the words of Cole Porter “It’s too darn hot!”.

The heat from my laptop feels extreme, something I normally don’t notice. My hands are sweating on the keyboard as I type, and the past couple of days have also been around the 41 degree mark.

So how do you stay stylish when the weather just makes you want to get naked?

I have found that anything that binds (like waistbands) are very uncomfortable, so I prefer dresses. Here is a quick image of some dresses for different body shapes to give you some ideas, if you too are sweltering today. And for all you others, just put a little link to it and come back when your summer rolls around!

How to Find the Right Dress for your Body Shape

how to find the right dress for your body shapeI Shape

You can party and play with details and shapes.  You can create a waist with a belt, or go without in a tunic or loose or tiered styles.

H Shape

Don’t emphasize your waist with seams, waist bands or deatails.  Instead highlight your empire line – that circumference just below your bust which is your narrowest point on your torso. Alternatively look for styles that fall straight through your body with shaped seaming but no waist detail. Body con styles can work well too.

X Shape

Highlight your waist and shape with fit and flare styles.  From wrap dresses to 50s style.

8 Shape

Highlight your waist but keep the skirts straight rather than flared (unlike the X Shape which looks great in the fit and flare), alternatively find body con styles which were made for your shape.  But if you want you can do the 50s style gathered waist or circle style.

O Shape

Keep your dresses clear of detail through the middle, if you need a seam for shaping, only have on at the empire point just below the bust, but ensure that there aren’t gathers below the bust (baby doll) as it will make you look pregnant.  Alternatively look for twist or tie details just below the bust that gather then fall smoothly over your tummy.

V Shape

Halternecks can be fabulous on you showing off your gorgeous shoulders, but avoid any puffed sleeves or extra shoulder details which will further broaden your shoulders.  Unless you have a defined waist, avoid waist detail on your dresses, instead go for tunic styles or empire that flare and balance your shoulders.

A Shape

Look for puffed sleeves or shoulder detail to balance your hips.  Fit and flare styles work well on you as they fall over your curves and create a gorgeous feminine shape.

What are your favourite hot weather clothes?

whats my body shape


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  • Deja – right now I feel like a wet dishrag – it’s 43 degrees and I’ve been driving round in my car, which currently has no air conditioning as it’s run out of gas, and it’s showing! I’m now going out to jump in the pool.

  • As I hate summer and heat there is no clothes that can make me feel cool and stylish. But, I do a lot of linen trousers and flouncy skirts.

  • I love everything you’ve chosen Imogen, but what about the lady who chooses not to show her arms? Are we doomed to sweat forever in a cardi?!!

  • I couldn’t agree more, Imogen. When it’s hot and sticky, I want a loose, sleeveless, cotton dress … nothing more! Those are some gorgeous options you’ve picked out, there.

  • I go sleeveless when it’s in the 30C-range, even though my arms aren’t toned- loose dresses or a skirt and shell. Ditto the complaint that linen wrinkles- it’s supposed to!

  • I hate the hot season in L.A. There’s nothing you can layer, jewelry is too hot, and wearing just one dress or shorts and a shirt just doesn’t make one feel stylish at all. Here, it’s all in the shoes and sunglasses.

  • I love the dresses and I wear them as often as I can, as well as maybe a jersey skirt and tee. My dilemma is this; Because I am a curvy body shape, I guess in your terminology an X, loose things don’t flatter me.

    I also am at a loss for cute and stylish shoes to wear with dresses and skirts like these while I am out walking miles and miles in the heart sighstseeing. I don’t feel that flats look good on me, I am 5’5″ and I think they make me look dumpy. Any suggestions for shoes?

  • La Belette – I can’t do linen – refuse to iron all the time!

    Cybill – when it’s this hot – do you really have to cover? Otherwise, choose something with a floaty sleeve that doesn’t constrict (and hold in the heat).

    Sal – thanks – though I imagine right now it’s pretty hard for you to even imagine being this hot!

  • Duchesse – yes – go sleeveless – is it a crime to show the world your upper arms? Where are those upper arm police?

    Karen – I do still wear earrings, and definitely sunglasses. Shoes I stick to strappy flatish sandals, or thongs (that’s flip flops not underwear in our parlance) with beading. When I’m home I’m barefoot the whole time.

    Christina Lee – I and will imagine it being nice and cold!

    Julianne – when I’m out walking (sightseeing) in summer, I wear flatish sandals – I have some that are pretty comfortable to walk around in. There are some brands around that are not frumpy that have some style. You probably just need to try lots on to find what suits your foot shape.

    Seeker – thanks so much for coming by!

  • Thank you Imogen! I just love this blog. You always put together the greatest outfits, and your posts are always something I have been thinking about.

  • Cat – I will definitely give it a red hot go!

    Andrea – today it’s 45.1 degrees – I bet you’re not dreaming of that!

    Julianne – thanks so much – any time you’d like something in particular answered, just let me know.

  • I’m planning a trip back to my home state (Arizona) in a couple months, and while it won’t be as sweltering out there in March as it is right now “down under”, I’m sure it will be positively tropical compared to the recent -28F (-34C) (!!) temperatures here in Maine. I’m working on a spring/summer wardrobe for the trip and will definitely be including some of the styles you posted.

    PS – Have recently set up a Polyvore account after seeing all the wonderful sets you’ve put together. So much fun!

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