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Prom 2017: Choose the Perfect Dress…for Your Shape!

According to the famous fashion designer Givenchy, “The dress must follow the body of the woman, not the body following the shape of the dress.” If that’s true for high fashion, then it’s equally true for prom gowns. You may be dieting or working out, and that will make you look all the better. Still, your body shape is your body shape—there’s no getting around it. What is around are dresses designed for all body types including yours. So let’s forget about size and talk about style and help you choose the perfect dress to fit your particular taste and your particular shape!

One Unbending Rule: Comfort First!

Whether you’re tall or petite, curvy or thin, there are only a handful of women who fit perfectly in each individual body shape category. Everyone is a mix of 2 or more shapes. One woman may want to make her waist appear smaller, while another would rather choose a dress that shows off her shoulders or her back.

But whatever your goal for your dress, do not choose a gown that’s restricting. If the dress isn’t comfortable, you’re not going to look good in it. You won’t breathe right, you won’t feel comfortable moving around the way want and need to, and the dress honestly won’t look good on you because discomfort shows first in the face.

So no matter how much you love a dress, if it’s restricting and can not be easily and quickly let out in the place that binds, put it back on the rack and keep looking.

That having been said, let’s take a look at those classic shapes so you can get an idea of where to start to pick a dress that’ll look gorgeous on you.


The hourglass, which is sometimes considered “the classic feminine” shape, means having a very defined waist in proportion to your shoulders and hips. The best dresses for an hourglass are those with a sweetheart neckline, a halter to accent your bust and shoulders, A-line dresses if you want a smoother look, or mermaid cuts to hug your figure.

For an over the top high fashion look, choose a curvy, clingy mermaid dress:


Did you know that this is the preferred body type for fashion models? Why? Because they’re easiest to fit! This body type is also sometimes called “banana” after women like Meryl Davis, the ice dancer, because it’s often the build of athletic and sporty girls.

Your fashion “challenge” is to create a smaller waist, so widen your shoulders with halter tops or cut-out shoulders and add a fuller skirt to give a nice curve to your hips:

For a high fashion runway look, choose a cutout detail at the waist with a broader shoulder line and a skirt that hugs your hips and then flares below the knee:

Spoon/Pear Shape

Your fashion challenge will be to play up your small waist and perhaps do a little something to minimize your hips if you wish.

You can balance your shape with a dress that has a bodice cut to create a broader shoulder line and also has a lot of decorative detail to draw the eye up, and then is looser at the hip:

For a high fashion look, choose a dress with a high halter neckline and cut out arms with lots of bodice detail but a very simple, flowing skirt:

Apple/Cone/V-Shape/Inverted Triangle

Another common body type among athletic women and some fashion models is the apple or cone shape. It’s also known as the inverted triangle. The shoulders often take center stage because they’re sometimes a bit muscular. The trick is always to balance your shoulders with your hips.

You can choose a style that shows off your gorgeous shoulders but still brings fullness to your hips by pairing a solid bodice in a dark color with a bright skirt that’s curvy:

For your high fashion look, if you want to take it totally over the top, wear a mermaid dress that downplays your shoulders with a light, neutral or flesh tone (because they’re already beautifully broad and balanced) but with a dramatic skirt with a lot of color and pattern for drama and curves:

So there you have a basic primer for dresses for your body type but remember: You are not a cardboard cutout. You’re a real girl, so you’re a mix of real body types. Don’t be afraid to try something new and move a little outside your “classic” dress recommendations—but not too far. Why not? Because of that unbreakable rule: Comfort First!

The most important thing when choosing a dress is how it makes you feel when you look in the mirror. Your prom gown should give you a confidence boost by highlighting your body’s shape, accenting your best features, playing down whatever part of your body you’re not totally in love with, and in general, making you look and feel fabulous!

Never, ever settle—the perfect dress for you is out there. We promise!

When it comes to choosing shoes that are comfortable for prom, check out this guide: https://sparkleprom.com/blog/how-to-choose-prom-shoes-you-can-really-dance-in/