How to Wear Dresses as a Curvy Woman

COnfident Plus Size Woman Walking

Many plus-size women stay away from dresses- but they shouldn't! This is how to shop for and rock a dress as a curvy woman.

The days of frumpy dresses and unflattering tops are over. Dressing for your body type is more than only choosing the right sizes. It's also about choosing pieces that are flattering and highlighting your best features.

This can often be a difficult task when you're curvy because not all curvy bodies are built the same. Only shopping in the curvy or plus-size clothing section doesn't always work.

Figuring out what looks good on your body as a curvy woman is the key to feeling good in your clothes and creating outfits you love to wear. Use these tips to help you find the perfect dress for a curvy woman.

Figure Out the Way You Curve

It goes without saying that every body is different. Two women can weigh the same and still have bodies that look nothing alike. The first key to looking great in clothes is understanding the way your body curves.

Knowing the way you curve will give you the base information you need to understand areas you want to highlight or hide and, therefore, which styles of clothes will look best on your body.


Those with an hourglass figure are curvy in the hips and the bust with a smaller waist, similar to the shape of an hourglass timepiece. The torso and leg lengths also tend to be pretty balanced for hourglass figures. 


Also referred to as a triangle, this body type has a thinner upper body with larger hips and thighs. This can mean small breasts or narrow shoulders. Waists in these body types often gradually widen as they near the hips.


Women with athletic body types tend to have narrow hips and wider shoulders. For many, their hips aren't well-defined, often running into the waist. On the upper body, shoulders are broad, and breasts can be on the smaller side. 


Round body shapes carry most of their weight in the midsection around the stomach and waist. The torso can be shorter, legs might be slimmer, and the waist more undefined. Round body types might also have flatter backsides.

Or Some Combination

It's important to remember that these aren't cut-and-dry body types. Not every woman will fit neatly into one category. Your body might have a combination of two or more of the body types. That's why this is only a starting point rather than an absolute rule.

What Features Do You Want to Highlight?

After figuring out your body type, you should ask what features you want to highlight or hide. Knowing which of your features you want to highlight will also help you know what pieces to look for.


Highlight your breast with lower necklines like V-necks and plunge necklines. Halter tops and spaghetti straps can show off your decolletage. And form-fitting tops can also feature your upper body. Loose clothing and high necks will hide your breast.


If you want to draw attention to your waist, you'll want to look for clothes that cinch in at your natural waist, are form-fitting or tight, or have belted details that highlight your waist. Loose and babydoll dresses are the best way to hide your waist.


Show off your legs with tighter dresses that cling to your legs. Shorter lengths will highlight the leg and thighs. But tight, mid-length dresses can add some length when you're trying to highlight your lower body. Looser fitting and flowing clothing will hide your legs.


Give your behind a boost with tighter-fitting clothing. Tighter lengths that extend mid-thigh or lower won't cut your butt at a weird location and can give the appearance of lift.

Pick the Right Silhouette

When it comes to choosing flattering dresses, it's all about picking the right silhouette. With your body type and which features you want to highlight in mind, you can choose the dress style that will best compliment your body.

A-Line Dresses

What many people love about A-line dresses is that it creates an hourglass shape on any body. These dresses are fitted throughout the top and torso before flaring out around the hips and legs. 

A-line dresses look great on every body type and shape. These dresses come in a variety of styles, with higher or lower necklines and a variety of sleeve styles. Wrap dresses are also a popular kind of a-line dress.

Empire Waist Dresses

Empire waists are similar to a-line, but instead of sitting at the natural waist like a-line dresses, empire waist dresses sit right below the bust. These are a great style that helps draw attention up, which can be beneficial for pear, round, and athletic body shapes.

This style of dress comes in various lengths, including mini and maxi dresses. They can also have a variety of necklines, either higher or lower. Look for flowing fabrics that won't cling to the body.

Straight Dresses

Casual and put-together, straight dresses always exude effortless style. However, they don't have a defined waistline, so they're not always best for showing off or highlighting features.

Athletic and round body types where shoulders are a similar or wider width than hips and waist can benefit from a straight dress. 

Fitted Dresses

For anyone who wants to show off their curves, fitted dresses are the answer. These dresses are tight and fit to the body, often hugging every curve. They can feature high or low necklines and long or short hemlines.

Casual, dressy, and cocktail, you can find a fitted dress for nearly every occasion. 

Dresses Aren't Off Limits for a Curvy Woman

Despite what some people and some brands may think, you should hide your curves under shapeless dresses. You should highlight and flaunt them, show them off in clothes that flatter and fit you.

Shopping as a curvy woman might take a little more effort, but it shouldn't limit your choices. Knowing how to dress to flatter your body and the right pieces to pick out is key to creating a stylish wardrobe.

Want to show off all your curves? Browse our selection of dresses that are made for women in all bodies, no matter the occasion.