Style is nothing without fit so choosing a perfect dress to complement your figure is important for looking great and feeling confident. Knowing your basic body shape will help you find flattering dresses that accentuate your features. Now that summer has arrived, it’s the perfect excuse to discover beautiful dresses for those summer days and evening soirees.

Take a look at our body shapes guide to help you pick the most flattering dresses to suit your silhouette.

Hourglass silhouette

If you have a fuller bust, rounded bottom and hips, and a small waist, you have the characteristics of an hourglass shape. For ladies that have this figure, experiment with a flattering dresses that contour your shape yet avoid bulk around your curves.

flattering dresses for every shape

To create a visual balance in your outfit:

  • Opt for a V-neck or scooping necklines
  • Try bold and block colours for contouring
  • Accentuate your waist with nipped in or belted styles
  • Avoid fussy styles, dropped sleeve lines and high necklines

Apple shapes

For ladies that have fullness around the middle, great legs and a rounder shoulder line, you have the characteristics of an apple shape. To style your shape, contour your bodyline and avoid detail around the tummy and hips.

flattering dresses for every shape

To create a visual balance in your look:

  • Opt for V-neck dresses to accentuate your chest area
  • Choose wrap dresses which are great for skimming waist and balancing shoulders
  • Wear a statement pendant offering a focal point
  • Avoid wearing belts and dresses above knee length

Pear silhouette

Full hip and thighs, a defined waist and smaller shoulders and bust area often outline this common shape. A great way to accentuate your features and balance your top and bottom half is to create broader shoulders.

flattering dresses for every shape

To create a visual balance with flattering dresses, try:

  • A-line skirts with volume at the hemline
  • Wrap dresses to balance your figure
  • Cap sleeve detailing to focus on shoulder area
  • Opt for V-necklines to accentuate chest area
  • Avoid dropped waistline, flared or ruffled sleeve lines and straight dress styles

Athletic or rectangle shapes

For ladies with an athletic shape, your figure may showcase a straight shoulder line, little waist definition and straight hip and bottom area. If you’d like definition in your silhouette, creating the illusion of curves is a great way to achieve a fantastic look.

flattering dresses for every shape

Create a visual balance with your style by:

  • Adding volume to your outfit with focal points
  • Experiment with prints and colour blocking
  • Wear waist clinching belts to emphasis figure
  • Avoid long, straight dress styles and shift dresses with square necklines
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Summer is one of the most difficult times of year to dress for. Though it’s a season of beautiful jersey dresses and bright colours, it’s also a season of being hot and uncomfortable. Luckily, with the right summer wardrobe knowledge it’s possible to have a wardrobe that’s stylish and leaves you feeling your best right through until autumn. That means no uncomfortably tight shorts, no painful sandals and no heavy fabrics that leave you a sweaty mess by lunchtime.

Rules for a Stylish and Comfortable Summer Wardrobe

Choose loose items and avoid tight-fitting dresses
It may sound simple, but many people underestimate the benefits of choosing loose fabrics for your summer wardrobe. Though it may be tempting to choose tighter items with little fabric with the theory that less clothing means you’ll stay cooler, this isn’t always the case. Loose linen trousers, flowy tops with big sleeves and oversized jersey dresses are comfortable and look great. Plus, you won’t be left with any unsightly sweat marks on those really hot days. The Robin Dress is a great example of how something that be looser in fit and still flattering. 

Robin Dress Summer Wardrobe

Opt for light fabrics over heavier alternatives
Just because something is in the summer section of your favourite store doesn’t mean it’ll make for a good addition to your wardrobe. A lot of summer clothing – formal tops and dinner dresses especially – are made using heavy fabric that hangs close to the body. Though they may tick all the boxes in terms of style, the chances are you won’t feel comfortable in the heat. Most trends will be available in summer-friendly fabrics if you shop around. The Blue Carmen Top and No Frills Pink Top are gorgeous additions for any summer wardrobe.

Carmen Top Summer Wardrobe

Remember, comfortable shoes can be stylish too!
Many of us hear the words ‘comfortable shoe’ and assume they’re going to be boring, plain and out of fashion; this is rarely the case. Take the Dina Salmon Sandals, they are brightly coloured and perfect for the summer months. A pair of well-fitting sandals should be a wardrobe staple for all women during the summer months. Not only do they look great with a variety of different outfits and looks, but they’re a much comfier option for long days out.Dina Sandals Summer Wardrobe

Don’t underestimate the versatility of a good pair of light trousers.
Light trousers look great regardless of age or event, it’s just a case of finding a pair that you feel great in. Nowadays, summer trousers are available in different styles, lengths and colours – so there’s something for everyone! They are perfect for getting your wardrobe ready for summer as they look great teamed with anything. These Lala White Culottes are a versatile pair that are perfect for keeping cool at garden parties or shopping trips with friends.Culottes Summer Wardrobe

Whether you’re looking for dresses for ascot or elegant dresses for work, don’t let the fact that it’s summer dishearten you. With a few staple pieces in the right type of fabric, you’ll find yourself with a great choice of stylish outfits that are as on trend as they are comfortable.

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The attire rules that a wedding guest has to abide by are perfectly simple 1) Don’t make it white, and 2) No outshining the bride. Two wedding guest dress rules that are so universal, they might as well come printed on the invitation. The first rule is easy to follow but there is something about number two that makes us rule-breakers. Maybe, it’s because daily life doesn’t offer enough fancy occasions to don heels and a frock. Whatever the reason, the struggle against the temptation to go big is real. This is why we are here to remind you that it’s still possible to be totally on form, while still making sure the bride shines the most.

Wedding Guest Dress Rules To Live By. . .

With our advice, you won’t get accused of thunder-stealing, but you will make a statement. Here are the ultimate things to consider when shopping for unusual guest wedding dresses:

Keep in mind: Florals

Wedding Guest Dress

Florals are always a formal go-to, which means it’s easy to fall out of love with them as they seem to be on a continual loop. Fact is, if you turn up in the same ditsy print dress as a fellow wedding guest, it’s going to be noticed. It’s unfortunate, as there is a place for a floral print at a wedding but the print has to be current, with an on-trend twist. Think of orchids, palm leaves, oversized prints and whimsical additions like peacock feathers and foliage.

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Keep in mind: Length and colour

Wedding Guest Dress

Whether you are shopping for a summer wedding guest dress, autumn or winter, remember that the time and location of the wedding will influence both the colour and length of the dress. More often than not, an evening-do requires a maxi-length and can lend itself much better to colour (like jewel shades) than a day-time wedding. Wearing too solid a colour during the day is distracting in photographs (ditto for too sombre black). However, that doesn’t mean you have to shroud yourself in pastels!  Instead of swaying to a deep colour pallet, look more at the chalk and dusty shades. These shades are famed for not washing out the skin tone but still letting you shine.

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Keep in mind: Pastels

Wedding guest dress We did just slay pastel shades but let us back up and say that they do have a time and place for weddings. If you are a romantic soul by nature, then it’s befitting that you might wear pastels. Or, if you are sporting a beautiful holiday tan, then seek out pastels to emphasis it – just be strategic and avoid shapes which might stand to get you confused as a bridesmaid.

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Keep in mind: It Doesn’t Have To Be A Dress

The minute that the wedding invitation arrives, almost all female wedding guests begin dreaming of dresses. Why not let yourself stand out from the wedding crowd by shopping from coordinates and one-pieces? Just take note that even if your abs are totally beach ready, a wedding is probably not the time to flaunt it – forgo the crop-top and don a jumpsuit!

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It’s true, as a guest the wedding day isn’t about you – but we think it’s fine to want to shine! Think classy and chic, and you’ll go a long way to looking (appropriately) fabulous in your wedding guest dress (or jumpsuit!). 

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Anna Stothard Winter 2016

I am an avid hoarder of autobiographical objects: of beer bottle tops, toy soldiers, dog eared books and shoes. I still own the black pencil skirt I bought in Bloomingdales, age sixteen, while falling in love with my first boyfriend. I own a pair of knee-high winter boots given to me on my eighteenth birthday, which walked me through a year of funerals, love affairs and friendships until the soles broke on a night bus between Clapham Junction and Swiss Cottage. Sunglasses from formative holidays, cocktail dresses from memorable evenings, stilettos from an awful break up. Like the protagonist in my most recent novel, The Museum of Cathy, each of these curated possessions represents a memory and tells a story.

My most precious piece of clothing is a silk patchwork ball dress with layers of voile under the skirt, which used to belong to my grandmother. It teeters somewhere between charmingly eccentric and really-quite-ugly, like what a Raggedy Ann doll might wear to a ballet recital. It’s knicker-flashing short at the front, long at the back, and sticks out like a tutu, but I love it.

My grandmother was hawk-eyed in a sale, so her wardrobe was full of eccentric bargains. As a badly dressed kid with birds nest curly hair and glasses often held together with tape, I used to love sneaking in there to touch her Ossie Clark jacket with red fabric buttons, her floor length Bill Gibb lace coat, her soft white silk blouses and odd cocktail dresses. “Vain trifles as they seem,” as Virginia Woolf writes in Orlando, clothes “change our view of the world and the world’s view of us.”

When my grandmother had the first of many subsequent strokes she began to pack away her daffodil yellow harem pants (unworn and with the label still attached), BIBA suede boots and perfumed cashmere. As her memories fell away, her high-necked Liberty dress with button cuffs no longer held meaning for her. It became complicated enough for her to keep the most basic sense of ‘self’, enough to be aware that she liked milk in her coffee and the smell of lavender, let alone think she might ever wake up one morning and be the sort of person who wears a purple velvet cap at a jaunty angle. So she gave it all away, putting much of it in boxes for me and my mother.

 

I adore all her clothes, but the ballgown somehow encapsulates her humour and sense of the absurd. I have worn it a few times, but mostly it’s a a memory object that sits, with a wink and a smile, in my wardrobe. Every time I see it I’m reminded of getting the giggles when she came back from a shopping expedition with it stuffed into a Waitrose bag (to avoid being found out by my grandfather), and tried to persuade me that a strapless pink patchwork ballgown would be a useful addition to the wardrobe of a gawky teenage girl who at the time mostly wore black jumpers and wanted to blend in.

“Nobody I know wears things like that,” I frowned, raising my hands reluctantly while she pulled a haze of bright pink over my head.

“You’ll love it one day,” she replied, doing up the zip with a flourish.

 

 

 

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Venetia Archer in Body Frock

Letitia Dress By Body Frock

Entrepreneur Venetia Archer had the idea for her beauty concierge app doing killer hours researching pirates as a risk analyst, and having absolutely no time to go and get her hair done. A positive dynamo, she showed off Body Frock’s latest capsule collection and some seriously good hair on a sunny afternoon in Chelsea.

If you had to list 3 must have items in your wardrobe what would they be?
Jeans. Cropped, long, ripped, coloured, all of the above! Plus a chic winter coat and that fail safe dress (mine is a treasured black Alaia).

Can you remember your first item of clothing that made you feel like a grown up? What was it?
A plastic pair of heels I received as a party gift when I was very small. I’ll never forget that moment, I thought I was absolute a bomb.

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Joanna Nude Lace Dress By Body Frock

Do you have any major style faux pas?
Yes! Early 2000s. Juicy couture, Von Dutch and Christian Dior. Labels everywhere, and so OTT.

Is there any piece of clothing you’ve always wanted to own? Why?
The Row did some black python leather leggings years ago and I have never forgotten them. Those, a white shirt and brand new all white Stan Smiths would make my dream outfit.

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Louisa Dress By Body Frock

Would you say you are a shoes or a bag girl?
Shoes. I tend only to wear an envelope clutch as a bag, whereas I love all sorts of shoes. I am a big fan of trainers (Gucci and Stan Smith), and Aquazzurra heels.

Do you have an all time favourite style purchase?
Yes. A Prada sea anemone bag. Its dark red, with hundreds of studded tassels coming off. It’s my sea treasure and I’ll never let it go.

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