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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Camilla Ridley, known as Millie to her friends, founded her eponymous label with one aim; to capture the quality and quintessentially British style of the clothes of her childhood and give it a contemporary twist for women and children today. Her capsule collections of women’s and children’s clothing are all designed and made in the UK using the finest natural fabrics. Fuss free and delightfully pretty Millie Manu creates clothes for relaxation rather than work; for adventures in the great outdoors and lazy summer holidays. These are good quality, simple but attractive clothes designed to be worn with ease.

Millie Manu use Liberty print silks to give their pieces a distinctly British feel; this is clothing that takes the best of British design and gives it a modern wearable twist. The brand sticks to breezy flattering cuts and designs meaning that even the most intricate print does not overwhelm the wearer. This is clothing that can be simple thrown on and paired with jeans, leggings or trainers; Millie Manu’s clothing is not hard to wear rather it fits snugly into a laid back, relaxed wardrobe. These are clothes that any woman can wear with ease and yet they are still very attractive; comfortable clothing is notorious for being unstylish but Millie Manu’s pieces are charmingly feminine and pretty.  These are comfortable but stylish pieces that are versatile enough for everyday wear.

Millie Manu’s founder set out to create clothes that reminded her of her childhood and there is certainly something very nostalgic about the brand’s pieces. The brand’s uncomplicated fuss free style easily recalls the simple, pretty dresses of one’s childhood. Yet for all the brand’s nostalgic, childlike charm their designs are also contemporary and up to date. Millie Manu’s clothes may remind you of the past but they will also last well into the future.

Hannah Balsdon

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Anami and Janine met at Portobello market and, inspired by a mutual love of vintage fashion, founded their eponymous label in 2005. The label’s dresses are feminine, romantic and flattering; these are dresses designed to suit women of all shapes and sizes. Featuring bold, kooky eye-catching prints Anami and Janine’s pieces are utterly unique and yet perfectly wearable; this is individual, almost eccentric fashion that every women can buy into. Far removed from the formulaic, identical summer dresses often found on the high street and elsewhere Anami and Janine’s clothes have a liveliness, vitality and confidence that makes them ideal for independent dressers. In essence this is attractive, vintage inspired fashion for women with a taste for the dramatic and a love of unique print.

Anami and Janine’s spring/summer 2014 collection features maxi dresses, kaftans and their signature wrap dresses. This summer the brand uses striking prints in four different colours; cream, green blue and black. This simplicity gives the dresses a certain sense of longevity and durability; these are not dresses for just this summer but for many summers to come. Anami and Janine may not pay too much attention to seasonal trends but for all their classic vintage style the brand’s designs still have a contemporary feel. These are dresses that could fit quite easily into a modern, style conscious wardrobe and, more importantly, a modern lifestyle; an Anami and Janine dress could take you from office to bar, from weekday to weekend.  The restrained yet form fitting design of Anami and Janine’s garments imbues them an appealing versatility; these are dresses that can be styled in many different ways and worn in a variety of situations.

Anami and Janine make dresses for women looking for something a little different; something unique yet wearable and feminine. Their dresses combine both a playful kookiness with an attractive sophisticated sensuality. In short Anami and Janine make dresses with personality.

Hannah Balsdon

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London based brand SILKLIS specialises in timeless, luxurious silk garments and accessories. Silk is the ultimate luxury fabric and SILKLIS source only the best quality silk from South East Asia, a region with hundreds of years of silk weaving experience. SILKLIS’ creations are designed to last, to be loved and worn time and time again. This is not fast throwaway clothing but beautifully crafted products designed to outlast the current whims of fashion. Yet for all their attention to quality and durability SILKLIS still ensure that each of their designs is modern, stylish and easy to wear In short SILKLIS create contemporary but long lasting luxury fashion made of and inspired by one of the world’s most desirable materials.

For Spring/Summer 2014 SILKLIS present a collection full of chic easy to wear dresses, feminine shirts and tops as well as elegant lace skirts. The obligatory summer floral prints do make an appearance but in a restrained, up to date way. The varying forms of silk used by the brand give their pieces a fluidity and coolness that seems ideal for the warm summer months.

SILKLIS’ designs range from floaty, positively bohemian maxi dresses to simple, work worthy  tops and bright floral print dresses; silk lovers of all persuasions should be able to find a SILKILS piece to suit them. Fuss free but elegant and feminine all of SILKLIS’ clothes are designed with the modern style conscious dresser in mind. There are clothes here to take you from boardroom to bar, clothes that can be worn on city streets or sandy beaches; essentially SILKLIS’s have a silky garment for almost any occasion.

By specialising in one material SILKLIS show what a versatile fabric silk actually is; silk is not just for fancy lingerie or formal evening attire rather it can be worn in almost any situation.  SILKLIS’ silk garments could, it seems, add a little touch of luxury to any wardrobe.

Hannah Balsdon

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