Best Dress Silhouettes for Plus-Size Bodies?

Posted by baker miller

Have you ever flipped through your favorite magazine or shopped your favorite clothing site and been confused about certain dress silhouettes and how they are different?

There are so many different dress styles out there. What is the difference between a shift and a sheath dress? An A-line and fit & flare dress? A shirtdress and a wrap dress?

Today’s blog post breaks down some of the more well-known and popular dress styles and what makes them unique. We will also go over what dress silhouettes best complement your body shape.

Most often, the dress silhouette that works best for you is the one that mirrors your body shape. Understanding your body type can help you dress your beautiful figure and accentuate your assets. When dressing your body shape, you want to create a silhouette of balance and equal proportions.

Keep in mind that the guidelines below are just a starting point on how to dress for your body shape, not hard and fast rules. Each body is unique, and every dress fits and is cut differently. Ultimately, the dress that makes you feel great is the right dress for you, regardless of the shape.


baker miller plus-size shift dress

    Shift dresses have an uncomplicated, straight up-and-down silhouette. The width of the dress is the same at the knee as at the bust, giving it a boxy fit. The dress simply falls straight down from your shoulders and glides over your bust, hips, and waist.

    The style isn’t fitted, so it is forgiving and comfortable to wear. Shift dresses are often short and therefore highlight your legs.

    Best for these body types:

    • Rectangle - the shift dress reflects the body shape of the straight body, so it looks great on this figure

    • Apple - flattering because of the looser fit over the midsection

    • Hourglass and Inverted Triangle - contrary to what you might think, the shift dress also works for these body shapes. Look for dresses that flare out to the hem - this balances out the proportions of a larger bust and smaller waist of Hourglasses and broader shoulders of Inverted Triangles.

    Shop our comfortable and effortless shift dress.

      Fit & Flare

      baker miller plus-size fit & flare dress

      Fit & flare dresses are fitted through the bodice and then flare out starting at the waistline. Fit & flare and A-line dresses are often confused, but the fit & flare has a more voluminous skirt.

      Best for these body types:

      Similar to the A-line, this waist-accentuating style flatters almost all body types.

      • Hourglass - the fit & flare mirrors the Hourglass silhouette, so it’s a perfect fit for this shape
      • Apple and Rectangle - the cinching at the waist provides a more defined waistline
      • Pear - the fuller skirt skims over your hips and bottom
      • Inverted Triangle - the flared skirt helps to fill out your lower body to balance your wider shoulders

      Shop our charming and versatile fit & flare dress.


        baker miller plus-size wrap dress

          Wrap dresses are dresses that the wearer wraps around herself and secures by tying at the waist. The dress usually has a V-neckline and an A-line fit at the bottom.

          Best for these body types:

          The wrap dress is universally flattering, another winner for most women.

          • Hourglass, Apple, Pear, or Rectangle - this dress hugs your curves and enhances or creates a natural waist, which has a balancing effect on your overall silhouette
          • Inverted Triangle - the elongating v-neckline makes your chest seem longer instead of wider

          Shop our sophisticated and figure-flattering wrap dress.


          Not to be confused with shift, a sheath dress is form-fitting. This dress has a streamlined silhouette and hits at or just below the knee. It may have darts (tiny folds of fabric used to help shape the fabric of a garment to the contours of the body, most commonly seen in the bust area) or curve slightly inward at the waist.

          The dress fits closely through the body and is known for highlighting your curves but still maintains a classic, professional look. It’s a great choice to wear for work.

          Best for these body types:

          • Hourglass - the form-fitting cut accentuates your curves and shows off your waistline
          • Apple - the sheath dress can streamline your silhouette through the midsection and create a longer, slender frame
          • Rectangle - a sheath dress with a more defined waist can add the appearance of curves


          This dress is fitted to your waist and then flares out gradually towards the hem, revealing a silhouette like a capital letter. 

          A-line dresses are very similar to fit & flare dresses. They both are snug at the top and flare out at the bottom, but the flare on the A-line dress is more subtle than the fit-and-flare dress, which uses pleats or a defined waistline to create a fuller skirt.

          Best for these body types:

          A-line dresses offer a flattering fit for almost all body types. With its fitted waist and fuller bottom, this dress creates a slimming effect and appearance of a proportioned silhouette.

          • Hourglass - emphasizes your curves and highlights your waist
          • Apple and Inverted Triangle - the volume at the bottom adds balance to the larger top half of your body
          • Pear - the A-line draws eyes to the waist and away from the hips and bottom
          • Rectangle - the cinched waist adds the appearance of curves


          The shirtdress silhouette is influenced by the classic button-front shirt. This dress tends to have a collar and button-down front, an A-line bottom, and a belt to cinch the waist.

          The shirtdress has an easy fit through the body and skims over the bust, waist, and hips.

          Best for these body types:

          Because of its A-line silhouette, the shirtdress suits all body types.

          • Apple – the easy fit through the top provides balance for those with this shape
          • Pear – the A-line of the skirt helps balance the bottom
          • Rectangle and Inverted Triangle – belted shirtdresses are a great choice as it works on creating a more defined waistline


          The bodice of this dress cinches right under the bust and flows out to the hem. This design gives the wearer the appearance of having a higher waistline. This dress ends either at or below the knees or the ankle. 

          Best for these body types:

          • Pear - highlights the slimmest point of your figure, your bust, while the skirt falls away from your hips and butt, creating a more balanced frame
          • Apple - the higher waistline helps lengthen the upper body and torso to take attention away from the midsection
          • Rectangle - the empire silhouette gives the illusion of a high-defined waistline, giving you curves

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