How to Look Your Best in Spring's Most Flattering Dresses
Dressing for your figure is one of fashion's biggest challenges. Whether your body type is athletic like Kerry Washington, lean, curvy, petite, boyish or busty, we've compiled a collection of dresses that will fit your shape perfectly and stay on-trend for this season. Click through the gallery for tips on how to wear the frocks, flatter your figure, and truly look your best.
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Kerry Washington: Athletic
Kerry Washington's fit frame is among some of the most enviable on the red carpet. It seems that the Scandal star can wear anything and she looks simply amazing. If you have an athletic body type like the actress, stick to dresses with minimalistic and architectural structures, but don't be afraid to risks here and there, like Washington did in this cutout Prada gown.
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Shop the Look: Athletic
This brightly hued cocktail dress with side cutouts from Topshop will give athletic types a more structured, curvy shape.
Why You Should Wear It The A-line shape of the skirt leaves plenty to the imagination, while the side cutouts show your definition with a bit of bare skin.
For those of you who are a bit on the lean side (and perhaps tall on top of that) look to Girls star Allison Williams for a bit of style inspiration. The actress is always impeccably dressed in classy pieces, like this fitted number by Naeem Khan, which is fashion-forward, flattering, and appropriate for both a day at the office and a night on the town. Don’t be afraid of prints, which add a bit of depth to your slender frame and won't overpower you.
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Shop the Look: Lean
Not unlike Williams’ black-and-white Naeem Khan dress, the delicate floral pattern on this Ann Taylor dress engages the eye, while the belted waist adds definition to your figure. Plus, the more voluminous cut of the silhouette provides a different approach to flattering a lean frame.
Why You Should Wear It The bell shape of the skirt plumps up your hips, while the short cut allows you to show off the length of your legs.
Actress Salma Hayek has become as famous for her sensual curves as she has for knowing how to dress them. For a curvier figure, try dresses that stick to one or two colors—like Hayek’s white lace overlay on her sleeveless LBD. The shape should be one that cinches in at the waist, and in a style that hits right below the knee, which is especially flattering for all figures.
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Shop the Look: Curvy
The illusion neckline on this Kamalikulture fit-and-flare frock will help minimize your bust, but the sheer black fabrication still lends the look plenty of sexiness.
Why You Should Wear It The fitted waist and flared skirt will hug your curvy frame in just the right places, while the polka dot pattern is playful and also camouflages any imperfections.
Michelle Williams often decks out her petite frame in ultra-feminine sundresses that recall a more youthful aesthetic (a perfect example is this Giambattista Valli dress she wore to a film premiere). If you have a petite shape, follow her lead and try your hand at wearing girly, flowery looks—and don’t shy away from layers, mixed textures, and bright colors.
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Shop the Look: Petite
A lacy peplum goes a long way in making a romantic statement and filling out a petite frame. Try this Milly dress with flats and a cropped blazer for a daytime look, and with heels and a statement necklace for instant nighttime glamor.
Why You Should Wear It The lace peplum directs the eye to your small waist, while the circle neckline adds definition to your shoulders and upper arms.
The unique pairing of a floral pattern against a black-and-white striped background nods to two of the season’s biggest trends—graphic black and white, and modern floral—while the tie belt adds definition and a sophisticated touch.
Why You Should Wear It The long vertical black stripes elongate your frame while the billowing structure of the silk doesn't give too much away.
Rooney Mara, who rocketed to fame with her butt-kicking role in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, is known for being equally courageous with her wardrobe choices. Her slender, boyish frame is often graced with creations by designers like Alexander McQueen, including this gorgeous pearl-embroidered white ruffled frock she wore to the New York premiere of her psychological thriller Side Effects. If you have a similarly boyish figure, don’t be afraid to change it up, and often: your narrow frame gives you a lot of freedom when it comes to silhouettes.
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Shop the Look: Boyish
Prabal Gurung’s lower-priced line for Target doesn’t sacrifice any of the designer’s trademark fashion-forward aesthetic.
Why You Should Wear It This modern floral print adds definition to the waist and bust while the drop-waist adds shape near the hips.
Christina Hendricks has earned accolades not only for her skillful acting chops on AMC's hit drama Mad Men, but also for her ample bosom. Her curvy figure also lends itself so well to the vintage clothes carefully chosen by the show's costume designer, Janie Bryant. Women with large busts can look to her example when choosing dresses for spring, focusing on modest v-necks that show just enough skin, narrowed waists, and flared hemlines.
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Shop the Look: Large Bust
An alternative take on the v-neck, this Oasis shift dress with cutout detailing near the shoulders draws just the right amount of attention to the bust area.
Why You Should Wear It The fitted waist and slight flare on the skirt will give you a classical silhouette that highlights your most ample attribute.