How to Find the Best-Fitting Maxi Dress for Every Body Type

How to Find the Best-Fitting Maxi Dress for Every Body Type
Sarah Balch for InStyle.com

The maxi dress is a staple in every woman's wardrobe. The silhouette's most loveable qualities include it's extreme level of comfort, it's ability to stun for both daytime and evening events, and it's easy-to-wear shape—but, fit is key. Below, we dish on all the tips you need to know to find the most figure-flattering maxi dress for you. 

Shop the style above: Diane von Furstenberg, $598; shopbop.com

If you have a large bust...

1. Opt for either a fitted maxi or a wrap style to define your waistline. Without this cinched-in silhouette, you may look bigger than you actually are. 

2. Step away from strapless choices and find a maxi with a higher neckline, like slight v's, boat necks, which will prevent displaying too much cleavage (over-exposure never looks good!). Opt for styles with thicker straps, too, as this will accommodate wearing a bra. 

3. Keep it simply by avoiding ruffles and pleats, which can add fullness to existing curves. 

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Shop the Styles (from left): BCBG Max Azria, $398; bcbg.com. A.L.C., $459; intermixonline.com, Coast, $180; coast-stores.com

If you have a small bust...

1. Embrace your small cup size and try silhouettes with deep-diving necklines and open backs. 

2. If you want to add to what you've got, look for a maxi that features molded cups with ruched details. This will create the illusion of a larger bust. 

3. Wear a two-toned column to distract the eye from the chest. 

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Shop the Styles (from left): H&M, $50; hm.comMM6 Maison Margiela, $410; net-a-porter.com. Zara, $70; zara.com.  

RELATED: 7 Sizzling Summer Evening Looks for Plus-Size Women

If you're curvy...

1. Look for a dress that skims (not clings) to your form—an empire waist silo is ideal. 

2. Go for thicker straps or strapless—thin straps can dig into your shoulders. 

3. Seek out bold prints. Large scale florals are a lot more flattering than tiny floral motifs.

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Shop the Styles (from left): Carmakoma, $155; carmakoma.com. Maurices, $49; maurices.com. Boden, $138.

If you're petite and curvy...

1. Wear a skinny belt right above your to elongate your bottom half.

2. Choose maxi dresses with an A-line or empire waist for a flattering look.

3. Try vertical prints and stripes to move the eye downward.

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Shop the Styles (from left): Gap, $80; gap.com. Karen Millen, $499; karenmillen.comScotch & Soda, $103; scotch-soda.com

RELATED: Petite? Here's Why Croptops Should Be Your BFF

If you're petite and slender...

1. Seek out a curve-hugging silhouette to help elongate your frame. Maxi dresse with a simple waist detail will help to accentuate your barely-there curves. 

2. The more skin you show, the better! Spaghetti straps or a square neckline will show the most skin and create the illusion of a longer frame. 

3. Simple prints are the way to go. A solid color or something subdued won’t overwhelm your tiny figure. 

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Shop the Styles (from left): Intermix, $350; intermixonline.comTopshop, $38; topshop.com. Mango, $100; mango.com

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