Master of the red carpet Tadashi Shoji, whose showstopping designs have dazzled on Christina Hendricks, Mindy Kaling, and Octavia Spencer (above, at the 2014 Emmy awards) shares his fit-flattering tips for nailing a party look.
1. Get into your coverage comfort zone.
Prefer to leave a little more to the imagination? Say hello to cap sleeves. "Look for ones that have a slight flare to give an overall V-shape illusion," advises Shoji. Or, he says, opt for elbow length: It still appears youthful while directing the focus to a gorgeous cuff or artsy mani. In lieu of a plunging front, try a loose crew or boat neck. Just don't choose a super-high style—that's a one-way ticket to frumpytown. "You want to show even the tiniest bit of shoulder," he says.
2. Play with pattern.
Polyester-nylon dress (above), $688 (14Q – 24Q); tadashishoji.com.
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3. Accentuate—or create—a waist.
Cotton-blend dress (above), $328 (1X – 3X); tadashishoji.com.