The most flattering summer dress styles for your body shape

·5 min read
Here's the summer dress shapes to know about. (Getty Images)
Here's the summer dress shapes to know about. (Getty Images)

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The phrase "dress for your body shape" has always been thrown around by stylists and fashion experts, but for many of us it's easier said than done. 

Even if you know what your body shape is (and for many of us, it isn't always clear), it can still be hard to figure out what the best styles are for your frame. 

However, once you have figured it out, putting together a flattering look becomes uber-simple, and so we thought it high time we got to grips with which shapes suit which summer styles. 

"Finding clothes that fit and flatter your body shape is one of the most important parts when shopping, but it can be a challenge," explains TV celebrity stylist, Lalla Bronshtein

"Knowing your body shape makes it easy and fun when finding clothing, and it is an overall confidence boost when we find the right clothes for our figure."

As we head towards summer, more and more of us are turning to dresses, whether we're heading for an alfresco pub dinner, popping to the shops or logging in to our umpteenth Zoom meeting. 

After a year inside, we don't want to look anything but our best as we head out, so we asked Bronshtein to share her insider tips on the summer dress silhouettes most flattering for various body shapes.

The summer dresses most flattering for your body shape

The Apple Figure

What is an apple figure: If you have an apple-shaped body, then your body is "top heavy," meaning you have a wider torso, broader shoulders, and a fuller bust, waist, and upper back. 

Bronshtein suggests: "The key is to look for a knee length shift dress as they flow over your stomach, showing off your legs and balancing out your top half.

"A dress with an empire line is also flattering for those with an apple body shape, as it's cut and hangs from under the bust."

Bronshtein's top pick: White Stuff Pure Linen Knee Length Shift Dress | £59 from Marks & Spencer

(Marks & Spencer)
(Marks & Spencer)

Why we rate it: This simple style is both comfortable and breezy, perfect for lounging around at home, heading to the park or pairing with boots for an edgy day-time look.

The Hourglass Figure

What is an hourglass figure: If your hips and bust are nearly equal in size and you have a well-defined waist that's narrower than both, you have an hourglass shape. 

Bronshtein suggests: "For an hourglass figure, look for a summer dress that follows your body shape and helps to flatter your curves, while keeping your silhouette in proportion." 

Bronshtein's top pick: Livia Linen Maxi Dress Blue | £58.80 (Was £98) from Boden


Why we rate it: A fitted maxi dress never goes out of style and works in all weathers, add a jumper and tights when it's colder and, in the warmer months, simply throw on a pair of sandals and you're good to go.

The Inverted Triangle Figure

What is an inverted triangle figure: Broader shoulders than hips, with little to no waist definition. The body follows the shape of a “V”, and shoulders may be straighter or squared.

Bronshtein suggests: "A halter neckline midi dress looks beautiful on the inverted triangle shape, as it has a slimming effect on the upper body, while showing off shapely shoulders and toned arms."

"A dress, like the one from Boden below, suits this body shape well, as it draws attention to the collar bone and also supports a wide range of bust sizes, as well as eliminating the need for a necklace."

Bronshtein's top pick: Tori Midi Dress | £130 from Boden


Why we rate it: Perfect for both a holiday wardrobe and warmer days in the city, a halter neck is an easy way to add a sultry, sexy feel to any outfit.

The Pear Figure

What is a pear figure: Ccharacterised by larger hips which are wider than the bust and shoulders. Other characteristics of this body shape are a defined waist, and proportionately slimmer arms and shoulders.

Bronshtein suggests: "An A-line midi dress that fits at the waist before flaring out over your hips, complementing the upper body well, making it the perfect summer sundress for the pear shape figure."

Bronshtein's top pick: Zimmermann riders ruffled floral print linen midi dress | £595 from Net-A-Porter


Why we rate it: Not only does an A-line dress feel immediately chic, the simple shape also leaves you free to play with colour, pattern and material.

The Rectangle Figure

What is a rectangle figure: This body shape is characterised by equal measurements across the bust, waist and hips.‍ People with this body shape tend to be tall and lean, with less definition around the waist. 

Bronshtein suggests: "Nearly every type of dress will complement the rectangle body frame, but a puff-sleeved midi-dress in particular is very flattering to the figure and the skirt will create an illusion of an hourglass silhouette shape."

Bronshtein's top pick: Nobody's Child Organic Cotton Floral Tiered Smock Dress | £39 from Marks & Spencer

(Marks & Spencer)
(Marks & Spencer)

Why we rate it: The puff sleeve is very on-trend at the moment and gives a whimsical, feminine feel to any piece.

Watch: Sustainable wardrobe essentials

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