Look for: A silhouette that is neither boxy nor tight. A dress is most flattering when it skims the outline of the body. Dark colors hide the midsection, while a bold neckline or hem—like the color-block one here—directs focus away from the stomach, says Joe Katz, a Los Angeles–based fashion expert.
Avoid: Flimsy jersey, cotton, or silk, which will highlight every bump, says Adam Yankauskas, the design director for Maggy London.
To buy: Max Mara dress, $650, 212-879-6100. Simply Vera Wang hematite necklace, $69, kohls.com. DKNY tights, $15, bloomingdales.com for stores.
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For a Tummy
To buy: Maggy London rayon-polyester dress with tummy-hiding pleats, $138, nordstrom.com for stores.
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For a Tummy
To buy: Magaschoni stretch-wool dress, $438, magaschoni.com (available end of September).
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For a Tummy
To buy: Chico’s polyester-blend dress, $139, chicos.com.
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If You Have a Large Bust
Look for: Vertical or diagonal darts (horizontal seams rarely line up at the center of each breast) to provide shaping. “Slightly A-line cuts help balance proportions,” says Yankauskas.
Avoid: Chest pockets or ruffles that make you look more top-heavy, says Jennifer Oppenheimer, a Chicago-based stylist.
To buy: Michael Michael Kors polyester-blend dress, $134, 866-709-5677 for stores.
Look for: A shift dress with some detailing, whether it’s pleating, darts, a pattern, or a low neckline, to add curves and definition to the figure.
Avoid: Plain styles that are too stiff or loose—or you’ll look as if you’re wearing a paper bag.
To buy: Pendleton Portland Collection wool dress with roomy side pockets, $198, pendleton-usa.com for stores.
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For a Straight Figure
To buy: Diane von Furstenberg polyester-blend dress, $365, dvf.com (available in blue and red only).
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2 Shift Dress Problems Solved
“I Want to Look Sleek in My Shift”
That’s easy—just slip on a body shaper. Even though a shift dress does not hug the body, it does have a fairly straight cut, and that can exaggerate your curves, says fashion expert Joe Katz. Wearing shapewear underneath creates a smoother, slimmer profile, with the benefit of no-jiggle support. Depending on what your problem areas are, you’ll be well covered with one of these styles.
To streamline all over: Maidenform Fat Free Dressing slip dress, $43, maidenform.com.