Fashion Tips: Choosing The Right Cocktail Dress For Your Figure

Dress styles, cuts, and accessories that are most flattering for the following body shapes: pear, hourglass, boy shaped (no hips or waist), round (large tummy), and inverted triangle. Also, tricks for making any body shape look slimmer.

While you can't go wrong with the quintessential little black dress, you can make the most of your attributes by selecting a cocktail to enhance your figure, detracting the eye from your weak spots, and drawing attention to your assets. You can even use jewelry to draw the eye to the neckline and away from the body entirely. Follow along with our tips for selecting the perfect cocktail dress, regardless of your shape or size. When you're dressed to kill and you know it, you're free to relax and enjoy the occasion, spend time making merry with friends rather than wasting energy wondering how you look.

Body Shapes

Determine your body shape, and select colors and styles to suit your general shape and flatter your figure. Then experiment with the tips for each body shape until you find your best look.

Pear

Attributes include a slender and often elongated torso, small bust, with hips and thighs proportionally larger than the torso and waist.

Toss the tight straight skirt in favor of an a-line skirt or empire waistline to de-emphasize the lower half of your body. Add padded shoulders to balance the top and bottom. Select a two-toned dress with the lighter or brighter color above the waist and the darker tone below the waist.

Hour Glass

Attributes include a small bone structure and waistline with bust and hips proportionally larger than the waist: in a word, voluptuous.

De-emphasize your voluptuous, abundant curves by shedding tight-fitting clothing in favor of clothing with a looser, smoother fit. Monotone colors work best by providing a sense of continuity from head to toe. Draw as much attention away from your bust and hips as possible by accessorizing with jewelry high on the neckline. If your clothing is monotone, you can wear flashier earrings as well, which draws attention to the face and away from the body.

Wear sleeves to cover the largest part of the arm. If your lower arms are shapely, you can wear 3/4 sleeves.

Straight

Attributes include a boy-shaped figure, with few visible curves from the shoulders through the hips.

Wrap or surplice tops help to give definition to the waist, which might otherwise get lost in a dress. Consider wearing a coordinated skirt and top instead of a cocktail dress. You might also consider wearing a cocktail suit with a peplum jacket. If you want to wear a dress, include a jeweled or sequined belt, or tie a festive ribbon to cinch the waist, adding definition. Avoid tube dresses and boxy jackets, which add no definition to the waistline.



Round

Attributes include a larger-than-average overall ample appearance, except that lower legs may be slender.

Resist the urge to wear shapeless, loose, ill-fitting clothing. If you've got a round shape in a plus size, you'll be pleased to learn that many more manufacturers are creating fashionable clothing in your size today than just a few years ago. Select soft materials that drape rather than materials that cling or hang. Emphasize the bust with a v-neck or draw attention to the face and neckline with jewelry. If your lower legs are shapely, wear interesting shoes.

Inverted Triangle

Attributes include broad shoulders with a narrow waistline and hips.

This is the only body type that needs to use visual tricks to augment the lower body. Wear a dress with a flair skirt. Try an unusual or asymmetrical hemline. If you wear a cocktail pants suit, your body type can wear wide legs or pants that flare at the bottom. You can also draw attention away from your top by wearing interesting shoes.

General Tips and Tricks for Everyone

* Dark colors are slimming, no matter what your body shape.

* Dress in proportion to your height. Long tops, jackets, skirts and dresses swallow petites, while cropped tops and short skirts and dresses further emphasize length on exceptionally tall bodies.

* Use jewelry and interesting necklines to emphasize the upper body and draw attention away from the lower body.

* Make sure your clothes fit. Ill-fitting clothes emphasize problem areas. Alterations provide a good return on investment and can make all the difference in the world between an ill-fitting sack and a stunning item of clothing that highlights your good points.

* Wear your clothes; don't let them wear you! If you're constantly fussing with your clothes, then your clothes are wearing you. Your outfits should be carefree and stress-free.

Remember that it's all about style. Cultivate your own style. If your personal style varies from what you've read here, if you wear it with confidence, your inner beauty will shine through.

© Demand Media 2011