One of the most beautiful things about women is that we come in all shapes and sizes. And contrary to what we see in the media, no body shape is superior to another. Your body type is just perfect, and once you figure out how to dress it well, you will be even more confident.
The five body types are apple shape, pear shape, rectangle, inverted triangle, and hourglass. They are determined based on the ratio of the circumference measurements of your bust, waist, and hips. Maxi dresses are perfect for all body types, so it’s no wonder they are a staple in most women’s closets (especially when they come with pockets!). They are long, comfortable, and versatile, so you can wear them virtually anywhere.
Now let’s help you figure out your body type and the best maxi dress.
Commonly known as ‘top-heavy’, women with the apple-shaped body type have a larger upper body than their lower body. They have broad shoulders, a short torso, and a full bust and waist. Their legs and hips tend to be slimmer, and sometimes their arms will also be slim. These women tend to gain weight faster in their torso than in their hips and legs.
A wrap maxi is a good option for apple-shaped women. It will cinch in your waist to balance out your proportions. A-line maxis are great because they fit nicely around your waist and then widen towards the hem. Choose maxis with high necklines that do not expose too much cleavage, as that will make you look bigger than you are. If you want a dress with straps rather than sleeves, pick one that has thick enough straps to give your adequate support.
Avoid ruffles or pleats on the bodice and puffy sleeves that will make your torso look bulky and much bigger. Instead, keep those extra details on the skirt and the bodice of the maxi dress as simple as possible.
Pear-shaped women have a small bust, shoulder, and waist and large hips, thighs, and legs. If pear-shaped, you probably have trouble finding a pair of pants that fit your waist and hips. You also tend to gain weight faster in your lower body than in your upper body.
As with apple-shaped women, a maxi dress for a pear-shaped woman should create balance. That means looking for maxi dresses with big, puffy sleeves, like the kimono-style maxis, or ruffles, ruching, and pleats on the bodice. The idea here is to add volume to your torso and make your look larger at the top to balance out your lower body.
Alternatively, you could rock your small bust by wearing maxi dresses with deep V-necklines or open backs (or both). The skirt can either be form-fitting or A-line, and you will look gorgeous either way.
The rectangle shaped body type is also called the boyish figure. Women with this shape have no obvious curves as their hips, bust, and waist have the same or similar measurements. Many runway models are rectangle-shaped because they have no obvious curves that would distract from the clothes. So, in a sense, rectangle-shaped women can wear any kind of maxi dress.
One option is to create the illusion of curves. You can do this with a wrap dress that accentuates the waist or any other maxi dress that has a defined waist. Since you don’t need ‘balancing out’, you can wear a dress with details on the bodice and the skirt, provided you remember to cinch in your waist.
Alternatively, you could rock that modelesque, ‘clothes-hanger’ look and forget about cinching your waist. You can wear a form-fitting maxi or a free-flowing one and look perfect with the right accessories. You can even wear oversized maxi dresses and look fantastic.
Inverted Triangle Body Shape
An inverted triangle is quite similar to an apple shape. The shoulders tend to be wider than the hips, like apple-shaped women. The difference between the two is that while apple-shaped women have slimmer arms, women with the inverted triangle body shape have much larger arms. In both cases, the hips and legs are smaller, so creating balance is key to dressing this body type well.
A maxi dress with minimal details in the bodice would be perfect for the inverted triangle body shape. Ensure that the dress is cinched or belted at the waist to create that waistline. The larger arms and broad shoulders may be a source of insecurity, so if you wear a sleeve, ensure that it is fitted to your arm, as puffy sleeves will only make you look broader than you already are. However, wearing a sleeveless dress with a high neckline is a good option if you feel confident enough.
Ensure that the maxi dress skirt flares out to create that balance with your upper body. Extra volume and fabric, like with a tiered maxi dress, is a great option to balance you out. In addition, any detailing and accessories on the dress should make your waist look smaller and add volume to your lower body.
Like an hourglass, women with this shape will have a well-defined waist and a bust that measures the same (or close to) the hip measurements. Women with this figure are quite proportional, so there is no need to balance out or create curves like the other body types.
Women with hourglass shapes can wear literally any maxi dress they want. One of the best options is the wrap maxi dress which accentuates your waist and curves subtly and stylishly. You can wear form-fitting maxi dresses or free-flowing ones and still look great. However, loose dresses that don’t fit well are not good options as they hide that lovely figure. Also, avoid dress patterns with many details that are too busy.
So, you see, there is a maxi dress for any body type, and now you can get the right one. Understanding and embracing your body type is important so you can dress it well. Find a tape measure and get a good friend to take your measurements, so you can define your body type. Wishing you had a different shape is pointless, but learning to work with what you have can be quite empowering.
And if you want to learn more about maxi dresses – check out my ultimate maxi dress guide.
Yes, maxi dresses are flattering on any body type and size. So whether you are petite or plus size within any of these body types, the right maxi dress will have you looking and feeling fabulous. Read the article above to figure out the right maxi dress for your body type.
Technically, maxi dress lengths range from the lower calf to the floor. For casual events, floor-length maxis may be too cumbersome, so most casual maxis tend to be shorter. Floor-length maxis work for formal events like weddings or black tie events.