Finding the Right Strapless Cocktail Dress For Your Body Type

June 26, 2008 • Fashion

So I have an event to attend tonight and the invite calls for ‘cocktail attire.’ To me that means a short, dressy dress. Considering I am having some body image issues this summer, I found my way over to BCBG where I always manage to find fabulous last minute dress( nothing like deciding at the last minute you have nothing to wear). Today proved successful. I left with a strapless number (on sale!) and it got me thinking….everyone can wear strapless, if they do it right.

I have managed to find dresses for pretty much every figure type. Remember we are looking for cocktail dresses so these are to the knee or slightly above and not made of stretchy cotton, terry or other casual fabrics. It’s time to play dress up!

Small on top with wide hips (or pear-shaped):

Here’s the trick…it’s about creating the appearance of balance. You want to fabricate a bit of a chest and draw attention away from your lower half. Make sure the skirt is a-line and floats away from the hips. A little pattern for distraction from flawed areas doesn’t hurt either. Show off your fab shoulders and arms!

David Meister Strapless Print Dress $142.90


Acne Jeans Strapless Floral Print Dress $369.00

As U Wish Bow Dress $68

Milly Strapless Ruffle Dress $374


BCBG Satin Dress $144


Look for boning or a built-in bra. You want to look natural and not like you are spilling out. Stay clear of tops with a lot of frill or lace that pulls away from the dress (catcher bodice). Always check your profile to make sure the dress doesn’t protrude at the chest. Shoshanna is a great brand for those of us with a chest looking for some support.


BCBG Cotton Lace Dress $170

Shoshanna Eyelet Dress $340

Nicole Miller Strapless Twist Bodice Dress $290

Diane von Furstenberg ‘Bowenia’ Dress $395

Shoshanna Mosaic Belted Dress $375

Having a fat day:

Come on! Admit it, we all have these! You know…the day when no matter how hard you try, your abs just won’t lie flat and you feel like the Goodyear Blimp (I’m having a whole summer of that!)? Never fear! You can still look hot. Look for ruching or tiers to camouflage problem areas. Another way to distract the eye is a pattern, but make sure it’s not too crazy. Stay away from satin and anything shiny which will only magnify problem areas. Keep it simple and make sure the dress fits! If you have to go up a size, so be it!

BCBGMAXAZRIA Strapless Appliqué Dress $398


Aztec Tribal Dress $19.80

Tadashi Strapless Silk Dress $348

Nicole Miller Strapless Two Tone Dress $365

Pin Thin:

OK, you may think this is not a really a problem, but if you are built like a beanpole, it can be discouraging when it comes to dressing up. So you want to create volume. Look for fabrics that are  gathered, loose or lucky you…horizontally stripped! Unlike the rest of us, you don’t have to shy away form a lot of fabric. Ruffles are in anyway, so go nuts!

Badgley Mischka Platinum Label Taffeta Cocktail Dress $650

Mint Jodi Arnold Strapless Drape Dress $429

Eliza J Strapless Ruched Bodice Dress $158

Eliza J Strapless Satin Party Dress $158

Universally flattering:

Yes, there are some dresses that work on most bodies…case in point…

Donna Ricco Strapless Taffeta Bubble Dress $168

Melanie Nicole Ruffle Double Goddess Dress $250

Only if you have great legs! BCBGMAXAZRIA Floral Jaquard Dress $290

– Lauren Dimet Waters

See the Top Ten Summer 2016 Trends for Women Over 40

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One Response to Finding the Right Strapless Cocktail Dress For Your Body Type

  1. Peter Belisi says:

    Loving that simple elegance is hot again. Got a bit flashy for awhile!

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