Determining your body shape is central to dressing well and looking fabulous in everything you wear. Any ball gown is a statement piece. It shouts, ‘look at me in my finest’ the minute you step into it, so it is crucial to wear a gown that suits your shape and makes you feel amazing.
Although we are all different, there are five basic body shapes: apple, pear, hourglass, rectangle and wedge, or it may be that you are a combination of two of these. By understanding your own shape, you can dress to accentuate your best features and disguise those you are less happy with. With all body shapes, it is simply a case of evening out proportions to make the most of what you have.
Which Shape, Which Dress?
If you are lucky enough to have a rectangle body shape, it is likely that you are slim with well-proportioned shoulders and hips. As you have little in the way to hide, you need to look for a dress that will accentuate your waist and a scoop or sweetheart neckline to give the impression of curves. Make the most of your slender frame with short, sleeveless dresses to show off long legs and arms.
Whilst an hourglass figure is one of the most desirable, with equally proportioned bust and hips, those wonderful curves need to be carefully shown off. Highlight your waistline with sashes, beading accents, or ruche detail. A sweetheart neckline or V-neck will lengthen the appearance of your body and halter neck dresses will accentuate your shoulders.
The apple body shape needs a ball gown that is not too tight and takes attention away from the stomach area. Short and tight gowns do not compliment this figure and should be avoided. Longer dresses that have empire waists work well or dresses that have detailing on the bust or hip to draw attention to these areas rather than the waist.
Similarly for pear shaped bodies, it is all about drawing focus from one area of the body to another to even out broad hips and narrow shoulders.
Knowing Where to Emphasise
Strapless dresses and ruffles around the bust line are great ways of drawing attention upwards, as are square or boat neck necklines. Keep the bottom hem wide with A-line skirts or full length skirts that flare or pool around the ankles.
The opposite of the pear shape is the wedge shape, which is more of an inverted triangle with wide shoulders and narrow hips. In this instance, the focus needs to be drawn away from the shoulders, wearing styles that emphasise the hips and soften the neckline. Avoid boat necklines and spaghetti straps and opt for fuller skirts, asymmetrical necklines and fitted waists.
Lucy Knight has been writing fashion blogs for style websites and fashion houses for more than six years. In researching ball dresses, her conclusion is that there are plenty of ball dresses for all body shapes as long as you know what shape you are.