A dress is a classic clothing option that provides you with a lot of beauty and versatility. With the large number of types of dresses that are available in fashion right now, there’s something for each and every event, personality, and body type.
When you’re choosing a dress, there is a lot to consider. In the coming chapters, we will take a look at different types of dresses, the history of dresses, what you should think about when trying to pick the perfect dress and different outfit combinations that use dresses as their main focal point.
We hope that you’ll read through all of the following information so you can expand your wardrobe to include more dresses and really express your beauty and personality.
Let’s get started!
In this chapter, we’re going to talk about what a dress is by definition, the history of the dress, and the different parts of a dress. If you need to choose a dress for a special occasion or everyday wear, you’ll know all the basics by the end of this chapter.
What’s a dress?
A dress is a clothing garment for a female that typically consists of a one-piece design that has a skirt and bodice. A style of dress will reflect the time period when it was designed. There have been many different types of dress styles over the decades.
Wearing a dress is very different than wearing pants and a top. Dresses can give off a very professional appearance; you can look very feminine. And you can even choose a dress that’s appropriate for a casual event while looking well put together. Contrary to popular belief, dresses can actually be very comfortable. You just need to choose the right one.
Most women only have a few dresses in their closet these days, whereas dresses were what women primarily wore hundreds of years ago. Today dresses are very different from what women were wearing in the 1800s.
We now have very simple styles that require a lot less fabric for their construction. However, some women still really prefer to wear dresses that flatter their body type and provide them with a stylish go-to outfit each day for work or their social life. Dresses provide a style that you can’t get with anything other clothing items in your closet.
History & origins
We’ve seen a lot of different dresses come and go. Dresses have changed to accommodate changes in fashion, functionality needs, climate, and much more. Some styles have completely disappeared, while others are still evolving and changing with the times.
Dress designers have always taken inspiration from things like religion, cultural customs, nature, etc. Let’s take a look at the history of the dress and how it has evolved over the years.
It is believed that the very first official formal dress was designed in Egypt more than 5,000 years ago. The Tarkhan dress was more of a linen v-neck shirt that was long and flowing. It was very breathable, which was important in the Egyptian heat.
The Minoans in the area of Crete had more elaborate dresses that included embroidery for the first time. Greek women wore similar clothing but started incorporating very bright colors into their designs.
In the 19th century, we saw a big shift in what women were wearing. Dress designs started to incorporate large billowing skirts with puffy sleeves. An oversized silhouette was preferred, and it was common for wire or whalebone to be used to create structure within a dress design.
As the 19th century evolved, women started to wear cinched corsets to make their midsection appear smaller. This evolved into the Victorian era, where dresses were about as elaborate as they have ever been. Women started to experiment with off-the-shoulder sleeves and plunging necklines.
The 20th century reflected conservative dress styles that still showed definition in the waist area. Various fabrics were used to create dresses for daily wear and special events. This included lace, chiffon, and much more sewn into ruffles, sashes, etc.
What are the different parts of a dress?
While styles of dresses have evolved over the years, the general structure has remained essentially the same. The concept of a fitted top with a flowing lower skirt is what the whole scheme has been based on. There are some other parts of a dress to consider, however. They are as follows:
The neckline is at the very top of a dress. This is where the arms are attached, and the head goes through this area. The neckline is often what people notice first about a dress because of its proximity to the face.
Some necklines are higher up, creating a more conservative look. Others are lower to create a sexier appearance. This includes a plunging neckline, v-neck, off-the-shoulder, or halter neckline.
Not all dresses have sleeves these days, but sleeves can add a very distinct amount of style to a dress regardless of the season. You can choose a dress for cold weather that has long sleeves. Short sleeves that resemble a t-shirt are lovely and make a dress appear more casual. You can completely skip sleeves for a more elegant or sexy appearance.
The upper portion of a dress that fits on the torso is considered the bodice. This area starts at the neckline and extends down to the portion of the dress where the skirt starts.
The bodice can be loose for a modern/casual look, but more formal dresses like wedding gowns often have a structure that makes the bodice appear more sophisticated. A bodice can be very decorated with embroidery, beading, or lace.
The waistline of a dress is the horizontal seam that runs across the middle of the body. This part of a dress is very important because it helps to create definition and shape. The waistline of a dress should be chosen based on body shape and type.
A high waistline is a great option for women that want to hide their shape a bit. You can choose a very tight and low waistline if you want to show off your curves.
The bottom portion of a dress is the skirt, and this is probably one of the most important parts of a dress. Without the skirt, you wouldn’t be wearing a dress. Shapes, lengths, and sizes of a skirt vary.
Formal dresses usually have layers of fabric that make the skirt look very big and flowing. The skirt of a formal dress may feature beading and accents as well.
What are the different types of dress necklines?
There are dozens of necklines that can be incorporated into the design of a dress. We could write an entire article about just necklines, but we’re going to talk about some of the most commonly worn necklines in current fashion.
A traditional neckline that cuts down slightly to the chest and has straps that extend over the shoulders can be formed in a few different ways. For example, a square neckline has very distinct lines that form a square on the chest.
A sweetheart neckline comes down similarly to a square neckline. However, the horizontal portion on the chest dips down into curves that meet in the middle at the top of the cleavage. Scoop necklines swoop down into a wide U on the chest.
A jewel neckline comes very high up on the chest, so it touches the very bottom of the neck. An illusion neckline is similar, but the actual cut of the dress comes down much lower.
There is usually a piece of sheer fabric at the top of that area that covers the chest all the way up to the neck. A portrait neckline is also high, but it has a wider cut at the neck that makes it almost look like the straps are going to be off the shoulder.
How many dresses should a woman own? Why?
If you are a woman that loves dresses, you might be wondering how many of them you should own. If your closet is big enough, I suppose you can’t own too many dresses.
If you’re just starting your dress collection and don’t have an unlimited budget, you’ll want to choose your dresses carefully. There are some very practical styles that you can choose that provide you with the most versatile options possible.
You can break down your dress collection into the types of dresses that you own. A couple of formal dresses are more than enough to get started. A basic black dress (or two) is something that every woman should own. You can also opt for a basic navy blue dress.
If you work in a professional environment that requires you to dress up each day, look for basic dresses that can be matched with a variety of blazers and cardigans to make your wardrobe more functional.
You can also choose casual dresses in a variety of prints that can be worn when you’re going out with friends for dinner, or you have an event to attend at your child’s school.
We hope that our information regarding what a dress is and the basics of a dress have gotten you thinking about your own dress collection. In the next few chapters, we will be talking more about different types of dresses, dress ideas, and much more.
As a woman, it’s important to know about the different types of dresses that are being designed these days. It’s even ideal that you know about the different historical dresses that were once popular. This allows you to make a bolder fashion statement when you dress up.
It also may seem like your options are endless when you have to select a dress for an outing. There are a lot of factors to take into account that affect the style of dress that works best for you. This may include your age, body type, weight, budget, personality, style, the season, and much more.
Let’s take a look at some commonly worn dress types!
An A-line dress is probably one of the most popular dress types. It’s practical for a lot of different body types. The most commonly worn A-line dress is one that has a fitted bodice with a waistline that flares out to a large skirt.
The effect is triangular, forming what looks like a letter “A.” If you have a narrow waist, wide hips, and a shapely bust, this is a great dress option for you.
A-line dresses can vary quite a bit. Ideally, the hem has to be wider than the shoulder area. The waist can be anything from cinched to corset-based. You can genuinely select an A-line dress based on what look you’re trying to achieve. They’ve been around since the 1950s, so we’ve seen a lot of variation over the years.
Aprons have been around for centuries, used as a garment that would protect nicer clothes underneath. Eventually, the apron evolved into its own fashion statement as a dress. It was largely a cultural item that was worn by Amish women or Norse women.
It had a very conservative look to it, only made in very neutral colors. You can now find the apron dress in a lot of different styles. It can be made to look very feminine; it can have straps that cross at the back, and buttons can be added for some detail.
You’ll usually see large, functional pockets on the front of an apron dress. You might consider this to be more uniform-like than something formal and fancy. However, it’s very easy to make, and it can be worn in many different ways.
An asymmetrical dress is easy to pick out because it will have a slanted hemline or neckline. It’s commonly worn as a one-shoulder design. You may also see the bottom of the dress shorter in the front with a longer back that almost resembles a train.
A front crisscross design may include layers of fabric that are layered over one another to create an angular, asymmetrical look. The angle of the slant can vary, creating a very subtle asymmetrical look or something bolder.
It was made popular in the 1970s. Cocktail dresses and gowns were made asymmetrical for a unique and stylish dress option.
A bandage dress is a very tight style that is designed to look like you’re wearing woven pieces of fabric wrapped across your body in an almost mummy-type look. Essentially, a bandage dress looks like you’re wearing gauze strips across your body.
It was originally created by designer Azzedine Alaia and also made popular by Herve Leger. Many stars have worn the bandage dress for a sexy look.
It’s usually a shorter dress that looks more like a cocktail dress than anything else. You won’t find a bandage dress at a very formal affair. It works well for a woman that has a small waist and curvy hips.
Baby doll dress
A baby doll dress features a short skirt that ends at the middle of the thigh. The top of the bodice is often strapless, revealing some skin in the cleavage area. They were made famous in the 1950s as a more casual nightwear outfit.
A baby doll dress was worn by Carroll Baker in the movie Baby Doll, which is how this dress got its name. The design has evolved into a sexier option over the decades, having been worn by stars like Madonna and Courtney Love. Fabrics vary but can include lace, satin, and even ruffles.
There are many different types of gowns, but the ballgown is very popular and classic. It’s worn for a very formal affair, and you may find many wedding dresses following the ballgown style. The bodice is fitted down to a very tight waist area.
The full-length skirt is very full and may also feature a train out the back for more style and sophistication. Ballgowns come in a variety of colors. They’re usually solid in color and won’t feature prints or geometrical designs. You can often find embroidery or beading on the bodice or skirt.
Ball gowns are worn by both women and small children. It creates a very regal look that’s often worn by wealthy people of importance. The cost is usually rather high, as a lot of fabric is used to make this type of dress.
The skirt alone has many layers of fabric. It may even feature some type of framed structure inside of the skirt in order to keep the structure in place.
A blazer dress is also known as a tuxedo dress. It’s designed to look a bit more masculine, adding different angles and layers to a typical dress style. It’s a mix between a traditional look and something more formal, but it’s often worn as a more casual option.
A blazer dress is a great option for a special dinner, corporate event, or as a party dress if you’re going to change out for something fancier halfway through the evening.
You don’t have to put too much thought into what you want to wear with your blazer dress. It pairs well with many different styles of shoes and accessories. A pair of solid-colored heels that match your dress is ideal.
When picking a bag, choose something with a bit more structure. A clutch that is free of straps and too much detail will look nice. You can match your accessories to any accents on your dress.
The balloon dress is essentially two different garments in one. The skirt is usually comprised of a straight skirt along with a gathered skirt. The straight skirt sits about two inches shorter than the gathered skirt.
When being constructed, the bottom and the top of the material at the waist and hem will be sewn in a gathered fashion. The straight skirt is sewn on the inside of the gathered skirt to create a ballooned appearance. You may also see balloon sleeves sewn onto a simpler dress for a very flowing, bohemian look.
A blouson dress features a cinched waist along with blousing material that is billowed out slightly. The bodice has a puffed-out appearance, so it works well with many different body types.
There isn’t a set length of the dress. Some have fitted hems that resemble a pencil skirt. Others look like a flowing maxi dress. You can find casual versions that work for everyday wear, and formal blouson dresses can be worn to special events.
You can style a blouson dress in a few different ways. It can be worn alone but looks lovely with a sweater, blazer, or jacket over it. Try to match other articles with the fabric of your dress. Blouson dresses look nice when made with polyester, denim, cotton, etc. You can pair your dress with boots, heels, or even ballet flats.
Boho (or bohemian) is a type of style that embraces the free spirit of hippies in the 60s and 70s. If you see a boho dress that you like, it probably has a long flowing skirt that may have different tiers of fabric worked into it.
Boho dresses made a big comeback in the early 2000s, and they are still popular today. They are made with bold prints that are usually floral or have some sort of distressed look.
A boho dress goes well with unique accessories that are made of wood, embroidered items, and beading. A fringed purse or bag with a casual pair of sandals will complete the look. Hair should be worn loose.
You don’t want to dress up a boho dress too much. It’s a very casual look that is for everyday wear. You probably won’t wear one of these dresses to a formal affair.
A bodycon dress allows you to show off your very best features thanks to how stretchy and fitted its design is. If you have curves, then this is the dress for you. First introduced in the 90s, the bodycon dress has gotten a bit of a trashy reputation.
However, there are plenty of tasteful options that you can wear to feel more confident and sophisticated. Why not flaunt what you have?
To really complete the look of your bodycon dress, wear it with a high pair of heels that matches hoop earrings, dazzling accessories, and wear your hair with lots of volume. This is a bold dress that takes courage to pull off properly.
A Bardot dress is often styled with an off-the-shoulder concept. The goal is to show off your neck, chest, and shoulders for a sexy look. It’s a common dress at a cocktail party or a more casual event. This type of dress is made in various colors and materials, and it often features accents made of lace or beading.
You can wear a Bardot dress that cuts straight across the collarbone area but has two small straps that keep the dress in place. This allows for more secure movement throughout the night. The length can vary and can include a small slit up one side, an angular design at the bottom, etc.
A dress will bell-shaped sleeves can be both long or short. The sleeves can end at the elbow or go all the way to the wrist. The sleeves are fitted at the top of the arm where the bicep is located.
They then flare out towards the elbow and are then gathered at the armhole area at the bottom. The actual flare of the bell can vary quite a bit.
You can create a very noticeable and dramatic look with a large bell, but there are more modest bell-shaped sleeves that only come out slightly at the very bottom.
Bell-sleeve dresses are made in a multitude of fabric types. You may find them in casual styles with plaid prints, while there are other formal bell-shaped sleeve dresses that are satin, lace, etc. What you pair your dress with will depend on the dress you choose
A bouffant dress is a gown that has a very full skirt that looks a lot like a hoop skirt. It can be anywhere from mid-length or go all the way down to the floor. This was a popular style in the mid-19th century, but the dress has evolved since then. Its concept is still used today.
You’ll see the bouffant style used a lot in the design of a wedding gown or ballgown. Some modern dresses take inspiration from the bouffant dress to make something more casual and pretty. A lot of shorter party dresses feature this style but are made in floral prints and bold colors.
The cocktail dress is a semi-formal outfit that is often worn to events like cocktail parties or afternoon events. After World War I, there was a rise in working women’s freedom and popularity. This is when women started to drink at business events. This is how the cocktail party got its name, and the dress is based on that concept.
The cocktail dress is functional and comfortable. You should be able to wear it for the duration of an event, mingling and socializing with ease. Cocktail dresses come in many different colors and styles, but they are usually more fitted and short in length than something formal.
The camisole dress (or Cami dress) is a flowing dress that does not have any sleeves. It is held up by two small straps that are both small strips of fabric that have a rope-like design.
It’s a very casual dress that is often banned from events where young girls and boys will be attending because they are slightly revealing up top. They show off a lot of skin around the collarbone and chest. The camisole dress usually stops at the knee or goes slightly below that point.
A corset was designed to hold a woman’s waist in place for an extended period of time, so it looked thinner and slender. The corset was then worked into the design of a dress. The bodice of a corset dress is essentially a corset, but the appearance of it is a bit more detailed and elaborate.
It may have stitching, beading, or embroidery on it. There is then a skirt attached to the bottom of the corset. It usually flows out into a large gathering of fabric to make the waist of the person wearing the dress even smaller.
Cape dresses combine a simple dress with an actual cape. Attached to the dress in some way is an extra piece of fabric that is either pinned on or sewn on. The cape and the dress will be made with the same material so that it matches perfectly.
This is a very serious and sophisticated dress option that exudes confidence and beauty. Match your heels to your dress for a very put-together look. Coordinate your earrings with your necklace, bracelets, etc.
A coat dress looks like a large dress coat that a man would wear, or it looks a lot like a woman’s blazer. However, the size of it is larger, so it can be worn as a dress. The designer will work in some different curves and buttons to give the wearer more shape.
You’ll usually see some buttons or zippers on the front to make it look like the dress is an actual coat that is being held closed that way. Wear a coat dress with heels and carry a simple handbag. Accessories should also be kept simple and should match any hardware on your dress.
A denim dress can be cut a number of ways, but it will be made of the same material that your favorite pair of jeans is. This is a casual look that is perfect for a girls’ night out, a weekend date, or to head out shopping for the day.
You can dress it up with formal heels, but it can work really well with a pair of athletic sneakers as well. Keep your accessories casual with a denim dress.
An empire dress has a high waist that hugs your body just under your bust line. The rest of the skirt will flow out, concealing your waist and hips a bit. It’s a great option if you’re not thrilled with the lower portion of your body but still want to show off your bust and waist.
The empire dress is usually full length, but the width of the skirt will vary. You can wear an empire dress to elongate the look of your body if you’re looking to add some height to your appearance.
Fit and flare dress
Fit and flare dresses are very flattering for women with hourglass shapes. It’s similar to an empire dress in some regard. It has a fitted bodice that ends just below the bust. It will then flare out at the hips and narrow slightly near the knees.
It’s appropriate to wear to work, but you can also wear a fit and flare dress out for a date or formal dinner. If you have wide hips, the structured design of this dress type will keep you comfortable and gorgeous. You can top a fit and flare dress with a cropped jacket, sweater, blazer, etc.
Made with an asymmetrical hem, a handkerchief dress is made from various fabric panels at different lengths. The hem has a number of corners that will hang down into points.
The fabric is usually very thin and sheer so that your dress sits loosely on your body and flows in the breeze. Because this is a more casual look, you can choose a strappy sandal or ballet flat as your shoe option. Match your purse to your shoes and wear a stack of bangle bracelets and dangling earrings.
A halter dress has a fitted bodice that usually has a deep cut at the chest. The dress’s straps will come up and wrap around the back of the neck. The shoulders are left exposed, as is the entire back. The skirt of the dress will then flow out to the ground. A halter dress can be both full at the skirt level or slightly narrower for a fitted look.
You can wear a high-low dress for just about any occasion. It’s a very versatile dress that comes with high-low hemlines in both evening gowns and party dresses. A short look at the front makes the dress look very fun and flirty. The back is much longer, giving a more conservative look that really transforms the entire look into something much more sophisticated.
A legitimate Kimono dress is the official dress of Japan; however, we have a lot of Kimono-inspired dresses in the U.S. as well. A t-shaped design that wraps around the front of the body, a Kimono dress will typically be worn in a bright floral print with casual accessories and shoes.
Kimono dresses are conservative, so they cover the arms and legs. There may be a slight v-cut in at the chest, but don’t expect to see a lot of skin with this dress option.
A kaftan is a robe or tunic that fits similarly to a Kimono. It has been historically worn by a number of cultures, including Russians and Asians. A lot of fabric is used to create a flowing look.
The arms are fed through large fabric panels, creating a one-piece look that doesn’t have a lot of definition or structure. Bold colors may be used to make a kaftan dress, but prints and embroidery are also popular.
Little black dress
Every woman needs at least one little black dress in her closet. It’s nice to have one for every season. This is the go-to dress that you’ll wear when you need to head to a formal event last minute. Choose your little black dress, so it accentuates your specific body type. Pick something practical that can be paired with different shoes, sweaters, blazers, etc.
Lace adds a lot of style and femininity to a dress. Usually, a lace dress has some sort of fabric underneath that conceals the body, and the lace lays on top to create a softer look. Lace is used in the design of wedding dresses, gowns, party dresses, and much more.
If you’re going to be wearing your dress during months of the year that are very cold outside, you can choose a long-sleeve dress as your go-to formal option. Most long-sleeve dresses have very tight sleeves that attach to a fitted bodice.
The skirt will flow out down the legs to soften the look. You’ll usually have a full-length skirt if you’re opting for a dress with full sleeves.
Mermaid dresses are unique, but they give a really neat look for a special event. You don’t find the mermaid style for casual looks because of how the outline of the skirt looks.
Most mermaid dresses are topless at the bodice, and the bottom of the dress will fit very tightly all the way down to the area of the knees. This is where the skirt will flare out boldly into different layers of fabric.
Essentially, the bottom of the skirt is designed to look like a mermaid tail. The mermaid dress is usually made in a bright and bold color to resemble the look of a mermaid. The fabric may also have a bit of a sheen to it.
You may catch some subtle mermaid gowns on the runway or at a special event. Some even feature sheer fabric as the lower skirt, with a shorter skirt laying underneath to cover the body.
A mini dress is a casual dress option that is usually relatively short and has a revealing neckline. It’s more of a cocktail dress that is fun and flirty. Mini dresses come in all kinds of styles, colors, and fits. You can stick with a solid color for a more formal approach.
There are also fun mini dresses that have a floral or geometric pattern to them. A mini dress may have an off-the-shoulder neckline; it can be cut asymmetrically at the bottom or feature different types of embroidery, beading, etc.
Very different from a maxi dress, a midi dress rises above the ankles but will fall around the mid-calf area. They come in a multitude of styles that will fit just about any body type and style personality.
You can wear a midi dress in most seasons, and it can be dressed up or down with the accessories that you choose. Don’t be afraid to pair it with a denim jacket and sneakers for a casual look.
You can also dress a midi dress up with heels and dazzling accessories. An affordable dress option, you can easily accumulate a large selection of midi dresses in your closet.
A maxi dress is similar to a midi dress, but it is a longer article of clothing. It’s a very simple style that is made with cotton fabric or something similar for a stretchy and comfortable look. It’s perfect for warm weather, thanks to how breezy and flowing it is.
You can also find maxi dresses that have full sleeves for a warmer and higher coverage option. Maxi dresses work with any figure as you can choose between different waistlines and necklines.
Simple jewelry is all you need to complete the look of a maxi dress, and sandals or heels can be worn as your shoe option. Also, keep your handbag simple as well.
Showing a little bit of skin can make your outfit look incredibly sexy and sophisticated. A dress that has an off-the-shoulder design leaves a little bit of intrigue and interest to be desired. The shoulder may be low on one side, but it can be cut straight across the chest to reveal both shoulders as well.
Make sure that you choose the right undergarments for your off-the-shoulder dress. You don’t want to see the strap of a bra, so choose something that is strapless or has one strap on the side of your body that is covered. A great pair of heels completes the look.
A one-shoulder dress really speaks for itself and requires very little in the way of accessories. The dress sleeve can be a cap sleeve or caped sleeve that includes extra fabric. There may also be a thin strap holding the dress on your shoulder.
Make sure that you feel comfortable in a one-shoulder dress before purchasing it. You want to ensure that it fits well and feels comfortable. The area under your arm should fit well, so there isn’t a gap in the fabric.
The opposite side holding up the dress should fit your body nicely as well, so you can move around with ease all night. This is a feminine look that you should pair with heels and a great handbag.
A peplum dress has a ruffle of fabric around the hips/waist of the dress. It’s a popular look that really accentuates the curves of a woman. You may find a peplum dress that has a belt or band just above the ruffled area. The rest of the dress is usually very simple, so your attention is drawn to the unique peplum area. This look is very professional so that you can wear it to work or a business event.
A pencil dress features a very slim-fitting skirt and a tight top. It’s a slender look that is very sexy. Most pencil dresses come in dark colors to increase the sex appeal of the look. The top may have full coverage shoulders and sleeves, while a slight v-neck or halter neckline may be used. A high pair of classic heels are perfect for completing a pencil dress.
A peasant dress is a very boxy clothing item that has a very stretchy neckline and bunchy sleeves. There isn’t a lot of shape to this dress, so you’ll want to be careful with choosing something that fits you very well.
The loose style can be structured a bit using a belt, and stick to simple flats as your shoes to prevent the look from getting too complicated. A peasant dress looks very similar to a tunic top, so it’s a casual look overall.
A princess gown is very formal and features a full skirt with a lot of detail and fabric. Different embellishments may include beading, stitching, sparkles, and much more. It’s a very romantic and feminine look that is perfect for females of all ages.
Even young girls will wear princess gowns to special events. It’s also a popular look for wedding dresses when the bride wants to look like a regal princess on their special day.
A pouf dress is a very traditional and fairytale-like garment that has been carried into modern times for very elaborate and special events. An ordinary skirt is taken to the next level with a more rigid and structured design that billows out into waves of fabric. The skirt gathers at the waist and then hugs the bodice area.
A pouf dress is right up your alley if you want to look like you stepped right out of a movie from hundreds of years ago. Your skirt swirls around you for an enchanting look. Be careful with your shoe and accessory choices, so you stick with the traditional nature of the pouf dress and don’t distract from its beauty.
A pinafore dress is also known as an apron dress. There is usually some type of shirt either worn underneath the dress or worked into the design of the dress to create the look of a two-piece design.
It’s a casual clothing item that is often worn by young girls or when you want to achieve a more casual look. You can wear a pinafore dress with sneakers, ballet flats or sandals. Don’t try to dress the look up too much with heels or elaborate accessories. It’s really a very simple and young style.
The Qipao dress is also known as a cheongsam dress. You may have also heard it called a mandarin gown. It is a formal dress that is typically worn by Chinese women, inspired by the Manchu people. It’s a long, form-fitting dress that has a high neck/collar.
It also has an asymmetrical fabric panel at the chest that lays left over the right side. Slits are usually included on each side as well. It was originally designed in the 1920s but has retained its popularity in Asian culture since then.
A sheath dress is a straight-cut, fitted dress that has a minimal waistline. The bodice and the skirt come together in small stitches in the fabric that accentuate a woman’s hips. The length of a sheath dress can vary, and different patterns and fabric colors are used to create a specific look. It’s a more casual look that can be paired with simple accessories and shoes. It’s very summer-like and breezy.
A sari is a dress that is popular in Indian culture and worn in areas like Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. It is a long drape of fabric that usually wraps tightly around the waist and has one end of fabric draped over the shoulder. The dress is designed in such a way that it sometimes shows off the midriff.
A shift dress features fabric that falls right from the shoulders and circles around the bust area. It usually has a very pronounced scoop neck or boat neckline. Very similar to a sheath dress, shift dresses are slightly more form-fitting and tighter in the waist area.
They became very popular in the 1920s and regained their popularity in the 1960s. They are very flattering on rectangular body types and body types that are columnar or simple without a lot of curves.
A slip dress is designed to look like an undergarment or petticoat. It is cut on the bias with very thin spaghetti straps. It’s not quite as sheer as an actual underslip, but it’s commonly made of lace or silk.
The goal is to show off the curves of the woman’s body underneath the dress. It’s a popular dress in Hollywood, with many stars having worn slip dresses to special events to make a bold fashion statement. It’s a simple look that makes a big impression.
A skater dress doesn’t have anything to do with a skateboard. Instead, it’s the style of dress that ice skaters wear when they are performing. Of course, the style can be worn off the ice, though the dress may look a bit simpler and cover the body more.
The bodice is fitted and usually covers the chest area. The shirt is short and will flare out dramatically from the waistline. It’s usually worn with heels or a high platform sandal.
Strapless dresses are very beautiful and sexy. There isn’t anything holding the dress up on the shoulders, so you need to make sure that it fits you well so you can move around. Strapless dresses are usually worn for formal events, especially as a wedding gown.
It’s not something you’ll choose if you’re going to a casual event where you’ll be doing a lot of dancing or moving around. Strapless dresses can be both short and long.
A sundress is a very simple and casual look that is worn when the temperatures outside are in the higher digits. This is because the straps are usually very thin, the fabric is also thin, and the length tends to be on the short side.
Sundresses often have a feminine floral pattern on them, but they can also be solid in color. You may see different ruffles and styles of fabric used for the skirt.
A smock dress is a dress that has a very loose fit. It’s usually shorter in length, hitting the middle of the thigh area. It’s similar to a midi dress but with less structure and form to it. This is a general term that can incorporate a lot of different cuts, styles, colors, and patterns.
The smock dress fits a lot like a t-shirt dress or swing dress. You can move freely in it with the skirt swinging around you. Pair it with a pair of comfortable sandals or even a pair of casual sneakers and a denim jacket for when it cools down in the evening.
A sweater dress is something you would wear in the winter months when the weather outside is cold. It looks like a large, oversized sweater. However, it can reach anywhere from the middle of the thigh down to below the knee.
Sweater dresses may have an oversized appearance, but it’s not uncommon to see one that is more slender and reaches up high into a turtleneck line. Sweater dresses look great with a pair of knee-high boots and a leather handbag.
A shirt dress is similar to a smock dress. It appears to be an oversized dress shirt that is worn down to the knee or just above that point. The sleeve length can be to the elbow with a rolled-up look, or you can have a sleeveless shirt dress that is very breathable and comfortable for the summer months.
Stick with a casual shoe option like a flat sandal or even a pair of ballet flats. Shirt dresses should be paired with very simple accessories like a pair of hoop earrings or a set of bangle bracelets.
Swing dresses have been around for decades, but the modern swing dress has an A-line shape. The top of the “A” will cling to your chest area while the rest of the dress flows down at the legs.
There’s a lot of extra fabric at the bottom and not a lot of structure or form-fitting design. It’s great for a night out dancing with friends, but it’s casual enough for just a quick lunch on the weekend or to wear shopping.
The swing dress is usually made out of a very thin and breathable material that works well in the summer. You can also top it with a sweater or jacket if the temperature is cooler.
A t-shirt dress is usually made of cotton and fits at the top like an actual t-shirt. The neckline and sleeves are simple, and the bottom of the fabric extends much longer than a shirt would, so it covers the legs. The entire dress is cut very straight and doesn’t usually hug the waist much.
You can wear this look with sandals, sneakers, ballet flats, and so much more. Top it with a denim jacket or cardigan sweater for a fun and comfortable look for going out with friends or on a date.
A tea-length dress is one that has a hemline that ends just above the ankle but below the knee. Some of the more modern tea-length dresses may be a few inches shorter. The bodice is usually fitted with the waistline flaring out into a full, pleated skirt.
You may see this type of dress in very pale and feminine colors, including floral prints. The skirt may also have layers of sheer fabric that softens the entire look of the dress.
While you probably wouldn’t venture out of the house wearing an actual ballet tutu, the tutu dress is fun and gives off the same concept. Lots of tulle is layered to create a tiered look that can be both short or long.
You can find them in very bold colors, but a classic tutu dress is made in earth tones or light shades of pink. The top of the dress is attached and fitted, but it may almost look like there is a separate top or leotard underneath.
A tube dress is usually strapless and has a very slender and straight design. It’s made of a stretchy material that will hug the body and keep everything in place. You wear a tube dress with a pair of heels to match. The entire look is very elongated and thin. It’s a comfortable and casual look as well.
A tent dress is a full and loose-fitting article of clothing that has a very narrow shoulder design. It widens quite a bit at the hem area, but there is no defined waistline. It’s called a tent dress because it appears to be a very large piece of fabric that essentially hangs on the body.
It’s perfect for shapely women, but anyone can wear this dress. You can dress it up with heels and accessories or keep it simple and casual with flats.
A tunic dress looks like an oversized tunic top that hangs on the body with minimal stitching to bring in the structure of the waist or bust. It can have long sleeves, ¾ sleeves, short sleeves, or even be sleeveless.
Usually made from a very durable and breathable fabric, the tunic dress is comfortable and cool. The chest may feature a few buttons, and a cut down the middle. You may also see a collared design for the neck as well.
Wrap dresses are perfect for just about anybody. They are usually stitched together in one garment, but the look conveys that fabric was wrapped around the body in a way that hugs every curve.
A wrap dress can be floral and simple for a casual look, but more formal, solid-colored wrap dresses are also available. They may have a small tie around the waist or have a gathering at one hip to add some style.
Now that you have an adequate idea of what different dress types there are available, you should be able to narrow down what kind of dresses will look best on your specific body type. You can also choose your dress based on the type of event that you’re going to and what will look appropriate.
Whether you have to attend a formal event for work or you’re heading out on a date, let’s look at what dresses are popular right now and how you can go about choosing what will look best on you.
What type of dresses are in fashion now?
Trends in fashion change pretty frequently, while some classic styles will also be acceptable. If you’re someone that likes to keep up with what’s hot at the moment, you’re probably wondering what kind of dresses are in fashion right now.
Dresses that are popular right now for more casual wear include a length that goes down to the knee or just above that point. More formal attire will take that length down to the floor.
Very feminine colors have made a comeback recently. You’ll see a lot of light pinks and pastel colors. Floral prints are also popular for casual sundresses and maxi dresses. Colors are darker when you’re wearing a formal gown or full-length dress.
Very soft and sheer fabrics are popular in the spring and summer months. Stretchy and comfortable fabrics make for very practical dresses that can be worn by all different body types. You may also see ruffles and panels of fabric that wrap around the body to hide areas of the body you don’t like while accentuating the ones that you do.
The neckline of a dress is popular if it is asymmetrical, hanging down off one of the shoulders. Strapless dresses are still popular, thanks to their classic design. Halter dresses and spaghetti strap dresses are still fashionable, as long as you’re wearing them appropriately.
How do I choose my style?
Your style ultimately determines what you want to wear when you’re dressing up. Your style may be flirty, fashionable, professional, conservative, or fun. Rest assured, there are dresses out there for just about every personality. Struggling with determining what your style is? Read on to find out more.
Take a look at what you already have in your closet. You want to pay close attention to your favorite items that frequently make their way in and out of rotation.
Pay attention to the colors of your clothing, their comfort level, the fabrics that you gravitate to, and the clothes that fit you best. You should be able to find dresses that incorporate those different features into something more formal.
What are the dresses like that you already own? Are there things about those dresses that you absolutely hate? You will want to shop for something new that addresses those dislikes. Don’t be afraid to try something completely new to see how you feel about it.
You don’t have to always pick dresses based on a classic style that will always be popular. Choose something that has the potential to go out of style in a year or two, but you’re going to look great when you do wear that dress over that time period. Donate it or pass it on when it’s no longer something you find stylish.
Which dresses are suitable for my body shape?
Knowing what you like in the way of style is important, but you should also pay close attention to the shape of your body. You want to pick something that’s going to be flattering, comfortable, and make you look your best.
Don’t choose a dress that you’re going to be falling out of because it just isn’t the dress for you. There are so many different kinds of dresses; you’ll have no trouble finding something you love that also makes you look wonderful.
An apple-shaped body will usually be slender up top and then larger in the area of the bottom and hips. A dress that flatters this body type may have an elongated bodice that hugs your body all the way down to where a full skirt will emerge.
A pear-shaped body features a very small waist with large hips. You should show off your hips with a fitted dress that hugs your curves from top to bottom.
A rectangle body shape doesn’t have a lot of curves, but you can choose a dress that creates a structure where you need it by way of gathers of fabric, the pattern used, etc.
An inverted triangle body shape features a large bust and a smaller lower body. Wear a dress that is tight up top, but it should flow down into a fuller skirt in order to balance your proportions.
Dresses outfit ideas
Combining different articles of clothing can create a very unique and distinct look. It’s even better if you can choose versatile dresses that can be used in many ways. This makes your money go further in the long run. Let’s take a look at some potential outfit combinations that you can use for a multitude of events.
Maxi dress + jacket
Maxi dresses are incredibly popular thanks to how comfortable and versatile they are. You can pair a maxi dress of any length with a jacket. This can be a denim jacket, a casual canvas jacket, or even a leather jacket. What you choose will really be determined by the color or print of your maxi dress.
Little black dress + heels
A little black dress is a staple of any wardrobe. Hopefully, you have a few of them for the different seasons, and you can pair your black dress with an impressive number of items to dress the look up or down.
For a very dressy and gorgeous look, wear a great pair of heels with a basic black dress. Pay attention to your hair and makeup to complete the look. A more casual shoe option might be a high pair of strappy wedges or sandals.
Spaghetti strap floral dress + sandals/wedges
An adorable look that is very feminine includes a spaghetti strap floral dress paired with sandals or wedges. Floral dresses come in many different styles, from fitted numbers to more flowing skirts that are perfect for any body type. Keep your accessories casual, including your purse, shoes, earrings, and other jewelry.
Tunic dress + leggings
If you want to be more conservative or dress for chilly weather while still wearing a dress, opt for a tunic dress and wear a pair of leggings underneath. You get plenty of coverage from this outfit so that you can wear it for all kinds of outings and events.
Stick with a pair of basic black leggings if you want to keep things simple. You can also choose a colored pair that matches one of the colors of your dress.
Knee-high boots + dress
Another way to make a dress look more casual is to pair it with high boots that go up to the knee. An item that you have to have in your closet is a pair of black knee-high boots in a soft leather or shiny material.
They go perfect with a flowing dress that ends just above the knee. This look also adds some versatility to dresses in your closet. Cold weather can be addressed with boots that will keep your legs warm, so you don’t have to pack away all of your dresses for the winter.
Formal Dress and Shawl
If you have to dress up for a formal event, but you anticipate that the weather is going to cool down at some point, you can accessorize your dress with a shawl. Shawls are great because they’re affordable, and they can be worn with many different outfits. They’re not just for dresses. You can also wear them with a pair of slacks and a blouse.
Boho dress + denim jacket
Embrace your inner hippie with a boho dress that has a gorgeous floral print and flowing sleeves. You can make the look more casual with a denim jacket that can be taken off or added back on as needed. This look pairs with a comfortable pair of sandals or even wedges for a more feminine look.
Basic dress + cardigan
A basic solid-colored dress can be paired with a cardigan of some sort. The cardigan softens the look of your dress if it’s very basic or conservative. If you have a black or navy-blue dress, try making the whole look appear bolder with a bright pop of color.
A bright pink sweater or even something with a print can really take a simple look to a whole new level. Stick with a pair of heels that matches either your dress or the sweater you’ve chosen.
Workwear + blazer
Dresses that you wear to work usually are very simple and don’t feature a lot of curves or structure. They usually have a very rectangular shape, sometimes featuring a belt that brings the waist in a little bit.
Try topping these dresses with a colorful blazer or a cardigan sweater to make them more fun and attractive. You can breathe new life into some of your old work dresses by pairing them with some new and affordable items.
Shirt Dress + Sandals
A shirt dress looks like an oversized dress shirt that often has buttons at the top or all the way down to the bottom. It’s a casual look that’s great for going out to dinner with your girlfriends or for a fun day out shopping.
You can pair a shirt dress with a flat pair of slip-on sandals. If you need to keep things comfortable, try a pair of simple canvas sneakers as your shoe of choice.
Maxi Dress + Belt + Ballet Flats
Your maxi dresses can be taken to a whole new level by using a belt around the waistline. This will bring the waist in a little bit so you can show off your curves while looking stylish. Match the color of your belt to the color of your shoes. A simple pair of ballet flats makes for a comfortable shoe option that is also very practical and stylish.
Now that we’ve inspired you with numerous dress options and combinations look into your closet to see what you can come up with using dresses and clothing you already have.
Once you know what you can create, you can head to the stores to see what other dresses and items you can invest in to elaborate upon your existing wardrobe.
Now it’s time to take a step back and look at the different items that are in your closet. How many dresses do you own? Are they still in style? Is it time to invest in some new dresses that are more modern and updated?
Let us know what kind of fantastic dress combinations you came up with, as well as your favorite places to shop for dresses.
Share this post with your friends, and let us know if you have any questions about how to choose the perfect dress. Take a look at our other posts to learn more about fashion and functionality.