How to Choose a Prom Dress Based on Your Body Shape

You’ve probably been dreaming about prom since Freshman year – maybe even longer. It’s a magical night in every teen’s life, when you get to dance the night away with your friends (or maybe your crush), all while wearing some incredible dress that makes you feel like a movie star. 

So, when the big night finally comes, finding the right dress is essential. But how do you know what will look best on you? The best way to find a gorgeous prom dress is to look for styles that flatter your body type. 

Here are a few tips to help you get started!

Identifying your Shape

Obviously, we all know that every body is beautiful, but there are certain dress styles that look better on certain shapes. Therefore, the first thing you should do while prom dress shopping is figure out your body type.

Look in the mirror, take some full-body photos, or grab a tape measure and ask your friends to help you determine if you’re one of the following:

  • Rectangle: Girls with a rectangle body shape typically have the same (or nearly the same) measurements at the bust, waist, and hips. This is also sometimes called an “athletic” body type. Celebs like Cameron Diaz and Jada Pinkett Smith rock rectangle bodies!
  • Curvy: Curvy girls are also often said to have “hourglass figures.” These girls have similar measurements around the bust and hips, with a smaller, defined waist. Think celebs like JLo, Christina Hendricks, and (for a throwback) Marilyn Monroe.
  • Triangle: The triangle shape is also commonly called the “pear shape.” With this body type, your hips are wider than your shoulders (which creates a triangle-like shape with your torso). Pear- or triangle-shaped celebs include Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, and Hilary Duff. 
  • Inverted triangle: If you have an inverted triangle-shaped body, you’re just the opposite of your pear-shaped friends – your shoulders measure wider than your hips. Some celebs that rock this body type include Angelina Jolie, Kelly Clarkson, and Dolly Parton.
  • Petite: In the fashion world, “petite” refers to any girl under 5’3”. Petite girls come in all shapes, and sizes, but their height is one thing that connects them all. A few petite celebrities include Zoe Kravitz, Lady Gaga, and Ariana Grande.
  • Tall: Tall girls are… well, tall. Just like the petite girls we mentioned above, tall girls are noticed for their height above all else. You might be tall and curvy, or tall and triangle-shaped, or tall and just about anything else, but when it comes to finding the right prom dress, your height is your top consideration.  

Picking the Perfect Prom Dress for Your Figure

Once you know what body type you’re working with, it’s time to narrow down your search to the dresses that best suit your body. This step can help you avoid hours of trying thousands of dresses that simply aren’t working. When you know what’s going to look best, you can speed up the search (and have more fun in the process)!

Here are a few suggestions that will help you find the right style for your taste and your body type:

Prom Dresses for Rectangle Figure

When you have a rectangle body, you want to use your dress to introduce some dynamics to your look. One way to do this is by wearing a one-shoulder gown. The unique shape will help create dimension and take your look to the next level. 

If you’re looking to give yourself some curves for prom night, you can accentuate your waist with an empire waist dress or bring out your hips with a fitted, trumpet-style gown. These cuts can help you amp up those curves and bring the va-va-voom!

Curvy Figure Prom Gowns

Speaking of “va-va-voom,” it’s no secret that curvy girls have a shape that’s very easy to dress. But how can you be sure that you’ll look your best on prom night? We recommend highlighting your defined waist with a cinched-in look. 

Look for dresses with fitted waistlines (even accentuated or bedazzled waistlines, if you want to be extra glamorous (that fit tightly in the upper bodice. For the bottom half, you can opt for a flowy skirt or a fitted one – it really depends on what you feel comfortable in on the dancefloor.)

Triangle Shape Prom Dresses

Both triangle-shaped and inverted-triangle-shaped girls are going to be looking for balance from their gowns. However, they find that balance in different ways. For girls with triangle shapes, the trick is to use a gown that flows over the hips to create balance and symmetry between the hips and shoulders.

Look for A-line dresses, ideally with embellished or unique necklines. The neckline will draw the eye upward, bringing attention to your shoulders and once again creating a sense of balance.   

Inverted Triangle Prom Dresses

For inverted triangle girls, we want to achieve the exact opposite as the triangle girls we just discussed. Here, we’re not drawing the eye up towards the shoulders – we want to bring attention to the hips!

These girls should look for dresses that define the waist and accentuate the hips, like a mermaid or trumpet style dress.

Dresses for Petite Figure

Petite girls typically want to appear taller in their prom dresses. The best way to do that is to show a little leg! Dresses with high slits, asymmetrical cuts, or vertical prints can really trick the eye and make you appear a little taller. 

Gowns for Tall Body Type

Is there anything more incredible than a tall girl owning her height? That’s what you get to do on prom night! Embrace your height and rock a floor-length, form-fitting gown. Trust us, the finished look will be absolutely spectacular.

Of course, these suggestions are just a starting point. From here, you have the freedom to explore different colors, fabrics, accessories, and just about anything else that will make your prom look TRULY YOURS.

And best of all, you can find everything you need here at NewYorkDress! Check out our prom selection today – we know you’ll find something that catches your eye for that big night.   

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