Whether you have a full, curvy, or straight figure, a fit-and-flare dress will likely flatter your body type. This versatile and flattering silhouette exploded in popularity with Christian Dior's "New Look" in the post-war decades.
While it's well-known that A-line and other fit-and-flare dress styles are flattering and popular, people outside of the fashion industry may be confused about the main characteristics of these styles and, more importantly, how to style them. If you're one of those people, follow this simple guide to learning everything you need to know about wearing and styling A-line and fit-and-flare dresses.
While fit-and-flare dress styles are comfortable, flattering for most body types, and come with many other benefits – like looking sexy while remaining modest and feminine without being too girly – it isn't always easy to find an ideal fit. There are several elements to consider when shopping for the perfect fit-and-flare dress. Read on to learn more about the most crucial ones to focus on.
A-line dresses made with flimsy fabric can cancel out all the flattering elements of this dress style, especially if you carry most of your weight in your hips and thighs. When you're shopping for a fit-and-flare dress, one of the first and most important rules of thumb is to make sure the material isn't too flimsy. When you're trying on dresses, always look at a back view of yourself in the mirror to ensure that the fabric is thick enough to provide a flattering shape.
Length is significant for women who have short and heavy legs. If a fit-and-flare silhouette is cut too short, it can actually make short, heavy legs look even shorter and heavier. Conversely, if it's cut too long, it can create a frumpy look that may only be correctable in heels. When an A-line dress is cut just above the knees, it will flatter just about any body type.
The sweep of a dress skirt refers to the measurement of its circumference, meaning the larger the sweep is, the bigger the flare will be. While many women may think big flare equals drama and allure in every case, this isn't true for all body types. Especially if you have a petite figure, you should be careful to avoid skirts with too much sweep as they can make shorter women look even shorter and wider women look even wider. Skirts with super-wide sweeps are sometimes better left to more dramatic dress styles like ballgowns.
Like the sweep and length of a fit-and-flare dress, the waist placement is another slight element that could make or break the entire look. If it's too high, you could end up looking too busty or even pregnant. The sweet spot is just about one inch above the natural waistline. With the waist placement in this spot, even the thickest women enjoy a slimming effect. Slightly below the natural waist also work because it gives the illusion of a longer torso. The important rule with waist placement is to make sure that it's never too high.
The number-one reason women gravitate towards fit-and-flare dresses is their ability to conceal the larger bottom half of the body. Oddly enough, if you notice the natural shape of a fit-and-flare dress, you'll see that the silhouette mirrors the shape you want to conceal. The A-line shape over the hip and thigh area makes attention to the neckline crucial. If you want to emphasize a narrow top half of the body, look for dresses with halter tops. Conversely, if you're looking to broaden your shoulders to create a more symmetrical shape, look at wider necklines like scoop and boat necks.
5 Ways to Wear a Fit and Flare Dress
Now that you understand what a fit-and-flare or A-line dress is and all the most essential elements to consider when shopping for one, you can move on to the best ways to style one. Here are the top five style elements to consider when working with a fit-and-flare or A-line dress.
Wear a Coat or Jacket
Tone down the overly feminine appeal of a fit-and-flare dress or give it a more modern street-style vibe by pairing it with a jacket or coat. Depending on the style of the dress, the occasion, and your personality, A-line dresses look great with everything from jean jackets to dress coats and trench coats. Have fun with this style element and be creative because just about anything works.
Cropped Sweater or V-Neck Cardigan
Add a touch of modern style to an A-line dress by wearing a cropped sweater over it, so it functions as a matching skirt. This is a great idea when you have a sleeveless fit-and-flare dress that you want to wear when the temperature drops outside.
Pairing an A-line dress with a V-neck cardigan is a great way to add a flirtatious, vintage vibe to your look. This classic pairing can never go wrong.
Sleeveless Collared Shirt
Add some extra style and dimension to a patterned fit-and-flare dress with sleeves by wearing a light and loose sleeveless collared shirt over it. Button it up or wear it open like a jacket depending on the look you're going for. This is a great way to make an outfit look effortlessly chic.
Add a touch of drama to a sleeveless fit-and-flare dress by wearing a long-sleeved collared shirt under it. Color block with black and white or neon colors under a black dress, or make the whole look light and feminine by pairing pastel colors.
A-line and other fit-and-flare dress styles are so much fun to accessorize because just about anything goes with them. Take a solid-colored dress and elevate it with a statement necklace, or take a patterned dress and pair it with a scarf in a solid color or a coordinating pattern. Go bold by wearing your dress with a printed pair of pumps, or keep it simple with a pair of flats or simple sneakers like Converse.
No matter what body type you have or event you're planning to attend, you're sure to find the perfect A-line dress if you follow the style guide above. When you follow the above style tips, you can use one fit-and-flare dress for many different occasions by using it to create a range of styles. Step out looking and feeling your best in your new A-line dress.