Evening Dresses for Full-Figured Women

Amber Riley shows off her curvy figure at the 17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Put your curves on display and show the world how curvy girls rock in a fabulous evening dress. There are a number of options, depending on personal style and body type. From swirling empire-style gowns to sleek and slinky styles, the right evening dress for full-figured women requires careful consideration. Experiment with cut and color and focus on dresses that drape instead of cling. Overall, pair your evening dress with some super bad shoes, a classy clutch and an overdose of confidence!

Fabrics

Fabrics make all the difference in the world when choosing a plus-size evening gown. Avoid polyester, silk or bulky wools; instead, go with figure forgiving fabrics like cotton, nylon or jersey. The idea is to have a fabric that drapes nicely over your curves, hugging them ever so slightly. What you don't want is something that causes bad bulges that make the dress look misshapen. Cotton is best because it is the most airy; score even more point for a cotton/spandex blend that puts some extra "oomph" into the way the dress falls across your curvy body.

Cuts and Styles

Most full-figured women -- most women in general, actually -- look best in evening gowns that flatter their best features. If you have a lovely and proportioned bust, but thighs that you hate, try an empire style evening dress with a dramatic drop in your decolletage. If you love your booty, but hate your legs, go for a ankle-hugging jersey dress that hugs your hips, thighs and butt in a way that would make Jennifer Lopez jealous.

Colors

Traditionally, full-figured women have opted for black, since it is the most slimming color. Throw that bit of conventional wisdom right out the back door, and let the color on in. Reds, blues, greens, yellows and purples look great in full-figured evening gown styles. Dress it up even more with a slamming pair of coordinated high heels and a jazzy clutch. Your accessories matter, too, for evening wear, so skip the plain Jane diamonds and throw some color around your ears and neck. Enjoy standing out in a sea of boring black at your next evening event.

Tips and Tricks

If the dress doesn't fit, move up a size. Don't try to squeeze into a too-small evening gown or you risk being uncomfortable and looking like a disaster. Don't go too big, either, or your dress will enhance your size -- in a bad way. If your evening dress is extra slinky, try a body shaper to smooth out your curves a bit. A body shaper makes your body look curvy but streamlined, which makes the dress fit nicely.

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