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A day at the beach, wedding ceremony, cocktail party, dinner date -- what other clothing item is as versatile as the dress? But dress shopping isn't all fun and games; it's serious business! Stores and malls are swimming with options, which can often feel overwhelming, but once you know the best shape for you, you can head straight for your most flattering fits. A-line and empire waist dresses are two of the basics you just have to know.
What Is an A-Line Dress?
An A-line dress is a classic. Reminiscent of '50s housewives and Jackie O glamour, this dress creates the illusion of a teeny waist by cinching in at the narrowest part of the torso. It is usually relatively fitted on top, but from the waist down, it flares gently outward. Often these dresses are roughly knee-length, but they can be longer, too. The silhouette of the skirt resembles the letter "A" -- hence, the name.
Who Should Wear an A-Line Dress?
If you have an athletic shape, a strapless A-line dress will make you look curvier. Your shoulders will look broader because they're bare, and the skirt will give you hips. This style also works if you're curvy or bottom heavy because the tight bodice accentuates your chest, and the loose skirt hides your wider hips. This shape doesn't work well for women who are top heavy or apple shaped. The tight top makes your chest appear even larger, and the wide skirt just makes you look larger all around.
What Is an Empire Waist Dress?
An empire waist dress is another ultra-glam classic shape -- but this one's from the early 1900s, think early Hollywood. The empire waist has a fitted bodice, but the skirt falls from directly under the chest instead of from the natural waist. These skirts create a very straight line, unlike the A-line's curvy silhouette. Empire waist dresses can be anywhere from mid-thigh to floor length.
Who Should Wear an Empire Waist Dress?
To pull off the empire waist, a smaller bust is essential; it's very easy for busty girls to look like they're spilling out of this top. Unlike the A-line, though, the empire waist works for women who are apple shaped or have a thicker waist than hips. The fabric of this flowy skirt gently falls over your problem areas and makes you appear more balanced by accentuating your bust. This shape can work for petite women, too, because its long, straight lines make you appear taller.