If You're Pear-Shaped
Look for a skirt that gradually flares out in an A formation from the natural waist to the floor, highlighting the narrowness of the midsection and floating away from the hips and thighs. (Sturdier fabrics, such as duchesse satin and taffeta, are especially effective, since they won't cling.) A spaghetti-strap bodice or a V neckline will also showcase a more slender upper body.
If You're Busty:
Look for a dress with a scooped neckline. It will open up your face and display your décolletage without showing too much cleavage. If you love the look of strapless gowns, choose one that has a slight dip along the neckline, like a sweetheart, rather than a style that goes straight across (which will make your bust appear even larger and more shelflike).
If You’re Plus-Size:
Look for an Empire dress with a skirt that begins just under the bust and flows into a gradual floor-length A-line. Make sure the Empire seam does not start on the chest and that there is no pleating of the fabric, which is reminiscent of maternity wear. The dress should play up your shape; if it’s too loose, it will add pounds.
If You’re Apple-Shaped:
Look for a dress that cinches in at the smallest point on the waistline, then flares out into a gradual A shape. Opt for a bodice with a lot of texture to it―think ruche or lace detailing―that will camouflage and fit snugly, creating a corsetlike effect. The most slenderizing neckline for you is one with a deep V, which will draw eyes toward the vertical, not the horizontal.
If You're Tall:
Look for a simple silhouette. The strategy is to emphasize your natural shape, so every aspect of the dress―the lower waistline, a floor-sweeping hem―needs to reflect your longer proportions. If you're wearing long sleeves, they should go past the wrist. You don't want to look as if you've borrowed a gown from someone shorter than you.