By the time you hit college, you’re probably getting a clearer picture of your body and a bit more comfortable and, hopefully, accepting of it. However, buying dresses can still often be a challenge for many girls, especially when they’re living away from home for the first time and don’t have the trusted opinion of their mothers or siblings to help them pick out new products.
If you want to go shopping for new dresses to set yourself up for a summer of fun parties and dates and other occasions, here are three key tips to consider.
Know Your Body Shape
Start by ensuring you’re familiar with your body shape. You need to understand your proportions in different areas to know what to accentuate and what to skim over with fabrics and silhouettes. Don’t stress about not having perfect proportions since it’s completely normal not to. All women have body parts that are bigger or smaller, or more uneven than they wish. What is vital when buying new dresses is to know the types of styles that will best suit and balance out your shape, drawing little attention to your least favorite bits while emphasizing your best assets.
To get clear on your shape, don’t just look at individual parts but at your body as a whole. Pay attention to your profile from your feet up to the tops of your shoulders and even your decolletage and neck. It helps to divide your form into thirds and consider how the three areas work separately, first and then as part of your whole shape.
If you get stuck, take some photographs of yourself naked or in lingerie to look at yourself more objectively. It also pays to take specific measurements of your bust, shoulders, hips, waist, and the like with a tape measure to get more clarity. With the information you discover, you’ll better see whether you need to look for dresses that minimize your bust or give you the illusion of a bigger one, lengthen your legs, make your hips look narrower, show off a tiny waist, or balance out a longer top half, etc.
Next, try to be flexible about the styles you’re open to. While certain silhouettes do suit particular body shapes, you’ve probably gotten used to wearing some dress types over the years that aren’t as perfect for you as you think and avoiding those that do actually suit beautifully. This is particularly likely if you had a rapid growth phase, lost a lot of puppy fat, or otherwise had significant bodily changes in recent years.
As such, it’s wise to try on some new dress types to see what does and doesn’t work for you right now and avoid limiting yourself unnecessarily. You may discover a raft of dresses out there that will work for you that you didn’t expect or even some that can do nicely if you tweak and tailor them a bit to mold to your specific proportions. Check out summer 2022 fashion trends for women for inspiration, and be brave enough to mix things up so you diversify your wardrobe and, in turn, your look.
Purchase Based on Features You Want to Minimize or Maximize
Lastly, as you shop for dresses, it pays to keep those features that you want to minimize or maximize at the top of your mind so you can find clothing that makes you feel as confident as possible. For instance, are you a bit self-conscious about having a small bust? If so, you’ll want to avoid deep, plunging necklines that will draw attention to what you see as a lack, and pick products that add the illusion of more curves with gathering, draping, ruching, or adornments up top.
If, though, you have a bigger bust, it’s vital to choose dresses with enough support that feature built-in bras or a sturdy fabric. V-neck or scoop necklines tend to work nicely for women who are well-endowed in this area, too. Perhaps you worry that your middle is thicker than you’d like, or you have a bit of a rounded tummy that annoys you. In this situation, search for dresses that draw attention away from your middle. Drop or empire waists, for example, are good examples. It’s also a good idea to avoid thick belts or ruching that can highlight your midsection.
For those with pear shapes, it’s best to select dresses that skim over fuller hips and thighs instead of hugging them too tightly. You likely also don’t want a hemline more than an inch or two above your knees.
There is plenty to think about as you shop for any clothing, but dresses especially can often be tricky. Take your time and weigh up all the considerations above, so you come away from shopping expeditions with at least one or two new items that you feel and look good in.