Types of dresses - Essential dresses styles
Types of dresses - Essential dresses styles

Different dress types

In this article we will talk all about dresses. There are so many different types of dresses and it’s easy to get lost in choosing the perfect one for your figure and style, but don’t worry! We’re here to help you with it. Whether it’s a formal, semi formal or just a casual dress you’re looking for we will outline the different types for you and explain what each one is like as well as help you choose the perfect fit for your body type. 

Types of Dresses Every Woman Should Know 

Bodycon Dress

This dress is a tight fitting, figure hugging dress that accentuates all the assets of your figure. These dresses are often made out of stretchy fabrics (usually with a blend of lycra or elastane). The bodycon is a perfect dress for a night out. It’s an ideal dress for those with an hourglass figure as it will showcase the curves.

Bodycon Dress

Shift Dress

This dress was one of the biggest trends in the 60’s. It’s a short, usually sleeveless dress in a boxy shape. It’s a perfect shape for people who have a lean figure. Pair it with some 60’s style sunglasses in a bold colour and you can go back in time with this timeless dress. 

Shift Dress

Sheath Dress

The sheath dress is very form fitting, it has a straight cut and is “pulled” in at the waistline. It’s knee length or ends just above the knee, usually sleeveless. A classic dress that’s perfect for business meetings or more formal evenings out. It is very flattering for those with an hourglass figure.

sheath dress

Strapless Dress

Strapless dresses originated in the 1930’s. It’s a perfect dress for when you want  to show off your shoulders. The dress relies on the contour of the body to keep it in place. A perfect example of a strapless dress is a tube dress but there are many styles of strapless dresses especially formal, evening wear dresses. Many dress styles can be made into strapless dresses. If you’re going for a casual look and you don’t feel like showing that much skin, wear a strapless dress over a t-shirt.

strapless dress 

Tube Dress 

Show off your body in a tube dress! You will definitely make the wow effect whenever wearing this style of a dress. It’s tight, very fitted and strapless. Perfect for when you want to look sexy. 

 Tube Dress

Halter Dress

This is a perfect summer dress style. It can have an either strapless or sleeveless upper half of the body. A perfect dress  for when you want to show off your shoulders. 

Halter Dress 

Slip Dress

Give off the ultimate grunge girl vibes with a slip dress! Usually a slip dress was worn as an undergarment but recently the fashion world has turned it into a major fashion piece usually worn just as a dress or over a t-shirt be it colourful or white depending on what style you’re going for. 

slip dress

Shirt Dress

Shirt dress is cool and casual. It’s loose fitting and perfect for a hot summer day. It has a collar and is buttoned down usually tied at the waist to accentuate it. You can easily DIY it from a large men’s shirt. 

shirt dress


Bardot Dress

Named after the beautiful Bridget Bardot, this dress will for sure steal anyone's heart with it’s off shoulder “sleeves”,  giving off a vibe that you’ve just slipped off the sleeves a tiny bit to expose your shoulders.

bardot dress 

A-line Dress

This dress is a dress that’s fitted at the waist,  flaring out towards the bottom creating an “A” shape. You can dress it up or down making it either casual or semi-formal. This dress style will be perfect for a pear figure.

 a-line dress

Kimono Style Dress

This is a traditional Japanese style. It is very original due to its wraparound closure and wide sleeves. The modern Kimono Dress has a slit on the leg.

kimono dress


Wrap Dress

This dress has a closure that has two sides, wrap one over the other and tie either at the waist or back. This dress is great for both curvy figures as well as lean figures. It has a classic silhouette perfect for both a casual or semi-formal setting. 

wrap dress 


Peplum Dress

The origins of this dress come from the Greek antiquity. It’s a very fun and playful style that can be either dressed up or down. The “peplum” detail is usually placed below the waist, around the neck/shoulders, above the waist or at the hips. This fit and flare style is perfect for when you want to hide extra body.

peplum dress


One shoulder Dress

This is a form of an asymmetrical dress where one side is sleeveless exposing the shoulder and the other has either a long sleeve, a ¾ sleeve or a strap. One shoulder dress will for sure make a statement. 

one shoulder dress 

Off-shoulder Dress

This dress is perfect for a romantic evening. This type of a dress showcases the shoulders while still having a sleeve or ruffle on the bicep. It’s a great alternative to the strapless look. 

Off-shoulder Dress

Maxi Dress

This is a perfect dress for relaxing at the beach or by the pool. It’s effortless yet effective. A  casual dress but because of its length, it gives off the illusion of being dressy. Pair it with strappy sandals, a wide brim hat and sunglasses and you have the ultimate summer look!  

 Maxi Dress  

Mini Dress

Jean Shrimpton broke out a scandal when she wore a “mini” dress that showcased her legs to the Melbourne Cup. That’s how the mini dress trend started. Nowadays the mini dresses are way more mini than the one Shrimpton wore and far less scandalous. It’s a perfect dress for anyone who wants to show off their legs.

Mini Dress

Empire Line Dress

This dress style dates back to the 18th century fashion trends. The dress is gathered at the bust which is the slimmest part of the torso and flows down all the way to the ground. This dress is perfect for petite girls as it gives off the illusion of an elongated figure. It’s a perfect dress for a formal occasion. 

Empire Line Dress

Cocktail Dress

This dress is perfect for a night out. A perfect blend between formal and casual. It’s usually knee length, fitting with the cocktail dress code. It can be very versatile as it can have different necklines and fits. Depending on the neckline and fit it can be a great fit for any figure type.

Cocktail Dress

Princess Silhouette Dress

It's a silhouette straight out of a Disney movie. It’s tight fitting at the top and flowy from the waist down. This dress is perfect for anyone as it pulls in at the waist showing off the slimmest part of it. 

Princess Silhouette Dress

Pinafore Dress

This dress is collarless and sleeveless with thin to medium sized straps. You can style it with a turtleneck or a t-shirt underneath. It’s a very cute dress and when styled right you can unleash your inner little girl with it.

 Pinafore Dress

Qipao Dress

A traditional Chinese dress dating all the way back to the 17th century. It has a high neck and a straight skirt. This dress style was traditionally made out of silk and was hand embroidered. The Qipao dress became very popular in the West in the 1920’s modified with a high slit on the leg and a variety of sleeve types. 

Qipao Dress

Tent Dress

A style widely popular in the 60’s. This dress hangs loose from the shoulders all the way to the bottom of the dress. It’s sleeveless with spaghetti straps. It does not have a waistline and is very loose fitting. A great dress for a slim body type. The dress made it’s second debut in fashion in 2007 when it became popular yet again. 

Tent Dress


This is a formal, floor length dress. It’s perfect for a black-tie dress code event. The form of this dress is very versatile ranging from a princess silhouette to a big, poofy skirt. It is for sure going to make you feel like a princess when making a grand entrance at your next ball or formal event.

Ballgown Dress

Mermaid Silhouette

This is a style of a ballgown, perfect for a black tie event. The mermaid silhouette  is long and straight all the way to the calf/thigh, flaring out into a wide tail just like a mermaid's tail. This is a perfect ball gown for pear shaped or hourglass figures as its very tight fitting at the top. 

mermaid dress

Handkerchief Hem Dress

You can add to your dress with a handkerchief hem. This finish gives the illusion as if several handkerchiefs were placed at the center flowing down the dress. This finish works with any lenght and any neckline style although it is usually designed with dresses that have an asymmetrical bottom.

Asymmetrical Dress

This dress is perfect for when you’re unsure of the formality of an event. It usually has two sides with different lenghts – one side shorter and one longer, sometimes it is longer at the back and shorter at the front. Some asymmetrical dresses have a sleeveless side on one side and a longsleeve on the other. There are endless variations of the asymmetrical dress hence why it’s so versatile. 

Bondage Dress

This is a form of a bodycon dress brought to the fashion world by the famous french designer Hervé Léger. It’s a very tight fitting dress. It consists of many layers of a “bondage” style knitted fabric that hugs the figure. It  is usually knee lenght or mid-calf lenght.

Tea-Lenght Dress

The origin of this dress comes from the Edwardian Times where this style was often worn to drink afternoon tea. It’s a classic dress style that never gets old. It consists of a circle, mid-calf lenght skirt with different types of a bodice. This length and style are perfect for a semi-formal event. 

Tea-length dress

Different types of dresses - how to choose the perfect one for your body type 

Inverted Triangle or Apple

If your shoulders are wider than your hips then your shape is an “inverted triangle” or an apple shape.  

The perfect dresses for this body type are:

  • Empire Line Dress that is fitted under the bust and then flares down.  
  • Wrap Dresses are also great for this body type as they wrap under the bust visually lifting it up.  
  • A-Line Shirt Dresses – these dresses flow down the sides of your body,  creating a balanced appearance concealing the waist and hips while still showing off the curves and legs.

Hourglass Shape

If your hips and bust are nearly equal in size and you have a very defined waistline then your body is an hourglass shape.

Fitted, body hugging dresses are designed for the hourglass body shape. 

The perfect dresses for this body type are:

  • Any bodycon dresses such as bondage dresses that hug the body and show off the curves. 
  • Wrap dresses are great for this body type as they wrap at the waist highlighting it even more.
  • Sheath Dressesare also great for this body type as they are tight fitting meaning that they show off all the assets of the figure. 

Triangle or Pear Shape

If your shoulders are narrower than the hips, you have slim shoulders and arms with a defined waist then your figure is the triangle or pear shape.

The perfect dresses for this body shape are:

  • Fit and Flare dresses which accentuate your slim waist.  
  • A-Line Dresse– They accentuate the waist and slim upper torso while the wide A-line skirt falls over the widest parts of your body. 
  • Also a ball gownwith a wide poofy skirt and a tight fitting bodice is perfect for this body type.

Rectangle, Straight or Banana Shape

If your measurements of the hip are the same as the bust and your shoulders are the same width as your hips  then your body type is a “rectangle” 

The perfect dresses for this body type are:

  • Fit and Flare Dresses such as the Princess Silhouettedress 
  • Belted Dresses– A belted dress that cuts off at the waist is perfect for this body type for example the Shirt Dress
  • Puffed Sleeves – A dress with puffy sleeves like an off shoulder dress with ruched sleeves will look great with a rectangle body type. 
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