The 12 Most Flattering Summer Dresses, Ever

The summer dress often becomes the one item in our closets that gets the most mileage. It brings us from afternoon outings to evening soirées, and maybe — in some cases — all the way back to work again the next morning. So, we don’t mean to apply the pressure, but finding the right one matters

Which is why we put together a simple guide to selecting the frock shape that best fits your frame. Ahead, meet your sartorial match that’ll complement you so well, you’ll spend the season together in love.


The Carrot — The trick to dressing your shape is thinking in contrasts. Since your legs are the most slender part of your body, this midi-length, flowing number will drape perfect over your gams. And, the fitted bodice will look killer on top, too.

Rachel Comey Mora Dress, $472, available at La Garçonne .


Short Legs — If you’re hoping to fake legs for days, the trick is to pick up the hem. A short shift dress that doesn’t cling to your frame will help hide the line of your hips — and therefore, make your gams look miles inches longer. This chic, colorblocked pattern helps trick the eye, as well.

Zara Combination Dress, 79.90, available at Zara.


Busty — Vertical prints are golden for minimizing a fuller bust. However, this ladylike shape will also cinch your midsection so that the dress will fit perfectly over all your proportions — not just the largest one. Also, be mindful of your straps: Pick a dress that allows for you to still wear your most supportive bras. 

Dorothy Perkins black-white polka pleat dress, $79, available at Dorothy Perkins.


Ballerina Body — Summer is the perfect time to show off your long, lean limbs without having to cover up for fear of the chill. However, we say, pick one part at a time. Choose a sleeveless dress with an elongated hem that shows off your graceful arms. This standout vertical print will also help further accent your tall frame. 

Paul & Joe Floral Maxi Dress, $583, available at Boutique 1.


Short Torso — Similar to the short-legs advice, it’s best to pick a dress in which you can’t tell exactly where the line of your hips begin. This midi option, with large graphic print, will let your shorter torso and longer lower half meet in the middle. It’s an instant way to balance proportions.

Tibi Emme Halter Dress, $465, available at Tibi.


Petite & Compact — Because of your smaller stature, you may have to be cautious of embellishments and fabric details that swallow you up. So, skip the frills and pick a dress with a serious eye-catching print instead. This linear tropical option with a short hem will also help create an elongated line on your petite frame.

Mango Tropical Print Dress, $79.99, available at Mango.


Hourglass — Peekaboo cutouts can be tricky, but not so much for you, hourglass. Accent your little middle with these side slits, which will show off all your natural curves. In case you’re cautious of being a little too risqué, go for a maxi length that’s sexy but not overly so.

Topshop Leaf Split Hem Maxi Dress, $130, available at Topshop.


Boyish — Draped and hanging silhouettes may not always work on your straight-edge frame, but this is a wonderful exception. With a few sleek cutouts, a drawstring waist that allows the dress to blouse a bit in the middle, and a flowy hem that creates some curves by your hips, this may be your feel-good, look-amazing dress of the season.

Mason Multi Strap Dress, $414, available at Otte NY.


The Apple — Go for a babydoll waist that nips in beneath your bust, and a skirt that swings (not clings) around your midsection. Plus, an all-over print — like this gorgeous Mara Hoffman number — will camouflage and create a general slimming effect.

Mara Hoffman Rainbow Jersey Swing Mini Dress, $316.26, available at My Wardrobe.


Boticelli Babe — Ah, the wrap dress. The eternally flattering shape that makes anyone lookva-voom. However, this one is particularly perfect for the woman with serious curves. The wrapped effect will show off your assets, while minimizing your middle. Again, the bold pattern and above-the-knee hem will also help define your knockout shape.

Diane von Furstenberg Bahar dress. $438, available at Matches Fashion.


Small Chested — This sheer, cutout dress is practically made for a smaller bust. With the beautiful, ornate detailing, you’ll be able to feel sexy but not showy. And, of course, if you’re up for it, just ditch the bra all together. 

Alice + Olivia Papina embroidered cutout cotton dress, $396, available at Net-A-Porter.


The Pear — To best flatter your derrière, opt for flared skirts with a bit of movement, instead of too-tight body-cons. You’ll feel comfortable and balance the overall proportions of your frame. Plus, this fitted halter will also instantly draw eyes up, instead of soley focusing on you-know-where. 

French Connection Casablacna Vine Halter Dress, $188, available at French Connection.

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