In today’s day and age there are many designers who make beautiful and well-fitting dresses for the plus-size consumer. There is no one size that has been set in stone as the definitive starting point for plus-sizes in the fashion world, and it will vary depending on the store and the designer. Some stores consider a size 18 as the threshold for plus-size clothing, while other styles will go down to as far as a size 12. More stylish options are available partly due to the emergence of plus-size celebrities such as Queen Latifah and plus-size models like Natalie Laughlin. These well known women have increased the awareness of beauty at any size, and the fashion world has taken note. The quality and styles of plus-size clothing has reached a much higher level. There are many different dress styles to choose from in the plus-size division, and before shopping women should understand their particular body types in order to determine what styles will flatter them best.
Understanding Different Plus-Size Body Types and How to Dress Them
When picking out a plus-size dress, it is important to remember that every woman has a different body type. There truly is no one size that fits all. That said, the fashion industry typically classifies plus-size shapes under five categories of shapes including pear, apple, hourglass, rectangular, and petite.
Pear Body Type
To be considered pear shaped, a woman must be more bottom heavy than top heavy in nature. The neck is commonly slim, and the shoulders and back are also narrow in size. Moving down the body, women with a pear shape typically have a medium sized bust and waist, with most of the weight held in the thighs, calves, and rear end. This is also known as a triangle shape, when one is wider at the bottom and thins out towards the top.
How to Dress a Pear Shaped Body
When buying dresses for a pear shaped body, it is best to find garments that accentuate the upper body and take attention away from the lower part of the body. A dress that puts emphasis on the neckline is a good option for pear shaped women, as this will keep the attention away from the bottom portion and draw eyes to the slimmer shoulders and neck area. One option for a flattering neckline would be the halter style, where the straps wrap around the neck for comfort, support, and style. Strapless and spaghetti strap designs can also be an appealing style for pear shaped women, as this will put more attention on the shoulders and make the body appear more balanced in size.
Moving down the body away from the neckline and shoulders, a woman should next focus on the waistline. An empire fit is most flattering, where the waistline sits higher up on the dress and often hits just beneath the bust. Empire style and A-line dresses are commonly more form fitting on the top portion of the body, and looser and more free flowing below the waistline. This fit is very flattering on pear shaped women, as emphasis will be put on the shoulders, bust, and waistline and taken off of the thighs and backside. Another way to draw attention to the upper part of the body is to buy a well-designed dress that is embellished at the top but more plain and simple in design on the bottom. This again will draw the eye upwards and away from the bottom half of the body.
Apple Body Type
Apple shaped figures are commonly round all over, and the waist is often wider than both the hips and shoulders. The face, neck, and breasts are commonly full in size, with broad shoulders and a round and undefined waistline. This is also known as the inverted triangle shape, because the hips and legs tend to be narrower than the top portion of the body.
How to Dress an Apple Shaped Body
Since most of the weight is held in the stomach and upper body in an apple shape, it is important to emphasize the hips and legs when buying a dress. Opt for fabrics that are more loose fitting on the stomach, such as silk and cotton. Simple and small patterns should also be worn as opposed to large flashy designs. Small patterns will give the illusion of length instead of width. Focusing on darker colored dresses will also allow an apple shaped woman to appear smaller than her true size may be. Another way to create a smaller illusion would be to wear dresses that have folds in the material over the stomach area. Avoid any styles that have pleats, pockets, or gather near the waist area.
Hourglass Body Type
An hourglass body type is the most commonly desired shape by plus-size women, as this shape speaks to femininity and is the most proportioned of all the different body shapes. Women with an hourglass figure have a medium to large size bust and hips that are closely symmetrical in nature, while the waist is often about ten inches smaller than the other two curvier body parts.
How to Dress an Hourglass Shaped Body
With such a proportional shape, it can be easier to dress hourglass shaped figures. Form fitting dresses that put the focus on a narrow waist will be very flattering, which can include wrap dresses, tie waist, and belted styles. Try to choose V-neck and U-neck shaped necklines, which will elongate the body and again emphasize the waistline. Dresses are a great look for hourglass shaped figures, as a one-piece style places the focus on all the right places of the body. The length of the dress should be just above the knee or longer, which will accentuate the waist area as well.
Rectangular Body Type
Having a rectangular body type means there are a limited number of curves to a woman’s shape, or sometimes even none at all. The figure appears to go straight up and down, with a full neck and back and average bust size being the most common. The waist is undefined, and the legs and arms are usually thin.
How to Dress a Rectangle Shaped Body
When buying dresses for a rectangular shaped body, it is best to seek out styles that create curves on a seemingly curveless figure. A-line dresses can be very flattering, as they flare out at the bottom and give off the illusion of curves and shape to the lower body. Dresses should also be just above or at the knees and no longer, which will show off a woman’s shapely legs as well.
Petite Body Type
Besides focusing on the actual body shape, it is also important to consider a woman’s height. Petite women are commonly considered to be less than five feet four inches tall, and need to pay special attention to the dresses they choose.
How to Dress a Petite Body Type
When a woman is a plus size and on the shorter side, it is important to avoid dresses that will appear to be too large or swallowing on the body. Try to find a dress that contains draping, which will easily skim across the body and show some movement as opposed to being too tight or clingy. Petite and plus-size women should avoid wearing horizontal stripes, which give off the illusion of being larger in size than a woman actually is. It is also recommended to stick to plain designs and small prints, which will enhance a petite plus-size woman’s body. Oversized and flashy patterns can appear overwhelming, which can result in an unflattering look for this particular body type. If a shorter woman is looking for more of a statement in an outfit, a plain dress can easily be dressed up with accessories such as a large pair of earrings or a necklace.
How to Find Plus-Size Dresses on eBay
Once you understand what body type you are and what styles would flatter your particular figure, it is time to start shopping. No matter what size or shape you are, eBay offers thousands of styles of dresses for plus-size women, catering to all different tastes and preferences.
You can start your hunt for the perfect plus-size dress by performing a keyword search. To do this, go to the eBay home page and type your preferred keywords in the search box at the top of the page. If you are looking for a broad range of dresses to sort through, simply type "plus - size dresses" into the search box. eBay will populate all available plus-size dresses regardless of style or size, giving you the chance to see all available products on the site. If you know exactly what size and style you want, you can be more specific in your search process. For example, if you are looking for a Lane Bryant size 22 black dress, type this into the search box and press search. Only these available items will appear in the search results for you, making the entire process easier and more efficient.
If you do not want to search for plus-size dresses through the keyword method, you can also browse eBay’s categories to find what you want. From the eBay home page, navigate to the Fashion category, and then select the plus-size category in Women’s Clothing.
When it comes to plus-size fashions, there are many more options available on the market today to choose from than there were in previous years. In order to find the best plus-size dress, it is very important for a woman to understand exactly what her body type is and what style of dress would be the most flattering. With so many different dress styles made for both average-size and plus-size women, no one should have a problem finding the perfect dress for any occasion.
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