Do you have a fancy evening affair coming up, but feel hesitant about finding a dress that makes you look and feel amazing? As a fellow plus-size woman, I totally get the anxiety finding formalwear can bring. We want to look ravishing and confident, not frumpy and out of place.
But I have some good news! There are so many gorgeous plus-size evening dress options available now that flatter curvier figures. The key is identifying styles that highlight your best assets rather than trying to conceal or reshape your body. When you feel good in what you’re wearing, it shows!
In this post, we’ll explore:
- The top 5 most flattering evening dress silhouettes for plus-size divas
- Tips on choosing a dress that suits your individual body shape
- Solutions to common dilemmas like dress length, sleeve style, and shapewear
- Ideas for accessories that complete your formal outfit
My goal is to empower you to feel like the beautiful, sensual, and stylish woman you are inside. Your dress size doesn’t define you – your spirit and confidence do! Ready to discover how fabulous you can look and feel? Let’s get started!
The Top 5 Most Flattering Plus-Size Evening Dress Styles
An evening dress should make you want to dance, dazzle, and celebrate life. Here are 5 timeless styles that let your inner starlet shine:
The Enviable Wrap Dress
Wrap dresses cinch in at the waist to highlight curves in a totally flattering way. The wrapped neckline provides instant elegance and allure. silky jersey knit fabrics skim over the body smoothly to create a streamlined silhouette.
Wrap dresses suit all body types, but are especially perfect for pear shapes. The wrap effect draws the eye upward and highlights the upper body while slimming the hips and thighs.
When styling a wrap dress, choose solid colors in dark, jewel-toned hues. Statement earrings and a sleek updo elegantly frame the face. High heels elongate the legs. Add a wide belt at the natural waist if desired to further define your shape.
The Flattering A-Line Dress
A-line dresses are fitted at the bust and gradually flare out from the natural waist down. This creates a classic flattering silhouette that accentuates the upper body while disguising wider hips and thighs.
Triangle or pear shaped figures look absolutely lovely in A-line dresses. The skirt flows gracefully over the lower body and balances out broad shoulders. For evening wear, go for luxurious fabrics like satin, taffeta or velvet. The rich textures catch the light beautifully.
Finish off your A-line look with sparkling jewelry, an elegant clutch, and classic stiletto pumps. Those legs will look a mile long!
The Charming Empire Waist Dress
Empire waist dresses have a seam situated directly under the bust, creating a flowy, romantic look. The high waistline visually enhances the bust while disguising the stomach and hips.
This style flatters all figures, but is especially ideal for apple shapes who carry weight in their midsection. The empire seam cinches in right below the bust to play up your curves without clinging.
Full chiffon skirts with an empire waist make an ethereal statement at formal events. Play up the delicate vibe with crystal jewelry and lace-up ballet flats or low heels. Want to add contrasting texture? Opt for velvet bodices with floaty chiffon skirts.
The Alluring Off-Shoulder Dress
Off-the-shoulder dresses highlight the neckline and shoulders while still covering the arms. They come in endless styles, from slinky bodycon numbers to voluminous ballgowns.
This neckline style looks ravishing on hourglass figures, showing just enough skin to be alluring while accentuating the waist. Balance out the sultry shoulder-baring neckline by styling your hair in soft Hollywood waves. Complete the look with understated jewelry, a sexy stiletto, and lush bold lips. Va va voom!
For a formal event, go for decadent fabrics like velvet and satin. The rich textures will make you feel glamorous and seductive. Off-the-shoulder dresses empower you to flaunt those gorgeous curves!
The Sophisticated Illusion Dress
Illusion dresses overlay sheer mesh fabric on the bust, arms, and décolletage to generate a sexy yet sophisticated style. The sheer panels offer peeks of skin while maintaining coverage.
Illusion accents slim and elongate the figure, making this style ideal for all body types. These dresses are guaranteed to make a dramatic entrance at any formal affair.
Since illusion dresses make a bold impact, keep hair and makeup sleek and classic. Add some sparkle with glittering diamond earrings and strappy heels. Let the dress take center stage and turn heads all night long!
Now that we’ve covered 5 universally flattering looks, let’s talk about choosing a dress that specifically complements your body’s unique proportions.
How to Choose the Right Plus-Size Evening Dress Silhouette for Your Body Type
Finding your perfect plus-size evening dress is all about identifying styles that highlight your favorite assets while balancing out areas you want to downplay. Here are some tips for common plus-size body shapes:
Dresses for the Pear Shape
If you carry most of your fullness in the hip and thigh region, also called a pear, spoon, bell or A shape, your goal is to add definition at the top while skimming gracefully over the lower body. Look for:
- Wrap dresses, empire waist dresses, A-line dresses: Fitted through the shoulder and bust with a flowy skirt
- Details to highlight: Shoulders, bustline, necklace, upper back
- Details to downplay: Hips, rear, thighs
- Recommended silhouettes: Fitted at top, gradually widening toward hem
- Recommended fabrics: Velvet, brocade, satin – heavy fabrics that won’t cling
- Necklines: Off-shoulder, sweetheart, V-neck, scoop
- Sleeves: Flutter, three-quarter length, cap sleeves
Complete your look with chandelier earrings, necklaces, and pumps to draw the eye upward. Avoid volume at the hips like handbags or poufy details.
Dresses for the Apple Shape
Apple shapes, who carry weight in their midsection and torso, look for dresses that cinch at the narrowest part of the waist. Try:
- Empire waist dresses, wrap dresses, A-line dresses
- Details to highlight: Bustline, shoulders, arms, legs
- Details to downplay: Stomach, waist
- Recommended silhouettes: Fitted under bust, loose around stomach and hips
- Recommended fabrics: Chiffon, jersey – lightweight fabrics that float over the midsection
- Necklines: V-neck, scoop, sweetheart
- Sleeves: Half sleeves, flutter sleeves, cap sleeves
Cinch at the narrowest part of your waist with a belt or bow. Balance fuller middles with bold necklaces and dangly earrings. Strappy heels show off tone legs and elongate your shape.
Dresses for the Hourglass Figure
Lucky ladies with curvy hourglass figures can highlight their beautiful natural proportions. Seek out dresses that:
- Fit-and-flare, mermaid, off-shoulder
- Details to highlight: Bust, waist, hips and derriere
- Details to downplay: Nothing – show off those curves!
- Recommended silhouettes: Fitted at bust and hips, nipped in at waist
- Recommended fabrics: Stretchy jersey, structured satin or taffeta
- Necklines: Off-shoulder, strapless, sweetheart
- Sleeves: Sleeveless, cap sleeves, spaghetti straps
Add contrasting belts or jeweled chains to accentuate your waist. Chandelier earrings, stilettos, and bold matte lips complete your sultry yet elegant look.
Dresses for the Triangle Shape
Triangle or pyramid shapes with broad shoulders and narrow hips should seek out dresses that:
- A-line, fit-and-flare, illusion
- Details to highlight: Bust, arms, shoulders
- Details to downplay: Narrow hips, flat rear
- Recommended silhouettes: Broad on top, gradually narrowing
- Recommended fabrics: Stiff satin, taffeta to hold shape
- Necklines: Off-shoulder, illusion, halter
- Sleeves: Sleeveless, illusion sleeves
Make the most of your beautiful shoulders and arms with bold jewelry and accessories. Ankle straps on heels add some width to narrow ankles. A stunning A-line dress will flatter your shape to a T!
Dresses for the Rectangle Shape
Rectangular figures who lack a defined waist should bring attention to their bust and hips. Flattering dress features include:
- Wrap dresses, ruched dresses, belted dresses
- Details to highlight: Bustline, hips, legs
- Details to downplay: Straight waist, lack of curve
- Recommended silhouettes: Fitted at top, defined waist, full skirt
- Recommended fabrics: Draping jersey and chiffon add shape
- Necklines: V-neck, off-shoulder, sweetheart
- Sleeves: Illusion sleeves, cold shoulder, cap sleeves
Cinch in the waist with a wide belt or sash. Emphasize your legs with strappy stilettos or sandals. Drop earrings and dangling jewelry add movement.
Dresses for the Inverted Triangle Shape
Inverted triangle figures with athletic shoulders and slim hips should try:
- Off-shoulder, illusion necklines to soften broad shoulders
- Details to highlight: Slim lower body, legs
- Details to downplay: Broad chest, square shoulders
- Go for unconstructed a-line dresses in flowy fabrics like chiffon rather than stiff materials
Add femininity with flutter sleeves, lace details, and soft draping at the shoulders. Avoid heavy jewelry and fabrics; let your natural shape shine through.
The key is honing in on your unique body shape and choosing silhouettes and details that celebrate your personal proportions. Now let’s tackle some common FAQs about plus-size eveningwear shopping and styling:
Your Top Evening Dress Questions – Answered!
What Styles of Evening Dresses are Most Flattering for Plus-Size Women?
In general, look for styles with ruching, draping, wrap effects, empire waists, and floor-length A-line or mermaid skirts. These details will elegantly skim and flatter fuller figures. Structured fabrics like satin and velvet hold their shape better than flimsy fabrics that can cling unflatteringly.
Some of the most universally flattering and fashionable evening dress styles for plus-size divas include:
- Wrap dresses
- Empire waist dresses
- A-line dresses
- Fit-and-flare or mermaid dresses
- Illusion dresses
- Off-the-shoulder dresses
- Belted dresses to cinch the waist
What Fabrics Work Best for Plus-Size Evening Wear?
Look for fabrics with a bit of stretch and “give” that will lightly skim over curves rather than tightly clinging. Recommended fabrics include:
- Jersey knit – A smooth stretchy knit that drapes beautifully. The spandex content makes it curve-hugging.
- Satin – Has a luxurious drape and sheen. Looks formal and elegant.
- Velvet – Has a plush pile that catches the light. Perfect for winter formal events.
- Chiffon – A lightly flowing sheer fabric ideal for empire waists and illusion styling.
Avoid stiff fabrics like burlap that won’t flatter curves. Also be wary of thin fabrics that will showcase lumps and bumps. Shiny fabrics can sometimes appear cheap, so aim for subtly luminous rather than overtly glittery evening dresses.
What Colors Should I Look for in an Evening Dress?
Rich saturated jewel tones and dark neutrals are the most universally flattering. Deep colors like emerald, sapphire, and burgundy slim the silhouette. Black is always ravishing and sophisticated. Navy, charcoal, and eggplant are excellent dark neutral choices.
Steer clear of pastels, which can make you appear washed out. If you want to experiment with color, opt for a bold modern print like graphic florals or geometric patterns. Just take care the fabric has enough heft not to show every curve.
What Length of Dress is Best?
For formal evening affairs, a floor-length gown makes the grandest style statement. Tea length dresses ending below the knee add retro flair. Mid-calf lengths show a bit more leg.
Mini lengths can be fun paired with opaque tights or leggings, but err on the side of elegance for black tie optional and formal invitations. Ultimately, wear the length you feel best in based on the formality of the event.
How Should My Dress Fit?
The best fit aims for close but comfortable through the shoulders, bust, and upper waist. You want to avoid visible pulling across buttons or gaping in the bust. Structure from seaming, boning, or built-in shapewear should slim, not squeeze.
Below the natural waistline, look for a gradually flaring A-line shape rather than a super clingy narrow pencil skirt. Make sure you can walk and dance without restriction. Sit down in the dressing room to double check!
Be prepared for tailoring. Plus-size dresses often run large up top and small in the hips. Don’t settle for an imperfect fit – invest in the right alterations to make that dress yours.
What Necklines and Sleeves are Most Flattering?
Use neckline and sleeve styles strategically to highlight or downplay parts of your physique:
- Hourglass figures – Strapless, sweetheart, square and off-shoulder necklines. Sleeveless styles.
- Pear shape – V-neck, boatneck, off-shoulder, portrait collar. Flutter sleeves, 3/4 length.
- Apple shape – V-neck, scoop, sweetheart. Cap sleeves, flutter sleeves.
- Triangle – Strapless, one-shoulder, halter. Sleeveless.
- Inverted triangle – V-neck, scoop, off-shoulder, illusion. Cap sleeves, flutter sleeves.
- Rectangle – Plunging V-neck, off-shoulder, cold shoulder. Illusion sleeves.
In general, highlight your décolletage and arms while avoiding high necks and full sleeves that can overwhelm your shape. Show off those gorgeous shoulders!
Should I Wear Shapewear?
Shapewear is optional and depends on your styling preferences. Light control garments like simple Spanx can gently smooth bulges. Just avoid anything painfully binding that digs in or restricts breathing.
If you love shapewear, put it on underneath dresses when trying them on. You want the dress to fit smoothly over the shapewear – not be stuffed into it. Don’t size down in dresses expecting shapewear to make it fit.
What Shoes Should I Wear?
For evening attire, a closed toe or peep toe pump in a classic silhouette works with pretty much any gown. Go for a heel height you can walk and dance in steadily – 3 to 4 inches is ideal for many plus-size women. Bring back-up flats if you’ll want to give your feet a break.
Strappy metallic heels or sandals can bring a more laid-back glamour. Sparkling flats are great if you’ll be on your feet all night. Pick footwear that showcases your style.
How Should I Accessorize My Evening Dress?
Less is often more when it comes to eveningwear accessories. Allow your dress to take center stage rather than competing with busy patterns and stacks of jewelry. A few key accessories include:
Statement earrings – Chandeliers, shoulder dusters, or bold studs frame your face
Necklaces – Dramatic pendants, strands of pearls, body chains
Rings – Cocktail rings with colorful stones
Clutch purse – Sleek satin or beaded handle bag (go hands-free if possible!)
Wrap or shawl – For warmth and to drape over shoulders as needed
Hair adornments – Glamorous clips, headbands with crystal accents
Shoes! The finishing touch for your formal outfit
Aim for luxe accessories in metallic, glittering and jewel toned materials that catch the light. Have fun and express your unique personal flair!
Feel Bold, Confident and Utterly Fabulous in Your Evening Wear
As we’ve discovered, plus-size women have so many gorgeous dress options for looking and feeling amazing at formal events today. The key is identifying styles suited for your individual figure. Seek out silhouettes and accents that highlight your favorite assets. Choose luxe curve-skimming fabrics in rich jewel tones. Accessorize for maximum sparkle!
Above all, don’t settle for matronly, shapeless dresses that hide your beauty. You deserve to shine in well-fitting styles created just for your body. Hold your head high and channel confidence as you make your entrance.
Let your inner starlet shine through! Your dress size does not define your worth or beauty. When you feel genuinely confident and empowered in what you’re wearing, it radiates from within.
So go forth and embrace your sensuality! Find your dream dress and dance the night away. Flaunt those luscious curves that make you unique. You are bold, glamorous and utterly fabulous. Own it!
I hope this guide has offered inspiring ideas and advice to help you feel confident and sexy on your next evening out. Fashion should be fun, expressive and uplifting – never restrictive. Please share any other tips or favorite styles I may have missed in the comments below. And have an absolutely magical time at your upcoming formal event!