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The key to looking good-no matter what you wear? Confidence. A dress that accentuates your favorite feature while flattering your figure will make you look and feel amazing!

Flattering a large bust
A v-neckline is perfect for a large chest. It helps visually elongate the torso, balancing out a more top-heavy shape. This neckline is a great for showing off your impressive cleavage without feeling over-exposed. Choose a deeper V to show off a little more, a shallower V for a more conservative look.

Green Chiffon Dress
Two-Tone Dress (plus size)
Leopard Wrap Dress
White V-Neck Dress

Enhancing a boyish figure
A “boyish” figure refers to a torso that is almost straight up-and-down, with shoulder, waist, and hip measurements that are roughly the same. A lightweight, flowy dress will provide soft, feminine lines and movement on your body. A high neckline will flatter broad shoulders and add style to a loose fitting dress. Try a dress that’s cinched at the waist for added shaping.

Smock-Waist Dress
Placket-Front Maxi Dress
Strappy Maxi Dress
Halter Dress

Playing up a pear-shaped figure
Those with a pear-shaped body typically have a smaller upper body,wider hips… and killer curves. (Think Beyoncé and Kim K!) An off-the-shoulder neckline is a great way to highlight your slender shoulders and show some skin. A fit-and-flare silhouette shows off a tiny waist and skims the hips perfectly.

Swing Dress
Dropped Sleeve Dress
50’s Halter Dress
Off The Shoulder Dress (plus size)

Enhancing a small chest
Ruffles are not only majorly fashionable right now, they do wonders for a small chest! Layer on the ruffles to add volume and movement to the bustline. Gathered, ruched, sweetheart and wrapped V necklines are also ultra-flattering for a petite bust.

Ruched Cowl-Neck Dress
Drawstring Halter Dress
Ruffle Dress
Sweetheart Wrap Dress

Maximizing an hourglass figure
Let your natural curves do all the work and stick with simple, basic silhouettes. Try bold, graphic prints for added excitement instead of choosing more complicated, intricate designs.

Belted Dress (plus size)
U-Neck Dress
Ruched Sheath Dress
Strapless Mini Dress

Flattering a long torso
An empire waistline is like a secret weapon when it comes to giving the impression of a higher waistline. Dresses fitted to the empire line with a loose skirt give the illusion of long legs as opposed to a long upper body.

Empire Mini Dress
Banded Dress
Empire Waist Dress (plus size)
Corset-Style Dress

Flattering a short torso
Boxy and unfitted silhouettes with short hemlines show off long legs and balance out a short torso. This style is also flattering to an apple-shaped figure (a wider waistline). Dropped waist dresses work wonders when it comes to elongating the upper body. Wear with tights or bare legs for spring!

Dolman Dress
Front Pleat Dress
Tank Dress (Check out Meg’s March Mash-Up to see how she modified this dress to flatter her figure!)
BabyDoll Dress

Dressing a petite figure
Dresses with eye-catching cutouts or embellishments in the center around the waistline draw attention and visually elongate a more compact torso. Another great trick: dresses with vertical seams and panels draw the eye up and down, making the body appear long and lean.

Lace Waist Dress
Bangle Dress
Pleated Waist Dress
Zip-Up Dress

Flattering broad shoulders and narrow hips
For this body type, a dress with the opposite shaping is the perfect choice! Try a fitted top with a full, flowing skirt to create the perfect balance. Overcut sleeves skim over the shoulders, creating a smooth, sleek look.

Peplum Dress (plus size)
A-Line Dress
Knot Front Dress
V-Neck LBD

What’s your go-to figure-flattering style? Tell us below!


  • Image_large

    Apr 21, 2014, 12.35 PMby Luz Kettle

    Great post! The choices are terrific. Thanks for taking the time to explain it all.

  • Image_large

    Apr 9, 2014, 07.43 PMby susan87

    love it!

  • Img_20140610_123605_large

    Apr 9, 2014, 03.07 PMby LaMadalena

    Me too! I am afraid to try many Burda patterns because they all seemed designed for flat stomach women.

    I am petite (5’2’’) but I have a prominent tummy. It is really hard finding suitable clothes/patterns.

    1 Reply
    • Purplefan_large

      Apr 18, 2014, 07.54 PMby purplefan

      Add extra amounts at the side seams from waist to hip on the front dress piece in a test fabric and see what makes you happy with the fit.

      Sometimes dresses come in sizes that are bigger/smaller than we are. Well, modify/adjust as needed so you can have that dress. Play is just as important as sewing fabric that is just right for a Burda Style garment.

      Love this assortment of dress styles to inspire members to get their dresses started!

  • Missing

    Apr 8, 2014, 04.59 PMby Penny Damesworth

    I’m 58, and ‘relaxed’ sort of explains my hip and waist lines. My arms need a half sleeve and I don’t want my breasts overly exposed, although I don’t mind being sexy. A relaxed ‘June Cleaver’ dress would suit me fine. Any suggestions, because the dresses featured won’t work for me.

    1 Reply
    • Denise_wild_lovesewing_large

      Apr 8, 2014, 05.32 PMby Denise Wild

      Hi Penny!

      After a quick google search of June Cleaver, it seems her go-to dress style was a fitted bodice with full skirt?

      Here are a few similar styles I found:
      Princess Dress
      Long Sleeve Dress
      Reverse Pleat Dress

      If you find a basic silhouette you like, you can always modify it to suit you perfectly! (Adjust sleeve and hem lengths, open up a neckline, etc.)

      You can also mix and match with top and skirt patterns. Here is one idea:
      Portrait Neck Top with a Gathered Full Skirt or this Godet Skirt.

      It’s always a challenge to find the perfect dress… sometimes changing the smallest detail will make a world of difference!

      Happy sewing. :)

  • Viragszalak_large

    Apr 8, 2014, 09.42 AMby karancsi

    Thank you for this post, i was looking for something like this! This helps a lot when planning how to use my summer fabrics :-)

  • Missing

    Apr 7, 2014, 11.47 PMby hhasson100

    It makes me sad looking at what is regarded as “plus size” in this catalogue. Those women definitely look toned to me.

    2 Replies
    • Img_2020_large

      Apr 8, 2014, 12.41 PMby Deanna31

      I think they have Lucky fat! It all goes in the right places – lucky ducks. None on the front stomach.
      When I put on weight… I do Not look like that! Everyone asks if I’m pregnant and rubs my tummy

    • Missing

      Apr 8, 2014, 05.01 PMby Penny Damesworth

      I understand, and feel the same way.

    • This is a question
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