Holiday Dresses; How to Shop for Your Body Type

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Ammophotog // Wardrobe: Tanya Carnahan // Dresses & Jewelry: EXPRESS

The holidays are just around the corner, and there will be parties! Do you wait until the last minute, and run to the store looking for a basic black dress, because you aren’t quite sure what would truly suit you best? Different bodies look better in certain styles! Here’s an easy tutorial on how to shop for your Body Type!


Express_Holiday_3If you have curvier measurements through the hips and rear, and are more petite on top, you are most likely a PEAR. To bring balance to your figure, opt for styles that bring emphasis to your bustline, like empire-waist or a criss-cross neckline. Avoid: A-line or triangle-shaped dresses, which add emphasis to the hip & bootie area. A dress with a fitted top and fuller bottom is wrong for this body type! Extra credit: Throw on a cardigan or cropped jacket, to add more emphasis to the upper body & shoulders. We found this Express dress for Bailey that has a heart-shaped neckline underneath the lace. Paired with the sexy necklace, Bailey’s inner bombshell swings into the room with full va-va-voom!



Express_Holiday_6STRAWBERRIES are opposites of Pears. A Strawberry will be fuller through the bust and upper body, have a defined waist, but is then slimmer through the bootie and hips. This is me, lol! To bring balance to my figure, I opt for styles that are fuller through the hips & backside, but more fitted on top. This lace swing dress was so perfect for me, I just adore it!  (Necklace here.) Other good ideas for Strawberries are solid colors on top, patterns on bottom. Avoid: Shoulder pads, Empire Waist or Babydoll dresses, or criss-cross necklines, as these add emphasis, and therefore size, to a larger chest, making your lower half appear even smaller! Extra credit: If you find a dress that’s solid-colored on top, and has sequins, pleats, ruffles, fringe, brocade, or anything else that adds emphasis to your lower half, you’ve scored!



Express_Holiday_4If your waist measures less than 9 inches smaller than your hip & bust measurements, you’re a CELERY STICK. According to Wikipedia, approximately 46% of American women are Celery Sticks & Apples (see below)! Think of your figure as a blank canvas: you get to add your curves & shape, wherever you choose to emphasize them! Find a comfortably-fitted dress, and add a slender belt to visually define your waist. Bring attention up to your face & cleavage, by adding a statement necklace or earrings. Choose a lower or v-shaped neckline. Jade loved this curvy dress, that gave her a little extra oomph up top with its deeper neckline. We added a structural statement necklace to draw more attention to her upper body, and sexy shoes to emphasize her shapely legs! Avoid: Short or boxy blazers or sweaters, and full or pleated skirts that add volume to your lower half.



Express_Holiday_5APPLE: Like Celery Sticks, the Apple shape is very common amongst modern American women! As above, Apples are in a way a “blank canvas,” with the ability to choose exactly where they want their curves to appear, and which body parts they want to highlight! Apples, be confident, and be specific. Brittany (above) never saw herself in a tight dress, until we found this Sheath Dress at Express with cut-out panels a perfect body-conscious fit! She loves the lines it created for her body. Add a statement necklace to draw attention up to her beautiful face, and she’s ready for any posh party! Apples should opt for low necklines, long blouses, long cardigans or jackets than create vertical lines. Add a slim belt, when possible, to define your waistline. Avoid adding volume to your mid-section. Short jackets, boxy tops, pleated skirts are not your best choices.



Express_Holiday_7HOURGLASS figures are equally-proportioned between the bust and hips. That classic 36-24-36 measurement you’ve heard about? Hourglass. Marilyn Monroe had a dramatic hourglass figure, but according to Wikipedia, only about 8% of American females have such even proportions. If you were blessed with this shape, don’t drown it in overly-baggy clothes, or straight or A-line dresses. Wear a belt to emphasize your waistline. Virginia (the reigning Mrs. Garden City 2013!), loved showing off her curves in this Sheath Dress, in a rich red that makes an even bolder statement! Virginia could rock this dress – with the classy-yet-bold layered pearl bauble necklace – to just about any holiday party or pageant event!   Avoid: Straight or cocoon dresses that completely hide your shape. Avoid higher necklines, that can add bulk to your bust. Be careful of high-waisted styles or hip pockets.

REMEMBER: Your body type isn’t necessarily connected to your weight; it’s really about your measurements & proportions! You can’t HIDE your curves (and really, why would you want to??). But you can CHOOSE which curves you want to emphasize! It’s about bringing balance, and creating a visual hourglass. Good luck, and happy shopping!

SPECIAL THANKS to Express in Boise, & manager Michael Jensen, for their help in providing such lovely holiday dresses & jewelry for this article!

Tanya Strawberry Body TypeExpress_Holiday_B

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5 thoughts on “Holiday Dresses; How to Shop for Your Body Type

  1. Since I’m a guy, I’m not going to be frozen wearing a dress. I also don’t care if I’m generally pretty, don’t have tattoos or piercings and get lots of hugs on karaoke night anyway.

    I also cut my own hair down to Curly regularly so I guess I’m most interested in living to be fifty.

    You neglected to post some decent coats and tips on keeping the car heater running well.


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