There’s no feeling like hitting the town knowing that you look your best. “The perfect dress will make you look and feel like the most beautiful version of yourself possible,” explains Sansyrae St. Martin, a Toronto-based stylist with Plutino Group. While there isn’t one universally perfect dress that speaks to all of us, there is a perfect dress for everyone. How to find it? “You need the right colour, fabric and cut for your body and style.”

NBD, right? We asked St. Martin to share a cheat sheet of how to find the best dress for every body type.

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1. Body type: Pear shape
Perfect dress:
“Fit and flare is usually the most flattering for a pear-shaped woman,” says St. Martin.
Why we love it: “You want to emphasize your tiny torso with a nice tight bodice and then let the flare cascade off your feminine curves.”

2. Body type: Athletic
Perfect dress:
“Halter necklines are a great way to soften yet emphasize beautiful shoulders.”
Why we love it: “The athletic woman is so toned, she can look incredible in light jersey fabrics which are usually impossible for women to wear.”

3. Body type: Petite
Perfect dress:
“Keep it short and sweet,” says St. Martin.
Why we love it: “For petite women, a body conscious dress cut above the knee will keep the dress from overwhelming your natural beauty.”

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4. Body type: Curvy
Perfect dress:
“The wrap dress is most flattering on someone who wants to emphasize her waistline,” says St. Martin. “The Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress is flattering on many women because it does hang so nicely on the body however, there are exceptions. If a woman carries most of her weight around her belly and is tiny in the arms and legs, then it could make her look more boxy than she really is.”
Why we love it: “Wrap dresses are wonderful for a curvy woman because it emphasizes all the right areas— drawing in at the waist and the V-neck pulls the attention to the neck and face.”

More ways to find your perfect dress on the next page…

body-type-dresses-fashion-2.jpg5. Body type: Big-busted
Perfect dress:
“V-necks and substantial straps or capped sleeves will provide not only comfort but also a very flattering complement to a busty woman,” explains St. Martin.
Why we love it: “You want to wear a colour that will make you pop, a fabric that flatters your bodies curves and a cut that emphasizes your best assets.”

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6. Body type: Tall
Perfect dress:
“Tall women can really get away with a lot but one of my favourites is the slim-fitting long-sleeve dress that is cut mid calf,“ says St. Martin.
Why we love it: “There are basic rules that you can follow but usually the best thing to do is to try it on. You never know: a cut that usually does not flatter you may actually be amazing if it’s made in just the right fabric and colour.“

Now that you’ve determined which type of dress will suit you best, don’t be afraid to shop around to find the best one. Just remember to wear lipstick. “Try to go shopping with your hair and makeup done nicely because it will give you a better idea of what the dress will look like once you’re all dolled up,” suggests St. Martin.

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Shop with a BFF support system or ask the sales staff to snap photos of you from the front and back so that you have a 360-visual reference of how it looks like on you. “Sometimes we let the mirror lie to us, but photos are very honest.”

Our favourite tip? If you don’t need the dress now, buy it anyway. “If you can find the perfect dress, it’s always a good idea to pick it up,” St. Martin advises. Especially if it’s a classic LBD or in a timeless cut, the right dress will inevitably find its moment to make you shine. “When a special event comes along, we may not be able to find what we are looking for or we may be too busy to take the time to find the right dress.”

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