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16 Must-have Types of Dresses for Women

Every season, fashion designers dole out trendy garments to sate your style needs. Among these garments are the different types of dresses for women. These dresses are functional wardrobe staples for every lady. They are differentiated by their style, length, fabric, cut and necklines. Furthermore, they as well fit under the different types of outfits for every occasion as they have specific events that call for them.

If you’re searching for the right dress for an occasion or the next dress to purchase when you go shopping, this article will show you the types of dresses available for women and help you note the ones you have and the ones you don’t have.

Types of Dresses for Women

If you want to steal the show at every venue you turn up at, you have to understand that while the types of dresses for ladies may be beautiful, if it doesn’t suit your body type, then you shouldn’t wear it. Also, while a particular dress will look good for the office, wearing it to a dinner may be a bad choice. Hence, to guide you, we have included occasions you can wear these dresses to and the body types they suit better.

1. Blouson Dress

lady in a print blouson dress

A blouson dress is a dress drawn tight at the waist which blouses out and hangs over the waistband. It has a  high, tucked waistline which creates a draped, flowing silhouette like a blouse. The tucked waistline is usually subtle and this helps to define your waistline while draping over your figure.

 A blouson dress flatters any body type but does apple-shaped ladies greater favour. It creates a slimming effect which means it makes you look slimmer in it. It can as well help in concealing belly fat and can be worn to work or any formal occasion.

2. A-Line Dress

lady in a line dress - 15 Must-have Types of Dresses for Women

These types of dresses for ladies are called ‘A-line’ because they widen at the bottom thereby resembling the letter A. This dress is wider at the hem and narrow at the top of the hips to the waistline. It looks better on pear and hourglass body types and can be worn to any occasion depending on its style.

3. Asymmetrical Dress

black and sky-blue asymmetrical dress  by Ria Kosher

An asymmetrical dress is defined by an unbalanced hemline. It has varying lengths for both sides. For instance, the left side could be longer than the right side. It is suitable for all body types and is a great choice for casual occasions.

4. High-Low Dress

white high-low shirtdress with black buttons and black belt

These types of dresses for women also have varying hemlines. That is, the hemline is usually high at the front and low at the back. It is otherwise known as a mullet or waterfall dress. It suits any body type and can pass for informal or formal occasions depending on its length.

5. Shirtdress

shirt dress with belt by Ria Kosher

This is a type of dress that borrows details, such as a collar or button front, from a man’s shirt although it is longer than it. It has no defining waistline and can be paired with flats, sneakers or heels. It is perfect for ladies with any shape and can be worn to informal and semi-formal occasions.

6. Babydoll Dress

black lady in a babydoll dress - 15 Must-have Types of Dresses for Women

These types of dresses for women has a fitted bodice and is mostly used as a nightgown. The fabrics for these types of dresses for ladies are flared from underneath the bust. It is a casual dress and as such shouldn’t be worn to formal occasions. They suit curvy and rectangular-shaped ladies but they don’t look too good on ladies with broad shoulders.

7. Balloon Dress

lady in a grey balloon gown

A balloon dress flares out from the waistline to the hemline. It is usually curved inwards, making it resemble a balloon. Also, it can be worn to informal settings. For rectangular body types, this dress gives a curvaceous illusion.

8. Suit Dress

lady in a white suit dress - 15 Must-have Types of Dresses for Women

Also called a blazer dress, a suit dress is simply a dress designed like a man’s suit jacket but long enough to cover your backside and your thighs. The front overlaps and has two rows of buttons. These types of dresses for ladies can pass for formal office wear or business casual. Most importantly, they suit any body type.  

9. Bodycon Dress

woman in a black bodycon dress

This one is usually tight-fitting and figure-hugging. It is made of stretchy fabrics that flaunt your shape and accentuates your curves. While bodycon dresses suit hourglass and pear-shaped women as it amplifies their shapy silhouette, they don’t look good on rectangular body types. They could be of midi, mid-thigh, slightly above the knee or knee length and are best worn to weddings, parties or evening events.

10. Wrap Dress

curvy lady in a sequin wrap dress

A wrap dress has a front closure created by wrapping one side across the other, and knotting the attached ties that wrap around the back at the waist or with buttons. It further creates a V-shaped neckline and it is a good outfit to flatter your curves. It is perfect for plus-sized ladies and great for concealing belly fat.

11. Peplum Dress

lady in a pink peplum dress - 15 Must-have Types of Dresses for Women

Peplum is basically an over-the-skirt dress that is attached to another garment around the waist area to help minimize the waist by accentuating the hips. These types of dresses for women brings out that confidence and elegance in a woman no matter her social status. They are perfect dresses for any body type, however, they suit pear and hourglass figures more.

Furthermore, they help to conceal belly fat and are a great choice for working-class ladies as they are suitable for formal occasions.

12. Maxi Dress

lady in a floral print maxi dress

This is a dress below mid-calf length. It could be floor-length or ankle-length. They suit tall ladies more as they have the best carriage for it.

13. Kimono Dress

lady in a kimono on black dress - 15 Must-have Types of Dresses for Women

This looks like the traditional garment of the Japanese. It overlaps at the front and has long sleeves with a belt that can be tied at the waist to make it fit properly. It can be worn to layer a dress with a bardot or strapless neckline and can be worn individually or paired with just any bottom.

14. Pinafore

lady in brown pinafore dress and white tshirt

These types of dresses for women have low cut armholes, adjustable buckles or buttons, and medium straps over the shoulders. It is loose around the top and can be worn over tees, polo or shirts. They are suitable for casual occasions and are perfect for any body type.

15. Shift Dress

lady in a colorful shift dress

These types of dresses for women are usually short or at mid-thigh length. They don’t have an explicitly defined waistline and this makes them suitable for any body type. They just drape on your body and are not figure-hugging. They are great for informal occasions.

16. Cape Dress

black model in a cape dress strutting the runway

This dress has a cape attached to it. It springs from the classical cape worn over a dress in historical times. The capes can be long, short or touch the waist. These types of dresses for women are perfect for business casual outings.

Now you know the different types of dresses for women. Did you note the ones you have and the ones you don’t? Guess what? You don’t have to get the ready-made versions of these dresses. You can have your seamstress sew any of them with Ankara fabric for you.

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Victoria B. Willie

Writing has always been a part of me. From writing stories as a young child to studying Communication Arts in the university, it has always been more than a medium of expression to me.

And then one day, I found myself toeing the path of an entrepreneur and becoming a fashion enthusiast. This made me develop an interest in content marketing and copywriting which I've been chasing alongside my fashion career.

That aside, when I'm not sharing style articles, selling with stories, or creating fashion-forward pieces for Ria Kosher, you'll find me telling wild stories that always come with a twist.

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