Fashion A to Z: Nine Styles of Dresses

Dresses- One piece garments with a bodice and skirt that covers some or all of the legs, usually for women.

That’s a pretty simple definition, but when it comes to dresses, there are so many different styles. Some of the first dresses can be attributed to the Egyptians and Greeks and were more tunic like. Around the 16th century, dresses began to have a bodice and a skirt.

9 styles of dresses you should have in your closet

9 Dresses You Should Have in Your Closet

The following are nine of the most universally flattering and functional dresses you can own.

The Aline Dress– Like the Aline skirt, this dress is fitted at the top and gradually flows out at the bottom. The waist may be fitted but the overall shape is that of an A.

A wrap waist a-line dress with a print perfect for the office or church.

Dress- Amazon Lark and Ro shoes- Nordstrom; option purse similar

This aline dress is a heavy ponte knit that’s perfect for the office or church and a perfect weight for fall. I’m wearing an 8.

The Fit and Flare Dress It does exactly what it says. The bodice is fitted and the bottom flares out at or below the hips. A skater dress fits this definition too. This style of dress flatters almost everyone, especially apple and pear shapes.

A fit and flare dress with ruffle sleeve in emerald green paired with leopard pumps that makes a great holiday outfit for the woman over 40.

Dress- Amazon; pumps- DSW/ Vince Camuto; option necklace – JCrew Factory option

Maxi dress– A maxi dress is a floor or ankle length, informal dress. These are usually summer favorites. They come in a variety of necklines. With the right neckline, they can flatter almost all body shapes. The key is to get the length right- petites need to shop petite maxi dresses so the length is not too long and the proportions don’t overwhelm. Tall ladies need to shop the tall department so their maxi dress doesn’t fall oddly short.

snakeskin print maxi dress

Midi dress – the hem ends halfway between the knee and ankle. This are not new but super trendy this year. This can be tricky for petites but not impossible if you shop the petite department or take your dress to a tailor. Tip: let the hem end just above or below mid calf. If you hit mid-calf, you are hitting at the widest part of the leg and just above or below will look better.

floral midi dress; dresses for women over 40

Sheath dress- A form fitting dress usually shaped by darts in the bust or bodice. Hourglass shapes can really show off their figure with this one and rectangle shapes can create curves with this dress. Fabric will affect the fit.

One of the nine key dresses to have in your closet is a sheath dress, especially if you are curvy or need curves.

Dress- Amazon Lark and Ro– comes in several colors, wearing an 8; shoes- similar; purse- similar

Shift dress– Skims the body without a fitted waist. These dresses have a column or rectangle shape. Great for apple or athletic shape bodies.

shift dress
red shift dress

Shirt dress – A long version of a shirt. This dress will usually have a collar and will open partially or fully in the front. Many follow the button up shirt style.

plaid shirt dress

Sweater Dress A long sweater worn as a dress. Some have other dress shapes and styles, like fit and flare, but are made out of the same knit materials as a sweater. This is a great dress for fall and winter.

Another one of the nine dresses for women for your closet, the sweater dress for fall and winter.

Sweater dress- Daily Ritual/Amazon – super soft, wearing medium; booties- similar; similar necklace- Kendra Scott; earrings- Kendra Scott; clutch- similar

T-shirt dress– a dress made of the same knit or jersey knit that a t-shirt is made or and usually with a crew or v-neck neckline similar to a t-shirt. These can be dressed up or down and worn year round by adding or taking away layers and changing the style of shoe worn with the dress. T-shirt dresses usually come in shift or swing styles, which are flowy aline shape dresses.

Dress- Amazon

dresses for women, t-shirt dress

Dress- Amazon; jacket- Old Navy; necklace- Kendra Scott; shoes- similar

What’s your favorite style of dress?

Check out 3 Cute Dresses for Spring for more dresses.