10 Trendy Dresses for Curvy Women
Look pulled-together in an instant with these throw (on) and go outfits
by Lois Joy Johnson, AARP, September 19, 2019
En español | Do you still love wearing a great dress? Me too. Especially since dresses require no decisions or mixing or matching. This fall, dress racks are crammed with trendy styles like midis and voluminous A-lines that make us think twice. The styles look OK on mannequins, magazine models and hangers but what about curvy grownup bodies? Be brave because these 10 surprising dresses might be your next best buy:
- 1 of
PHOTO BY: Target, Zara, Old Navy
1. The Minimalist Midi. Try this knit dress if you love the ease of leggings and athleisure clothes. Look for a V-neck, tie waist, long sleeves and a solid color that deliver a sleek silhouette, maximum versatility and arm happiness. Know that “midi” really means anywhere from below the knee to midcalf. Choose a longer midi like the Ava & Viv Plus-Size 3/4-Sleeve V- Neck Sandwash Knit Midi Dress ($30, target.com) or the Zara Woman Belted Dress ($40, zara.com/us) for extra coverage and pairing with tall boots or booties, or a just below the knee length like the Old Navy Waist-Defined Faux Wrap Jersey Midi ($45, oldnavy.com) to show more leg and wear with booties.
- 2 of
PHOTO BY: H&M, Gap , Target
2. The Midi Shirtdress. Try this style if you like giving your curves some structure but want a relaxed contemporary look, too. Look for soft fabrics like viscose, crepe, knits and rayon that drape well on the body instead of stiff or heavy woven material like denim. A belted style like the Gap Midi Knit Shirtdress ($80, gap.com), Ava & Viv Women's Plus-Size Long Sleeve Collared Midi Shirtdress in black ($30, target.com) or the H&M Shirt Dress With Tie Belt ($35, hm.com/us) is all about waist definition.
- 3 of
PHOTO BY: Lane Bryant, Lane Bryant Colorblock Textured Fit and Flare Dress, Eloquii Long Sleeve Fit and Flare Dress, Old Navy Jersey V-Neck Plus-Size Fit and Flare Dress, Old Navy
3. The Fit and Flare. If you love trim, tucked-in tops, full skirts and wide-leg pants, head for this style. The fitted top and full skirt solve the smaller on top, wider on bottom sizing issue and balance your body. Knits (once again!) like the Old Navy Jersey V-Neck Plus-Size Fit & Flare Dress ($33, oldnavy.com), the Eloquii Long Sleeve Fit and Flare Dress ($90, eloquii.com) or the Lane Bryant Textured Colorblock Fit & Flare Dress ($48, lanebryant.com) do the shaping with comfort and balance the extra volume with a hemline that's not too short or too long — just at or below the knees is ideal.
- 4 of
PHOTO BY: Eloquii, Boden, Old Navy
4. The Stretch Sheath. If you still love the elegant body-contoured fit and knee length of a tailored sheath, try a semifitted style now. Look for a stretch fabric like ponte or scuba that skims over curves rather than shows your lunch, and bust darts or princess seams to improve fit over the bosom and hips. A thicker knit like the Old Navy Plus-Size Secret-Slim V- Neck Sheath Dress ($48, oldnavy.com), the Boden Bronte Jersey Dress in Firecracker ($98, boden.com/us) or the Eloquii Flare Sleeve Scuba Dress ($100, eloquii.com) keeps its shape and yours.
- 5 of
PHOTO BY: Boden, Target, H&M
5. The Relaxed Short Shift. If you love the coverage of boyfriend jackets and big sweaters try this short, straight dress style. It's best in cozy fabrics like fleece, French terry and knits that move and suggest the body beneath. Wear it as a daily throw-on kind of dress or a tunic (FYI: this is a big strategy now for certain styles) and look for comfy wide or raglan sleeves and slouchy necklines as on the Prologue Women's Elbow Sleeve Turtleneck T-Shirt Dress in black ($28, target.com), Boden Sweatshirt Dress in Flocked Zebra ($98, bodenusa.com), the Gap Vintage Soft Raglan Sweatshirt Dress ($70, gap.com) The loose vertical lines with no break make this an ideal choice for short torsos with ample curves.
- 6 of
- 7 of
PHOTO BY: H&M, Loft, Target
6. The Swing Dress. If you loved baby doll, trapeze or empire dresses in your past you just might be a candidate for this one. It's a supersized A-line that really highlights spectacular legs and hides everything else. Be realistic: Sometimes weight ups and downs or belly bloat aren't cooperating and this is a stylish solution if your legs are still amazing and you choose a just-above-the-knee length (no super-minis please!). Be sure it's fitted through the shoulders, arms and bust before letting loose, like the Loft Lou & Grey Signature Softblend Lite Cowl Swing Dress ($70, loft.com), Old Navy Plus-Size Jersey Swing Dress ($33, oldnavy.com) and the Who What Wear Women's Plus Size Short Sleeve Collared Mini A-Line Dress in green ($37, target.com) size X to 4X ).
- 8 of
PHOTO BY: Target, H&M, Old Navy
7. The Boho Winter Midi. If you love downtown artsy style, vintage clothes and the romantic look of long flowing floral dresses, this longer dress is sophisticated enough for work or parties. Look for long bell or funnel sleeves to make it graceful and non-seasonal. A dark background floral or animal print or a rich color — berry, burgundy, mustard or jade — like the H&M Dress With Tie Belt ($35, hm.com/us), a New Day Women's Plus-Size Floral Print Long Sleeve V-Neck Midi Shirtdress ($30, target.com), Ava & Viv Women's Plus-Size Floral Print Long Sleeve V-Neck Midi Dress ($30, target.com) — works well with black winter shoes and bags.
- 9 of
PHOTO BY: Target, H&M, Old Navy
8. The Favorite Wrap. If you love a waist-making wrap top or dress, this iconic style is a stronger-than-ever dress silhouette that's never going out of style. The combo of crisscross top and A-line skirt is now available in knee and midi lengths in classic jersey, like the H&M V-Neck Wrap Dress ($40, hm.com/us) and Old Navy Fit & Flare Faux-Wrap Plus-Size Dress ($43, oldnavy.com) and in more structured styles such as the Who What Wear Short Sleeve V-Neck Wrap Front A-Line Midi Dress ($45, target.com). Choose a faux wrap to gently shape a full, rounded middle, a real wrap for more definition if your waist is still there or hanging on, a jersey in knee or midi length for a curvy look, fabrics like faux leather or cotton in a midi for a sharper silhouette.
- 10 of
PHOTO BY: H&M, Target, Zara
9. The Extreme Black Dress. If you love the edge of black turtlenecks this type of dress is super-trendy but in a covered-up-fashionable not frumpy option. Show your curves modestly or go to the other extreme and opt for a fit-and-flare style like the Zara Buttoned Dress ($40, zara.com/us), H&M Calf Length Shirt Dress ($70, hm.com/us) or Prologue Women's Plus-Size Long Sleeve Crewneck Essential Midi Dress ($25, target.com). Let your shoes, hair and makeup steal the show.
- 11 of
PHOTO BY: Old Navy, Target, Gap
10. The Blouson Dress. If you always semi-tuck your tops and like a roomier fit to tees and blouses, a dress with a defined waist that softly billows just above to camouflage what we call a “muffin top” is your best bet. Look for styles with an elastic waist or drawstring or a relaxed shape that belts and blouses like the Prologue Batwing Short Sleeve Turtleneck A-Line Midi Dress ($28, target.com), Gap Print Peasant Sleeve Smock Dress ($70, gap.com), Old Navy Waist-Defined Lace-Trim V-Neck Dress ($45, oldnavy.com) or Old Navy Plaid Waist-Defined Tie-Neck Dress for Women ($35, oldnavy.com).
For more beauty and style tips for women age 50-plus, check out The Makeup Wakeup: Revitalizing Your Look at Any Age by Lois Joy Johnson and Sandy Linter.