Whatever your body shape or size, there are clothes that flatter and clothes that frump. It’s always about highlighting your best features and minimizing the rest. Apple shapes carry their weight in the middle as opposed to pears, aka hourglass figures, who tend to carry their weight in their bottom half. The best dresses for apple shapes either create a defined waist or skim over the mid section. First off, are you an apple shape?
You’re have an apple shaped body if you:
- Carry weight through the bust and mid-section
- Don’t have a well-defined waistline
- Have narrow to straight as opposed to curvy hips
Some apple shapes carry most of their weight in the midsection and have smaller legs and arms while other carry weight all over in addition to having a rounder belly.
The styling goal for all apple shapes is to:
- Create the illusion of a waist
- Minimize the tummy
- Define a new silhouette
- Play up your best features, whether that is face, arms, legs, jewelry or shoes
The best dresses for plus size apple shapes accomplish these styling goals. Look for:
- Waistline just below the bust or at your thinnest point
- Detail at the neckline or bust
- V-necks to break up the size of your chest and create a vertical line
- Flowiness that skims the stomach
- Ruching, heavier fabrics, lining or a slip so the dress doesn’t cling
As far as dress length and sleeve length, that’s up to you. If you want to rock an above the knee strapless, awesome. If you like a little more coverage, midi length and sleeves or a top look great too.
Flattering Dresses for Plus Size Apple Shapes
There are many different dress silhouettes that flatter plus size apple shapes. The first style defines a waist at the smallest part of the torso. For apple shapes, this is usually just under the bust, otherwise known as an empire waist. Look for dresses with a tie, belt or waistband or add your own. Swing and trapeze style dresses can be transformed by the addition of a belt.
However defining a waist isn’t the only way to flatter an apple shape. With a smaller bust, the difference between the bust and “waist” down not create a new silhouette. In this case, look for a-line, trapeze or shift dresses with details at the top to draw the eye to the decolletage and skims over the midsection in a long line. This style can be short or longer, sleeveless or with sleeves.
1. Wrap Dress
City Chic High-Low Maxi Dress – With an wrap front, empire waist and V-neckline, this high-low maxi dress hits all the do’s for flattering apple shape dresses. Use jewelry, shoes and hair to dress it up or down.
2. Empire Waist
Eloquii Tie Waist Easy Tee Dress – With a beautiful bold print, this tie waist dress by Eloquii creates the illusion of an hourglass figure. Tie it higher then this picture, just under the bust to create an empire waist.
3. Body Con + Ruching
Ralph Lauren Floral Sheath Dress – Strategic ruching make this dress a flattering way to show off curves. The surplice neckline creates an empire waist while gathers at the left side flatter the midsection. The navy floral is appropriate for day or night. Add a blazer, shrug or bolero on top for cooler weather or more coverage. Check out this Old Navy Twist Front Bodycon Dress for a similar look at a lower price point.
4. Trapeze Dress
Alfani Trapeze Shirtdress – Available in white and black, this dress is as comfortable as it is stylish. Plus it has pockets! The collar and sleeveless top create the point of an A while the dress flows out. This dress is at home anywhere.
5. Shift Dress
Nic + Zoe Embroidered Shift Dress – An embroidered neckline adds keeps the simple dress from being too minimal. This blue-purple number focuses attention on the neckline, flows over the midriff and shows off the legs. Wear it with flats, heels or boots.
6. A-Line Dress
Lost Ink Blush Flutter Dress – This blush dress features a V-neck and ruffles at the elbow length sleeves and knee length hem. The knee length a-line focuses attention on the neckline and highlights legs while skimming over the midsection.
Formal Dresses for Plus Size Apple Shapes
It is so important to have a dress in the closet ready for formal events like parties, cocktail parties, weddings and work events. In addition to being flattering, these formal dresses can be comfortable. None of these are your standard little black dress but have different colors, patterns and silhouettes.
Here are some gorgeous party dress, in order from least to most formal.
7. Knot Front
Eliza J Knot Front Maxi Dress – A v-neck and knot front focus attention on the bust and add gorgeous detail in this digital snakeskin flowy maxi dress.
8. Wrap Midi
Eliza J. Floral Wrap Midi Dress – Dark florals are a hot look right now and work year round. The mock-wrap dress with 3/4 length puff sleeves hit just below the knee.
9. Asymmetrical A-Line
Jessica London Asymmetric A-Line Dress – Available in white with black piping and a lemon and black floral print, this asymmetrical dress is an ultra flattering and comfortable structured A-line shape. The 1960s mod-inspired dress is serious enough for work but also plenty of fun.
10. Sheath + Overlay
Jessica London Overlay Sheath Dress – Whether it’s for work or a wedding, this sheath dress with a ruffle overlay creates an hourglass silhouette for apple shapes. Choose from this lovely powder pink or a pink and navy floral.
11. Cape Dress
Xscape Beaded Chiffon Capelet Dress – A sheer cape floats over a lined sheath dress with a beaded neckline. The cape provides ample coverage while the fitted dress lands at the knee or lower, depending on your height. It is also available in a pink blush and burgundy wine. For a similar dress at a much lower price point, check out this cape dress.
Dresses are an easy and stylish way to stay cool in the summer heat. Breathable fabrics, knee length skirts and maxi dresses are all ideal for summer. Again, look for either a defined waist or flowing a-line silhouette.
12. Summer Wrap Dress
Torrid Stripe Wrap Dress – An ultra feminine shape with a deep V surplice neckline, wrap shape and ruffled hemline. This light color fabric can be see through so you may want to add a slip or flesh-colored garments underneath. Otherwise, it’s a beautiful lightweight dress for summer with flutter sleeves.
13. Babydoll Dress
ASOS Animal-Printed Smock Dress – This babydoll shape with a loose empire waist and flared skirt flows over apple-shaped figures while showing off legs. This cute and colorful dress is a fun casual look for summer as well as spring and fall with tights.
14. Cut Out Shoulder Swing Dress
15. Asymmetrical Cocoon Dress
Universal Standard Geneva Dress – Known as the “dress that started it all”, this is one of Universal Standard’s signature looks. You can tell it’s popular because it comes in 7 colors. A rare gem that flatters both hourglass and apple shapes, this dress features a scoop neckline and flows down with pleats into an asymmetrical hemline that lands above and below the knee.
This versatile dress is made of Peruvian cotton and 7% Elastaine so it holds it’s shape and never pills. Dress it up with a blazer, heels and/or jewelry or wear it to run errands with a jean jacket, sneakers and tote bag.
16. Off-The-Shoulder Maxi Dress
Lane Bryant Off-the-Shoulder Maxi Dress – Anything but a traditional LBD, this off-the-shoulder maxi dress with embroidered sleeves and hemline is the easiest way to look fabulous. The dress gets rave reviews and it appears to run large so try ordering a size down.