Bodycon dresses first came to prominence in the nineties, rising in popularity for the sleek lines they created on the female figure. The term refers to body conscious as this is definitely a dress worn to highlight the body rather than hide it.
A bodycon dress is essentially a tight fitting, figure hugging dress, made from elasticised material or composite material such as spandex or lycra. They tend to be short in length, usually falling to about mid-thigh level although you do occasionally see longer styles.
Due to their tightness, this style of dress certainly isn’t flattering for all figures. Ideally this dress works best on a woman with an hourglass shape that is having a bust and hips of roughly equal size with a narrow waist. When you consider the dress’s construction, tight stretchy material, it is understandable that those with curves will be better served than those without. These dresses are also generally low cut to show cleavage, which is why bustier women will look better than those with little chest.
Therefore, women with a straight up and down figure, or small hips and bust will find that the bodycon does nothing for them. Similarly a pear shape figure, that is hips that are much larger than the bust, will want to steer clear of this dress. Remember, there’s nowhere for your body to hide in a dress like this, and as pear shapes tend to have much larger bottoms without the counterbalance of a big chest, the bodycon will only highlight your problem areas and fail to capitalise on your good points.
Now, even if you are an hourglass figure, there are still many ways in which to wear a bodycon to suit the look you’re going for, as well as some pitfalls to avoid.
For instance, many high street retailers carry lines of bodycon with cutouts to add some versatility to this streamlined style. Have a look at where the cutouts occur and what parts of skin you may end up flashing. If you’ve got a flat stomach, cutouts along the side seams can add a bit of sexiness, but obviously this would be better suited for a night out clubbing than in the office. There are also many designs with cutouts along the back, such as with cross-crossing straps. Perfect for toned shoulders and a bit of sophistication.
Alternatively, if you are a dress fanatic and really want to show off your legs, while looking smart and professional at work, opt for a slash or u neck design in a single colour and pair with a cardigan. The clingier and thinner the material, the more of your shape you’re going to reveal, so for a classier option, choose ribbed or panelled designs.