If I would wear one clothing item for the rest of my days, of course excluding the underwear because that’s basic, I’d go for my favorite body-hugging floral dress. For one, this dress clings on to my lean body and actually makes me look and feel sexy. It has a low backline which I love because for ladies like me who lack in the front area, a counter would be to expose some back. It’s also got mid-length sleeves which gives off the cute and innocent vibe. Cut just right before the knee, it has a flowy bottom which makes it very refreshing as well.
Hands down, I have used this dress on more than one occasion and it works out for a fine casual day and even a bit more classy events. I just have to play with it and throw in some accessories and shoes. And lastly, and this is probably the main reason why I would go with a dress, is because it’s easy to wear.
No kidding, there are just days that you don’t feel like matching a top and a bottom or you’re just too lazy to take twice the effort of wearing two actual pieces of clothing (admit it, we’ve all been there), and the next best thing is to grab off a good dress! You’ll never really go wrong with one and besides being a lazy choice, it’s also very easy to style it up or down depending on your mood and vibe – if you wanna amp it up and stand out or just make it look chill to hang out with all the homies.
Point is, always keep at least one or two dresses in your closet. Because I am telling you, it’s never a bad choice.
Dresses, as believed by scholars, were first designed for religious purposes which then evolved into utilitarian purposes made to provide warmth and protection. And today, dresses are staple fashion pieces, designed and innovated for aesthetics.
But did you know that dresses have types?
Yes, you heard it right. There are different names for different cuts and shapes of dresses and there are over 50 different types of dresses to date. Each type of dress is custom-fitted to specific body shapes that help each lady accentuate their figure and actually make them look good! So before you go shop for your dresses or decide which ones to keep, know your body shape first.
Table of Contents
Different Types of Dresses
Here is a short list of dresses that we definitely recommend to be a part of your closet collection (because we can’t discuss everything).
In technical fashion dictionaries, a sheath dress is designed as a fitted, straight cut dress which is nipped at the waistline and constructed as two separate pieces: the bodice and the skirt which are joined together by aligning the skirt’s dart with the bodice waist dart. Sheath dresses accentuate the waist portion by making the skirt fitted which makes this type of dress perfect for hour-glass figures. Most sheath dresses are simple but have evolved into different styles and patterns but classic among all styles are its short sleeves and knee-length cut.
Sheath dresses date back to Ancient Egypt and had been depicted in tomb drawings of women and deities wherein it was presented with a seam under the breasts usually adorned by beads. This type was popularly characterized as slender and youthful.
Paul Poiret was credited for the creation of the modern sheath dress. His design made use of a rubber girdle as an alternative to the boned corset worn under the dress. And now in the 21st century, sheath dresses are worn as cocktail dresses and wedding dresses as well. Michelle Obama once made sheath dresses popular by wearing it at the 2008 Democratic National Convention where she was photographed wearing a purple crepe sheath dress designed by Maria Pinto while bumping fists with Barack Obama.
A-line is more commonly associated with skirts but are also now used to describe dresses as well. A-line dresses are similar in shape with the skirts which are characterized to have a fitted hip design gradually widening towards the hem. Style-wise, A-line dresses can go two ways. First is fitted from the shoulders to the hips then widening to the hem which resembles the classic A-line. Second is that some styles widen at the shoulder all the way to the hem which ignores the waist and the hips.
In history, A-line was first used as a term by the well-known French couture, Christian Dior. Dior used A-line as a label for his 1955 Spring Fashion Collection. It was Yves Saint Laurent who introduced the second pattern of A-line dresses which feature a fitted shoulder line and flaring out up to the hem.
This type is one of the most flexible types and is flattering to any body type which makes it a popular design for bridesmaids.
A bandage dress is commonly confused with bodycon dresses but essentially they differ in the aspect that although bodycon dresses have close fits, these are not designed to hug or cling to the body unlike bandage dresses.
Bandage dress, as the name suggests, offers a snug fit to your body resembling a bandage. It is made up of layers of materials which give this dress a distinct look and feel. It’s one flattering dress as well as it supports all of those sexy-looking curves and even your bulges and presents it as a smooth form fit silhouette through the help of spandex, nylon, and rayon. Nylon provides strength to the dress making it long-lasting. On the other hand, spandex works the flexibility and stretch of the dress. And finally, rayon gives the silky feel and luster of the dress.
Bandage dresses does not cling to one body shape and like its spandex material is flexible to any shape and is flattering as long as you know how to carry yourself. Besides its body-hugging feature, it also gives you the benefit of posture.
Pinafore dresses are popular in American English as a jumper. It is a sleeveless dress that is worn over a simple top or a blouse. As the name suggests, pinafore came from two words meaning formerly pinned (pin) to the front (afore). Although it sounds quite the same, pinafore dresses are open in the back unlike jumpers. Additionally, it should not be confused with pinafores itself as these are decorative garments primarily used as a protective apron.In popular culture, if you are familiar with Alice in Wonderland, Alice actually wore a white pinafore over a blue dress.
Well, we did say we like our dresses as these are one-pieces but don’t worry because pinafore dresses are easy to style and match. With its clean and structured cut, you can opt for fitted shirt, slinky knitwear or any top that is figure skimming with a high neckline and a short sleeve as this creates a nice base for your pinafore dress.
If you’re aspiring to be a sexy superhero, cape dresses are the next best thing on your list – that is, provided you want to hide your identity on a normal day. Flowing capes have been a trend in 2019 as these add more of the drama to the dress. Capes are designed as outerwear and have surpassed the popularity of your well-known trench coats. It has also grazed tge rumway as Burberry’s Christopher Bailey designed a bright rainbow-striped cape which was then worn by Cara Delevingne.
Cape dress combines the features of the cape and the dress which can be constructed as cape as an attachment or cape as integrated to the dress. These were conservatively and traditionally worn by the Mennonite women back in the nineteenth century until the beginning of the twentieth century.
Some of the notable cape dress moments include the 2012 Oscars with Gwyneth Paltrow wearinh a white cape dress designed by Tom Ford and in the 2014 Golden Globe Awards wherein Lupita Nyong’o wore a red cape dress designed by Ralph Lauren.
Tulle is made of manmade fibers such as polyester and nylon but can also be made of natural fibers like silk. Tulle are most commonly worn and used in wedding dresses and ballet tutus! It’s a type of fabric characterized as stiff with fine netting and is designed for the formal occasions – wedding, bar mitzvah, quinceañera and many more.
Tulle was not necessarily a dress, rather it was more of an accenting or assisting garment and it came from the city of Tulle in the southern central region of France which was the center of lace and silk production back in the 18th century. It can be used in a variety of things such as accentuating a dress to create a lacy look or used in underskirts or petticoats for a stiff-belle shaped look. It is also popularly used as a veil which can obscure the wearer’s face but not devoiding him or her of sight.
Today, tulles have evolved into dresses which borrow the similar features of a ballet tutu skirt and give your lower body the look of a certain girth. Tulle dresses are like magical pieces with a light and billowy net.
These dresses, although claimed to be invented by Diane von Füstenberg in 1972 were actually designed forty years earlier by Elsa Schiaparelli. And in the 1940s, a decade after, Claire McCardell introduced the popover design which became the root of most of the variety of wrap dresses created today.
In the 1970s, wrap dresses achieved its peak popularity and has been known a symbol of women’s liberation. Furthermore, this has become an iconic and distinctive dress when it was introduced in 1997. Füstenberg established her own interpretation of the wrap dress which was a clinging jersey with long-sleeves and was consistently knee-length. According to her, this design was inspired by her divorce and was suggested as a representation of women’s sexual freedom.
A wrap dress, a feminist icon dress, is a dress with V-shaped neckline and body-hugging feature and is designed like a robe which is wrapped from one side across the other and locking it by knotting the attached tues around the back or through a fastened button. More popular are the faux wrap dresses which are same in design but are more simple as these are slip-ons.
Shirt dresses were the fashion icon dresses of the 1950s which is a style borrowed from the man’s shirt including the details of a collar, button front, and/or cuffed sleeves. These have looser fits as they are typically cut without a seam at the waist. Belts and other related accessories are used to style this kinds of dresses. Because of its loose fit, it’s a forgiving and flexible type of dress that can be worn by any body shape.
A T-Shirt dress which is more popular these days is a variation of the shirt dress originating in the 1960s as an elongated version of a shirt.
Peplum dress is a very versatile type of clothing which can be worn both as a corporate outfit and as a dress for your events. It represents femininity and gracefulness which is notable for its ruffled and fluted hems and borrows the body-hugging feature of the bandage dresses. This is usually worn by those possessing the hour-glass figure but variations made on the peplum dress make it available for other body shapes as well. It’s an elegant and timeless piece which creates the illusion of skinny as it tucks in all the flat rolls and accentuates your curves.
Its distinguishing feature is its slanted hemline or necklind which can range from a subtle slant in a single direction or to more severe slants which go both ways creating a peak at the centre.
This was first introduced into the world of fashion in the 1970s by top American designer Roy Halston wherein he took the concept of cocktail dresses and infused it with Grecian style gowns. By the 1980s, this dress peaked in popularity with a wide range of couture designers featuring it in their collections. It dipped in style for a while but was brought back on the runway with Kate Moss which then led asymmetrical dresses back in the couture. There are a number of designers including Calvin Klein and Alexander Wang who breathed life back to this style and famous and prominent figures such as Michelle Obama and Christina Applegate have “named” this dress as one of their favourites.
The strapless dress is a famous style these days which is described as a garment that stays put without a strap instead is supported by an internal corset or brassiere which prevents it from slipping off the wearer.
This was a 1930 creation largely attributed to Libby Holman who was photographed with a strapless on the same year. Most credit Holman as the inventor of the strapless though some name her as just its high-profile wearer. Nevertheless, this created a new fashion style and was popularised by couture designers such as Mainbocher in 1934 when he produced his very own black satin strapless gown and was named as the first strapless evening dress. In 1938, strapless gowns became more popularized by Brenda Frazier who wore this style for her debut which also landed in the November 1938 cover of Life. By the 1940s, Christian Dior took the reins in the strapless style.
Strapless has faced criticisms being dubbed as the naked look and until now remains to be a forbidden garment in schools and workplaces alike. Nevertheless, it has gained popularity in the bridal dress line as Vera Wang introduced this style in the beginning of the 21st century.
Babydoll is a super-short nightgown whose creation is attributed to the American lingerie designer Sylvia Pedlar. Pedlar produced these nightgowns in 1942 which was in response to the fabric shortage experienced during World War II although she never adopted the babydoll label.
In 1956, a film Babydoll was produced starring Carroll Baker which popularized the name of this type of dress and has started the trend among adults. During the 1950s through the 1960s, babydoll was used as pajamas with a top and loose fitting bloomer bottom featuring an elasticized waist and leg but was soon replaced with closer fitting briefs in the next decade. Innovations in designs in the recent version have totally eliminated the use of elastics and bottoms were just shorts or tap pants.
Babydolls, in the fashion vocabulary, is a short and sleeveless, loose-fitting nightwear for women with variations of formed cups and loose fitting skirts until the upper thigh and are often adorned with laces, ruffles, bows, and ribbons. It has adapted quite the erotic style classified as a lingerie but are also known to sweep the fashion streetwear look adapting the puff sleeves instead of the sleeveless type.