Every woman needs a dress that can work perfectly in more formal situations like black tie affairs, weddings or spending a sophisticated night on the town. A beautiful plus size cocktail dress that flatters the body is just the thing to have in the wardrobe. While there is a big debate over the proper length of a cocktail dress, anything past the knee is always a safe option.

The best way to find the right cocktail dress style is by first finding out what your body shape is. Learning about your body shape and knowing which areas to highlight should always be the first step before choosing any fashion items.

Know your body type

The first step to finding a beautiful cocktail dress is to figure out your body shape and proper size.

To do this, you will have to measure key points of your body and jot them down as reference. The most important measurements are the shoulders, bust, waist, hips and thighs.

Keeping these measurements by your side will help you find out which clothing size will fit the best. This is a better way to find clothing than to simply say “I am a size 18”, because every clothing style and clothing label will interpret a size differently.

Once you have determined your body measurements, you can take a look at your body shape. Use the following information to help you find out what your body shape is (you can also check out our ultimate body shape resource here).

NOTE: Not every woman will perfectly fall into one of these body shapes. Sometimes they are just used as a guideline to help identify which clothing styles will work best to show off, or hide, various parts of the body.

Click on the images below to view the product detail. These are affiliate links – we get a small commission if you purchase a product. It helps pay the bills!

For Pear Shapes

A pear body shape will have wide hips compared to the shoulders and bust. Common traits are round full buttocks, wide hips, thick thighs, narrow shoulders and a small bust.

Strapless and halter dresses are perfect for pear body shapes. These styles highlight the slender shoulders, creating a flattering look. A strapless or halter dress with an A-line skirt skims the hips perfectly, creating a balanced look from top to bottom.

As pear shaped women also tend to have slim waists, a dress with a cinched waistline is flattering. Empire waistlines are another feature that works perfectly for this body type. A full skirt hides the hips and gives a semblance of balance to the body.

Cocktail Dress For Pear Shape 01
[amazon link="B0076Q6CWQ" title="Funfash Plus Size Women's Long Sleeve Empire Waist A Line Cocktail Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Pear Shape 02
[amazon link="B07RDNS2DM" title="GRACE KARIN Women's Off Shoulder Stretchy Cocktail Party Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Pear Shape 03
[amazon link="B087PSLGKD" title="Plus Size Lace Top Wrap V Neck Half Sleeve Cocktail Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Pear Shape 04
[amazon link="B076P4DGNL" title="LALAGEN Women's Plus Size Vintage Cocktail Midi Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Pear Shape 05
[amazon link="B07XBQVQ5W" title="GRACE KARIN Sleeveless Vintage Cocktail Dress with Belt" /]
Cocktail Dress For Pear Shape 06
[amazon link="B07FFTJGPL" title="Women's Lace V Neck Half Sleeve Cocktail Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Pear Shape 07
[amazon link="B075XKZD9S" title="Nemidor Women's Scooped Neck Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Pear Shape 08
[amazon link="B01KG96OFE" title="S.L. Fashions Women's Halter Neck Tier Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Pear Shape 09
[amazon link="B07QNQT6QM" title="SheIn Women's Plus Size Spaghetti Strap Backless Cami Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Pear Shape 10
[amazon link="B08TWL7NV4" title="GRACE KARIN Women's Vintage Style Sleeveless V-Neck Swing Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Pear Shape 11
[amazon link="B07YGM3VH4" title="Amazon Essentials Women's Plus Size Tank Swing Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Pear Shape 12
[amazon link="B07D5V9DK5" title="Nemidor Women's Half Sleeve Cocktail Dress" /]
 

For Inverted Triangle Shapes

An inverted triangle shape is one that looks heavier up top. Common traits are wide shoulders, average to large bust, average to narrow waistline, narrow hips and average to thin thighs.

For those with an inverted triangle shape, look for v-neck styles to draw attention away from your shoulders, and highlight your bust. Spaghetti straps and cap sleeves also create an illusion of narrower shoulders.

Choose a plus size cocktail dress with some details below the waist area. Since women with this shape have slender legs, you can attract attention away from your upper body by showing off your legs, or wearing a pair of attention-grabbing shoes.

Cocktail Dress For Inverted Triangle Shape 01
[amazon link="B079K95HZ6" title="J Kara Women's Plus Size Short Beaded Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Inverted Triangle Shape 02
[amazon link="B08QVF5T15" title="GRACE KARIN Women's 50s 60s Vintage Sleeveless V-Neck Cocktail Swing Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Inverted Triangle Shape 03
[amazon link="B0789DXXMD" title="onlypuff Fishtail Cocktail Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Inverted Triangle Shape 04
[amazon link="B07KYXKFT1" title="ellos Women's Plus Size Fit and Flare Knit Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Inverted Triangle Shape 05
[amazon link="B06ZZW7J8Z" title="Alex Evenings Women's Plus Size Tea Length Dress with Rosette Detail" /]
Cocktail Dress For Inverted Triangle Shape 06
[amazon link="B07PN4S8X8" title="City Chic Women's Plus Size V-Neck Dress with Peplum Frill Waist Detail" /]
Cocktail Dress For Inverted Triangle Shape 07
[amazon link="B07JBB9QYT" title="Milumia Plus Size Empire Waist Maxi Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Inverted Triangle Shape 08
[amazon link="B07Z8Q5XWF" title="Licoco Women's Ruched Spaghetti Strap Maxi Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Inverted Triangle Shape 09
[amazon link="B079RT7Y3L" title="Alex Evenings Women's Plus-Size Midi Cap Sleeve Dress with Sequins" /]
Cocktail Dress For Inverted Triangle Shape 10
[amazon link="B07NC9N99G" title="S.L. Fashions Women's Plus Size Tea Length Tuck Neck Fit and Flare Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Inverted Triangle Shape 11
[amazon link="B074KZQ6TP" title="Nemidor Women's Floral lace Top Midi Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Inverted Triangle Shape 12
[amazon link="B0854K6THH" title="Nemidor Women's Short Sleeve V-Neck Plus Size Wrap Dress" /]
 

For Hourglass Shapes

The hourglass body shape is the most proportioned shape since the top and bottom will generally have an even width/fullness. Common traits are an even shoulder to hip width, average to thick thighs, average to full bust and a well-defined waistline.

Those with an hourglass shape are lucky, because any style of dress would suit them well. The only thing that a woman with an hourglass figure should avoid is loose and undefined dresses since they will create a shapeless look.

Also, avoid dresses with a high neckline, for it is better to flaunt your cleavage. Bodycon dresses, shift dresses and wrap dresses are perfect for this type. It is also more flattering to choose pencil cut skirts and dresses to emphasize your curves.

Cocktail Dress For Hourglass Shape 01
[amazon link="B085N4CQX8" title="IyMoo Womens Sexy Plus Size Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Hourglass Shape 02
[amazon link="B07WZWFD6F" title="Calvin Klein Women's Plus Size Sleeveless Princess Seamed A-line Midi Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Hourglass Shape 03
[amazon link="B0892P3XPJ" title="Women's Plus Size Chiffon Keyhole Neck Cocktail Party Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Hourglass Shape 04
[amazon link="B07XHKHHXM" title="Verdusa Women's Plus Size Belted Bodycon Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Hourglass Shape 05
[amazon link="B07Q8K8FH8" title="Kiyonna Women's Plus Size Special Occasion Mademoiselle Lace Cocktail Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Hourglass Shape 06
[amazon link="B07PLX7WGP" title="Milumia Women's Plus Size V Neck Wrap Cami Dress Asymmetrical Hem Ruched Party Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Hourglass Shape 07
[amazon link="B08DF92N3L" title="Nemidor Women's V-Neck Midi Plus Size Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Hourglass Shape 08
[amazon link="B00BZ5AADG" title="Kiyonna Women's Plus Size Whimsy Wrap Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Hourglass Shape 09
[amazon link="B07T2ZC9D7" title="kissmay Plus Size Womens V Neck Floral Cocktail Party Dress with Pocket" /]
Cocktail Dress For Hourglass Shape 10
[amazon link="B01M1JZSLU" title="Womens Plus Size Deep V Neck Wrap Bodycon Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Hourglass Shape 11
[amazon link="B082YN2JFV" title="Milumia Women's Plus Size Elegant Mesh Frill Ruffle Round Neck Pencil Party Cocktail Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Hourglass Shape 12
[amazon link="B083ZMWZZQ" title="Tahari ASL Women's Sleeveless Crew Neck High Low Party Dress" /]
 

 

For Rectangle Shapes

A rectangle body shape is one that looks very straight. Common traits are narrow shoulders and hips, thin thighs, a small bust and undefined waistline.

Those with a rectangular or sporty shape body should choose dresses that create the illusion of curves. Ruching at the bust, or scooped and v-neck styles can add shape to the upper body. Collars and ruffles also have the same effect.

Peplum dresses are perfect for this kind of body type, because they instantly create the illusion of curves. Look for cocktail dresses that have a cinched or belted waistline because this is the main area that will give you a curvy look.

Cocktail Dress For Rectangle Shape 01
[amazon link="B08LMYL8CQ" title="Women's Plus Size Elegant Pencil Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Rectangle Shape 02
[amazon link="B07VHG6ZBH" title="Women's Plus Size Chiffon Midi Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Rectangle Shape 03
[amazon link="B07DNCJT2H" title="Floerns Women's Plus Size High Low Cocktail Party Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Rectangle Shape 04
[amazon link="B071XFZLJ1" title="Women's Plus Size Lined Floral Lace Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Rectangle Shape 05
[amazon link="B07T2BBTGP" title="Women's Bell Sleeve Pencil Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Rectangle Shape 06
[amazon link="B089DJPCNG" title="Women's Plus Size Cold Shoulder V-Neck" /]
Cocktail Dress For Rectangle Shape 07
[amazon link="B07CHWC9HS" title="Kiyonna Women's Plus Size Mon Cherie Lace Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Rectangle Shape 08
[amazon link="B082P83YCF" title="Kiyonna Women's Plus Size Lacey Cocktail Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Rectangle Shape 09
[amazon link="B07KG1GM6F" title="ESPRLIA Women's Plus Size High Waist Cocktail Midi Dresses" /]
Cocktail Dress For Rectangle Shape 10
[amazon link="B0841VDRPS" title="SheIn Women's Plus Stretchy Bodycon Pencil Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Rectangle Shape 11
[amazon link="B07Z4FBP4C" title="R&M Richards Women's Plus Size Bell Wrap" /]
Cocktail Dress For Rectangle Shape 12
[amazon link="B0772XB6MS" title="Alex Evenings Women's Plus-Size Tea Length A-line Dress with Tie Belt" /]
 

 

For Diamond and Apple Shapes

A diamond body shape is similar to an apple shape, but it will have shaper features. Common traits are narrow shoulders, small bust, full undefined waistline, narrow hips and average to thin thighs.

An apple body shape will have a larger midsection compared to the hips and shoulders. Common traits are a full undefined waistline, rounded shoulders, average to small bust, flat buttocks and average thighs.

Women with a diamond or apple body shape should avoid shapeless or loose-fitting dresses. It is better to go with soft draping fabrics, rather than tight-fitting or clingy materials.

Wrap dresses in dark or bold colors are perfect for apple and diamond body shapes, since they create the illusion of wider hips. This is the best way to balance out a heavier upper body.

It is also better to make the most out of your cleavage by wearing dresses with a low neckline and with a skirt that flares from the waist.

Finding the perfect plus size cocktail dress on the first try is rare, but totally possible when you know what to look for. Try different styles to see exactly how each one changes your look. You will quickly be able to identify the styles that are most flattering.

 

 

Cocktail Dress For Diamond and Apple Shape 01
[amazon link="B07H7FY38Z" title="Floerns Women's Short Sleeve V Neck Twist Front Split Midi Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Diamond and Apple Shape 02
[amazon link="B088KVWTGK" title="Alex Evenings Plus Size Women's Short Lace Jacket Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Diamond and Apple Shape 03
[amazon link="B07XGFML6X" title="Eternatastic Womens Floral lace Plus Size Midi Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Diamond and Apple Shape 04
[amazon link="B07CVK4F33" title="S.L. Fashions Women's Plus-Size Sequin Chiffon Jacket Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Diamond and Apple Shape 05
[amazon link="B081ZWSK7F" title="Adrianna Papell Women's Soft Draped A-line Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Diamond and Apple Shape 06
[amazon link="B08DR7NGG1" title="BEDOAR Women's A-Line Dress with Pockets" /]
Cocktail Dress For Diamond and Apple Shape 07
[amazon link="B0785PWQ5V" title="Funfash Plus Size Women Empire Waist A Line Slimming Cocktail Dress Made in the USA" /]
Cocktail Dress For Diamond and Apple Shape 08
[amazon link="B07X2SN3D2" title="Romwe Women's Plus Size Cut Out A Line Swing Stretchy Midi Dresses" /]
Cocktail Dress For Diamond and Apple Shape 09
[amazon link="B07JV8XQSB" title="R&M Richards Plus Size Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Diamond and Apple Shape 10
[amazon link="B07GRVHDX1" title="S.L. Fashions Women's Plus Size Sequin Lace Fit and Flare Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Diamond and Apple Shape 11
[amazon link="B081DRLS6X" title="BEDOAR Women's Vintage Bow Tie V-Neck Swing A-line Dress" /]
Cocktail Dress For Diamond and Apple Shape 12
[amazon link="B08HW462QS" title="S.L. Fashions Women's Plus Size Short Sleeve Pebble Tier Dress" /]

4 thoughts on “A Plus Size Cocktail Dress for All Occasions

  1. Lauren White says:

    I never thought that showing cleavage would balance out my tummy, but I read this a few days ago and went to Dillards and tried one on, and lo and behold, it works! I’m an apple, but you’ve really helped me find something for my body! Thank you so much!

  2. Melanie says:

    I’m in love! With the black and white dress in your header. I want to wear it to my Christmas party. Can you tell me where you found it? Please? Thank you!

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