How to Look Great in an Evening Gown

Evening gowns aren’t just for models. Anyone can look their best in an evening gown if they know what kind and color flatter them the best. There are many tricks to finding the best dress for an evening to remember. Here are a few tips on how to look your best in an evening gown.


If you wear evening gown attire only once every few years or less, you have to be prepared to spend more on a new dress. But you don’t have to break your wallet to go all out. Many stores carry last-season trends for a lower price. You can even find great deals at some thrift stores or low-cost prom or wedding dress stores.

If you don’t want to buy one, some stores rent out evening gowns. You can pick a great dress, wear it for one evening, and return it. Renting is also a great way to never show up in the same outfit twice. 


The proper foundation garment should not only support your shape but also be invisible. If your chosen dress is particularly body-hugging, a good set of foundation undergarments will show off your shape and stay put. For strapless dresses, plunging necklines, or gowns with cut-outs, this is especially essential.

Halter-top or high neck gowns that are backless are perfect ways to show some skin while skipping out on a bra. These kinds of dresses generally have gentle cup padding included so you don’t feel overexposed. 

If you feel uncomfortable not wearing a bra, know the items you have in your closet before choosing a gown. If you plan to wear your most comfortable and supportive bra, wear it to the store to make sure it fits underneath your dress. For other options, adjustable convertible bras easily match with unconventional straps. You can also experiment with adhesive bras, or even tape your boobs

Be mindful that whenever you buy an evening gown, you must plan what to wear underneath. 

The same goes for your underwear. If you’re planning on wearing a clinging gown, you might find panty-lines showing up on your butt. If you don’t want to advertise the shape of your underwear, decide what you want to wear beforehand.

Underwear or pantyhose with a shaping structure can also give you extra support and a defined shape. Especially if you’re going for something form-fitting, you might want the added protection.

Body Shape

Knowing your body shape can go a long way towards finding an evening gown that fits. Bridal websites carry lots of helpful information about body shapes and dresses. So, if you’re not getting married, you can easily miss this crucial bit of information: different styles flatter different body shapes.

How do you style an evening gown?

The most popular body shapes are:

  1. Hourglass
  2. Pear-shaped
  3. Apple-shaped
  4. Rectangular
  5. Petite


The most strived-for shape, the hourglass consists of wide hips, a large bust, and a narrow waist. Women with this shape tend to look best in Mermaid, A-line, or Sheath styles because these dresses can show off curves the best. 


As the name suggests, a woman with a pear shape will have a tinier upper body and a larger hip area. Pear-shaped women look the best in A-line, Empire Waist, or Ball Gown dresses. These kinds of gowns help women keep their full-hip figure while showing off the upper body.


Also sometimes called the inverted triangle, an apple-shaped body consists of a larger upper body and a smaller lower body. Like the pear-shaped body, an apple-shaped has the best appearance in an A-line, Empire Waist, or Ball Gown dress. The skirts on these styles help balance out the entire look, so women don’t appear top-heavy. 


If you have a more rectangular body with no obvious curves, you might think that it doesn’t matter what style of dress you choose. However, those with rectangular-shaped bodies tend to look their best in Mermaid, Sheath, or Ball Gown styles. These styles will help accentuate even the slightest curves or provide some, where needed. 


Depending on the designer or store, petite either means small in general or short with a full body. Both look best in Empire Waist or A-line dresses, and an overall petite body type also looks great in a Sheath style. 

Proper Sizing

Most dress stores will not carry a gown that fits you like a glove. Therefore, it’s better to choose the closest size possible and have it altered where necessary. One perfectly fitting dress is better to have than ten ill-fitting ones.

Knowing you won’t wear evening gown dresses every day means you can keep one you’ve had tailored and simply update it over the years to match with trends. 


Color is just as important to consider as style. If you want to wear evening gowns that match your skin, hair, and eye tones, you must discover the palette that represents you. 

Knowing the colors that best match your skin and hair tones will prevent you from looking washed out. If the color of your dress compliments you, you’ll look even more stunning.

Colors considered ‘cool,’ such as ‘cool red,’ are better matched with someone with a cool undertone. Cool colors have more purple or blue hues, whereas ‘warm’ colors lean towards yellow and green. 

Most people fall under four categories:

  1. Dark-cool
  2. Dark-warm
  3. Light-cool
  4. Light-warm


Your undertone is cool, and your hair is dark without reddish highlights. Knowing your undertone helps determine your skin tone. To identify your undertone, look at the veins in your wrist. If your veins are blue or purple, you have a cool undertone.

Dark-cool colors pair best with brighter tones or jewel colors like turquoise or royal purple. Colors to avoid are pastels or fleshier-toned fabrics like peach or pink.


Your undertone is warm, meaning the veins on your wrist look yellow or green. Your hair is dark with reddish highlights or dark red. 

Dark-warm colors work well with earthier colors, such as rust, olive, or even gold. Colors to avoid include bright hues, especially bright reds.


Your undertone is cool and your hair is light, usually blonde or pale brown without red highlights. 

Paler colors tend to flatter light-cool colors, such as pastels. Baby blue and lavender are favorites for this type of coloring, especially for women with blue eyes. Saturated and earthy tones like browns or dark greens don’t pair well with light-cool. 


Your undertone is warm and your hair is golden, bright red, or blonde with red highlights. 

Pale and light colors favor light-warm, similar to light-cool. However, the light-warm hue looks best with shades such as white, peach, or soft pink. Bolder colors don’t match well with light-warm tones, especially hues like navy. 

Eye Color

Lighter eyes easily pair with bright colors that bring out particular hues like baby blue or bright green. Darker shades often compliment darker eyes, like earthier browns or even black.

Trends Are Not For Everyone

Sometimes, colors and cuts that are unflattering for your skin tone or body shape become trendy. If it doesn’t suit you, don’t try to force it. Fortunately, in this day and age, more designers are becoming more accommodating to various body shapes and sizes, so it’s less likely that the best dresses for you will fall to the wayside. Color, however, is another matter.

Colors that don’t flatter you might be in season, while ones that do fall out of favor. Trying to adhere to fashion is less important than looking your best, but it doesn’t mean that you have to ignore every trend.

For instance, if lime green is the fashion color of the year, but you can’t pull it off, that doesn’t mean you can’t wear it. Having an accessory in lime green will still keep you trendy without washing you out. Shoes, clutches, or even bracelets in lime green keep the color far enough from your face that the color clash will appear less obvious.


Choose accessories that flatter both your dress and your tones. If you have a plainer gown, dress it up with bright, large pieces. You can get away with one single large piece of jewelry, such as chunky earrings or a flashy necklace. A handbag or clutch in a bright color can also add some sparkle for a more demure look.


There are plenty of tricks and tips to find the best dress for your body type, color, and style. If you want to look your best, pay attention to what best flatters you and plan your next shopping trip. Looking great doesn’t have to be expensive or flashy. As long as you have the proper support, the right hues, and a couple of fine accessories, you can look great at any event or gala you attend.

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