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In the fashion world, trends come and go. There are classic styles that you can keep in your closet for a lifetime. And then there are other trendier styles that we wish were short-lived and would never come back. The early 1990s brought us a new style, a bodycon dress. This one little clothing item became extremely popular and sales skyrocketed. In fact, this frock is still beloved decades later. By now, you must be curious and wondering: What is a bodycon dress?
A bodycon dress is an article of clothing that is designed to literally hug your body. These dresses are crafted from stretchy materials that are meant to be tight-fitting, conforming to the shape of your body.
Now you know what a bodycon dress is and maybe that's enough for you. But we are curious about the fashion history of this dress. We want to know more about what bodycon means and how we should go about wearing this style. Keep reading as we explain in detail how to wear this dress and even show you some examples.
History Of The Bodycon Dress
Bodycon has persevered through decades of fashion. In the early 1990s, Hérve Peugnet the designer behind the label Hervé Léger, introduced the world to bodycon dresses. The name “bodycon” refers to “body-conscious” or “body confidence.” With either definition, these dresses were designed to show off a woman’s figure. The fabrics are thin body-hugging materials that easily stretch across a female’s silhouette.
A bodycon dress shouldn’t be confused with a “bandage” dress. Both dresses are made to fit snug against your skin. But, the bodycon design doesn’t provide shaping. Nor does it provide any type of support for your figure. The thin material is a bit unforgiving if you are trying to smooth out your shape or disguise a flaw. A bandage dress, on the other hand, is crafted with layers of materials that will nip and tuck and shape your figure.
Confidence is the number one rule one must follow when deciding to wear a bodycon dress.
What Do You Wear Under A Bodycon Dress?
Bodycon dresses are form-fitting, so deciding on what undergarments to wear might feel like a challenge. Not only do you need to wear something under your dress, but you might need a little help camouflaging a body part or two.
Let’s start with some underwear that doesn’t shape but provides a seamless look.
There are so many styles and shapes of panties. They range from full coverage to barely-there coverage. No matter what style you choose to wear, a panty line should not be seen, especially in a form-fitting dress.
As follows are a few types of panty styles that might work with your bodycon dress:
- Thong or G-string underwear don’t offer much coverage, so they don’t have a visible panty-lines. These styles also tend to sit lower on the waist.
- Boyshorts are a type of underwear with a rectangle shape that can sit lower on the waist as well. With most dresses, a panty line is not visible.
- Seamless panties come in a variety of shapes in styles. Depending upon the panty style and how your dress fits, there might be an option that won’t show that dreaded panty line.
First and foremost, your bra should fit you correctly. No bulges, please. Next, your bra should match the design of the dress. Your dress might have a plunging neckline, a racerback, backless or strapless design.
- Flexible straps: Many bras have flexible straps that you can remove or change to match your dress style.
- Clear straps: Bra straps offer support. If you need them but don’t want them to show, clear straps are a good choice.
- Adhesives: Another idea to consider is an adhesive bra. They are sort of like glue and stick to your skin. These bras are an ideal solution when it seems impossible to hide a typical bra under your dress.
Now, if you feel like you need some shaping or smoothing under your dress, shapewear is the way to go.
Shapewear is essential “underwear.” It’s your base layer under a bodycon dress but offers support, smoothing out your figure without leaving lines. Shapewear is like a second skin. But, it shouldn’t be visible under your clothing.
Popular brands of shapewear include SPANX and Body Wrap®. These undergarments are created to enhance your figure. They provide solutions based on the part of your body you want to shape. Most brands offer light, medium, and firm control.
Categories of Shapewear To Don Under Your Bodycon Dress
- Camisole or tank tops: These tops are ideal to slim your belly and back. Most designs will hit at about your hips, just covering your stomach. And, these tops can create a smooth appearance for your entire upper body.
- Waist cincher: Much like an old school girdle, cinchers trim your waist and help create an hourglass-shaped silhouette.
- Bodysuit: Full and uniform coverage is provided by a bodysuit. They come in a variety of styles that are ideal for bodycon dresses including strapless and thong back.
- Slips: This shaper smooths out your hips and thighs. Slips are excellent for lighter control under your dress.
- Capris, leggings or tights: If you plan to wear tights with your dress, this type of shaper will tuck in your tummy, bottom, and thighs. They come in a range of lengths and can be footed or footless.
Deciding what to wear under your bodycon is just as important as picking out the dress in the first place. You want to feel your best so make sure you pay attention to your undergarments.
What Do You Wear Over A Bodycon Dress?
You’ve likely chosen to wear a bodycon to show off your fabulous self. Adding accessories can enhance or change up your look. And, sometimes, the weather might play a factor too.
Here are some ideas of what to wear over your bodycon:
- Coats or jackets: Bodycons won’t be the warmest article of clothing you ever wear. Layering your dress with a trench coat, a shrug sweater or fitted blazer will keep you looking stylish and warm.
- Shawls or wraps: Add a little flair to a solid colored dress with a sparkly or colorful shawl or wrap. Wearing either is also a fun way to add a layer when it’s too warm for a coat.
- Belts: Belts can serve you in a number of fashionable ways. They are an accessory that can add color or texture. And, they can also accentuate your waistline.
How Do You Look Good In A Bodycon Dress?
Women come in all shapes and sizes. Looking good in a bodycon dress starts with your spirit and courage. From there, consider your body type. Common ways to describe body shapes include apple, pear, straight or hourglass. Here are some tips for wearing a bodycon for your shape:
- Apple: In general, an apple shape means the upper body is bigger than the lower body. Your shoulders may be broader and your waist not so slim. From the waist down though, your body starts to narrow. Choose a bodycon that highlights your legs. A shorter dress or a dress with a slit are styles to try.
- Pear: The opposite of apple, a pear-shaped body usually has a wider hip area. To balance out your look, choose a dress that has a pattern at the top. Or, add a shrug or jacket.
- Straight: When your shoulders and hips are about the same width, you fall into the straight-shaped category. Your dress choice needs to highlight your shoulders and hips. Find a dress with ruffles, large patterns or side ruching.
- Hourglass: It’s fair to say that the bodycon was likely designed for this shape in mind. A cinched waist with hips and shoulders being about equal is how to describe the hourglass shape. Dresses that have belts or plunging v necks are ideal for this shape.
We covered shapewear earlier in this post. Sometimes looking your best and feeling your best might mean you simply need some help from your undergarments. When choosing your bodycon, give just as much attention to what you are going to wear underneath it. And, if that means you need some shaping help, that’s okay. There's a whole industry out there to help you look and feel gorgeous.
How To Wear A Bodycon Dress Plus Size?
There are no size rules when it comes to wearing a bodycon. Anyone that wants to wear a bodycon should wear one regardless of size, shape or weight. You just need the right mindset.
There are, however, a few tips to follow when picking out the right bodycon for your plus-sized figure.
- Shapewear: We’ve covered the importance of shapewear in flattening or smoothing out areas that need a bit of help.
- Prints: Printed fabrics can help hide curves. Just make sure the prints aren’t too large or look you might look heavier.
- Belts: A wide belt can create a slimmer looking waist. It covers us with a protruding tummy while distracting the eye away.
- Fabrics: Choose fabrics that are heavier. Sheer fabrics are too revealing.
- Sizes: Make sure you choose the correct “plus” size. Trying to squeeze into a size too small won’t help your look.
- Color: A solid dark color like black, gray or plum is chic and slimming.
Embrace your curves and rock your bodycon dress.
Bring Your Bodycon Attitude
It’s amazing when a fashion trend spans decades. The bodycon dress has empowered women to embrace their femininity with confidence. This body-hugging dress can be worn by a lady of any shape or size. All you need is the right attitude. And of course, proper undergarments and accessories help too. Don't forget to check out the dress gallery below.
Bodycon Dresses Gallery
Let's take a look at some bodycon dresses to get a better idea of what they look like.
A black bodycon dress that's worn with a belt around the hips
A slim belt highlights the waist of this bodycon dress
Beige bodycon dress with a lace neckline
Plum long sleeve bodycon dress
A fuller size figure is shown off in this bodycon dress
Show off your shoulders in this side halter style dress.
Hug your curves in this plus size black dress featuring a sweetheart neckline.
A ruched top and flared sleeve set this plus size dress apart from the rest.
A flattering mixed pattern of stripes on this long sleeve dress is a bold choice.