It is no secret that I am a HUGE fan of fit and flare dresses and you should be too. They flatter every body type.
This one of my favourite recent fit and flare acquisitions...
This style was hugely popular in 1950's, when the ladies were always smartly dressed, lovely and fresh as a warm sweet breeze on a Sunday morning.
The name says it all...the upper portion of the dress is *fitted* and the lower portion *flares* away from the body in a full skirt.
Fit and flare dresses are easily layered with other items to dress them up or down and can be considered casual or dressy depending on the fabric and how it is styled. If you don't own one of these dresses once you buy one you will wonder how on earth you lived this long without it. Huge bonus...they are crazy comfortable! I know. You feel like you just won the lottery right? So let's get right to you buying your first fit and flare dress...I know it won't be your last.
What should I look for when buying a fit and flare dress?
How Should It Fit?
Even though there is nothing basically touching you from the waist down, the fit is still very important. The shoulder seam should sit at the top of your shoulder and the waist should be at the smallest part of your body, just below your rib cage. There shouldn't be any bunching in the back.
Obviously you need to be able to move freely but the upper portion should be quite fitted, like a well tailored jacket. Some dresses now have spandex in them providing the tailored image but lycra stretch making it more comfortable.
How Long Should It Be?
As far as length goes this depends on you, your body type and your age. I prefer my dresses to be about two inches above my knee. I'm short and having a higher hemline gives me the illusion of longer legs. If you have long legs already, or a very long torso you may choose to go with a tea length hemline, this will de-emphasize your legs and balance your proportions. (Although personally I think you can never have legs too long...but that is just me.)
What Colour Should I Buy?
Once again you need to think about what you already have in your wardrobe, although if you've stuck with lots of neutrals here might be the time to add some pizazz. There are so many lovely styles of fit and flare dresses with delicate detailing or unusual prints or patterns that are gorgeous. Understanding and recognizing which colours look best on you and capitalizing upon that knowledge is always a winning strategy.
Should I Buy Solid Or Patterned?
A solid will always be easier to layer or combine with other pieces in your wardrobe but patterns are great fun and can spice up your life. Larger patterns are harder to wear. Generally speaking, the larger you are, the larger pattern you can wear. If the pattern is too distracting, don't get it. You should see yourself in the mirror...not just the pattern. As a smallish gal I prefer smaller patterns but that hasn't stopped me from picking up a few choice larger patterns (like the photo above) that don't overwhelm me. Very small patterns basically read like a solid colour to the eye and are easy to wear for everyone.
What Type Of Fabric Should I Buy?
My favourite right now is cotton with a bit of lycra. Cotton breathes, is natural and will feel great next to your skin. Lycra provides that much needed stretch so that the top can really be fitted without be uncomfortable.
Natural fabrics are always your best bet but harder to find and more expensive.
I own a beautiful fit and flare in silk that is one of my favourite dresses. Due to the fabric and the slight sheen of that dress it is considered formal wear. Many of my other fit and flare dresses are cotton, or poly blends and are much more casual.
And here I've styled an outfit with one of the dresses I love from above...
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