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How Do I Choose the Best Slip Dress?

Alex Newth
Alex Newth

In most cases, finding the slip dress that’s best for you is a matter of understanding the style generally, thinking about your body type, and trying on samples in a couple of colors and lengths as well as in a variety of materials. Things like brand and price considerations are also things to think about. The slip style is somewhat fluid; in most cases, the garment is intended to resemble the sort of slip that essentially functions as underwear, and it’s commonly quite fitted and even a bit provocative. Different designers and brands have different interpretations, though, which can make it hard to form broad generalizations. The best bet is usually to look at a couple of different options, try them on, and decide which makes you feel the most comfortable.

Importance of Fit

A slip dress is designed to resemble a slip undergarment.
A slip dress is designed to resemble a slip undergarment.

The slip style of dress is designed to look very much like a slip. It fits close to the body and typically includes narrow shoulder straps. One of the most important things is to find one that fits correctly, showing off your curves without being too clingy or too revealing. Dresses in this style are usually designed to be sexy, so if you aren't comfortable showing much skin or wearing something suggestive, this might not be the best style for you.

Even if the sexy look is what you’re going for, modesty is an important consideration since the dress is not, in fact, an undergarment. You'll want to choose a bodice that covers your cleavage appropriately, for instance, and if you have a large chest, you may want to look for a dress that has thicker straps to provide support and balance your look. Dresses with thin straps are often a good choice for women with smaller chests.

Consider the Material

Most dresses in this style are made of sheer fabrics or silky materials like silk or satin. These materials — as well as the overall design of the dress — can accentuate every curve of your body. If you are full-figured or simply aren't comfortable with the shape of your stomach or buttocks, you may have to work harder to find a dress of this style that is flattering. It may be a good idea in these cases to look for looser designs or fabrics that flow over the body rather than cling to it.

Patterns and Prints

Although many slip-style dresses are designed to look specifically like the undergarments from which they get their name, many are also available that offer a little more coverage and more design options. Almost any color of fabric can be used, and, unlike most actual slips, patterned dresses are common, too. It may take a bit more searching for you to find these, but they’re out there in almost every market. Dresses are also available that include a basic solid color topped with a sheer tulle or gauzy overlay. Determining which is best for you is usually just a matter of trying them on and comparing them side by side.

Try a Few Lengths

Slip dresses tend to be quite short, often ending at the knee or above. If you aren't very tall, a shorter length is usually a good choice since exposing more of the leg can enhance the illusion of length. For more formal occasions, such a weddings, a fitted, full-length slip dress can be a dramatic choice.

Pricing and Brand Considerations

Slip dresses are usually available from a fairly wide range of manufacturers and can come at a variety of price points. It’s sometimes true that the most expensive garments are the best made or use the finest materials, but not always. Sometimes, you may be paying for a certain label or designer. If branding is something that matters to you, the best dress is probably one that carries the affiliation you’re looking for. Otherwise, it’s usually wise to make the decision based on cost, quality, and feel together. These are necessarily subjective assessments, but once you know what you’re looking for and have set some parameters, the decision is often a lot easier.

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Discussion Comments


@Sara007 - I love all sorts of slip dresses, and I think anything shy of a sheer slip dress should be OK for your family event. I know the dresses are a little tight, but as long as they cover all of your assets it is fine to wear them.

If you want to appease your husband though I would suggest pairing your slip dress with a simple white cardigan. You can get one made out of lace or a very thin cotton and it shouldn't make you warm. A simple shawl also works too and shouldn't overheat you too much.


Do you think it is acceptable to wear a floral slip dress to a family event?

The hemline on the dress I have is a few inches above my knee and I don't think it is too short, but my husband has pointed out it might be too tight for a family event. I usually don't worry about this kind of stuff, but slip dresses are supposed to be a little snug from my experience, and I think the dress looks good. In my opinion the floral pattern makes it look casual enough to go anywhere. It is so hot I don't want to get stuck wearing something that covers all.


There have been quite a few satin slip dresses popping up in fashion magazines lately and I love that the look is back. I have always loved how sexy the slip dress is and think it is perfect for clubs with the right accessories.

I think that with a simple empire waist and a bit of sparkle halter slip dresses look especially nice. Even in the winter I will wear one out as it gets so hot inside the venues that I go to with my friends. If you pair your slip dress with a long faux fur jacket you can get a real feeling of glamor going on for not much money.

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    • A slip dress is designed to resemble a slip undergarment.
      By: Ruslan Kudrin
      A slip dress is designed to resemble a slip undergarment.