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What are the Different Types of Fitted Dresses?

Janis Adams
Janis Adams

There are many types of different women's fitted dresses, from the fitted sheath to sweater dresses. While they differ greatly in their appearance, fitted dresses all have one common element: They are created to showcase a woman's figure. The basic difference between the styles of fitted dresses is their purpose and their design, which greatly differentiates one fitted dress from another. Some are designed for casual wear, others are made for comfort, and yet still others are created for a night of glamor.

One type of fitted dress that has become popular for Wall Street wear as well as those ladies who lunch is the fitted sheath. This type of dress is conservative with a simple design. Often fashioned in a one-hued material, this fitted dress is quite simplistic. Though one-tone dresses are most common for this style, there are those that feature pinstripes or patterns. These types of dresses are often worn under a suit jacket or with a sweater knotted loosely at the shoulders. This dress creates a conservative and understated silhouette.

A woman wearing a fitted dress.
A woman wearing a fitted dress.

A popular fitted dress for evening is one that has come to be known as the mermaid dress, a dress that hugs the curves of the woman's body much like the bottom of a mermaid might appear. This sexy dress flatters a woman's figure. Often this type of fitted dress will have a ruched front and back. This design technique of gathering the fabric allows for give when the person wearing it is moving, and it also hides any figure flaws that might exist.

A sheath dress is a type of fitted dress.
A sheath dress is a type of fitted dress.

For decades, the sweater dress has been a popular style of fitted dress. Made of wool or cotton or any knitted material that a sweater might be fashioned from, the sweater dress is considered a true classic. These dresses range in length from the short minis to the full-length and flowing traditional dress. A cable is a popular design element often found in the fitted sweater dress.

Mermaid dresses flare out at the bottom.
Mermaid dresses flare out at the bottom.

Often incorporated into the fabric of any type of fitted dress is Lycra®. To create a fabric that can be form fitting yet still comfortable enough for the person wearing it to bend and move without undue concern, Lycra® is commonly added into a small percentage of the fabric, making it have a elasticity that a one-blend fabric would not offer. The fitted dress is a woman's friend, made for flattering her and her figure.

Discussion Comments


I have to say, I just love fitted sweater dresses! They're appropriate for so many different occasions, and so versatile. You can wear them with a belt, heels, casual boots, patterned stocking, leggings...the possibilities are endless!

My personal favorite sweater dress outfit is a sweater dress with a belt, leggings, and Ugg boots (actually, I have the knock-off boots, but who can tell?) This is the outfit I live in practically all winter!


@Azuza - If you ever find yourself in that situation again, you might consider purchasing a dress that is a bit too big and having it taken in my a seamstress.

When I was in high school, fitted prom dresses were very in style. Unfortunately, I had trouble finding a dress that fit too. Luckily, my mom is great at sewing and she was able to tailor a dress that I bought. It ended up looking great, if I do say so myself!


@Mae82 - I think you should let your friend choose her own wedding dress. I'm sure she's aware of the rules at the church she's picked to have her wedding at.

I really like fitted dresses myself. I was working in an office for awhile, and I was really eager to find some nice tailored dresses to wear to work. You know, the kind you might wear with a suit jacket? However, I had absolutely no luck!

Every time I found a dress I liked, the top half was usually too big and the bottom half was too small! It didn't matter what size I tried, those dresses just never fit me right. Finally I gave up and just wore separates!


My friend is currently looking at fitted wedding dresses and I am wondering if it is a good idea to go with a short fitted dress for such a formal event? I know my friend wants to be able to walk freely, but we all feel the dresses she has been looking at are a little too short and tight.

I know my friend wants us to be honest with her, and I just feel that if you're getting married in a church that the white dresses that enter should be full length. Fitted is OK, but I think they should cover everything and if you want to do a short skirt at the reception that's fine. Do you think I should tell her to try longer gowns?


@manykitties2 - If you are going to a fancy party you can probably work one of those nice cocktail dresses with an asymmetrical hem. I love how the hem on those dresses attracts the eye, and balances out your body, especially if you are bigger on top.

Another option is going with a classic looking dress that has a mermaid-skirt. They look great on hourglass figures and really make your curves stand out.

Style wise, I recommend a little sparkle. I love seeing bigger girls work their figures in an eye catching way. I think all ladies should be proud of themselves.


Can anyone suggest the best kind of fitted plus size dresses that would slim your figure and really make your curves look good?

I have been looking at a lot of different evening dresses and I find that a lot of the ones made for plus size ladies look a lot like tents, and with my power panties on I know I can mold myself into a nice hourglass figure. I want to wear something that makes me look good, without being too overt.

The party I am going to is for a friends 25th anniversary party and is going to be a pretty fancy event. I am hoping I can find an ideal gown before then.


There's a big difference between tight dresses and fitted dresses. I have bought some really cheap dresses that were just tight, not fitted, and the overall look was not a good one. Fitted dresses, well done ones anyway, looking good after a lot of wear and washing. But tight, cheap ones will stretch out and rip and tear pretty early in their lifespans.


Different dresses flatter different figures. Sheath dresses can look nice on women who don't have a really defined waist, but for women with hourglass or pear figures, something should be belted to showcase that small waist.

My best friend has wide shoulders and small hips and is average height, while I'm basically an hourglass and on the short side. Basically, almost nothing looks good on both of us; it's nice though, because we can go shopping and say things like, "This wouldn't look right on me, but I think you ought to try it on." Even different necklines look better on each of us.

This how I know, though, that different types of form fitting dresses look better on different types of women.

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    • A woman wearing a fitted dress.
      By: aetherial
      A woman wearing a fitted dress.
    • A sheath dress is a type of fitted dress.
      By: czamfir
      A sheath dress is a type of fitted dress.
    • Mermaid dresses flare out at the bottom.
      By: Ivan Nakonechnyy
      Mermaid dresses flare out at the bottom.