Women's Body-Con Dresses (71)

What is a “body-con” dress?

Body-con is short for “body conscious,” and refers to a style of dress that hugs the body from top to bottom, emphasizing a woman’s curves. body-con dresses are usually skintight and range in length from mini to midi.

Where did the body-con trend come from?

Though Herve Leger popularized the body-con style in the 1990s with his “bandage” dress, iterations of the body-con have been around for decades. Stars like Marilyn Monroe wore figure hugging sheath dresses in the 1950s, and even though attitudes and clothing loosened up a bit in the 1960s and 1970s, look to Mad Men to see the silhouette on full display. The sexy body-con dress was a major hit of the 1980s, thanks to the slim fit designs of Azzedine Alaia.

Where does a body-con dress belong?

A body-con dress can easily function as a cocktail or party dress. Its figure revealing cut is better suited to festive and social occasions, than say, the office. A mini body-con dress is perfect for a night out, and is a great vacation wardrobe staple (Hello, Vegas!). A longer body-con dress, with detail like a flounced hem, or lace overlay, is appropriate for weddings and semi-formal events.

How should a body-con dress be styled?

The body-con dress pretty much speaks for itself, so it’s best not to over-accessorize, lest you detract from the body contouring that makes the body-con style unique. A body-con dress outfit definitely calls for a heel or wedge, a small evening bag, and statement jewelry. While you can find body-con dresses in sleeveless, short sleeved, and long sleeved styles, you’ll notice that dresses are usually monochromatic, perhaps playing with cutouts, texture or other embellishment.

Worth a try?

With the variety of colors, lengths, and styles available, most women can find a body-con that works. Shapewear can help create smooth lines if you’re worried about being too exposed. And if you want something more tailored and slightly more forgiving, try a classic sheath dress instead.


Shop the body-con trend on sale from designers like French Connection, Laundry by Shelli Segal, Topshop, and BCBG.

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