The #1 Piece That's Universally Slimming

When she’s not working with big names like Lupita Nyong’o, Jennifer Hudson, and Hilary Swank, celebrity stylist Micaela Erlanger also divulges her fashion expertise in our Ask a Stylist column. From the best places to source vintage to the secret to finding your most flattering jeans, come back each week for a professional’s perspective.

In my experience, there are two things to keep in mind on your hunt for a flattering addition to your wardrobe: shape and material. With these factors under consideration, you can make any purchase the new most versatile new piece in your closet. But this rule rings especially true with one summer-perfect piece: a dress. Not sure where to start? Not to worry. Plenty of street style stars follow these dress commandments, so see below for examples.

Here are my two must-know tips for picking the most flattering dress for your wardrobe—plus several to shop, naturally.


The one silhouette that is universally flattering is the A-line. In fact, anything that nips in at the waist and flares out is instantly going to give you a feminine shape. Regardless of whether you’re bottom-heavy, boy-shaped, or petite, an A-line will accentuate the most amazing parts of your figure. The A-line is also a gorgeous silhouette for women who are expecting. I guess you call the A-line the universally “happy” silhouette.

Luckily, the perfect A-line dress is easy to find. Every company from Reformation to Prada makes lovely pieces in the shape. I particularly adore Elizabeth and James’s take. Also be sure to give Giambattista Valli a look—the label has a zillion gorgeous pieces in this silhouette. Other favorites of mine, like Shoshanna, DVF, and Marc Jacobs, make these season after season because of their timeless look. Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without Oscar de la Renta, which is king of making the perfect A-line dress.


To start, I avoid shiny fabrics at all cost. This includes fabrics like a satin, which wrinkles easily and shows any lumps or bumps. It’s a beautiful fabric on the hanger, but it’s just not forgiving when worn.

Instead, look for breezy, natural fabrics. Cotton, crêpe, linen, chiffon—these are all great picks. You want to select any fabric that holds volume or shape.


(Image credit: Lina Bessonova)


(Image credit: Collage Vintage)


(Image credit: Sylvia G.)


(Image credit: Stockholm Streetstyle)



(Image credit: Tanesha Awasthi)


(Image credit: Vanessa Jackman)


(Image credit: Vanessa Jackman)

Shop the A-Line Dresses I love 

Submit a style question for Erlanger in the box below, and check back next Sunday to see if she answers your query!

Opening Image: Figtny

Micaela Erlanger
Celebrity Stylist

A self proclaimed “vintage-a-holic, and glamour girl” Micaela’s clients include: Lupita Nyong’o, Michelle Dockery, Meryl Streep, Jared Leto, Common, Jennifer Hudson, Hilary Swank, Tatiana Maslany and John Boyega.

The hallmark of Micaela’s work is her meticulous attention to detail and a keen focus on the client’s needs and objectives. With a love for all things beautiful and alluring, coupled with an appreciation of the whimsical, Micaela brings a versatile and fresh approach to styling.