It’s a myth that Mandarin cheongsam dresses are just for skinny ladies. Mandarin dresses are meant to flatter a woman’s curves, so they actually won’t look very good on flat-chested women. Of course they won’t work for obese women, either, but if you are just a little heavy, like the Chinese actress in the photo below, you absolutely can pull off a Mandarin dress.
The Chinese actress actually can take off her coat to showcase the Mandarin dress inside, if the dress is in the right cut for her. The silhouette of a dress makes a huge difference on the wearer’s body. Just look at the photo below and you will agree.
This lovely lady gives out her height and weight, 158 cm (a little over 5’2”) and 80 kgs (176 pounds), in her blog. But she doesn’t look that heavy, right? Given her height, wouldn’t you say she looks about 140 pounds? The Mandarin dress she’s wearing, though mostly in light colors, optically slims her down thanks to the following factors:
1) A Loose fit with No Gathering around the Waist or Hips
If you want to look slimmer in a dress, the waist and hip area of the dress must be totally flat, with absolutely NO gathering. This actually makes Mandarin dresses, which normally stay flat around the waist and hips, a better choice than Western dresses. Mandarin dresses only bother body-conscious women when they are curve-hugging. They don’t have to be made so tight though. You can easily get a loose fit.
2) A Slight A line
The knee-length Mandarin dress featured in the photo above doesn’t come down exactly straight like a pencil skirt. Instead, it goes a little outward. This slight A line can offset the hip width and make you look thinner.
3) The Diagonal Placket and Diagonally Positioned Floral Pattern.
Diagonal lines somehow provide a narrowing visual effect. That makes the diagonal placket of most Mandarin dresses a flattering choice. In addition to that, you can pick a Mandarin dress with a printed pattern that goes diagonally around the waist. With these diagonal lines, even light colors can be visually trimming. Isn’t it great that you don’t have to stick to dark colors?
Here is a Mandarin dress that meet all the criteria stated above:
This Mandarin dress is even more flattering than the one on that slightly overweight girl, because its sleeves are a bit longer. The upper arms, where fat tends to be deposited, may even be a problem area to relatively skinny women. It’s definitely a worse problem to bigger women. It may not seem too bad when you just gaze upon the front, but from the side, it will look terrible.
See, the plus-size lady in the photo above has a young face, but her upper arm fat makes her look older. The Mandarin dress on her is actually pretty flattering, except for the sleeves, which are unfortunately too short.
To avoid this problem, choose a Mandarin dress with sleeves that cover at least the upper half of your upper arms. Elbow sleeves will be even better.
Doesn’t the plus-size model look fantastic in the elbow-sleeve Mandarin dress?
Please note that your elbow sleeves cannot be tight. You also need to rule out soft and elastic material, which will cling to your upper arms and look like adding an extra layer of fat to them. Choose elbow sleeves made of solid fabric, like those of the red dress shown below.
This could be an ideal engagement dress for a slightly overweight lady — the gold pattern on the central panel will draw attention inward, creating a narrowing visual effect.
If you just need a dress for daily wear, here’s something office-appropriate.
Have you noticed that the ink pattern is diagonally placed? This print is definitely slimming. Its fabric, linen, is solid enough to conceal body fat at the same time.
Another figure flattering Mandarin dress in linen:
In this print, all the green leaves are going diagonally. Besides, the orange flowers are big enough to make your body look thinner by contrast.
The same print is even more waist trimming when applied to the A-line dress shown below.
The greatest thing about this A line is: it doesn’t have any gathering at all! Most wide A-line skirts tend to have some gathering, which may increase the hip size a little bit while making the waist look smaller. This A-line Mandarin dress really has the best of both worlds — it optically narrows the waist but won’t make the hips any larger.
However, the sleeves of this extremely torso trimming dress are too short to cover upper arm fat. It’s easy to fix the small problem though. Since the dress is to be custom made, you can simply request longer sleeves.
Generally speaking, bigger women should select non-sheen fabrics because anything shiny may have an expanding visual effect. However, what if you want some luster and sparkles on your party dress? Here is a wonderful solution:
This ombre Mandarin dress is made of lustrous silk, but the black part of it looks quite subdued. Your waist and hips will be in the slimming black while the sky blue upper part of the dress emphasizes your bosom –- every fleshy woman’s best asset. In the meantime, the dress has beaded flowers on the collar and around the bottom. They won’t have any magnifying effect on your waist or hips because they are far away from there. In addition, the scalloped hem breaks the horizontal line and creates a narrowing visual effect, too. Just have the sleeves made a few inches longer. Then it’s the most flattering party dress for you!
If you prefer a longer Mandarin dress, here is a nice choice:
It’s mostly black but not all black. Too many women wear all black in order to look skinnier, so that’s boring. You want the slimming effect of black but not the monotony of all black. The red floral print on this dress definitely vivifies the black!
By now, you are not reluctant to try on a Mandarin dress any more, right? As long as you follow the tips from this article, Mandarin dresses will keep giving you pleasant surprises!