Top 22 dress types in Africa

Types of dresses


Ever been to the tailor and you don’t know how to describe what kind of dress you want? Well, good thing there are images to help with that, but knowing dress types can be very useful when it comes to the description of what you have in mind.

The differences between dresses lie mostly in how they are shaped when they hang on the body, otherwise known as the silhouette, and sometimes in the details attached to it, like the length and neck or sleeve type. The top 22 dress types in Africa are as follows:


  1. Mini dress
  2. Midi Dress
  3. Maxi dress
  4. A-Line Dress
  5. Empire waist dress
  6. Bardot dress / Off the Shoulder dress
  7. Sheath dress
  8. Shift dress
  9. Pouf or bouffant dress
  10. Bandage dress
  11. Bodycon dress
  12. Wrap dress
  13. Tube dress
  14. Halter dress
  1. Peplum dress
  2. mermaid silhouette dress
  3. Trumpet dress
  4. Pencil dress
  5. Pinafore dress
  6. Princess silhouette dress
  7. Shirtdress
  8. High low dress




Based on length, we have three distinct dress types: the mini, midi, and maxi dress types:


Mini dress

These are very short dresses with hems ending anywhere above the knees. Many dress styles these days come in this length. The shift and sheath dresses are usually mini dresses in length.

@cutiebee rocking a mini dress


Midi Dress

A midi dress is a dress with the hemline ending anywhere from below the knees to just above the ankles. The popular A-line dress style is achieved with the midi dress length.

midi dress from @symdeycouture


Maxi dress

This is the longest of dress lengths with the hemline ending below the ankle. Some can even touch the ground depending on the style in mind. This dress length frequents many social and formal gatherings like balls and weddings, where dresses like the trumpet dress are worn.

Maxi dress from @trishocouture





Based on dress silhouette we have the following types of dresses:


A-Line Dress

These dresses have a triangular silhouette. An A-line dress is well fitted at the region above the waistline and then gradually flares out below the waistline down to the hem of the dress, giving it this shape similar to the letter A, hence the name A-line. It is perfect for a casual setting, and you can dress it up or down with ease. This style is best suited for pear-shaped bodies, as it shows off your lovely shoulders and adds a feminine touch to your lower half.


Empire waist dress

This dress is very similar to the A-line dress except for the length of the flare. The empire waist dress fits at the bodice and starts to flare or drape out from beneath the bust line giving it a longer flare and thus making the wearer look taller.



Bardot dress / Off the Shoulder dress

This is a type of dress with the neckline and sleeves starting across the chest region above the bust instead of at the neck. Usually elastic is used at the wide opening to make the dress grip for support.



Sheath dress

This is a type of dress that hangs straight from the shoulders down to the hem with no flares except for a little nipping or hold at the waist.



Shift dress

This type of dress falls straight from the shoulder, hanging loosely down to the hem. Very similar to the sheath dress except for looseness and sometimes a little fitting around the bust.


Pouf dress

Also known as a bouffant gown is a dress with a wide, full skirt resembling a hoop skirt. Sometimes it is fitted underneath with hoop support to make it stay so.



Bandage dress

These are dresses that act more like a second skin, hugging the body tightly and defining the curves. They are capable of manipulating curves and hug them into place.


Bodycon dress

Bodycon dress short for body-conscious dress is a type of dress that closely but not tightly fitted, tracing your body shape closely rather than hugging your shape tightly like the bandage dress.



Wrap dress

Wrap dresses are a bit different from other dress types in the way their closure is achieved. One side of the dress fabric is wrapped over and across the other and then held in place, which can be by tying them into a knot or even using buttons.




Tube dress

This is a strapless dress starting just above the bust with a mini length ending above the knees and having no arms or flares. It is a tube-looking piece of clothing when not worn. Tube dresses are usually made of elastic fabrics for easy grip and support on the body.




Halter dress

This is a sleeveless dress that hangs and is supported at the neck and has an uncovered upper back. At the neck, it widens gradually towards the bust in an inverted “V” shape.



Peplum dress

A peplum dress has peplum attached to it. A peplum is a strip of gathered fabric of short length that that is attached to clothing to give a flared finish towards the hem.



Mermaid silhouette dress

This dress type hugs the body closely at the bodice and the skirt, which is the region including the torso and the hips, and then flares down or widens gradually to the floor from the knee. This dress is very beautiful but has a restriction on movement. 



Trumpet dress

The trumpet dress is a variation of the mermaid dress similar in all ways except for where the widened end starts. Unlike the mermaid silhouette dress that has its flare starting from the knees down to the ground, the trumpet dress starts widening from the mid-hip above the knees and just below the butt. This little difference makes movement easier in the trumpet dress.



Pencil dress

The pencil dress is an extension of the pencil skirt if you know what that means. What makes it stands out from others is the way the skirt region is done. It narrows down from the hips fitting closely and usually ends below the knees.



Pinafore dress

This is collarless and sleeveless and is shaped like an apron. They are usually worn over tops and blouses.



Princess silhouette dress

Princess dresses are long up to down dresses without any horizontal separation or fitting to shape the dress, rather it is shaped by using horizontal seams, known as princess seams, to get the tiny waist fitting the flare downwards.



With many features borrowed from a men’s shirt, the shirt dress includes a collar, cuffed sleeves, and a front button row. They are more or less longer shirts, fitting loosely and having no waistline. The waist however is defined by a belt.



High low dress

Also known as asymmetrical dress, the dress hem is higher up at the front than at the back. Or sometimes, depending on the design, it can be higher up on one side than on the other, rather than a front and back difference.



Top 10 African ifluencers CHECK THEM OUT!

So now that you know the different dress types, check out these easy clothing combination tips to choose the right colours for the dress of your dreams.

Written by Sene Bestman

Particular clingy on answering the questions that pops up everyday before stepping out - "Do I look okay"?
I believe that outfit might just be the right amount of confidence boost you needed.

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