A-line! Shift dress or sheath dress! Empire waist! You’ve probably heard a bunch of terms for different types of dress silhouettes thrown around when talking fashion, but if they leave you more than a little (okay, a lot) confused, you’re not alone. (Seriously, what is the difference between a shift dress and a sheath dress?)

Once and for all, we’re demystifying some of the most common types of dress silhouettes. And of course, sharing a few of our ready-to-rent faves for each, because obviously!


With a straight silhouette that hangs loosely from the shoulders, the shift dress is the definition of the easy throw-it-on-and-go look. (And not to mention, just as comfy as your favorite PJs.) This shape makes for a loose and breezy outfit in the summer, while a long-sleeved, high-neck version paired with tights is a great option for colder months.


Easily (and understandably!) confused with the shift dress, the sheath dress also features a straight shape, but has more of a figure-skimming hourglass look that’s nipped at the waist. (Hellooo, curves!) Looking for sassy and form-fitting? We have a feeling you and the sheath dress will get along great.


Everything you need to know about the A-line silhouette is in the name. (How convenient!) The shape on an A-line dress mimics a capital letter “A”: a fitted bodice, narrow, defined waist and skirt that flares out just above the hips. A-line gowns and maxi dresses especially bring the drama for evening, but the shorter, cleaner and more streamlined version of this silhouette also looks right at home during the day or at the office.


Legs for days! The empire waist features a fitted bodice that falls just under the bustline, instead of at the waist, creating the illusion of an elongated frame. (Especially when you opt for a short minidress or babydoll silhouette.)


Initially introduced into our wardrobes in the 1970s by Diane von Furstenberg (whose famed line also happens to be available in the Closet in the Cloud!) the wrap dress has become a staple, especially when it comes to daytime dressing. A waist that ties at one side creates a V-neckline and has the added bonus of being totally adjustable to your exact figure. What’s not to love?