How to Wear a Halter Dress

by Bethany Williams

With their deep V neckline and long straps that wrap around your neck, halter dresses are simultaneously elegant and sexy. They are perfect for a night out on the town or for a brunch with the girls -- whether you need something sophisticated or fun and relaxed. The top part of the dress is fitted, while the lower half ranges from skin tight — clinging to your hips — to waist-skimming with an A-line skirt. Halter-neck dresses flatter many different body types, although you need to take care with the type of jewelry and bra you choose.

Body Type 411

Halter dresses aren't just the territory for one body type. For women who are wider around the hips, the deep V-cut neckline and the backless style draw attention away from the hips and thighs. You'll get extra benefit if you stay with a halter that has a flowing or A-line skirt that falls no more than an inch or two above the knee. This skirt style is also well-suited for women with an apple body shape, larger at the bust than at the hips. As an added plus for apple shaped women, the revealing style of a halter dress gives them a chance to show off their cleavage with style. If you have narrow hips, wear a hip-clinging dress to show off your slim figure and accentuate the halter neck's sexy vibe.

Undergarment Savvy

Choosing a bra for a halter dress is tricky because of the low neckline and backless design. Charles Manning, writing in Cosmopolitan.com, recommends a front-closure bra with clear convertible straps. The clear straps can be arranged so none of the straps is showing or, in the case of a halter dress with a very low-cut back, only the back strap, also clear, is showing. A strapless low-cut bra can also be worn if the back of the halter dress is not too low.

Understated Jewelry

Because halter dresses draw attention upward, toward your chest and face, avoid statement pieces of jewelry, such as large pendants or earrings, that draw attention to the same place. To create a bohemian look that pairs well with the flowing, relaxed and romantic look of a halter, wear a large turquoise pendant with a silver setting. Pair it with small and simple studs or dangling earrings in silver, brass or wood; regardless of style, choose smaller earrings. Or go without a necklace and wear bracelets or rings so you don't overload the top of half of your body with attention-getters. For a dramatic look, Manning in Cosmopolitan.com recommends layered bracelets — such as a line of brass bangles — for a halter dress.

Choosing Your Shoes

The type of shoes you wear with a halter dress depends on the length of the dress. In general, the longer the dress, the higher your heel can be. If you are wearing a halter dress that is very short, mid-thigh or higher, generally avoid heels because they lengthen your legs and can make you look overexposed. If you have a short halter dress but want a dressier look, go for kitten heels. Shoes with studs or beading on them add interest. For knee-length skirts, wear any height of heel or flats. For a casual downtown look, wear a pair of on-trend ballet flats with a knee-length halter dress.

Photo Credits

  • Maria Teijeiro/Photodisc/Getty Images

About the Author

Bethany Williams has been a beauty and style writer since 2006. She has written for "ELLE Canada," "Canadian Living" and "Flare Magazine." She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and history from the University of King's College.