Dressing for Your Body Shape: Helpful Tips and Advice
October 28th, 2022 by Catherine Marqueses
From pear-shaped to apple, hourglass to athletic, as women, we all come in a variety of different shapes and sizes each with their own unique attributes and beauty. While fashion trends continually change and evolve, there may be the temptation to wear the latest outfits paraded on the runway, however, knowing what types of clothing will flatter your figure the most is essential when it comes to creating a wardrobe that showcases not only your style but also your best features.
Understanding your body shape is key when it comes to making the most of what Mother Nature gave you. From this starting point, you can begin choosing items that suit your physique and avoid those that don’t. In this article, we will show you how to identify your body shape and offer suggestions to help you play to your strengths and dress in a way that is best for you.
What Is My Body Shape?
Knowing your body shape can help you find clothes that fit well and frame your figure correctly, while feeling comfortable to wear. If you are uncertain of your body type you can find help online or ask a friend to advise you. Below are some of the most common female body shapes:
- Apple Shape: Here the upper body tends to be broader than the lower body with a fuller midsection. The legs and arms are often thinner and the waistline is undefined.
- Pear Shape: A pear-shaped body, also known as a triangle, is defined by a wider waist, with fuller hips, rear and thighs compared to a narrower bust and top half.
- Hourglass Shape: This curvaceous body type has a well-defined waist with a roughly equal ratio between shoulders, bust and hips.
- Athletic Shape: Sometimes referred to as rectangular, this body shape can be identified by the similar shoulder and hip measurements and a waist that is not overly defined. Weight is generally evenly distributed across the body.
As well as using the information above to determine your body shape you can also use the clothes you already own as a guide. For instance, if you have certain items of clothing or an outfit that garners attention and compliments from others when you wear them, take note of their cut or shape. Perhaps it is a dress that is cinched at the waist, a pencil-shaped skirt or a V-necked dress that lengthens your body. These items can serve as a useful guide when buying clothes that suit you.
How to Dress for Your Body Shape
Now that you know your body shape you can begin dressing in a way that brings out the best in your appearance. Below are some suggestions on how to style yourself based on your body shape.
Women with apple-shaped figures will benefit from clothes that draw attention away from their midsection while emphasizing their fuller busts and attractive legs. Clothes that are well-fitting but not overly clingy or tight will suit your figure the most, while softer fabrics will work well to lightly skim over your silhouette.
V or plunging necklines are great for elongating your torso while loose-fitting tunics and peplum tops can flow comfortably over your tummy area. In the summer months, swimdresses such as the ones at Dainty Jewells can provide elegant and flowing fabrics to suit your frame.
Dresses that accentuate and bring definition to the waist such as wrap dresses or those with a higher waistline can also look flattering. Wide-legged, flowing pants such as palazzo and sailor styles will suit people with an apple body shape as they help bring balance between the wider middle and slimmer legs.
This body shape should focus on drawing attention to the upper half and diverting it away from the hips to create a balanced look. Eye-catching shirts and blouses that are colorful or bold in design can pull focus to the top while wide or sweetheart necklines can help to broaden the shoulders. Dresses that draw attention to the waist while balancing out the hip area such as A-line and maxi are perfect choices for this body shape, as are straight, flared or high-rise styles of pants as they help to balance out your hips and legs.
The classic hourglass figure has become famous over the years thanks to women such as Marilyn Monroe and Beyonce who dress to showcase their figures well. When it comes to dressing this body type the key is to proportionally dress the upper and lower parts of the body by following its natural shape and silhouette.
Figure-hugging or well-fitted outfits will work best for this body type. Choose skirts and dresses that are cinched at the waist to highlight your curves or add a belt to further accentuate your natural waistline. Hourglass figures have fuller busts which can be shown off in lower necklines such as sweetheart, scoop and off-shoulder. If you would prefer to minimize or draw attention away from this area, opt for round, boat or V-necks, avoiding high necklines like turtlenecks.
High-waisted jeans and hip-hugging pants will flatter this figure the most. Go for wide-legged, loose-fitting styles or ones that are slightly tapered or flare out at the bottom. If you prefer to showcase your curves, then leggings or stretchy, skinny jeans will work best.
This body shape will look great in clothes that show off their arms and legs and create definition in their waist. Dresses that are cinched at the waist or flare out such as A-line designs are ideal for this figure as they can create an hourglass appearance. Full-shaped and pencil skirts can add shape and volume to your lower body. Shapewear can also be used to help define the waist and create more of a curve to the silhouette.
Most necklines will work well with this body shape, highlighting your shoulders, bust or decolletage depending on your preference. Think halterneck, scoop, slash or sweetheart. Pants can be slim fitting or wide-legged with a waistline that is on the lower to mid-rise side.
No matter your proportions, you can find a style that suits you. Use the guidance in this article to help you create a wardrobe that showcases your style while flattering your figure.