Knowing your body type is an essential part of dressing well, whether you’re heading to the office or out for an evening of cocktails. Compare your body’s characteristics to our list to learn how to dress for your body type successfully.
If you have a larger upper body and chest, with a heavy middle and slim hips, you’re likely an apple body type. Your strong point is your slim hips and legs, so play them up with dresses that show off your legs while downplaying your middle. Avoid outfits that focus on your upper body and midsection, such as empire waist dresses or outfits with glittery details around the middle.
Whenever possible, choose looks that add a dramatic waistline — pantsuits and dresses with belts that clearly distinguish the top from the bottom are a nice option. If you choose to play up your cleavage, v-necked or scooped tops work well.
As an apple, no matter what outfit you choose to wear, be sure to pair it with the best bra you can afford. Most women wear the wrong bra size, and this tendency leaves apple shaped ladies with low back pain and sore shoulders by the end of an evening out. Spend some time having a bra fitting, then order a bra that fits you well so that you can wear your favorite outfits with confidence. A well-fitting bra allows full figured women to feel comfortable in their own skin, meaning you can stop fighting the apple figure you were born with and begin to embrace it.
The hourglass figure was made famous by 60s actresses like Marilyn Monroe, and is focused on showcasing a curvy top and bottom, while accentuating a narrow waist. Hourglasses look wonderful in simple outfits that allow their curves to shine. V-necks, scoop necks, and layered looks work well for tops; avoid adding too many ruffles or accents, as they can add too much bulk. Well-fitting button down tops work well, but be sure the top is indeed, well-fitting to avoid an embarrassing fashion faux pas.
Choose tops that hit mid-thigh, dresses and trench coats with belts, and other outfits that accentuate the contrast between your waist and your curves. Dresses with an empire waistline are difficult for hourglasses to pull off, but if you find one that works well for you, don’t be afraid to break the mold.
If you don’t have quite as many curves as you’d like, and the width of your waist, hips, and shoulders is approximately the same, you’re a rectangle body shape. The great thing is that you’ve got your slim arms and legs going for you, so choose styles that will show them off.
If you’re worried about not being curvy, choose styles with a cinched waist — they’ll help to create the illusion of wider hips. Dresses with details that draw the eye away from your waist, such as fitted ones that end in a dramatic fish tail train, are also a wonderful option. Avoid tailored, mannish looks, as they’ll only serve to emphasize your body’s straight lines.
The inverted body shape features a broad upper body with large breasts and a smaller waistline with slim hips. If you’re a triangle, your goal when choosing outfits is to pull the focus away from your shoulders and focus on your cleavage and waistline.
When choosing tops and dresses, pick soft, flowing fabrics that will soften the shoulder line. Avoid extremely tailored jackets with dramatic shoulders, as this will only draw attention; instead, opt for longer, flowing jackets that hit mid-thigh. Leave them unbuttoned for an even softer look.
Strapless looks look wonderful on ladies with broad shoulders, so choose a bold but simple strapless gown for your formal occasions. If you opt for straps, choose wide ones over spaghetti styled straps, as they’ll help break up your shoulder line.
As you learn how to dress for your body type, remember that these are only guidelines. Apple body types may find an empire waist dress that they look stunning in, while an inverted triangle type may find a tailored blazer that suits them perfectly. Use our guidelines to get started, but most importantly, choose clothing that fits you well and that you feel comfortable in.