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How To Dress For Your Body Shape

Posted on May 04, 2013 | 18 comments

Dressing To Suit Your Shape

The first and most important concept in dressing to fit your body shape is learning to criticize yourself as you appear in the eyes of the mirror! Tough, right?Well, read on...

It's not a self-degrading concept. Look at it from a different angle. You're actually setting yourself up for success by realizing from the jump what is most flattering for *YOUR* body type. Then, all you'll need do is shop for clothes that sit well on your body, based on how you're shaped. Let's take a closer look.

What Type of Body Do You Have?

  1. Identify your body type. One way to define a woman's body type is by how her curves connect her bust, waist, and hips. There are four general body types:
    • Apple - top-heavy; 14 percent of women; bust three or more inches bigger than hips; if you have this body type, you probably want to emphasize your tight legs and butt, draw attention away from your waist and shoulders/arms (wear long sleeves), and draw attention to your bust and neck (e.g. v-necks).
    • Straight/rectangular - 46 percent of women; waist is about the same as hips and waist, more like a cylinder; if you have this body type, you can "pinch" your waist and exaggerate curves to avoid looking lanky or boyish. Go for ruffles and frills to add texture and volume (and femininity) to your figure. Steer clear of baggy jeans and track clothes if you don't want to look boyish.
    • Pear - bottom-heavy; 20 percent of women; hips significantly larger than bust; if this is your body type, there are things you can do to make your hips and butt look slimmer, but some women might want to make their butts bigger!
    • Hourglass - 8 percent of women; equal hip and bust measurements with a narrow waist; if you're one of the lucky few with this body type, dress to flatter - not flatten - your beautiful curves.

2. Draw attention to your waist with belts and dresses that pinch at the mid-section. If you have a straight shape, this is a must because it'll create the illusion of curves. If you have a pear or hourglass shape, this will accentuate your existing curves.

  • Avoid this, though, if you have an apple shape (which means you have a thick waist, or you put on weight easily there) - wear tops that "drape" over any love handles, like tunics and flowy tops with an empire waist (the waist begins just below the bust and flows outwards).
  • Dresses or tops that wrap around your waist and cross over your chest are only a good idea if you have an ample bust; otherwise it can make your bust look disproportionately tiny (if you're pear-shaped) or your chest and shoulders look flat and square (if you're straight-shaped).

3. Elongate your legs. No matter what your body type, making your legs look longer is generally flattering.

  • If you're apple-shaped or straight-shaped, choose flared pants over straight-leg or skinny pants. It adds more "shape" to a straight body and it helps balance out wide shoulders and/or a heavy upper body. Stock up on miniskirts and bright tights to make the most of your great legs.
  • If you're pear-shaped and you are short (or have short legs), wear straight-leg or slightly flared pants with heels. Skinny pants that hug your ankles can make your lower body take on the appearance of an upside-down triangle. Flared pants can make your legs look very thick, perhaps bowl-legged, in comparison to your upper body.
  • Wear clothes with patterns that go down your body (especially your legs) and not across.
4. Shape your bust. If you have an apple or hourglass shape, you probably have an ample bust; your main concern should be to wear a supportive bra so that your chest looks perky, not droopy. Book yourself a professional bra fitting; it's life-changing and will make your chest look fantastic! Stock up on V-neck dresses and tops - they're super flattering on big-busted girls. If you don't want to draw attention to your chest, stay away from necklaces and wear chunky bangles instead. You should also wear plain colours around your bust and go for patterned and colourful bottoms instead. If you have a straight or pear shape, wearing a push-up bra to add curves up top might not be a bad idea. If you have a flat stomach and aren't shy about showing it, cropped tops will make your chest look a little bigger in relation to your waist.

5. Choose your colors and patterns wisely. If there are any curves, handles, or lumps that you'd prefer to hide, wear solid dark colors (black, navy, dark purple) over them. Wear bright colors or patterns on your hot spots to draw attention away from your trouble spots!

6. Draw attention away from unwanted curves by enhancing a feature that is further away or you can cover it with dark colors.

** Wear what you feel most comfortable in for confidence

       And make sure that your clothes fit properly. Clothes that are too tight or too big will not necessarily make you look better.
  • Remember, just because you have an hour-glass figure doesn't mean you have to wear clothes that make you blush. If a neckline is too deep, or if a hemline is too short, leave those clothes on the rack.
  • Comfortable clothing will make you feel better and make you more confident. Consider all your options.
Credit: Article and photos courtesy of Wiki

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  • E.White

    What if you have a proportioned figure but thin at ankles baseball bat shaped leg
    S with a 5 feet height. Should long skirts, knee skirts be worn?I really like the body fitted jeans that look good until you look at the leg of the pants. HELP!!!!

  • Chenetra

    Oh garsh! Thanks for posting because I will definitely be sharing!

  • TrinaMo

    Gret article on body shapes. Soo many women need to read this. I thought it was a great read and right on point. I dont think mothers ate suggesting or advising these things to their daughters anymore.

  • sowmya

    i am 18 years old girl my weight is 60kg height is 154cm how to dress for my body type

  • Verity Donoghue

    Such a cute little website :) easy on the go tips to make you feel fabulous about your body shape. My own personal problem is that I’m big busted with big hips but I would nessererly call myself an apple because I haven’t got a fat stomach, but on the other hand – I wouldn’t say I’m an hour-glass because I haven’t got a big bum. Nevertheless it’s nice to take little tips from each body part section and seeing where to go from there :) xo

  • eboni

    I am apple or rectangle shape but some of these styles I’m not into frustrating.

  • Jolie Cameron

    Excellent post! Some really great insight.Looking forward to more
    style network website.

  • kesha

    I feel like I went back in time reading this article.


    I have a pear shape. What kind of clothing should I wear?

  • Donna

    This is a very good article. Thanks.


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