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How to dress for your body type

How to dress for your body type

If you want to wear outfits that flatter you, time after time, you might find it useful to understand and dress for your particular body type.

The first step is to establish which body shape you most identify with. Are you an apple or a pear? A rectangle or inverted triangle? Maybe, like an hourglass, you’re all curves? Once you know which shape you are, it’s far easier to find just the right clothes to accentuate your natural assets.

Which body type are you?


An apple, like the fruit, is a rounded shape. Women with this body type tend to have a medium-to-large bust size, as well as fairly broad shoulders and upper arms. The ideal clothing for an apple will help define the waistline and make the most of those long, slender legs.


Another fruit that lends its name to a body shape, the pear shape is narrow at the top, gradually tapering down to a more rounded bottom half.. Clothing that skims the hips, thighs and rear, while showing off a slender top half, is perfect for pears.


A lady with a rectangular body shape has slender shoulders and slim hips. A rectangular body shape makes for a very sleek, streamlined silhouette than can look good in a range of different styles


An hourglass figure is shaped just like a real hourglass - curvy at both the top and the bottom, with a cinched-in waist. Hourglasses usually have generously and fairly equally proportioned busts and hips, and the best clothing choices will show off the small of the waist.

Inverted triangle

Just like an upside-down triangle, a woman with this body shape will have wider shoulders and an ample bust, tapering down to slender hips, thighs and legs below. The most flattering clothing for an inverted triangle creates the impression of a curved bottom half.

How to dress an apple shape

Apple shaped ladies have great legs and arms, so it’s wise to choose clothes that show off these features. A lot of detail, such as patterns, bows or belts around the midsection is best avoided, as are clingy or tight fabrics, as they draw attention to this area. V-necks or scooped necklines can be a good choice, as they draw the eye away from the waistline.

Shorter dresses or skirts that show off slender legs can be flattering, as can dresses and tops that expand outwards from under the bust. A well-shaped skirt can suit this shape, such as an A-line, full circle or bias cut.

How to dress a pear shape

Unlike apples, pears are well suited to wearing a lot of detail on the top half of the body. This draws the eye to the slim bust and shoulders. Beading, bows, frills and ruffles draw the eye to your upper body, so dresses and tops with this kind of detail are great choices.

To flatter the lower half, dark colours can help, as can avoiding anything that clings to the bottom, hips and thighs. Tops ending around this area can also draw the eye, so they are best avoided. Keep patterns and light colours for the top half, and darker, plain pieces for the bottom half, and you’ll be sure to accentuate your best features.

How to dress a rectangle shape

Rectangle-shaped women can suit a wider range of styles due to their long, lean silhouette. Garments that create curves while flattering the naturally slim limbs of a rectangular shape are among the very best options. Short and sleeveless tops and dresses meanwhile showcase those slender arms and legs. Scoop necklines can create curves, while details like ruffles, frills or other embellishments can help create the illusion of a larger bust.

The same applies to the lower body, where frills or full skirts can add extra shape. Dresses with nipped-in waists are also ideal, as they again create a more rounded figure, whereas shapeless dresses and high necklines are not usually the most flattering for this body type.

How to dress an hourglass figure

A lady with an hourglass shape is not short of curves. In fact, this is the curviest body type there is. Clothing that flatters this curvaceous figure includes anything that draws attention to the signature narrow, well-defined waist. Belted or wrap dresses are ideal, as is anything with a low neckline that draws the eye to the slim mid-section. Styles that are too structured or boxy, or are crafted from stiffer fabrics are best avoided as they can end up hiding those gorgeous curves.

If your aim is to look more slimline, then you can give the appearance of a more slender upper body by wearing darker shades and vertical stripes. Any clothing that follows your natural contours is usually a safe bet, such as dresses and tops that have cinched-in waists.

How to dress an inverted triangle

The best clothing styles for inverted triangles are those that accentuate the lower half of the body while minimising the top half. Skirts and dresses that have wider hemlines, such as maxi dresses or tunics will give the illusion of more volume around the hips, thighs and bottom.

It can be difficult to find dresses that will fit those with an inverted triangle shape, so garments in stretch fabrics can be ideal. Such styles can accommodate a larger bust, as well as creating the impression of a more defined waistline. Avoid anything that clings to the upper body as this can accentuate the already generous bust of an upside-down triangle.

If you’re keen to feel more confident in your clothes, it’s definitely worth establishing your body type and dressing accordingly. However, it’s also important to remember to wear clothing that you feel comfortable in too.

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