How To Dress According To Your Body Shape
All bodies are different, and all bodies are beautiful. Having been a Personal Stylist for over twenty years, I know confidence is hard to achieve when your clothing doesn’t flatter your body shape and accentuate your favourite features.
Discover how to select the most flattering clothes for your body shape, which fabrics to choose, and how best to style an outfit so you look and feel your best.
In this post you’ll learn how to style your clothes to complement your unique body shape. You are likely a mix of more than one shape, which just means you might want to draw inspiration from multiple parts of my style suggestions! This is just my personal guide, so still follow your heart and wear what you feel most confident and happy in!
How Do I Find my Body Shape?
To find out and style your body shape, you’ll need to consider these 3 things:
What Is My Body Shape?
Pear Body Shape
- You have wide, full hips & thighs
- You have quite narrow or sloping shoulders
Sometimes referred to as TRIANGLE shape – but there are certainly no angular lines to your figure
Full Hour Glass Body Shape
- You consider yourself to be quite curvy
- Your waist is very defined in comparison to your hips and bust
- You have generally fuller hips, thighs, and bust
- There isn’t a huge difference between your bust and hip measurements
Apple Body Shape
You’ll know if you have an apple body type if:
- You would describe yourself and particularly curvy
- You have a big bust
- You have fullness around the middle
- Your bust and hips can be the same width, or, your hips can be slightly narrower
Rectangular Body Shape
You’ll know if you have an Inverted triangle shaped body type if:
- Your shoulders are broader than your hips
- You have slim hips and thighs
- You probably have little waist definition
What Do I Wear According to My Shape?
Body shape has little to do with size or weight. It is your bone structure that dictates your shape.
Pear Body Shape
Create a focal point above the waist! Start at the top by drawing the eye up with details to widen those shoulders. Look for colours and bright patterns to add interest on top. You can wear crisper fabrics on top. Feel free to stay simple on the bottom, picking dark colours in softer fabrics.
Some key styles:
- Statement tops – horizontal lines
- Puff sleeves
- Layer on top
- Coats that flare below the knee
- Trench coat in soft fabric
- Fussy shoulder detail
- Waist length jackets with nipped waistlines
- Cropped jackets – denim styles
- Skater style skirts
- Empire line dresses, wrap and A-line styles
Full Hourglass Body Shape
Flatter those curves! Focus on defining your waist and showing of your gorgeous shape. The key word here is fitted. Hourglass figures have an already defined waistline, so try to keep the bust fitted as well as the hips. Look for fluid fabrics that skim the body. It’s all about styling clothes to flatter your natural curves not hide them!
- Form fitting under the bustline
- V-necks, wide scoop necks
- Dresses with waist detail
- Wrap dresses
- Pencil skirts
- Peplum style jackets
- Avoid finishing the skirt/dress hem at the widest part of the leg
Apple Body Shape
Apple body shapes want to highlight their best parts and tend to suit straighter lines and empire cuts. It’s great to draw attention to your decolletage and those shapely legs. Keeping the detail on the top and lower part of the body helps to elongate your torso and keeps the attention away from the midsection.
- Flowing tops that end below the hipline
- Wide low necklines
- Embellishment around the neck and shoulder
- Statement jewellery
- Details on sleeves – bell and fluted styles
- Single breasted jackets – waterfall
- Edge-to-edge coats
- Wide flowing pants, or side fastening straight leg
- Avoid belts and double breasting
Rectangular Body Shape
Straight body shapes, these are so much fun to style. Showing off their arms, legs and defined shoulders is super flattering. Your shoulders and hips are already balanced, so find pieces to break up the straight silhouette and create the illusion of curves.
- Have fun with textures and stripes
- Halter necks
- Scoop necklines
- Blouse out the blouse
- French tuck – tuck in shirt or sweater and leave it loose at the back
- Curved detail on jackets and tops
- Sleeveless & strapless lines
- Dresses with side rouching or princess panels
- Avoid belts
- Any style of pants or jeans look great
Athletic Body Shape
You have a sporty athletic figure, so you look great in almost everything! However, you want to reduce the with of the shoulders by playing up the lower half with lighter colours and details. The main thing to remember is volume top or bottom, but not together. So, for example, when wearing a baggy sweater, wear skinny jeans, and with a full skirt wear a form-fitting top.
- Strapless everything! if your bust is small
- Halter style, sleeveless
- Define the waist with belts and fitted styles
- Vertical lines on top, horizontal lines on the bottom
- Boyfriend jeans, baggy trousers, combats all work
- Pockets and detail below the waist
- A-Line silhouettes
- Belted and nipped in coats/dresses
- Avoid fussy shoulder detail – like epaulettes on jackets and coats
- Avoid puff sleeves, wide collars and frills at the shoulderline
- If your bust is heavy steer clear of stilhuetto heels
At Joan Cashman Colour and Image Academy in Cork, my style consultations are inclusive of all body shapes and types, skin tones and colours, ages and budgets. As an experienced Personal Stylist, I aim to help my clients feel as confident and happy in their own skin & individual style.
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