One thing I’m sure you’ve heard from countless fashion magazines, television shows, or maybe even a salesperson is to “dress for your body type”. While that may or may not make sense to you, I’m hoping to clear it up a bit.
I’m going to go over the most common “types”-, the Apple, Pear, Hourglass, Athletic, and Straight, and hopefully give you some tips on how best to accentuate your shape when choosing clothing.
Apple – round or square torso, straight waist, thinner legs.
- Dresses – look for flat front straight skirts. Try shorter A-line dresses that flare under the bust and not at the waist.
- Pants – long straight trousers with a flat front are flattering. Wider leg styles can also help balance out a rounded upper body. Avoid belts.
- Jackets – look for longer tunic type jackets; look for bell sleeves for a complimentary look.
- Tops – deep V-necks are flattering as well as flowy, blouson tops.
Pear – More bottom heavy, wider hips with narrow shoulders
- Dresses – Most necklines will work; look for emphasis in the shoulders – shoulder pads or detailing. Look for A-line skirts with flowy fabrics. Avoid pleats in skirts.
- Pants – Look for a mid-width, non pleated trouser that sits at the top of the hips. A straight stretch jean can give a lean silhouette.
- Jackets – Look for a wide lapel and neckline and wear lighter colors underneath to draw the eye up. A small shoulder pad can help balance the body line.
- Tops – Look for tops that are structured and give you a waistline. V-necks, collared shirts and anything with detailing in the shoulder to balance out the hip area. Don’t wear tops that are too long and cover your bottom; this shortens your legs.
Hourglass – curvy, tapered waist, breast and hips close to equal proportion
- Dresses – Look for wrap dresses, they adjust perfectly to your waist.
- Pants – those with an hour glass shape often have a problem with pants gapping at the waist. A tailor can easily take in your pants/jeans at the waist for a perfect fit. Trouser style pants make a great silhouette on a woman with this figure.
- Jackets – fitted jackets are great. Look for a slim fit at the waist, or try a peplum for added emphasis.
- Tops – If you have a large bust, look for fitted rather than flowy tops. This will keep your shape.
Athletic – more top heavy, wider shoulders with narrow hips
- Dresses – Avoid halters or dresses with any type of shoulder detail. Choose slim fitting. Avoid anything with a flare as to avoid an overall “square” shape.
- Pants – Add a little bit of volume (not bulk) to your lower half to create a streamlined look. Jackets – Look for open necklines.
- Tops – Avoid shoulder details – puffy sleeves, etc. V-neck tops help lengthen and vertically slim.
Straight – thin or without many curves, slim hips, small bust and waist, little to no waist definition
- Dresses – most styles will work for you. Look for straight sheaths; add wide belts to give the illusion of a narrower waist. Empire waists can add the effect of a slimmer upper body.
- Pants – Cuffed pants look great on taller women, if you’d like to add some volume to your hips, look for wide or flared leg styles.
- Jackets – look for longer jackets that fall just below the hips.
- Tops – Tops with a deep U or V neckline will add curves to your upper body. Feel free to experiment; most clothing is designed for this body type!