The Ultimate Guide to Dressing for Your Body Type

The Ultimate Guide to Dressing for Your Body Type


Knowing how to dress for your body type can be an overwhelming and daunting task. But with the right advice and direction, you can make fashion choices that will compliment your shape and make you feel amazing! This ultimate guide to dressing for your body type will provide you with the knowledge you need to make the most out of your wardrobe. We’ll be discussing some general tips for dressing for all body types plus five common body shapes and how to correctly dress for each. 

General Dressing Tips

Regardless of your body type, there are certain styling rules that everyone should follow when it comes to dressing for the right shape: 

  1. Choose the right fabric – Clothes that are too stiff or too clingy can make you appear bigger or smaller than you actually are. Instead, opt for fabrics that offer some give and help to create a smoother silhouette. Fabrics like cotton, satin, and jersey are great choices. 
  2. Play with proportions – Playing with different proportions is key to finding the illusion of the perfect shape for your body. A looser fitting item topped with a structured, fitted piece will emphasize the areas you want to accentuate and downplay the bits you want to keep hidden. 
  3. Take center stage – Aim to draw attention away from areas you want to depersonalize and towards the parts of your body you want to emphasize. Try to choose statement items that look good on your figure, such as a bright blouse or statement jewelry.
  4. Avoid baggy clothing – Baggy clothing tends to add bulk to your frame and hide the shape of your body. Instead, opt for well-fitted items that will showcase your body’s unique silhouette without making it look slouchy. 
  5. Tailor your clothing – Clothing that should be altered for a better fit isn’t usually as expensive as you may think. Taking your items to a tailor will make sure that you’re always dressed in flattering, well-fitted clothing that shows off your best features. 

Pear Shape

Pear shapes are identifiable by smaller upper bodies, wider hips, and relatively narrow shoulders and waists. To create a more balanced shape, it’s important to draw attention upwards towards the narrowest part of the body – the waist. 

 What to Wear

  1. Horizontal stripes – Create the illusion of an elongated torso and wider shoulders by selecting tops such as t-shirts, shirts, and blouses that feature horizontal stripes. 
  2. Structured jackets – Tailored jackets and blazers are perfect for adding structure to the top of your body. Try to find styles that have a single-breast closure, which will draw the eyes up towards the shoulder area. 
  3. Belts – Wearing belts over dresses, tops, and tunics, will help to define your waistline and give the illusion of an hourglass silhouette. 
  1. High-waisted bottoms – Choose high-waisted styles like jeans, skirts, and trousers to create the illusion of a slimmer top and more balanced shape. 
  2. A-line skirts – A-line skirts are a great way to create a flattering silhouette for pear shapes. Avoid pleated skirts, as these will add bulk to your entire silhouette. 

Apple Shape 

Apple shapes are identifiable by wide shoulders, narrow hips, and a full midsection. When styling an apple shape, it’s important to draw attention away from the midsection and emphasize the upper body and legs. 

 What to Wear

  1. V-neck and scoop neck tops – Necklines like V-necks and scoop necks will draw attention to the face, away from the midsection. 
  2. Vertical stripes – Similar to horizontal stripes, vertical stripes can be used to create the illusion of a longer torso and narrower waist. 
  3. Layering – Layering items like jackets, shrugs, and cardigans will help to conceal a larger mid-section and emphasize the shoulders. 
  1. Wide-leg trousers – Wide-legged styles of trousers will give the illusion of a slimmer waist and narrower hips. 
  2. Belted pieces – Wrap dresses, coats, and tops are flattering for apple bodies and can be cinched in with a belt to add definition to the waistline. 

Rectangle Shape

Rectangles have no noticeable curves, with a body that’s usually proportionally equal in width from the shoulders to the hips. To create more of an hourglass figure, look for items that will give the illusion of more curves and draw attention upwards. 

 What to Wear

  1. Ruffles – Ruffles are great for creating curves, especially around the bust area. Look for tops, blouses, and dresses that feature frills and ruffles around the neck and chest area. 
  2. Waist-cinching pieces – Wraps, belts, and ties can all be used to create the illusion of a waist. Try wearing items that cinch in at the waist and keep the rest of the garment loose-fitting. 
  3. Wide-leg trousers – Similar to the pear shape, wide-leg trousers will help to create the illusion of a cinched waist. 
  4. Tapered trousers – Trousers that are tapered will help to show off the body’s natural curves. Choose dark wash jeans for an added slimming effect. 
  5. Empire waist dresses – The empire waistline, which is featured on many maxi dresses, can be incredibly flattering for diamond body shapes. This style of dress will create an elongated hip line and instantly add curves. 

Hourglass Shape

Hourglass figures are characterized by an equal waist to shoulder ratio, and a larger bust and hips. The beauty of the hourglass shape is that almost anything looks good, but with the right selections even more curves can be achieved.

 What to Wear

  1. Body-hugging tops – Body-hugging tops will emphasize the curves of an hourglass body without being tight or exposing too much skin. Look for jersey tops, knitted sweaters, and fitted t-shirts.
  2. Pencil skirts – Pencil skirts that fall just below the knee are incredibly flattering on hourglass figures, offering a slim shape and added curves. 
  3. Waisted dresses – Choose dresses with a defined waist to emphasize the curves of the body and draw attention to the waistline. 
  4. Layered garments – Play with different proportions by adding layers, such as a jacket or tie, to your outfit. Doing this will help to create a more defined shape and instantly add curves to an hourglass figure. 
  5. Tailored garments – Tailored garments are essential for a hourglass body type. Always make sure that your clothing is fitted perfectly to your body for a more flattering look.

Inverted Triangle Shape

Inverted triangle shapes have wider shoulders, narrower hips, and no defined waistline. To create the illusion of more balance, it’s important to play with different proportions and bring the focus of the outfit downwards. 


What to Wear

  1. V-neck tops – Opt for V-necks to draw the eyes away from the shoulders and down to the midsection. 
  2. Fitted jackets – Fitted jackets, like tailored blazers, will help to balance out the silhouette without taking away from the shape of the shoulders. Choose styles with a single-breast closure. 
  3. High-waisted trousers/ skirts – Styles that come in at a higher waist will emphasize the curves of the hips and draw attention away from the shoulders. 
  4. Belts and sashes – Cinching in the waist with a belt or sash is another great way to create more curves and create balance in a triangle shape. 
  5. Empire waist tops – Empire waist tops are great for elongating the torso and introducing curves that the body otherwise wouldn’t have.


With the right advice and style tips, dressing for your body type doesn’t have to be a challenge. No matter what your body shape, there are always tips and tricks that you can use to create an hourglass shape and show off your best assets. Hopefully this ultimate guide to dressing for your body type as provided you with some helpful direction when it comes to finding the perfect fit and making the most of your wardrobe. 


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