Are you wondering what your body shape even is? Grab a tape measure now!
Your body shape is the key to dressing better.
“The dress must follow the body of a woman, not the body following the shape of the dress.” – Hubert de Givenchy
Your body shape is the key to dressing better. It’s important to know what fits your body’s silhouette, so it’s easier to find what to buy, how to wear and match them. With that, you can achieve that perfect visual harmony.
First, I'll help you determine your real body figure. You could be a Pear, Hourglass, Apple or Athletic/Rectangle. Then I’ll discuss styling strategies on what clothes will look great for your body shape. And at the end, I’ll give the easiest way to find your ready body shape with a best-kept secret so keep reading until the end.
Yes, we know, likening your body shape to a fruit is not always...ideal. So feel free to swap out pear for a triangle shape, or just embrace your curvier waist and hips (like we are!). Pear shapes have the unique advantage of looking great in every pair of jeans imaginable and making dainty tops look even daintier with their narrower shoulders. No matter what features you want to flaunt (or hide), we're here to help you dress your pear-shaped figure.
SO WHAT’S A PEAR SHAPE ANYWAY?
- Your waist is wider than your bust
- You consider yourself to have fuller hips
- You have narrower shoulders in comparison to your hips
- You have a fuller rear
TIPS FOR DRESSING A PEAR SHAPE
The name of the game is playing with proportions that elongate the body. Pear shapes look fabulous in statement tops that draw the eye upward and highlight the waist, back, or neckline. Ready for more good news? Accessories like dramatic necklaces and earrings are your secret weapon.
Must-Have Tops For Pear Shapes
Go wild, pear shapes! When it comes to fun tops, the world is your oyster. If you love bright colors and bold patterns, you’re in luck. Brave enough to try a little pattern mixing? Go for it. Your power pieces are:
- Plunging V-necks in any silhouette
- Cowl necks
- Scoop neck
Generally speaking, more fitted or structured tops give you a definition around your narrow shoulders and draw attention to your narrow waist. If you tend to be on the curvy side, this is even truer—make sure to show it off!
The Best Jackets For Pear Shapes
As is true with every shape, where your jacket hem hits will make all the difference. Pear shapes look great in A-line and princess cuts, waist-length jackets, and any piece of outerwear that hits mid-thigh. Boxy coats can totally work for you, but as a good rule of thumb, you’ll want to go for a cropped style that emphasizes your waist.
Perfect Dresses For The Pear Shape
Oh, the options! Dropped and embellished necklines, open backs, dramatic sleeves, and belted styles will all play up your more slender upper body. A-line styles also look fantastic on you, which goes for skirts too. Any hemline that hits right below the knee will elongate your frame and slenderize the hips and thighs. Maxi styles are right up your alley as well. And bonus: They’re super comfy.
4. JEANS AND PANTS
The Best Jeans & Pants For Pear Shapes
Since you’re having so much fun with prints and dynamic top shapes, it’s a good idea to choose more subtle and dark colors on the bottom. Bootcut and flare denim styles are great go-tos, and do for your lower half what a strong shoulder or neckline does for your upper half by balancing proportions. For those on the petite side, bootcut and classic trouser fits are elongating. If you’re into flares, a floor-grazing fit over heels will do wonders!
The Hourglass Shape
Isn't it crazy to think that fashion of years past (and if you're a Kardashian), included corsets to create an hourglass silhouette? Wild. You hourglass figures are the envy of almost all women, but it doesn't mean that dressing your figure is a snap—we know! No matter what features you want to flaunt (or hide), this simple, 5-step guide to help you on your own path to learning how to dress your hourglass figure.
So, what’s an hourglass shape, anyway?
- You’d describe your body as curvy
- You have a well-defined waist
- Your bust and hip measurements are roughly even
- You may have fuller bust, hips, and thighs
TIPS FOR DRESSING THE HOURGLASS SHAPE
The key to dressing an hourglass shape is two-fold: 1) define your waist and 2) show off your lovely lady shape. You have amazing curves—it’s time to embrace them in body-hugging silhouettes and pieces that hit you in all the right places.
Must-Have Tops For Hourglass Shapes
Say it with us now: fitted, fitted, fitted! With hourglass shapes, it’s all about celebrating your waist and highlighting your neckline. Your power pieces include:
- Form-fitting jersey knits
- Wrap tops
- Peplum blouses
- Tailored tops with ample room in the chest
- Anything with a V-neck, round neck or boat neck
The hourglass shape is the perfect shape for structured, more tailored silhouettes. And, the beauty of this shape is that your curves are already very balanced. Everything from your most basic pieces (like casual tees!) to your button-up workwear blouses should be fitted to show off your narrow waist.
The Best Sleeve Lengths for Hourglass Shapes
You can enjoy lots of flexibility when it comes to sleeve length! Want to draw the eye to your waist? Try elbow-length styles. Love to show off your arms? Try a cap sleeve, flutter sleeve or even a tank top.
The Best Jackets For Hourglass Figures
Look for jackets that show off your waist! A classic trench, fitted blazers, cropped silhouettes and bomber jackets with elastic waistbands look amazing on you.
Beware Of: Boxy styles—they won’t do your curves justice. Instead, focus on silhouettes that draw the eye to the most slender part of your frame.
Perfect Dresses For The Hourglass Shape
The hourglass figure was made for dresses. Channel your inner Monroe and reach for iconic silhouettes like the wrap dress or the fit & flare. These shapes will naturally play up your best features.
If you’re looking for something new, an empire silhouette also works wonders. Why? They highlight your natural waist.
Beware Of: Flowy styles. If you love a dress and it’s a trapeze or other loose-fitting silhouette, simply add a belt. In fact, as a general rule—when in doubt, belt it!
What about hemlines?
As far as hemlines go, take your pick! If you love your legs, reach for that mini. If you’d like to cover up a bit more, look for high-waisted skirts that hit right below the knee. For the lovely hourglass shape looking to downplay their curves (why would you?), choose very simple silhouettes in solid, dark colors.
4. JEANS AND PANTS
The Best Jeans & Pants For The Hourglass Shape
Grab your high-waisted, floor-grazing flares and your favorite dancing heels. If you love your flat stomach, then you can pull off more daring low-rise hip-hugging styles (which look amazing with a slightly cropped or very fitted top). Stretchy skinny jeans and leggings are perfect for showing off the curves of your hip and the taper of your leg, and work best when the inseam is a regular (not cropped) length.
Fitted jumpsuits (so on-trend!) can look incredible on you. Just remember to go for waist flattering styles. Because your shape is so balanced, remember that you won’t need any extra details (like large seams or cargo pockets) to accentuate your hips.
The Apple Shape
Apple shapes, rejoice! We're here right now to chat about how you, yes you can dress your shape and play up your most favorite features. Before we get started, let's get one thing straightened out—inverted triangles and apple are somewhat synonymous. Both shapes are known for their broader shoulders, but typically, true apple shapes carry a little more in their midsection while inverted triangles do not. No matter what features you want to flaunt (or conceal), we've got your covered with this 5-step guide to dressing your apple shape figure.
SO WHAT’S AN APPLE SHAPE, ANYWAY?
- You are generally well-proportioned
- Your shoulders are broader than your hips
- You are not necessarily as curvy through your hips
- You don’t have a well-defined waistline (If you do, you’re likely an hourglass!)
TIPS FOR DRESSING THE APPLE SHAPE
When it comes to styling the apple shape—life is sweet! Apple and inverted triangle shapes look best when playing up their full bust, their amazing legs and/or their arms. In general, silhouettes that don’t rely on a traditionally structured waistline are your hardest working pieces.
Must-Have Tops For Apple and Inverted Triangle Figures
Good news! The world’s most comfy tops also happen to look amazing on the classic apple frame. Your power pieces include:
- Breezy A-line silhouettes
- Flowy tunics
- V-neck anything
Looking for more structure? Choose a substantial fabric that will streamline your look from your bust through your hips. Fabrics like raw silk, linen, tweed, gabardine and thicker cotton (avoid jersey—it can be thin!) will all do the trick.
So, what about sleeve length?
This is where rules go out the window. If you love your arms and shoulders and are proud of those push-ups, go strapless or sleeveless! If you prefer to cover up, try a more fitted sleeve to help balance your fuller bust and midsection.If you’re on the curvy side, elongate your neck with plunging (or shallow) V-neck or scoop-necks. More of a “downplay” kind of girl? Look for a higher neckline in a dark shade like black or navy.
The Best Jackets For Apple and Inverted Triangle-Shaped FiguresAs is true with every shape, where your jacket hem hits will make all the difference. Apple shapes look great in any vest, coat or jacket that hits at the hip or upper thigh. A-line coats or straight, knee-length trench styles (without the waist belt) will be super flattering, and you can pull off a poncho like it’s your job.
Perfect Dresses For The Apple ShapeIf you love a great dress—you’re in luck! Strapless styles look great on you. Maxi styles with a lower neckline are super flattering, and a wrap dress can be your secret weapon (avoid “wardrobe malfunction” moments by wearing a cami underneath). If you like your legs, go mini all the time. If not, then knee-length shift and sheath styles look great too! A-line styles are great for curvy apples. And when in doubt, diagonal stripes and darker colors are always slimming.
4. JEANS AND PANTS
The Apple-Shapes Favorite Jeans & PantsTake your pick! Skinny jeans and leggings look great on your shape, especially when paired with a breezy tunic, oversized sweater or generous button-down. Flares with heels are great for elongating your silhouette. If you have long legs, feel free to wear bootcut or flared pants with flats. Remember that the hem should either come to the top of your heel, or all the way to the ground.
Classic trouser fit, cropped, ankle… you can pretty much pull them all off! As a good rule of thumb, if your top is very breezy, you’ll want to grab a more structured or skinny pant to balance your look.
The Athletic Shape
Has it ever been said that you have a "boyish frame"? Or, "you must play a lot of sports". Your body is strong, usually on the straight up and down side and let us be the first to tell you, so fun to dress. Your shape looks great in almost everything, you have the ability to flaunt or conceal as much as you feel comfortable with and balance is easily obtained like yin and yang with your figure. No matter what features you want to flaunt (or hide), this simple, 5-step guide to help you dress your athletic figure.
So what’s an athletic or rectangle shape, anyway?
- You’re not particularly curvy
- Your shoulders and hip measurements are nearly the same
- Your waist isn’t very small or well-defined, but rather straight up and down
- Your weight is fairly evenly distributed throughout your body
TIPS FOR DRESSING THE ATHLETIC SHAPE
The key to dressing an athletic or rectangular shape is to balance your broad upper half by accentuating your legs and other curves. It’s all about remembering the athletic shape rule of thumb: Keep the volume on top or bottom. If you go for an oversized top shape, keep the bottom skinny or structured. With a more form-fitting top, pick a breezy or more oversized pant style.
Must-Have Tops For Athletic or Rectangle Shapes
An athletic figure looks best when they’re drawing attention to their muscular arms, defined shoulders and showing off their waist. Your power pieces are:
- Halter styles
- Racerback styles
- Scoop & round necklines
- Strapless anything!
If you’re on the curvy side of athletic, play up what you love: your shoulders, your collarbone, and/or your arms. If you’d rather downplay your shoulders or elongate your neck, choose a more narrow neckline like crew, cowl, or v-neck.
To play up your bust, lean towards styles with statement collars or embellished necklines. You can also score serious style points with a high neck and an open back (halters are great for you).
What about sleeve lengths?
The choice is yours! If you love your arms, show them off with strapless or tank styles. If you’re looking to cover them up, go right ahead with ¾ length sleeves in dark shades. Chances are, you have straight shoulders, which means you don’t need to add much structure here.
If you’re looking to add some curve to your waistline, choose tops that can be tucked in. Belted tops also help create the illusion of a more slender waist.
The Best Jackets For Athletic or Rectangle Figures
Peacoats, dusters, bomber jackets, and flowy outerwear look amazing on you! If you’re slender, you’ll look great in a fitted, structured style. If you’re looking to create more shape around your midsection, look for cropped or elastic waist styles help create and accentuate your waistline. To minimize your waist, choose A-line cuts and hems that hit at the hip or below the knee.
Perfect Dresses For The Athletic or Rectangle Shapes
When it comes to dresses, most styles work on you so it’s all about figuring out which feature you want to play up. Love your legs? Hike up that hemline. To play up your bust, choose strapless (with a great push-up bra) or plunging necklines.
If you’re more of a jumpsuit kinda gal, grab a halter style and show off your back. Skirts can be worn in pretty much any style or length, but it’s always a good idea to wear a heel if you’re rocking tea-length. To minimize anywhere, stick with darker colors, vertical stripes, or A-line styles. And as always, if you’re looking to create more of a waistline, grab a thin belt.
4. JEANS AND PANTS
The Best Jeans & Pants For The Athletic or Rectangular Shapes
Keeping the athletic shape rule of thumb in mind, pick the pant style that will best complement your top shape. If you’ve gone oversized up top, grab a skinny jean, leggings, or structured trouser style.
Want to appear taller? Floor-grazing flares or bootcut styles with heels are both slimming and elongating. If you’re on the petite style, you can balance your frame with flowy and wide-leg styles, gathered waists, and even cargos. If your torso is on the long side, you might want to pick a medium rise jean. High-waisted pants could be a little tricky if your midsection is straight, but if you find a style with stretch, they could work. To be on the safe side, make sure you try them on first.
Little-Known Fashion Secret
In the end, it really takes time to understand your actual body shape. Some people resort to actual measuring of their body. Others may have a different impression of what their body shape could be. It personally took me years to understand it fully, but I found a little-known trick that would let you know your actual body shape without effort or cost. Thanks to Swishfashionisland stylist who enlightened me how to find the perfect fit style for my body shape.
One Last Thought On Body Shapes
Everybody and every body is different. If you’re not an apple shape through and through, think of mixing and matching shapes to find the right fit for you. These dressing guidelines are best used as a starting point!