How to Flatter Your Unique Body Shape

TIPS: Dressing for YOUR Body Type

You generally know what looks best on you—perhaps there’s a wrap dress that consistently makes you feel confident or you always gravitate toward wide-leg pants—but we figured a more in-depth look at dressing for your body type is never a bad idea. 

Figuring out your body shape can seem like a daunting task. Also, categorizing yourself within a list of fruits and geometric shapes can seem a little outdated, limiting and, quite frankly, a little weird. But hear us out. Figuring out your body shape can ultimately help you save time shopping, getting dressed and asking yourself and everyone else, “Does this look good?”

We love that everyone looks different, has different body shapes and different personal styles because it makes fashion and clothing more fun; and below, we’re breaking down the five most common body shapes to help you figure out which one you most closely relate to. Are your hips wider than your shoulders? Great! That probably means you are a pear body shape. We also list out a few key closet essentials you should look at incorporating into the closet. These essentials will help you show off your best feature, like your legs, shoulders or waist.

Scroll down to see the specific styles that make your body type look its absolute best, from jackets and tops to skirts and dresses.

If you are the forbidden fruit that can seduce anyone or bring even Snow White to her knees!

Apples usually have thin legs and tend to carry weight around their middle. A swing or empire dress will flow over your mid-section for a flattering effect.

Apple shape (you tend to carry weight around the midsection) 

APPLE SHAPED BODY TYPE

apple shaped body guide

You may be this body type if…

  • You are generally well-proportioned
  • You carry the most weight through your bust and mid-section
  • You are not necessarily as curvy through your hips

The Strategy: Create contrast by using angular lines to counteract the roundness and softness. Your goal is to minimise your midsection by highlighting your shoulders and legs


Look for:
• Wrap tops, which will give the illusion of a smaller waist
• Seaming on blouses and anything with a corset-style structure
• Pleating and gathering under the bust that draws the eye vertically down the tummy
• Deep v-necks and scoop necks
• Drapey empire styles, provided they’re not too voluminous (that’ll only make the area look bigger)
• Straight-leg―rather than skinny―bottoms build a sense of proportion with your upper half
• Higher-waisted pants and pants with a bit of stretch; these have a girdle-like effect and hold your stomach in


Avoid:
• Extreme A-lines, or anything too blousy that lacks shape
• Busy details like pocketing on your top half, patterns that don’t match your overall size (larger frames can carry off bigger prints, and vice versa)


Your Secret Weapon: Wear a stretchy tank top underneath your garments to create a smooth, seamless base

Outerwear: Try a swing jacket A swing jacket will be incredibly flattering on you.

Tops: Try a flowy top. A flowy top is the best way to deemphasize your midsection.

Pants: Try low-waisted straight-leg pants. Pants that sit low on the hips will help avoid any stomach bulge.

Skirts: Try a high-waisted circle skirt. The waistband will hit at the smallest part of the torso and flare out over the stomach.

Dresses: Try a shift dress. A shift dress lies just far enough away from the body to conceal any problem areas. Tailoring tip: Most women with apple figures have shapely legs, so get your dress hemmed to show them off!

Your Type: Pear shape (smaller on top, heavier on the bottom)

PEAR SHAPED BODY TYPE

pear shape body type guide

You may be this body type if…

  • Your waist is larger than your bust
  • You have proportionately slim arms and shoulders
  • You tend to have wider hips!

The Strategy: Achieve balance by adding a bit of volume to your upper body and minimizing your lower half. Your goal is to elongate and balance your figure by accentuating your top half.


Look for:
• Darker colored pants that have a stiffer fabric or some stretch, which will have a slenderizing effect. (A leg that falls straight down from the widest part of you is best.)
• Seams that run down the front of the leg, which create a leaner leg by “bisecting” it
• Fluted skirts that flare out a bit at the bottom
• Lower and thicker waistbands that help minimize the bottom
• Tops that are slightly A-line with a bit of blouse to them
• Low-slung tunic tops (wear the belt below your natural waistline) and ¾-length jackets and tops that stop around the knee or mid-thigh


Avoid:
• Any fading or whiskering on your denim, which will only highlight trouble areas
• Too-tight tops, which will accentuate the difference between your upper and lower halves
• Attention-grabbing pocket details on the hips and thighs


Your Secret Weapon: Have the pocket fabric removed from the inside of your pants, which will minimize bulk.

 

Show off your curvy figure by sporting a dress with a belted waist. Adjustable belts will let you highlight just how tiny your waist is.

Your Type: Hourglass shape (curvy around the bust and hips, with a smaller waistline)

HOURGLASS SHAPED BODY TYPE

hourglass body shape guide

You may be this body type if…

  • You’d describe your body as curvy
  • You have a well-defined waist
  • Your bust and hip measurements are roughly even

The Strategy: It’s all about exaggerating your silhouette, not fighting it


Look for:
• Simple, solid shapes that will highlight your waist.
• Thick belts, pencil skirts, a little volume around the shoulder to make the waist appear even smaller
• Wrap tops, scooped and boatneck necklines. Pants should be bootcut or flares that fill well in the thigh.


Avoid: Ruffles, frills, lapels, busy patterns; any straight, boxy shapes


Your Secret Weapon: A fitted vest that flares out at the waist

Dresses: Try an off-the-shoulder fit-and-flare dress Your bare shoulders will take the attention off your lower body, and the skirt shape is ideal for highlighting the smallest part of your waist and then generously flaring out to conceal wider hips.

Outerwear: Try a structured jacket.Interesting details or prints direct attention to the top half of your body and give a bit of structure to the shoulder area, which makes your bottom-half appear smaller in comparison.

Skirts: Try an A-line skirt.An A-line skirt highlights the smallest part of your waist, and flares out over hips.

Tops: Try an embellished top.Embellished or embroidered tops are great for centering the focus on your slim upper body. Underscore the effect by keeping your skirt or pants simple and unadorned.

Pants: Try boot-cut pants.Boot-cut styles provide a one-two punch: They draw eyes away from the hips, and the volume at the hem balances out your hips, making them seem perfectly proportioned. We like a slim flare for the most modern feel.

 

 

Banana
If you have a slim lower body and carry weight around your middle…
Your goal is to highlight the thinnest part of your waist so your hips and bust appear larger and more proportional.

Tops: Try a ruffled top.Shirts with ruffles around the bust make your top half look larger, which makes your waist look smaller and shapelier in comparison.

Outerwear: Try a slightly cropped jacket with a banded bottom.Jackets that cinch in at the bottom are ideal for your shape.

Your Type: Athletic/boy shape (straight up and down)

 

ATHLETIC SHAPED BODY TYPE

athletic body shape guide

You may be this body type if…

  • You’re not particularly curvy
  • Your shoulders and hip measurements are nearly the same
  • Your weight is fairly evenly distributed throughout your body

The Strategy: Use clothing to create curves where they don’t exist naturally


Look for:
• Details at the bust such as ruffles, wraps and rouching―these add fullness up top
• Sleeveless tops and halters; they show off toned arms
• High-waisted skirts; they should begin at the smallest part of your waist, just underneath the bust
• Bootcut pants and jeans, with a lower rise for maximum curviness


Avoid: Menswear-inspired styles, straight cuts, “boyfriend” jeans


Your Secret Weapon: A ruffled blouse tucked into a high-waisted skirt