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How to Dress for Your Body Shape

What to wear for your body shape?

Flatter you figure, style your silhouette, be confident with colour!

Whether your plus size, petite, tall, broad shouldered, big chested, large ankles, long legged or big bottomed, there are plenty of styles to suit your body shape.

You must be experimental when you go shopping, so you can start to find styles that really suit you. And, if you don’t know if something looks right, take some polaroids of different shapes, and review them the following day.

Clothing for Different Body Shapes

Whether you are buying a dress or a suit, there are some important tips that are always useful to remember for different shapes.

If you don’t fall into any of these categories, then you are the fortunate and unique minority of women who are equally proportioned.

Grande – For those ladies over 5’10; or those that are plus size.

Petite – For those under 5’4; with a small frame.

Pear – For those with a big bottom and a small chest.

Apple – For those with a big chest or stomach, and a smaller bottom.

Hourglass – For women that have a well shaped bottom and chest, with a small waist.

What dress fits my body shape?

Grande shapes look fab in a wrap dress, as do most other figures too. Find a colour that flatters your skin tone, and search for an outfit in a similar shade. Try to choose a multi-colored dress, or a dress in two shades, as larger and taller women can look bigger when wearing just one shade. If you have good legs, flaunt them in a knee length number, and if you have a large chest, wear a low neckline.

Petite figures should wear one block colour to make themselves appear taller. Patterns or stripes should only be worn if in proportion to your size, eg. a small frame = small print/stripe. For those with a small bust, try high necklines like the classic shift, or a high halterneck. Add a bit of ruffling and fabric detail to make parts of your body appear more curvaceous.

Pear shapes need to make sure that the lower part of their dress is well fitted. Pencil skirts look sexy and classic, as well as being very on-trend. Steer clear of a shift dress, as this will only accentuate a large behind. Prints are a no go, but soft or textured fabrics in one color look great!

Apple shapes look great in low waisted designs and wrap dresses. Steer clear of any fabrics that cling too tightly, like poorly fitting jersey. Choose gowns with a v-neck or a scoop neckline, as these will flatter a good chest, and keep you in proportion.

Hourglass figures should look to Marilyn Monroe when asking the question, ‘What is the best dress style for my shape?’ The ultimate screen siren, 50’s fashion looks fantastic on those with this curvaceous shape. Wear a waistbelt on top of a flirty dress to really show off your figure. Knee length styles are by far the best cut for your shape, as this shows off your fab legs.

How to take your measurements

You will need a tape measure and may find it easier in front of a mirror.

  • The Bust Measurement: Wearing a good fitting bra, measure the circumference of your bust at the largest point keeping the tape measure level and snug but not tight.
  • The Waist Measurement: Standing up straight find the narrowest part of your torso (often just above the belly button) and place the tape measure around. This is your natural waist.
  • The Hip Measurement: Place the tape measure around the widest part of your hips, where the curve is most prominent when standing side on.

How To Measure Your Body

Banana

The Banana is straight up and down and can get away with most styles. However, if you crave more curves, simply create the illusion with the right clothing.

Your straight-up-and-down figure can wear all kinds of trends, but you can also create curves with a few insider tips. Darted or pleated skirts that flare out make your waist look smaller giving the illusion of curves, as do embellished tops that broaden your shoulders. You have one of the few shapes that should never shy away from stripes, even horizontal ones.

Banana Do’s

  • Do create curves with draping, asymmetric shapes and flouncy hemlines.
  • Do go for tie waist or belted jacket as they will give the illusion of a waistline. Make sure it shows enough of what is underneath to break up your torso too.
  • Do go for wrap dresses that tie under the bust line. They are perfect for creating a feminine shape and definition.
  • Do extend the echo of curve right down to your footwear with elegant curvy shoes.

Banana Don’ts

  • Don’t go for anything masculine, boxy or formless.
  • Don’t go for strapless style as they will emphasise your square shoulders. Instead choose round necklines which are much more flattering on you.
  • Don’t go for vertical stripes as they can make you look lanky and shapeless. Instead go for horizontal lines work much better in creating shape.

Banana Tips & Tricks

  • 3/4 length sleeved womens tops show off the delicate part of your arms adding femininity to your shape.
  • Long scarves are great for breaking up your body and creating movement.
  • Stripes at varying thickness will give the illusion of curve.
  • Knot detailing is great for adding shape and beautiful folds in fabric that will soften your shape and make you feel feminine.

 Pear

The pear is a bottom-heavy beauty. Bigger around your hips, bottom or thighs and petite up top. Your body is the epitome of a womanly shape. Work those curves by adding more shape and structure above the waist.

If you’re a pear shape, you can have a lot of fun drawing attention to your upper half. Go for the texture trend and seek out everything from ruffles to sequins, to cable knits, to animal prints. Wear them with tailored wide-leg trousers and try putting your hair up to instantly broaden your shoulders. You should also keep a treasure chest full of statement jewels, earrings and necklaces

Pear Do’s

  • Do broaden your top half with puff sleeves, slashed necklines and shoulder pads.
  • Do choose wide leg trousers and jeans to balance out your bum.
  • Do draw attention to your top half with sequins, ruffles and pussy-bow fastenings.
  • Do accentuate your waist with belted, tie or single button fastenings.
  • Do choose A-line skirts to skim over your bum and thighs.

Pear Don’ts

  • Don’t go for body hugging skirts and dresses. They will only emphasise the imbalance of your bottom and top halves.
  • Don’t go for bulky pockets on trousers and skirts.
  • Don’t wear shoes with ankle straps as they will cut your leg off and make them appear shorter.
  • Don’t go for tops and jackets that end at the widest part of your hip. They will make you appear larger

Pear Tips & Tricks

  • A chunky, wedge or platform shoe will finish off the balance of your proportions beautifully.
  • Statement necklaces and earrings are perfect for drawing the attention to your top half while also creating that all important balance.
  • If you find the perfect womens dress to accentuate your waist and skim over your hips, but the top half looks a little lackluster, layering a sequin bolero, a cropped jacket or a shrug will give you the extra oomph you need to complete your look.

Inverted Triangle

The bearer of large breasts, a generous tummy and a broad back to support your ample front. You’re an inverted triangle. Balance your figure and draw attention to your gorgeous pins with a pair of sexy stilettos.

Great news – with your legs, you can pull off one of the trickiest trends this winter. Introducing the fancy pants. Womens pants in Aztec prints, metallics, python, polka dots, leather and even sequined cocktail trousers are an exciting new look and they balance out your top-heavy silhouette. Pair them with an open V-neck womens top or a fitted jacket for women and you’re good to go.

Inverted Triangle Do’s

  • Do focus on showing off your legs with slim fit, boot cut jeans and sexy heels.
  • Do break up your top half with open and V necklines.
  • Do choose fluted hemlines to create balance with your top half and feminine curve to show off your legs.
  • Do go for wrap styles and empire waistlines. They are perfect for skimming over your tummy and creating shape.
  • Do make sure your bust is supported with a great fitting bra.

Inverted Triangle Don’ts

  • Don’t go for shift dresses and shapeless styles. They will make you appear larger.
  • Don’t wear slash necklines as they will broaden you even more and make your chest look bigger.
  • Don’t go for skinny leg jeans and tapered pants as they will emphasize your top heaviness.
  • Don’t go for elaborate necklaces and earrings. They will add unnecessary bulk and focus to your top half, instead choose a bold cocktail ring or a long pendant necklace.

Inverted Triangle Tips & Tricks

  • Your chest is an asset, look after it with nourishing creams and sunscreen.
  • Although sexy heels are great for showcasing your fabulous legs, stilettos can emphasize your top-heaviness. Instead look for curvy wedges or peep toe heels to compliment your legs while still creating balance.
  • Add curve to your waistline with single breasted A-line coats and jackets that have a cinched in waist, but avoid skinny belts as they will look out of proportion.

Hourglass

 Curvy hourglass girls go in at the middle, often with a fuller bust and bottom to contrast with the smaller waist.

You have the classic old-Hollywood figure and you should always take full advantage of it. It is the season of the pencil skirt and no-one can wear it better than you can. Unexpected fabrics or leather panels will keep the look modern. Too many frills, flounces or heavy accessories will only distract from your enviable silhouette – you don’t need them.

Hourglass Do’s

  • Do make the most of your enviable waist with form fitting clothes that will highlight it.
  • Do go for wide open and deep v necklines that will separate and define your bust line.
  • Do exaggerate the curve from your hip to your knee with a sexy pencil skirt.
  • Do elongate your torso with jackets and coats with a two button fastening just below the bust line.
  • Do echo your curves with cute round or peep toe shoes.
  • Don’t hide your curves under ill-fitting or loose clothing.

Hourglass Don’ts

  • Don’t wear tops and blouses that are too flouncy or frilly as they add weight and volume where it is just not needed.
  • Don’t add unnecessary bulk with large chunky belts and ties.

Hourglass Tips & Tricks

  • A bra with good support and a great fit is really important in defining your curves.
  • Look to 50’s fashion icons like Marilyn Monroe or shows like ‘Mad Men’ for inspiration.
  • Tailoring and sturdy fabrics will show off your figure and make you feel sexy.
  • Play up your femininity and embrace your gorgeous shape.

Apple

The apple is round and luscious. You carry most of your weight around your generous tummy but have a great pair of breasts to top it off. Enhance all these curves by creating a sense of balance and proportion.

To make the most of your apple shape, draw the eye upwards with tops that have detail around the collar and shoulders. Tailoring is your best friend. Fitted jackets give the effect of a more defined waist and flat front trousers (straight, not tapered) give you a longer silhouette. This season invest in the long proportions trend and a fabulous envelope clutch.

Apple Do’s

  • Do bring focus to your top half by enhancing your cleavage with a good bra and open or V necklines.
  • Do create a waist with empire waistlines, wrap tops and jackets with tie fastenings.
  • Do draw focus to your legs with skirts and dresses that end on, or just below the knee.
  • Do look for side fastenings, flat front trousers and skirts to avoid bulk around your tummy.
  • Do look for wide waistbands, tummy trimmer jeans and pants. They will give you support and a wider leg will keep you in proportion.

Apple Don’ts

  • Don’t hide under baggy clothes as they will make you look bigger than you are.
  • Don’t go for sleeves that pinch your arms. Instead look for loose or fluted sleeves.
  • Don’t go for high waistlines as they will emphasise your tummy at its widest part.
  • Don’t go for anything that is pleated at the waist as it will add bulk to the tummy. Instead look for styles that have a flat wide waistband and then pleat from under your tummy.

Apple Tips & Tricks

  • A clever mix of bold colour, prints and texture will add dimension and flair to your outfits.
  • Getting properly measured for a bra is key in making the most out of your shape, embrace your cleavage! It will flatten your tummy and streamline your silhouette.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help styling your figure!