Dressing for Body Types

Each person has a unique body shape, and it is essential to dress so that flatters highlight each person’s unique features. Understanding our body type and how to dress appropriately can dramatically affect our appearance and confidence.

Body types are varied and beautiful, from hourglass to pear, sporty to apple, and more. Recognizing and accepting this diversity is fundamental to promoting body positivity and self-acceptance. Fashion should be inclusive and suitable for all shapes and sizes rather than conforming to a narrow ideal that may not be suitable for everyone. If you are looking for a handy fashion guide, you are in luck as this article will give an overview of choosing clothing styles.

Determining Your Body Type

Fashion Color

1. Apple Body Shape (Round)

Characterized by a wider midsection and narrower hips and thighs, an apple or round body shape falls under the category of upper body heavier than your lower body. People with this body type often have broader shoulders and a wider bust, and legs and arms may appear slimmer in comparison. This is why it feels like the weight is being pushed around your belly. Weight tends to be concentrated around the midsection, giving a rounder appearance. 

Tips for Apple/Round Body Shape

This can be a problematic body style to buy initially because of the tendency to purchase oversized things to compensate for the wider top half. Since most of the weight and focus are above the hips, the midsection feels heavier than the rest of the body, with minimal waistline. 

The idea here is to divert attention from this body part and highlight your strengths. This is why you should show off your legs or wear a skirt with a deep V-neck, or that creates the illusion of an elongated body. 

Also, choose open cardigans with less clinging cuts to accentuate the apple shape the most. Ensure the bottom of the garment is below the hip line to elongate the body and ensure the garment glides over the torso and hips. Avoid wearing tight skirts or tops with skinny jeans; this will make it clearer. Try replacing the waist belt with the top strap to find balance. Steer clear of clothing that lacks structure, as it can make you appear larger than you are. Boxy and shapeless dresses, crop tops, and horizontal stripes will only make your midsection look bigger.

Recommended Clothing Style

a. Power pieces may include breezy A-line silhouettes, flowy tunics, relaxed, boyfriend button-ups and V-neck.

b. For sleeve length, try a more fitted sleeve to help balance out your larger bust and midsection. If you have a curvier body, elongate your neck with a deep (or shallow) V-neck. 

c. For covers, the apple shape looks great with any waist-length waistcoat, jacket, or coat. An A-line coat or knee-length jacket (no belt) will be flattering.

d. For dresses, empire waist or strapless style looks excellent. Knee-length shift and sheath styles, bootcut pants, and ruched dresses or diagonal lines look great too! 

Buying Clothes

2. Hourglass Body Shape

This is characterized by a balanced proportion between the bust and hips, with a narrower waist. The bust and hips are relatively broad, and there’s a distinct curve at the waist, resembling an hourglass. 

This body type is the most symmetrical, with a well-proportioned upper, well-defined waist, and lower body. So, when looking for dresses, choose the ones that suit you. It’s a body worth dying for, so flaunt it correctly.

Tips for Hourglass Body Shape

With an hourglass shape, fashion focuses mainly on showing off your waist. Since you have a fit body, your dress style should also be appropriate. The dress should fit well with the curves and follow the shape of those curves. Choose a clothing style that cinches at the waist to highlight your narrowest point and fabrics that have some structure and a bit of stretch to contour your body’s curves.

Recommended Clothing Style

a. Power pieces may include fitted knit top wrap shirt, peplum shirt, fitting shirt, anything with a V-neck, round neck, or boat neck. 

b. For sleeve length, enjoy your body shape’s incredible flexibility. If you want to draw attention to your size, try an elbow-length look. Meanwhile, try a shirt with hooded sleeves, puffy sleeves, or even a tank top for arms. 

c. For covers, jackets that fit well and have a belt are ideal. Cropped jackets right on the hips help accentuate your curves. If you are petite, choose jackets that are shorter to the waist. 

d. For dresses, ones with laces at the waist suit you best. V-neckline or deep, sweet V-necklines help you show off your upper body. Also, try wrap and bodycon dresses to show your body’s elegant shape.

e. For waist and bottom, flatter your waist by wearing a belt at your natural waistline or below your navel – either way, it’ll look great. Also, A-line skirts or similar cuts will accentuate the lower body. 

 3. Pear Body Shape

Choosing Clothes

Making your body shape the basis for dressing can help you accentuate your natural body features and feel confident in what you wear. A pear-shaped body, a triangle, is characterized by narrower shoulders and a smaller bust than hips and broader thighs.

Tips for Pear Body Shape

The advantage of this body shape is that you can create the illusionary image of an hourglass figure if appropriately styled. Your shoulders are shorter, and your hips are wide. All you have to do is strike a balance. Or wear clothes that show off your lower body; both work fine. 

Further, emphasize your upper body portion by opting for tops with interesting necklines, like boat necks, off-the-shoulder, or V-necks, to draw attention to your upper body. You can also choose tops with details like ruffles, embellishments, or patterns to add volume and balance your proportions.

Recommended Clothing Style

a. Power pieces include plunging V-necks in any silhouette, cowl necks, bell sleeves, or scoop necks. Tops with embellishments or patterns that draw attention upward are your best choices.

b. For sleeve length, tops that fit or are better structured with fitted sleeve length give you a line around your narrow shoulders and draw attention to your narrow waist.

c. For covers, layering can add dimension and balance to your outfit. Consider adding a well-fitted jacket or cardigan over your top. The pear shape looks excellent with A-line and princess cuts, waist-length coats, and mid-thigh outerwear. Boxy coats can work for you, but as a general rule, you’ll want to choose a cropped look to show off your waist. 

d. For dresses, A-line, or fit-and-flare silhouettes, dresses and skirts are good to gently flare out from the waist, balancing your hips and thighs. Any hemline that falls just below the knee will elongate your figure and slim your hips and thighs. The maxi style is also very suitable for you.

e. For the waist and bottom, wide-leg pants can create a balanced structure for your hips and thighs, creating a more proportional look. Go for dark jeans, skirts, or pants, as dark-colored bottoms can slim down the lower half of your body. Pair dark-colored bottoms with lighter-colored tops to draw attention upward.

4. Rectangle Body Shape

Individuals with a rectangle body shape have relatively equal size measurements for the bust, waist, and hips. Their body appears more straight up and down, with fewer pronounced curves. So there’s not much silhouette definition, and it’s pretty simple. 

With a rectangular body shape, you wear a shirt and pants that are the same size, don’t have an overly defined waist, and have straight shoulder and hip lines. This is also known as the sports body shape.

Tips for Rectangle Body Shape

Dressing for a rectangle body shape involves accentuating your waist and creating a visual balance between your upper and lower body. Creating the illusion of a waistline will give you a rectangular body shape. You have the ideal body to wear almost any pair of pants. You can wear wider or slimmer; sometimes tight pants can show off your curves.

Recommended Clothing Style

a. Power pieces include halter styles, racerback styles, scoop and round necklines, or strapless dresses. 

b. For tops, designs with peplum or ruffled details add volume to your hips, creating the illusion of a more defined waist. 

c. For sleeve length, the choice is yours. If you love your arms, show them off with strapless or tank tops. If you want to hide them, choose ¾ sleeves in a dark tone. Chances are you have straight shoulders, so you don’t need a lot of extra structure here. 

d. For dresses, A-line silhouettes gently flare out from the waist, creating the illusion of curves and adding balance. Also, wrap-style clothing helps create the appearance of curves and enhances your waistline.

e. For the waist and bottom, choose pants and skirts with pockets, pleats, embellishments, or patterns to add volume and shape to your hips.

5. Inverted Triangle Body Shape

The inverted triangle body shape type is characterized by the shoulders and chest being wider than the hips and waist. This type typically has a defined upper body with narrow hips and legs. Your shoulders are much wider than your hips. So, your arms and shoulders should be highlighted as much as possible.

Tips for Inverted Triangle Body Shape

Remember to add shape to your hips and focus on creating balance. Straight-cut jeans and skirts with a natural invert are all clothes that will suit your body. Further, emphasize your lower body while avoiding heavy shoulder details.

Recommended Clothing Style

a. Power pieces include peplum tops, V-neck tops, boyfriend jeans, and jeans with side pockets.

b. For tops, wearing darker colors on your upper body can help create a visual balance by downplaying your shoulders. Save brighter colors and patterns for your lower half.

c. Wear soft sleeves that flare for sleeve length, and be careful with tight trousers and narrow hemlines.

d. For dresses, look for a softer, broad-shoulder line with soft, draping, and weighty fabrics. Empire waist dresses have a high waistline that sits just below the bust. They can help balance your proportions by emphasizing the waist and drawing attention away from the shoulders.

e. For waist and bottoms, belts can define your waist suitably and create the illusion of a more proportionate silhouette. Look for medium-width belts and place them around the natural waistline. The boyfriend jeans are the best pair of jeans with an inverted triangle body shape.

The Power of Proper Clothing Fit and Proportion

Fashion Clothes

While your body shape is essential, and there are styling tips specific to each body shape, your overall proportions are also vital. The rule of thirds, which is proportioning your body into three parts, implies having one-third on top and two-thirds on the bottom. Another way is having 2/3rds on top and one-third on the bottom. Never cut your body up in half as, for some, this may not suit you best.

Another fundamental of dressing for body types is understanding the importance of a good fit. 

Proper fitting clothing can do wonders in improving an individual’s appearance. Right fit brings out a person’s best features, and tailoring clothes to fit your body shape perfectly, whether through custom pieces or alterations, can make a dramatic difference in the look and overall impression.

The Power of Confidence

Confidence plays a central role in how an individual behaves. When one feels comfortable and confident in their clothing choices, it shows in their posture and demeanor. This confidence comes from following fashion standards and knowing how to tailor those standards to your unique body shape. This adaptability speaks to an individual’s understanding of their body and personal style. 


Whether we have a pear, apple, hourglass rectangular shape, or inverted triangle, some tips and tricks can help us dress to complement our body shape. By understanding our unique traits and knowing how to improve them, we can feel more confident and comfortable in our clothing choices. Understanding our body features will make better clothing choices, promote inclusivity, and empower individuals of all shapes and sizes.