10 Ways to Dress for Your Body Shape [Tips for Women]

Reviewed, fact-checked & edited by Marcella Raskin.
This blog is supported by its readers. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

As you undoubtedly know, not all body shapes are created equal. And while certain styles of clothing might look great on your friend, they might not be the best option for you.

To help figure out the best way to dress for your body shape, we’ve put together ten tips that will have you looking and feeling confident in no time.

So whether you’re pear-shaped, hourglass-shaped, or something in between, read on for advice that will have you looking fabulous!

Learn to love your body.

There’s no need to be ashamed of your body. Everyone has a different shape, and there’s no such thing as a “perfect” body type. You see models and actresses with impossibly slender figures, and you start to believe that’s what you should aspire to.

But the truth is, there is no such thing as a perfect body type. Every woman is beautiful in her own way, and you should learn to love and appreciate your own body. The important thing is to learn how to dress for your body shape.

Once you know what styles flatter your figure, you’ll be able to put together outfits that make you look and feel your best, accentuating your best assets and making sure you feel comfortable and confident in your skin.

There are a few simple guidelines you can follow to achieve this. First, take an inventory of your body type. Are you pear-shaped, with wider hips and a smaller bust? Or are you apple-shaped, with a fuller midsection? Once you know your body type, you can start shopping for clothing that flatters your figure.

How to find your body shape.

First things first, you need to find your body shape. This can be tricky, but there are a few ways to do it. You can either use a measuring tape or look in the mirror and take note of your proportions.

If you’re using a measuring tape, you’ll want to measure your bust, waist, and hips. Once you have these numbers, you can determine your body shape by using the following formula:

Bust ÷ Waist ÷ Hips = Body Shape

If your result is less than 0.8, you’re likely pear-shaped. If it’s between 0.8 and 1.0, you’re probably hourglass-shaped. And if it’s greater than 1.0, you likely have an inverted triangle body shape.

You can also determine your body shape by looking in the mirror and taking note of your proportions. You’re probably hourglass-shaped if you have a defined waist and a relatively similar-sized bust and hips. You’re likely pear-shaped if your hips are noticeably wider than your bust. And if your shoulders are significantly broader than your hips, you probably have an inverted triangle body shape.

Hourglass: The most coveted body shape

The hourglass is the most coveted body shape. To achieve the look, you need to create a balance between your upper and lower body.

When you have an hourglass shape, your goal is to accentuate your waist and show off your curves. To do this, look for clothing that cinches at the waist or has a belt.

A-line skirts and dresses are also a great option, as they will highlight your waist without being too tight. Try fitted dresses and tops, high-waisted skirts and pants, and belts to accentuate your curves.

Here are ten tips for dressing an hourglass figure:

  • Choose clothing that fits well and shows off your best features.
  • Accentuate your waist with a belt or wrap dress.
  • Play up your assets with V-neck tops and dresses.
  • Go for fitted jackets and blazers that flare at the hips.
  • Pair skinny jeans with flowing tops.
  • Try asymmetrical dresses and tops.
  • Rock a monochromatic look. 
  • Add pops of color with accessories.
  • Show some skin with strategic cutouts. 
  • Experiment with different fabrics and textures.

A “pear” body shape: your hips are wider than your shoulders.

A pear-shaped body is one that is bottom-heavy. To develop a more balanced appearance, you should concentrate on drawing attention to your upper body. Selecting to wear vivid patterns or bright colors on top is one method to draw attention to your upper half.

Try tops with ruffles or embellishments around the neckline and shoulders. Add volume to the bottom half of your body with items like A-line skirts and bootcut jeans. And don’t forget to show off your waist with a belt!

Here are ten tips for dressing a pear body shape:

  • Draw attention to your upper body with ruffles, embellishments, and brighter colors.
  • Add volume to your lower body with A-line skirts, wide-leg pants, and flowy dresses.
  • Cinch in your waist with a belt.
  • Choose tops that end at or above your hips.
  • Opt for V-neck and boat-neck tops.
  • Avoid skin-tight clothing.
  • Wear dark colors on the bottom and lighter colors on the top.
  • Try a peplum top or dress.
  • Balance your proportions with three-quarter-length sleeves.
  • Experiment with different necklines.

An inverted triangle: your shoulders are wider than your hips.

Broader at the shoulders and narrower at the waist. If you have an “inverted triangle” body shape, your shoulders are wider than your hips. To create a more balanced look, focus on drawing attention to your lower body. One way to do this is to wear clothing with bold patterns or bright colors on the bottom half of your body.

Another way to add balance is by choosing more fitted tops or details around the waist. You can also try A-line skirts and dresses, and wide-leg pants will help create a more proportionate look.

Here are ten tips for dressing an inverted triangle body shape:

  • Focus on adding volume to your lower body with bold patterns and bright colors.
  • Choose tops that are more fitted or have details around the waist.
  • Try A-line skirts, dresses, and wide-leg pants.
  • Experiment with different necklines.
  • Choose ruffles, embellishments, and other details on the bottom half of your clothing.
  • Wear belts to cinch in your waist.
  • Avoid anything too tight or body-hugging.
  • Create a balance between your upper and lower body with layering.
  • Show off your legs with shorter hemlines.
  • Accessorize with statement earrings or a necklace.

Rectangle: your shoulders, waist, and hips are about the same width.

If you have a “rectangle” body shape, your shoulders, waist, and hips are about the same width. To create a more balanced appearance, you’ll want to concentrate on producing the illusion of a waist. Choose fitted clothing in the waist region for one method to accomplish this.

Another way to create the illusion of a waist is by choosing tops and dresses with ruffles, embellishments, or other details around the neckline and shoulders. And don’t forget to accessorize! A belt, scarf, or necklace can also help to create the illusion of a waist.

Here are ten tips for dressing a rectangular body shape:

  • Choose clothing that is more fitted in the waist area.
  • Look for tops and dresses with ruffles, embellishments, or other details around the neckline and shoulders.
  • Accessorize with a belt, scarf, or necklace.
  • Create the illusion of a fuller chest with ruffles, embellishments, or a bold neckline.
  • Opt for A-line skirts and dresses.
  • Wear pants that are flared or wide-legged.
  • Avoid anything too tight or body-hugging.
  • Layer your clothing.
  • Add some interest to your outfit with bold colors and patterns.

Apple: you have a fuller chest and waist and narrower hips.

Apple-shaped bodies feature bigger chests, waists, and hips. You should accentuate your lower body to create equilibrium. Fitted or waist-detailed tops provide this style.

Here are ten tips for dressing an apple body shape:

  • Choose tops that are more fitted or have details around the waist.
  • A-line skirts and dresses will help to balance your proportions.
  • Wide-leg pants will also help to create a more proportionate look.
  • Experiment with different necklines.
  • Choose ruffles, embellishments, and other details on the bottom half of your clothing.
  • Wear belts to cinch in your waist.
  • Avoid anything too tight or body-hugging.
  • Layer your clothing.
  • Show off your legs with shorter hemlines.
  • Accessorize with statement earrings or a necklace.

Petite frame: you are 5’4″ or shorter.

Wearing clothing that flatters your body type will give the illusion of a taller and thinner shape, as opposed to looking top-heavy or bottom-heavy.

If you have a “petite frame,” meaning you’re 5’4″ or shorter, here are some style tips just for you:

  • Choose fitted clothing. Opt for clothing that is more fitted and tailored to your body. This will help create the illusion of a bigger, taller frame.
  • Avoid boxy shapes. Boxy shapes will only make you look short and stubby. Instead, go for more fitted or flared silhouettes.
  • Create vertical lines. Vertical lines will help elongate your body and make you look taller. Look for clothing with vertical stripes or detailing near the neckline.
  • Go monochromatic. Wearing one color from head to toe will also help create the illusion of a taller frame. Swap out your usual black pants for a dark-wash pair of jeans.
  • Play with proportion. To dress a petite frame, you’ll want to experiment with proportion and scale. Try pairing a cropped top with high-waisted bottoms or vice versa. This will help add some visual interest to your look while still keeping everything in proportion.
  • Accessorize wisely. When it comes to accessories, less is definitely more when dressing a petite frame. Stick to dainty jewelry and small handbags to avoid overwhelming your look.
  • Heels are your friend. A good pair of heels can do wonders for your overall look, especially if you’re on the smaller side. They’ll help lengthen your legs and make you appear taller overall. Just be sure not to go too overboard – a few inches should do the trick!
  • Try vertical prints. Wearing vertical prints is another great way to elongate your frame and appear taller than you actually are. So ditch the horizontal stripes in favor of eye-catching vertical patterns next time you get dressed.
  • Layer it up. Another great way to add visual interest to your outfit is by layering different pieces of clothing. This will also help give the illusion of a larger and taller frame, especially if you choose to layer some longer pieces on top.
  • Think about texture. When picking out fabrics, remember that texture can also affect how an outfit looks on you. For example, woolen fabrics add bulk, while lighter fabrics like silk or cotton can help create a sleek silhouette. So keep this in mind when choosing materials for your clothes!

Plus size: you are size 14 or larger.

“Plus size” is a term used to describe someone who is between sizes 14 and 24. You’ll want to focus on creating the illusion of a smaller waist in order to achieve a more balanced appearance. Short skirts or shorts are an excellent way to flaunt them. Dresses and skirts with an empire waist are also great because they accentuate your waist while minimizing your thighs.

Here are ten tips for dressing well in a plus size:

  • Choose well-fitting pieces. When dressing in plus size, the rule of thumb is to choose clothing that fits well. Ill-fitting clothing can be highly unflattering, so it’s essential to take the time to find items that fit your body perfectly. 
  • Avoid overly baggy clothing. While you don’t want your clothes to be too tight, you also don’t want them to be so loose that they add extra bulk to your frame. Instead, look for pieces that skim your curves without being too snug. 
  • Accentuate your waistline. One of the best ways to dress in plus size is to accentuate your waistline. This will help create the illusion of an hourglass figure, which is always flattering. To do this, look for dresses and tops with cinched waists or belts. You can also pair a fitted top with a flowing skirt or wide-leg pants. 
  • Consider V-neck tops and dresses. A V-neck top or dress is always a good choice for those with a larger bustline. The V-shape helps to draw the eye inward, giving the illusion of a smaller chest. 
  • Go for darker colors and patterns. Darker colors and designs can be beneficial if you’re looking to downplay certain areas of your body. They tend to minimize problem areas while still looking chic and stylish. 
  • Consider using layering techniques. Layering is another great way to dress in a plus size while still looking fashionable. By combining different pieces, you can create an outfit that’s both stylish and flattering. 
  • Don’t be afraid of prints. Prints are another great way to break up the line of an outfit and create visual interest. Just be sure to choose prints proportionate to your body size – smaller prints for smaller women and larger prints for larger women. 
  • Accessorize strategically. When choosing accessories, it’s important to remember that less is often more. A few well-chosen pieces can go a long way in pulling an outfit together, but too many accessories can quickly become overwhelming. 
  • Be aware of sizing inconsistencies. One thing you’ll quickly discover when shopping for plus-size clothing is that sizing can be very inconsistent from one brand or store to the next. What qualifies as a size 16 in one store may be sized as an 18 or 20 in another. As such, it’s always best to try on an item before purchasing it. 
  • Don’t get discouraged. Finding fashionable clothing in plus size can sometimes be difficult, but it’s important not to retain hope. With a bit of patience and perseverance, you’re sure to find pieces that you love!

Invest in quality basics.

Everyone’s closet should have a few key basics that can be mixed and matched to create endless outfits. A well-fitting pair of jeans, a black blazer, a white button-down shirt, and a little black dress are just a few examples of versatile basics worth investing in. Not only will they save you time and money in the long run, but they will also always look chic and put-together.

True style isn’t about having a closet full of designer clothes – it’s about having a few well-chosen pieces that you can mix and match to create endless looks. When building a versatile wardrobe, it’s necessary to invest in quality basics. Look for items that are made from high-quality materials and constructed to last.

These pieces will form the foundation of your wardrobe, and you’ll be able to wear them season after season. Look for timeless silhouettes, such as a classic white shirt or a little black dress that will never go out of style. With a few key basics in your closet, you’ll be able to create endless looks that are chic, stylish, and always on trend.

Conclusion.

While there is no one formula for dressing for your body shape, the tips we’ve shared today should help you start to create a wardrobe that flatters your unique figure. Experiment with different styles and silhouettes until you find what works best for you. With a few simple changes, you can take your style from frumpy to fabulous in no time! What are some of your favorite fashion tips for dressing your body type?

Share them with us in the comments below!

Author

  • Anna West is a writer, blogger, and social media enthusiast. She has a passion for writing and enjoys sharing her thoughts and ideas with others. A California girl at heart, Anna loves spending time outdoors and exploring new places. When she's not writing, you can find her spending time with her son and friends, or taking her dog for a walk.

Leave a Comment