How to dress for your body shape (and how to know what shape you are)

One of the questions I hear a lot from clients is what to wear for their shape and then the follow up - but I'm not sure what shape I am!

If you're lucky then you are one of the obvious shapes - Rectangle, Pear, Apple etc (I'll explain them below) but if you're like many women, you will fall across a couple of categories and that's when you might get stuck.

Let's look at the basic body shapes:
body shape picjpg

If you feel like you can't put yourself into just one of the categories, decide which ones you fall into and experiment with the style 'rules' for each one - you'll soon realise which one feels most comfortable and stylish for your shape.

Rectangle – Roughly the same width hips and shoulders, very little waist definition, smaller rectangles are sometimes described as ‘boyish’ with a flat bum and small chest.

  • The key with rectangles is illusion – it’s all about creating shape by using frills, folds and pleats and ‘making’ curves where there aren’t any. You can afford to experiment with this shape as it lends itself to taking some risks!

Hourglass – The shape that most people consider to be uber-feminine, but can be difficult to get right because of the difference in measurements. You would usually have bigger hips and bust, with a much smaller waist. (A smaller proportioned hourglass figure can wear most things, but should still try to accentuate the waistline).

  • For larger hourglass figures, tailoring and structure are your friend! Dresses usually work well for this shape. The key is not to try to hide your curves with lots of material, which will make you look bigger than you are, but to use clean, fitted lines to follow your body. Think tucking in at the waist to show off your smallest part (which will often mean fighting the urge you have to cover your belly and boobs).

Pear – Sometimes referred to us a triangle, you will normally have narrower shoulders than hips, smaller bust and bigger thighs and bum.

  • The pear is all about getting balance – ideally you want to try and get your smaller top half in proportion with the bottom and so adding volume to your bust is great, and adding detail with frills, puffy sleeves and layering which draws your eye upwards and away from the bottom half.

Inverted triangle – Also known as the cornet, this is the catwalk perfect shape. You’re basically a coathanger! Your top half will be wider across the shoulders, with a narrower bottom half and not much definition between your hips and bum.

  • You can wear almost anything but what you want to look out for is anything that gives you some hips and a bum, and adds definition to your waist to give you the illusion of a curvier figure and definition.

Apple – The one that everyone thinks makes them look ‘blobby’ with bigger bust, rounder tummy and often a flatter bum but you have great legs! (sometimes known as 'diamond shape').

  • The key to getting definition in an apple shape is accentuating the waist which means separating boobs from belly so an uplifting bra is necessary! You need to make a gap between the bust and stomach to lengthen the body. Stay away from the tendency to wear anything baggy, it doesn’t help so if you do wear loose fitting clothes add definition and shape with accessories like belts.

REMEMBER, these are general rules and rules are made to be broken! The MOST IMPORTANT thing with clothing is that you feel great, so if you find a style you like but it doesn’t meet all the rules for your shape, but you feel confident and amazing in it, then wear it! Experimenting with what works and what you feel good in is so important because that’s how you learn where your own true style lies!

Being able to dress our shape is what allows us to feel confident about our body, but it can be difficult to get right so if you feel like you need some help in getting to grips with all this, why not book a Personal Styling Session with me - you can book here!

Have fun!