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The Stylist-Approved Guide on How to Dress According to Your Body Type

Dressing with style goes beyond combining colours well in your outfit. You have to know the right colours that suit your skin tone and as well know how to dress according to your body type. Only then can you be described as being stylish and fashion savvy.

The importance of dressing according to your body type cannot be overemphasised. You may see a beautiful dress that you know would definitely turn heads but when you try it on, the effect isn’t as cool as you envisaged. That’s why knowing how to dress according to your body type is a crucial part of fashion styling. Just as faces are different, every body is different. A dress that looks perfect on Miss A may look mediocre on Miss B if she has little or no knowledge of her body type.

If you’re interested in boosting your fashion instincts to pull off great looks like a style influencer, this guide on how to dress according to your body type is what you need. It’s been approved by fashion stylists and remains expedient if you want to dress with style.

How to Determine Your Body Type

Your body type is the outline of your structure. Women come in various shapes and sizes. Therefore, every dress you choose has to not only look good on you but also accentuate your silhouette. To find clothes that flatter your figure, you have to know the contours and proportions of your body so you can highlight your best features while concealing unappealing stuff like belly fat.

To determine your body type, measure the sizes of your bust, waist and hips. The sizes of each will help you determine your shape and know which body type you fall under.

Types of Body Shapes

illustration showing the main types of body shapes
Source: StichFix

1. Apple Body Type

If your upper body is heavier than your lower body and you’ve got broad shoulders, slimmer legs and a bigger bust line, then you have an apple-shaped body. If this is your shape, it feels like most of the weight gathers around your midriff. Apple body type is otherwise known as top-heavy.

2. Pear Body Type

This body type has emphasis on the lower part of the body. It is the opposite of the apple body type as it is otherwise called bottom-heavy or triangle shape. That is, your backside, hips and thighs are bigger or wider than your upper body. Your shoulders are narrow rather than broad and your waist is wider than your bust. The good thing about having a pear body is that you can create an illusion of an hourglass figure with this shape.

3. Hourglass Body Type

If you have an hourglass figure, your hips and bust measurements are almost the same while your waist is narrower. Basically, an hourglass figure has a proportionate top and bottom with a well-defined waist. This body type has the waist as its focal point with a curvy top and bottom.

4. Rectangular Body Type

This body type is otherwise called straight. If you have this body type, your waist is usually one to eight inches smaller than your bust. There are no curves around your waist area and there is a balance from your shoulders to the hips. Some rectangular-shaped bodies may have curvy butts, wide chest and some weight around the midsection.

How to Dress According to Your Body Type

Apple Body Type

apple body type lady top and pants and sports shoes

If you have an apple body type, take the attention from your waist and shoulders to your bust and neck by wearing V-neck and long sleeve dresses, for instance. Wear flared pants, palazzos , A-line dresses and upper waist belts to even out your broad shoulders. Your trousers and skirts should sit below your hipbone to take the attention away from your midriff.

Furthermore, avoid wearing tight-fitting dresses, skinny jeans and belts that cinch at your waist. They end up promoting curves that you may not want to show off.

Pear Body Type

pear body type lady in a sexy gown - How to Dress According to Your Body Type

You should wear stuff that define your upper body since it isn’t as wide as your lower body. A-line dresses, slightly flared bottoms, ruffled tops come in handy here. If you want your pear shape to look like an hourglass figure, pair your skinny jeans with a loose top, for instance. However, you can pair your bottoms with crop tops too.

Furthermore, wear tops that highlight your shoulders a bit and avoid pants that make your legs seem narrow. Necklines such as V-neck, boat necks, sweetheart, etc., suit this body type. Most importantly, wear a brassiere that accentuates your bust since it isn’t as wide as your hips.

Hourglass Body Type

hour glass body type lady in jeans -  How to Dress According to Your Body Type

Almost anything looks great on this body type. If you fall under this shape, you should dress to flatter your curvy body anytime, any day. Ensure your outfit flatters your waistline since it is the centre of attraction. Wear figure-hugging dresses and belts that cinch well at your waist or midriff. Wear a supportive bra to keep your breasts in shape and remember to balance out your top and bottom. Any type of neckline can suit women with this shape as they are mostly well-endowed but be careful not to show more cleavage than necessary.

Furthermore, avoid wearing loose tops or bottoms as they end up hiding your silhouette thereby killing the look. However, if you prefer and want something loose, go ahead and wear it. But remember, this body type is to be celebrated and as such, everything you wear should flatter it.

Rectangular Body Type

rectangular body type lady in sleeveless top and blue jean

This body type does not have curves and as such tight-fitting dresses wouldn’t look lit on it. Hence, you should wear dresses that flatter your straight figure and create curves around your waist region.

Wear drapes, frills, layered tops to add accent and volume to your silhouette. Go for sleeveless, off-shoulder or strapless necklines to give your shoulders some attention. Opt for blazers and jackets to add some drama to your outfit. Wear shapewear or a bra that balances your angular profile and miniskirts to flatter your legs.

Most importantly, you should avoid male-looking clothes so you don’t end up looking like a boy.

This guide on how to dress according to your body type is just a beginner’s tool to understand the complexities of wardrobe matters. If you’re not one of the aforementioned shapes, you could be a combination of any of them. So you just have to keep experimenting until you figure out what’s best for you.

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Victoria B. Willie

Writing has always been a part of me. From writing stories as a young child to studying Communication Arts in the university, it has always been more than a medium of expression to me.

And then one day, I found myself toeing the path of an entrepreneur and becoming a fashion enthusiast. This made me develop an interest in content marketing and copywriting which I've been chasing alongside my fashion career.

That aside, when I'm not sharing style articles, selling with stories, or creating fashion-forward pieces for Ria Kosher, you'll find me telling wild stories that always come with a twist.

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