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Styles to Wear According to Your Body Shape

by Katherine Mitt, studioD

Every woman’s body shape is different, which means not all clothing styles will look great on all women. Thus, it’s important to understand your own shape, as well as to understand what clothes highlight your body’s best features. Dress to emphasize your assets..

Pear Shape

Women with pear shapes typically have hips that are wider than their shoulders. Women with this shape often carry their weight in their lower body -- hips, thighs and bottom -- more than in their stomach, arms or chest. Because of this, pear-shaped women should create more balanced body proportions by wearing clothes that highlight their upper body. Wearing a brightly colored or embellished blouse with a pair of black pants or a dark navy A-line skirt will help draw attention upward, keeping focus off the hips and thighs. Fit-and-flare dresses are also very flattering, nipping in at the waistline and flaring outward to conceal a larger lower half.

Apple Shape

Just like the pear body shape, an apple shape closely resembles that of the fruit for which it is named. Women whose bodies exhibit this shape have narrow hips, a thicker waistline and broad shoulders. Women with this shape can use clothes to create the illusion of a longer torso and a more defined waist. Flared or boot-cut jeans and pants are great for apple shapes, helping to balance out upper- and lower-body proportions. Draw attention from a fuller midsection by wearing a V-neck top, and emphasize shapely legs with a short skirt. Monochromatic outfits can create a longer, leaner shape overall, with a single line from head to toe; color blocking isn’t great for apple shapes, because it breaks up your body into different segments, oftentimes highlighting a shorter, thicker torso.

Boyish Figure

Women with boyish figures -- also referred to as a rectangular shape -- tend not to have noticeable curves or a defined waistline. Women with this frame are generally quite thin, sometimes athletic-looking, and have relatively small busts. Create curves by highlighting the natural waistline and incorporating embellishments or shapely tailoring at the bust. Sweetheart neckline dresses, for instance, create the illusion of curves where they might not exist naturally. Peplum tops and dresses do the same, nipping in at the waist and flaring outward to create the appearance of hips. A-line dresses and flared skirts also create more of a shape, nipping in at the waist before giving way to a more shapely bottom half.

Hourglass Curves

When dressing an hourglass shape -- similarly proportioned shoulders and hips, with a small waist -- highlight your curves without being too revealing. Lightweight fabrics such as jersey are ideal for this body type, because they allow clothes to skim your body in a flattering way. Stiffer fabrics can create the illusion of extra weight by hiding your curves rather than hugging them. A jersey wrap dress is an hourglass girl’s best friend. The dress shape and material are ideal for this body type, highlighting a small waist perfectly and skimming curves in a complementary, ladylike way. High-waisted pants also work well for hourglass-shaped women, as do pencil skirts, both of which emphasize a tiny waist.

About the Author

Katherine Mitt has been contributing to online publications since 2009, focusing primarily on fashion and style topics. She holds a B.A. in English from a small liberal arts school.

Photo Credits

  • Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images