Dressing for Your Body Shape: 100 Tips for Women

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Dressing For Your Body Shape: 100 Tips for Women | Yes, you read that right. We're sharing 100 fashion tips (!!) to help you accentuate your best features! We're sharing fashion Dos and Don'ts for straight, rectangle, and athletic bodies, pear and triangle body shapes, hourglass figures, oval and diamond body types, and everything in between. Click to learn how to pick the right clothes to highlight the parts of your body you love, and how to downplay the parts you wish to hide.

If you have trouble dressing for your body shape, you’re not alone. But rest assured, there are ways to accentuate your best features no matter what body type you have. Dressing for your body comes down to figuring out your proportions and knowing the do’s and don’ts for your body shape. We’ve rounded up our best tips for the most common body types out there.

Dressing for Your Body Shape

Straight/Rectangle/Athletic Body 

A straight or rectangular body shape (also sometimes called the athletic body shape) means you have pretty much the same measurements for all sections of your body (bust, waist, and hips). You do not have a well-defined waistline and there’s a lack of curves throughout the body frame. Weight gain is typically distributed evenly throughout the body.

The main clothing challenges for a straight body is the subtle waist, lack of curves, and athletic body type that can cause fitting issues.

Do’s

    • Round necklines
    • V-, scoop and sweetheart necklines
    • Embellishments around the decolletage (big collars, lace trims, and ruffles)
    • Loose, wide sleeves (flared, puff or flutter sleeves)
    • Bold fabrics and patterns
    • Longer, chunkier sweaters
    • Tops and jackets that end below the hip line
    • Straight cut jackets
    • Longer coats that go past the knee
    • Low to midrise trousers
    • Bootcut jeans (slight flare)
    • Detailed, flared skirts
  • Wrap dresses and shift dresses

Don’ts

  • Shapeless, oversized pieces
  • Clothes that end at the waist or embellish it
  • Tucking tops into trousers or skirts
  • Square and straight necklines
  • Fitted sleeves
  • Boxy shirt styles
  • Tight-fitting, boxy sweaters
  • Straight-fitted trousers
  • Jeans that flare too wide
  • Angular a-line skirts or too-full skirts
  • Boxy or baggy dresses
  • Belted shorts

Pear/Triangle Body 

Pear shapes are characterized by having their hips and bottom half wider than their upper half. You tend to carry your weight around your hips and lower half, and you have a smaller, somewhat defined waist, with narrow shoulders and a smaller bust.

The main challenge for dressing a pear body is finding bottoms that fit well, and styles that balance out your body.

Do’s

  • Structured shoulders
  • Well-fitting bra with a bit of padding
  • Prints and colours on your top half
  • Tops with volume or fuller sleeves (puff sleeves, cap sleeves, flutter sleeves)
  • Add a belt to pants, shorts and dresses to define your waist
  • Knee length dresses and skirts
  • Darker shades on the bottom half
  • Layering pieces like jackets
  • Tops with cowl necks, off the shoulder, wide square and bateau neckline
  • Turtle necks

Don’ts

  • Boxy silhouettes that hide your waist
  • Skinny jeans and tapered pants, low-rise
  • Lighter colour bottoms and pastels
  • Mini skirts and short shorts
  • Bodycon dresses
  • Narrow collars and thin straps
  • Cape sleeves and long bell sleeves
  • Peplum style tops and coats
  • Straight cut and boxy coats
  • Tapered jumpsuits

Hourglass Body 

An hourglass body shape has hip and bust measurements that are almost equal in size, with a narrower waist. You have slightly rounded shoulders with rounded bottoms and hips and bigger thighs.

Although this body type is the “feminine ideal”, nothing seems to fit right. Pants tend to gape at the waist and button front shirts pull across the bust.

Do’s

  • V-necks and round necklines
  • High waisted pants and jeans
  • Wide leg, loose fitting trousers (slightly tapered, bootcut or flared)
  • Oval necklines, as well as off-shoulder, sweetheart, scoop neck and v-neck
  • Peplum tops
  • Fitted sleeves
  • Form-fitting, belted jackets
  • Voluminous skirts (knee length or longer)
  • Pencil skirts
  • Wrap, belted or nipped dresses

Don’ts

    • Oversized garments
    • Adding extra volume to shoulders and hips
    • Heavy prints or embellishments around the chest area and upper body
    • High, narrow neckline embellishments
    • Wide necklines
  • Loose and wide sleeves
  • Adding extra bulk at the waist
  • Straight, boxy jackets

Oval Body 

If you have an oval body shape, your bust is larger than the rest of your body, your hips are narrow and proportional to your shoulders, and your midsection is fuller. You have a round silhouette and undefined waist.

The main challenge for the oval body shape is the lack of waistline and larger bosom, which can make it tough to figure out how to style.

Do’s

  • Wide, low necklines (sweetheart, scoop neck, V neck, strapless)
  • Embellishments and details close to the neck and face
  • Tops in solid colours
  • Tops and jackets that hit below your waist
  • Less fitted t-shirts and blouses; wrap or trapeze style tops
  • Flowy tops, relaxed button-ups
  • Mid or maxi length dresses with a lower neckline and undefined waist
  • Shift, wrap, empire or a-line dresses
  • Dresses with asymmetric lines (one shoulder, diagonal hemlines)
  • Flared or wide legged pants (especially with heels)
  • Dark color bottoms

Don’ts

  • High necklines with collars
  • Fitted sleeves
  • Tops with large, colourful prints
  • Crop tops and fitted tops
  • Double breasted, belted coats
  • Tight, short dresses
  • A-line, wrap style, knee length trench coats
  • High waisted, tapered pants

Diamond Body 

The diamond body shape is similar to the oval body shape, except you have broader hips than shoulders, a narrow bust, and a fuller waistline. You may carry more weight in your upper legs and you may have slender arms.

The main challenge for dressing a diamond body is the extra weight around the tummy and hips, which also creates a lack of waistline.

Do’s

    • Tops that accentuate your shoulders and show off your arms (flutter sleeves, off the shoulder tops, V and U necklines)
    • Shoulder or bust embellishments
    • Darker colours on the bottom
    • Flare or wide leg pants and jeans
    • Simple pockets and avoid embellishment on bottoms
    • Pants and skirts with a side zipper
  • Flowy, palazzo style pants
  • Straight fit, A-line, shirt style dresses
  • Dresses with small prints
  • Knee length dresses and skirts
  • Vests, moto jackets, or a knee-length empire cut coat

Don’ts

    • Tight fitting tops and dresses
    • Crop tops
    • Printed, heavy or thick patterns on upper body
    • Wrap jackets and dresses
    • Peplum dresses and tops
    • Pencil and pleated skirts
    • Tapered trousers and jeans

No matter what body type you have, we hope these tips are helpful to make you feel confident in the way you dress and flaunt your best attributes!

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