How to Dress for Your Body Shape: A Practical Guide
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 7 min read


  1. Identify your body shape
  2. How to dress for an hourglass figure
  3. How to dress for a pear-shaped figure
  4. How to dress for an apple-shaped figure
  5. How to dress for a rectangle-shaped figure
  6. How to dress for an inverted triangle figure
  7. Practical tips for dressing your body shape
  8. How to shop for your body shape

Ever stood in front of your closet, staring at a sea of clothes, and thought, "I have nothing to wear?" We've all been there. But what if I told you the secret to always looking great isn't about having a closet full of trendy clothes, but about understanding your body shape and dressing for it? That's right—dressing for body shape is your key to feeling confident and looking fantastic every day. Ready to unlock that door? Let's go!

Identify your body shape

The first step to dressing for body shape is identifying your body shape. While every person is unique, experts generally group body shapes into five main types: hourglass, pear, apple, rectangle, and inverted triangle. Let's take a closer look at each type:

  • Hourglass: If your bust and hip measurements are roughly equal, and your waist is noticeably smaller, you fall into the hourglass category. It's all about balance here.
  • Pear: Pear shapes have wider hips than busts. Your lower body is more pronounced, and you have a well-defined waist.
  • Apple: Apple shapes tend to carry weight around the middle, with a less defined waist. Your bust may be larger than your hips.
  • Rectangle: If your bust, waist, and hips are about the same width, you're a rectangle. This shape is often associated with more athletic body types.
  • Inverted triangle: As an inverted triangle, your bust is wider than your hips. Shoulders are often a focal point for this shape.

Identifying your body shape isn't about labeling or limiting yourself. Instead, think of it as gaining a superpower—the power to choose clothes that flatter you, play up your best features, and make you feel amazing. Dressing for body shape isn't a one-size-fits-all approach. It's a tool to help you express yourself and your unique style. So, now that you know your body shape, you're ready to explore how to dress for it!

How to dress for an hourglass figure

So, you've discovered you have an hourglass figure. Fantastic! This body shape is all about balance and proportion, and dressing for body shape here means highlighting your well-defined waist while maintaining that harmony.

  • Embrace The Waist: With your small waist being your best asset, feel free to draw attention to it. Belted outfits, wrap dresses, or high-waisted pants and skirts are your best friends.
  • Keep It Balanced: To maintain your natural balance, aim for clothing that adds equal visual interest to your upper and lower body. Think V-neck tops and A-line skirts, or a fitted top with flared jeans.
  • Fit is Key: Garments that fit well are crucial. Baggy, loose clothing can hide your proportions and make you look shapeless. Always opt for clothing that fits your body well, not too tight and not too loose.

Remember, these aren't rules, but guidelines to help you make the most of your hourglass figure. The most important thing is that you feel good in your clothes. So, go ahead and experiment with different styles, always keeping in mind the principle of balance.

How to dress for a pear-shaped figure

If you have a pear-shaped figure, you're in good company! Many of us are pear-shaped, which means our hips are wider than our shoulders. Dressing for body shape like ours is all about balancing our upper and lower halves and accentuating our best features.

  • Broaden Your Shoulders: To balance the width of your hips, try tops and jackets that broaden your shoulders. Boat necks, cap sleeves, or shoulder pads can do the trick.
  • Draw Attention Upwards: Use colors, patterns, or details to draw eyes upwards. Bright colored tops, statement necklaces, or eye-catching earrings can work wonders.
  • Choose Flattering Bottoms: Straight-leg pants and A-line skirts that gently skim your hips are a great choice. They help to visually reduce the width of your hips.

Always remember, these are general guidelines and not strict rules. Your comfort and confidence are what truly matters. So, have fun playing around with different styles and find what clothes make you feel your best.

How to dress for an apple-shaped figure

As an apple-shaped person, you're likely to carry most of your weight around your middle, with less definition between your waist and your hips. The aim of dressing for body shape like yours is to elongate your torso and draw attention to your legs and arms.

  • Create a waistline: Apple-shapes often have a less defined waist, so clothing that creates a waistline can be very flattering. Wrap dresses or tops are fantastic for this.
  • Highlight your legs: If you have great legs, don't be shy to show them off! Short skirts or fitted pants can be a good choice. Just be sure to balance it with a looser top.
  • Open up your neckline: V-neck or scoop neck tops can help to draw attention up towards your face and away from your midsection. Plus, they can make your torso appear longer.

Remember, the goal isn't to hide your body, but to feel great in what you're wearing. Try different styles and discover what makes you feel confident and beautiful.

How to dress for a rectangle-shaped figure

As a rectangle-shaped person, your shoulders, waist, and hips are around the same width, giving you a straight-up-and-down appearance. Dressing for body shape like yours can be fun because you can create curves where there are none or choose to highlight your model-like figure. Here's how:

  • Add some curves: To give the illusion of a curvier figure, consider peplum tops or dresses. These styles cinch in at the waist and flare out, creating the appearance of an hourglass shape.
  • Play up your slender figure: If you prefer to celebrate your naturally straight figure, try straight cut jeans or a shift dress. These styles follow your body's natural line and can make you look taller.
  • Highlight your arms and legs: With your balanced body shape, you can easily draw attention to your limbs. Consider sleeveless tops or mini skirts to show off your arms and legs.

Remember, the key to dressing for body shape is to wear what makes you feel great. Experiment with different styles to find what you love and what makes you feel confident and stylish.

How to dress for an inverted triangle figure

As an inverted triangle, your shoulders or bust are wider than your hips. Dressing for body shape like yours involves balancing out your proportions and emphasizing your lower body. Let's go through some tips:

  • Balance your proportions: To create a more balanced silhouette, focus on adding volume to your lower body. A-line skirts and wide-leg pants can help achieve this look.
  • Draw attention downwards: Darker colors on top and lighter colors on bottom can draw the eye down, creating a sense of balance. Similarly, details like ruffles or patterns on your lower half can help.
  • Choose the right neckline: V-neck tops or dresses can create a vertical line, making your upper body look narrower and elongating your overall figure.

Dressing for body shape doesn't mean you have to hide your natural figure. It's about finding what makes you feel confident and comfortable. So, don't be afraid to try new styles and shapes until you find what suits you best.

Practical tips for dressing your body shape

When it comes to clothing, one size does not fit all. Dressing for body shape means understanding what works best for your unique silhouette. Here are some general tips to consider:

  • Understand your proportions: This isn't just about knowing if you're a pear, apple, hourglass, rectangle, or inverted triangle. It's about understanding where you carry weight, where you're lean, and dressing accordingly.
  • Embrace your uniqueness: Dressing for body shape isn't about trying to fit into a mold. It's about embracing your individuality and expressing yourself through your wardrobe. So, don't shy away from wearing what makes you feel happy and confident!
  • Use color and pattern strategically: You can use color and pattern to highlight your best features or downplay areas you're less confident about. For example, wearing a brightly colored top can draw attention to a well-defined waist or broad shoulders.
  • Get the right fit: No matter your body shape, clothes that fit well always look best. Too tight, and you might feel uncomfortable; too loose, and your shape could get lost.

Remember, these are just guidelines! Fashion is subjective and personal. What matters most is that you feel good in your clothes. After all, when you're comfortable and confident, it shows.

How to shop for your body shape

Shopping can feel like a daunting task, especially when you're trying to find clothes that suit your body shape. But don't fret, here are some tips to make shopping for your body shape a breeze:

  • Do your homework: Before you hit the stores, take some time to research what styles, cuts, and fabrics tend to work well for your body shape. This will help you have a clearer idea of what to look for and save you time.
  • Try before you buy: Sizes can vary greatly among different brands. So, even if you think you know your size, always try clothes on. Also, don't get too hung up on the size label. Focus instead on how the garment looks and feels on you.
  • Invest in staples: It's a good idea to invest in quality staples that flatter your body shape. These are the pieces you'll wear again and again, so they're worth spending a bit more on.
  • Don't forget about alterations: Sometimes, a small tweak is all it takes to make a garment perfect for your body shape. So, consider getting clothes altered if they're not quite right.

Remember, dressing for body shape is all about highlighting your best features. So, don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try different styles. You might be surprised at what you find!

If you're looking to further explore the world of dressing for your body shape and embracing your unique style, check out the workshop 'Queering Fashion: From Dress Codes to Wardrobe Hacks' by Lou Croff Blake. This workshop will provide you with fresh perspectives and innovative wardrobe hacks to help you confidently dress for your body shape and express your authentic self.