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How to Dress for Your Body Type

I love giving advice on how to dress in a style that can compliment your body shape.

how-to-dress-for-your-body-type

When you are standing in front of a mirror, remember that nobody has a perfect body. That's right, nobody! I have never met a person who did not have something about their body that they didn't like. The trick to looking good in your clothes is as simple as finding out what body type you are and dressing accordingly. With most of us, it only requires a few wardrobe adjustments.

Some people really know how to wear clothes. You know what I mean. The look that makes people think, "Boy, she sure is looking good." These people know what their shape is and know how to accentuate the positives. The body types I will be covering are:

  • Lollipop/Goblet
  • Pear
  • Diamond
  • Straight
  • Hourglass
  • Round/Apple
  • Inverted Triangle
Hourglass and pear shapes look good with a belt to accentuate the waist.

Hourglass and pear shapes look good with a belt to accentuate the waist.

What Is My Body Type?

  • Lollipop/Goblet Shape: Typically known as "top-heavy." This person has large breasts, a big stomach, is short waisted, and has long, skinny legs.
  • Pear Shape: This person has a long slender neck, narrow shoulders, a small bust, a slim waist with hips that widen dramatically, a larger rear end, and full thighs. The waistline of this body type is small and feminine; it should be accentuated.
  • Diamond Shape: This type has narrow shoulders, a small bustline, broad hips, and larger thighs. This type is lucky in that they get to wear the new-style tops that accentuate their face and shoulders.
  • Straight Shape: This is just what it sounds like: The bustline and hips are equal in size. This person has an average-size bust, a large rib cage, an undefined waist, a flat bottom, and slender legs. The legs are this type's best asset.
  • Hourglass Shape: Some people say this body type is as close to perfect as you can get. The person with this body type typically has a small bone structure. They have a nice-sized bust, a defined waist, curved hips, and a shapely and slightly-protruding backside. This body type has great curves that scream to be shown off.
  • Round Shape: This person has a larger bust, a wide rib cage, a round, full backside, a larger middle or waist, narrower hips, and slender legs. The good news is the round body type usually has great legs and narrow hips that can be shown off to their advantage.
  • Inverted Triangle Shape: This type typically has broad shoulders, an average-size bustline and waist, narrow hips, and long, shapely legs. This body type can show off hip huggers to their advantage.
This outfit shows off the diamond shape's  narrow shoulders, small bustline, broad hips, and larger thighs.

This outfit shows off the diamond shape's narrow shoulders, small bustline, broad hips, and larger thighs.

The Best Styles for Your Body Shape

Lollipop/Goblet Shape

Avoid:

  • Tops with ruffles
  • Spaghetti straps
  • High necklines
  • Anything high-waisted
  • Boxy blazers

Do wear:

  • Wide v-necks
  • Gathers under the breast to direct eyes to waist
  • Skirts fitted at top with flaring hemlines
  • Bell-bottom or flared pants
  • A medium- to high-heel shoe
  • Single-breasted, fitted blazer

Pear Shape

Avoid:

  • Tapered pants or super-slim jeans
  • Clingy or pencil skirts
  • Side pockets on pants
  • Pleated anything
  • Shoes with ankle straps

Do wear:

  • Pants with flowing, not clingy fabric
  • Straight skirts tapered towards the hemline
  • Semi-fitted and tailored tops
  • Shoulder pads
  • Blouses and tops that are cut shorter or longer (below hip line)
  • Cowl or square necklines
Bell bottoms and flared hems look great on those shaped like lollipops (or goblets), maybe not so great on pear or diamond shapes.

Bell bottoms and flared hems look great on those shaped like lollipops (or goblets), maybe not so great on pear or diamond shapes.

Diamond Shape

Avoid:

  • Pants that are bottom-heavy or have cuffs or designs at the bottom
  • Clingy skirts or pants
  • Straight, buttoned dresses that hug the hips
  • Empire waist dresses or tops
  • Pleats

Do wear:

  • Pants that are tapered towards the hemline
  • Jackets that flow loosely around the hips
  • Tops that are fitted but also flare out over hips
  • Tops with pockets
  • Boatneck collars
  • Puffed sleeves
Very few people can pull off a pleated skirt.

Very few people can pull off a pleated skirt.

Straight Shape

Avoid:

  • Large-patterned fabrics
  • The braless look
  • String bikinis
  • Belts that draw attention to your waist
  • Anything gathered or pleated at the waistline

Do wear:

  • Straight, tailored skirts
  • Sheaths or shirtdress-type dresses
  • Skirts with a dropped waist
  • V-necks
  • A longer jacket with a shorter skirt
  • Semi-fitted jeans or pants with a longer tunic tops

Hourglass Shape

Avoid:

  • Oversized or baggy styles
  • Clothing that is too fitted or tight
  • Lucky girl, almost anything is wearable!

Do wear:

  • Wrap tops, belts, things that tie at the waist
  • Clothing that is semi-fitted
  • Lucky girl! You have a dream figure, show off your curves.
Pencil skirts flatter many body types.

Pencil skirts flatter many body types.

Round Shape

Avoid:

  • Fitted tops that draw attention to your waistline
  • Straight, oversized, or tent dresses
  • Wide belts
  • Bulky or gathered skirts
  • Pleats
  • Wide lapels and collars

Do wear:

  • V-necks
  • Narrow lapels and collars
  • Longer tunics
  • Fitted skirts, such as a pencil skirts
  • Jackets with a single button
  • Tailored, wide-cut pants
  • Empire waist styles

Inverted Triangle

Avoid:

  • High necklines
  • Shoulder pads
  • High-waisted tops or dresses
  • Spaghetti straps
  • Halter tops

Do wear:

  • Hip-hugging jeans
  • Raglan or dolman sleeves
  • Flared skirts
  • Wider-leg pants
  • Patch pockets on tops
  • Belts hanging lower on the hips
Round and diamond shapes look so good in an empire waist. The cardigan gives the waistless dress an empire line here.

Round and diamond shapes look so good in an empire waist. The cardigan gives the waistless dress an empire line here.

What is your body shape?

Skinny jeans look best on straight, round, or hourglass shapes.

Skinny jeans look best on straight, round, or hourglass shapes.

Questions & Answers

Question: What style of dress and tops are best for straight shape?

Answer: There are a couple of styles that look good on a straight body type. One of them is the sheath or shirt style type dress. Another suggestion would be to wear a skirt with a drop waist with a jacket that is longer in length.

Question: Can I wear skinny jeans as a person with an inverted triangle body type?

Answer: A pair of skinny jeans on a person with an inverted triangle body type is not a good idea. A person of that body type needs to wear a pair of jeans that will balance their smaller bottom half with a bigger top half. They should look for hip hugger jeans, a bootcut or flared jeans, or a boyfriend or girlfriend type jean (good because they are a looser jean).

© 2010 Susan Hazelton

Comments

Yema on August 31, 2019:

How about putting

Normal size ladies

Donna on August 18, 2019:

Whatis the brst top to wrar when you have large abs and tummy

Angie on March 11, 2019:

Hi

Susan Hazelton (author) from Sunny Florida on September 16, 2018:

Thanks for reading.

MG on July 02, 2017:

Hello- I enjoyed the article, but found conflicting information for my body type- diamond. It specifically states in the 'avoid' section to steer clear of empire waists, but in the picture a few scrolls down, it states, 'Round and diamond shapes look so good in an empire waist.'

Which one should I follow?

Thanks!

Shannon on December 28, 2016:

Please stop making pears sound small. That is BS. Pears have smaller rib cages and their breasts are average and match that small rib cage. Remember Barney Five. Stop losing the pear. She is an ovary body type, does not need implants. The apples have a wide rib cage. Doctor's think of them as a barrel body type. Actual breast size not rib size. Pears are cute and dominate the world. They ovulate better and can have babies in their 40's. Besides, they are estrogen dominate. I'm tired of years of bullying for just a smaller rib cage and petite tiny arms. Apples never diet and are always picking on pears for their manly frame!

Caligirl310 on December 10, 2016:

I just have to say that although the idea behind this article is good, the way it was written t glorify the "hour shape" body type could be a bit off putting for some.

It came across to me like the other body types really have to cover up. Felt kind of shameful....

Susan Hazelton (author) from Sunny Florida on December 27, 2015:

@RealRealMe true, if a person dresses for their body type it can make a world of difference in how they look and feel.

RealRealMe on December 27, 2015:

Everyone can look attractive, regardless of the figure shape, if dressed correctly. Clothing allows to do some visual figure corrections. Very useful post, thanks a lot.

I found some more information, maybe it will be useful for someone:

http://likelyyou.com/2015/07/18/dominant-body-shap...

Tricia Adair on October 01, 2015:

It's really hard when you not young anymore and your trying to not dress like your old,its just so confusing on what to wear

miss on December 23, 2014:

The straight body type suggestions aren't actually very helpful...the key is to try to define the waist by utilizing belts, full skirts that nip in the waist, etc. A straight skirt makes them look even more flat and dimensionless - trust me, I am this body type.

Susan Hazelton (author) from Sunny Florida on September 28, 2013:

shikhagautum, It's interesting how it6 seems to change your shape when you do dress for your body type.

shikkha from India, Mumbai on August 27, 2013:

nice tips i love that information where you have explain types of body shape, what to wear and what to aviod.

Susan Hazelton (author) from Sunny Florida on August 07, 2013:

Thanks Vislhakha Bajaj

Susan Hazelton (author) from Sunny Florida on December 24, 2011:

Ruchi, Thanks for reading.

Ruchi Urvashi from Singapore on December 23, 2011:

Very interesting read..I got information for my body type and will try to follow the suggested dress coding..

Susan Hazelton (author) from Sunny Florida on October 10, 2011:

anginwu, I don't think anyone fits perfectly into a category. You just need to use the one that fits the best.

anglnwu on October 09, 2011:

Very good tips. I wonder what body type I'm since I don't seem to fit into any--I think I'm probably in the sraight category. Interesting and rating it up.

Susan Hazelton (author) from Sunny Florida on March 22, 2011:

Your welcome, ChrissyDean. The right clothes really do make a tremendous difference.

ChrissyDean on March 22, 2011:

I am terrible at shopping in general. This hub has helped...thank you!

Susan Hazelton (author) from Sunny Florida on March 03, 2011:

Delores, how true that is. On one person an outfit may look like a designer piece on another it may look bargain basement.

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on March 03, 2011:

Hi, Koffee! You are so right about dressing for body shape. So often we try on an outfit that is trendy or just looks great but looks terrible on. The right clothing for personal shape makes a huge difference!

Susan Hazelton (author) from Sunny Florida on December 01, 2010:

Thanks Pickchic18. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for visiting.

Sarah Carlsley from Minnesota on December 01, 2010:

This is a WONDERFUL hub, and so incredibly useful for everyone. Great job!

Susan Hazelton (author) from Sunny Florida on July 09, 2010:

I have heard of the body slimmer and often wondered how effective they are. I am glad to hear it works. I certainly need one.

Irene on July 08, 2010:

I read something similar before. Matching your clothes with your body types really help. In fact, it is better to try the clothes before buying. At the moment, I am wearing body slimmer to arrest my fluctuating weight problem which so far is the best decision that I ever made to date.

Irene of http://www.bodyslimmer.org

Susan Hazelton (author) from Sunny Florida on June 21, 2010:

when I first started looking into body types I thought the same thing. Thanks for stopping in.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on June 21, 2010:

This is an interesting hub. There are more body types than I realized. I thought it was just an apple or a pear. Anyway, I enjoyed your article

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