In an industry where fashion is constantly evolving, with trends shifting at a breakneck pace, it can be all too easy to feel like our bodies are not good enough. However, the truth is that every body shape is unique and beautiful in its own way, providing a rich source of inspiration for designers and fashion lovers alike.
From the graceful curves of an hourglass figure to the lean lines of an athletic build, our diverse types of body shapes have their own distinct strengths and qualities that deserve to be celebrated. And this is where understanding the five most common body shapes becomes invaluable.
So let us embrace different types of body and revel in the beauty of our individuality, knowing that we are all uniquely and wonderfully made.
How to Determine Your Body Shape
Discovering how many types of body shape are there and which one is yours is a key step in understanding how to dress in a way that flatters your natural silhouette. It's a combination of recognizing your physical structure and appreciating the unique characteristics of your body.
Here's a comprehensive guide to help you figure out your body shape:
1. Measuring Your Body
To determine your body shape, you'll need to take accurate measurements of different parts of your body. Use a soft measuring tape and measure the following:
- Shoulders: Measure around your shoulders and back.
- Bust: Measure around the widest part of your chest.
- Waist: Measure around the smallest part of your natural waistline.
- Hips: Measure around the widest part of your hips and buttocks.
- High Hip: Measure around your high hip area.
Keep the tape measure parallel to the floor for accuracy.
2. Using a Body Shape Calculator
A body type calculator can be a useful tool in this process. Once you input your measurements into a calculator, it analyzes the ratios and differences between your shoulders, bust, waist, hips, and high hip to categorize your body shape. These calculators are versatile and can handle measurements in both imperial and metric units.
3. Manual Calculation Methods
You can also determine your body shape manually by comparing your measurements. For example, for a rectangle shape, you might look to see if your waist is less than 25% smaller than your shoulders or bust and if your bust and hips are within 5% of each other.
Remember, minor measurement errors can significantly impact your results. Your body can also go through various changes due to factors like pregnancy, weight gain or loss, and muscle development, which can alter your body shape.
And now, without further ado, let's get started with the part you were waiting for. 5 most common types of body shapes and their comprehensive style guide
1. Apple body shape (Round Body Type)
The apple body shape, often referred to as a round body type, is characterized by broader shoulders, a fuller bust, and a less-defined waistline. This body type typically features a fuller mid-section, which can appear top-heavy, and is complemented by slender legs and arms.
How to Dress for an Apple Body Shape?
When it comes to dressing an apple body shape, the key is to balance out the upper body while accentuating the lower body. This creates a more harmonious silhouette. To achieve this:
- Necklines: Choose necklines that break up the chest vertically. Wide and low necklines, like a low V-neck, are ideal as they elongate the body and draw attention away from the midsection.
- Layering: Utilize layering to create a sleek outline. Well-fitted blazers or open cardigans add sophistication and depth to your outfit, making the upper body appear more streamlined.
- Bottoms: Wide-leg trousers and bootcut jeans are very flattering as they balance out the wider midsection with the slimmer legs. A-line skirts are another great option as they gently flare out, creating the illusion of a slimmer waist and balancing out the upper body.
- Fabrics: The choice of fabric is key for apple-shaped bodies. It's important to avoid clingy materials that might highlight the wider midsection. Instead, opt for substantial fabrics that offer a smooth silhouette.
Bonus tip: If you love your accessories, then lightweight and minimal accessories will do the job for you. (Thank me later 😀)
What to Avoid for an Apple Body Shape?
Individuals with apple-shaped bodies should be careful with certain clothing styles that may not flatter their figure. Of course, this doesn't mean that they can't wear those styles if they choose to. (These are just some suggestions from one fashion enthusiast to another)
- Clingy Fabrics: Avoid thin, clingy fabrics that highlight the wider midsection. Instead, opt for substantial fabrics that offer a smooth silhouette.
- Boxy Tops: Boxy tops can make the upper body appear broader. Choose tops that flatter the apple body shape.
- Horizontal Stripes on the Upper Body: These can widen the appearance of the torso. Vertical lines or solid colors are more flattering.
- Low Rise Pants: They can cut into the stomach area, creating an unflattering look. Mid-rise styles
Lastly, double-breasted jackets should be avoided as they can add bulk to the upper body. Single-breasted styles with open necklines are a more slimming option.
Celebrity Inspiration: Adele
Through her public appearances and performances, Adele has become a style icon for women with similar body shapes, proving that fashion is not just about size but about understanding and embracing one's body shape.
Her style choices often include outfits that draw attention to her best features, like her full bust, while providing a balance.
Adele frequently opts for empire line dresses, which accentuate her upper body and flow gently over her midsection, creating a flattering profile. She is also known for wearing structured blazers and jackets, which define her silhouette.
2. Hourglass body shape
You can just consider yourself as god's favorite if you have an hourglass body naturally. This typically “perfect body shape” (do not listen to these stereotypes though, every body shape is perfect) is characterized by balanced proportions with the bust and hips nearly equal in size and a significantly narrower waist.
This body type creates a naturally curvy silhouette, resembling the shape of an hourglass. The shoulders are often slightly rounded, and the legs are proportionate to the upper body. And with these features, dressing for this body type is a task that can be done in sleep.
How to Dress for an Hourglass Body Shape?
I know I know, I said you hourglass individuals can wear anything and still look perfect, but still some suggestions can always come in handy.
- Follow Your Natural Silhouette: Opt for clothing that accentuates the curvy silhouette of the hourglass shape. Look for garments that show off your figure without adding unnecessary volume, especially around the hips and shoulders.
- Selecting Tops: Choose tops that maintain the balance of your hourglass shape. Fitted blouses, V-necklines, and wrap tops are great choices. Avoid big ruffles or embellishments that add too much volume to the upper body.
- Choosing Bottoms: Trousers and jeans should be mid- or high-rise to elongate the legs and emphasize the waist. Wide-legged and boot-cut styles are excellent for balancing the proportions of the hourglass figure.
Bonus tip: Use belts or garments that nip at the waist to draw attention to your narrowest point. Dark colors around the waist area can be particularly flattering.
What to Avoid for an Hourglass Body Shape
Even though people with an hourglass figure don’t really need to avoid anything in particular. But if you are focused on not hiding your goddess-like curves, then these are some tips that will help.
- Avoid Shapeless Clothing: Steer clear of garments that are too loose and hide your natural curves, such as oversized sweaters and shapeless tunics.
- Be Cautious with Embellishments: Large, eye-catching embellishments, especially around the bust, shoulders, or hips, can unbalance your natural silhouette.
- Skip Boxy and Straight Cuts: These styles can conceal your waist and make your figure appear less defined.
Last but not least, if you think you have a body that is not exactly an hourglass and lies in the middle of any other body shape as well, do not worry. These tips are still for you.
Celebrity Inspiration: Katrina Kaif
Katrina Kaif, a well-known actress, exemplifies the hourglass body shape. She often chooses outfits that highlight her balanced proportions, showcasing her defined waist and curvy silhouette.
Katrina frequently opts for elegant dresses that cinch at the waist, tailored suits that accentuate her shape, and tops that enhance her bust while maintaining a harmonious overall look.
All we can say is that her fashion choices offer great examples of how to dress elegantly and confidently with an hourglass shape.
3. Pear Body Shape (Triangular Body)
The pear body shape, also known as a spoon body shape, is characterized by a more prominent lower body with wider hips compared to the shoulders, creating a pear-like silhouette. Individuals with this body type often have a well-defined waist, narrower shoulders, and full hips and thighs.
The key to dressing a pear body shape is to accentuate the upper body and balance the broader hips.
How to Dress for a Pear Body Shape
The key to dressing a pear body shape lies in accentuating the upper body and balancing the hip area. Here are some effective strategies:
- Necklines and Collars: Opt for wide and lower necklines like square, bateau, and off-shoulder styles to widen the shoulder and bust areas visually. Cowl necklines can elongate the neck, making it appear longer, which is beneficial for women with a pear shape and a shorter neck.
- Tops and Shirts: Fitted tops help accentuate the waist. Bright colors, bold patterns, and embellishments around the bust and shoulders draw attention upwards. Horizontal stripes can also be effective in highlighting the upper body. Tops should ideally end at the hip line to avoid making the hips appear wider.
- Trousers and Jeans: Choose relaxed fits that fall straight from the widest part of the hip. Mid- or high-waisted styles are preferred. Opt for darker colors and simple stitching to minimize attention to the lower body. Avoid skinny jeans and trousers that emphasize the hips.
Bonus tip: A-line skirts and dresses are excellent as they cinch at the waist and flare out, gracefully accommodating wider hips. Wrap dresses, with their waist-highlighting design, are also flattering.
What to Avoid for a Pear Body Shape
There are some Common Styling Pitfalls that pear-shaped individuals might want to avoid:
- Tops with Volume at the Bottom: These can make the lower half appear bulkier.
- Ultra-Skinny Jeans or Pants: These may overemphasize the hip area.
- Boxy Coats and Jackets: These can make the silhouette appear square and unbalanced.
- Embellishments on the Lower Body: Heavy adornments on pockets or flashy patterns can add visual weight to the hips.
Just wanted to remind you that these suggestions are not set in stone, so feel free to make your own choices based on your personal preferences.
Celebrity Inspiration: Meghan Trainor
Meghan Trainor is a fantastic example of a celebrity with a pear body shape who dresses to accentuate her figure. And her fashion choices demonstrate how pear-shaped individuals can confidently flaunt their curves.
Trainor's style generally includes A-line dresses, tops with bold necklines, and skirts that complement her shape. But lately, her newfound motherhood has also made her inclined towards loose and cozy clothes. Which, by the way, is also a great inspiration for the times you want a chill vibe.
4. Rectangular Body Shape (Straight Body)
The rectangular body shape, also known as the straight body type, is defined by a uniform silhouette where the shoulders, waist, and hips have roughly the same width.
This body type typically features a lean and toned physique, with a more streamlined appearance that may not necessarily emphasize pronounced curves, giving it a more column-like or rectangular look. The key to dressing this body shape is to create visual interest and give the illusion of curves.
How to Dress for a Rectangular Body Shape
Dressing for a rectangular body shape involves enhancing and defining your contour to create an illusion of curves. Here are some tips:
- Necklines: Choose necklines that add curves to your body or make your bust look fuller. V-necks, scoop necklines, asymmetrical, sweetheart, turtlenecks, mandarin, crew, halter, and off-shoulder necklines are excellent choices.
- Jackets and Coats: Straight-cut or belted jackets and coats that cinch at the waist are ideal. Peplum, structured, double-breasted, moto-jacket, and safari jackets are great options. For coats, flared, peplum, structured, trench, oversized lapels, and single-breasted styles work well.
- Tops: Look for tops that create a bit of volume in the shoulder line and softly fall down the silhouette, pulling gently at the waist. Wrap, button-down, belted, ruffle, and bow-neck detail shirts are great options.
Bonus Tip: Opt for sleeves that add volume to your upper body, such as butterfly, puff, bell, rolled-up, cuffed, flutter, raglan, ruffle, and set-in sleeves.
What to Avoid for a Rectangular Body Shape
Avoid clothing that emphasizes the straightness of your body. Instead, focus on adding or lessening dimensions through clothing’s structure or designs.
- Avoid Boxy Jackets and Coats: Steer clear of boxy, cropped, and double-breasted jackets and coats as they can make the silhouette appear more rectangular.
- Avoid Straight-Cut Tops: Stay away from straight-cut tops and tunics, as well as tops with boxy armholes that can make the body appear more linear and less curvy.
- Necklines to avoid: Sabrina, boat, and other square necklines, as they can make the shoulder lines appear sharper.
And if someone ever tells you that you “lack curves,” just show them the way to exit. Because, girl, you look nothing less than a Greek goddess.
Celebrity Inspiration: Zendaya
If you don’t know who Zendaya is, then you are probably living under a dune, and even Spiderman can’t save you. (Get the pun?) Our new-gen MJ is the perfect example of how a rectangular body shape can be the new hourglass.
She often opts for outfits that create visual interest and enhance her silhouette. Zendaya’s style choices, including her preference for structured pieces, belted waists, and playful necklines, showcase how to effectively dress a rectangular body shape while maintaining elegance and flair.
Her ability to balance her straight frame with well-chosen garments serves as an inspiration for those with a similar body type.
5. Inverted triangle body shape
The inverted triangle body shape is characterized by broad shoulders, a larger bust or chest, and a narrower waist and hips, often leading to an athletic and statuesque appearance.
People with this body shape usually have slim legs and arms and little to no waist definition, with their shoulders being wider than their hips.
How to Dress for an Inverted Triangle Body Shape
The main goal when dressing for an inverted triangle body shape is to create balance by emphasizing the lower body and softening the shoulder line. This can be achieved through:
- Softening the Shoulder Line: Choose soft, draping fabrics and avoid wide necklines that broaden the shoulders. Steer clear of patterns, scarves, and embellishments around the neck and shoulders.
- Creating Curves Around the Hips: Wear clothes that add volume to the lower body, like skirts or pants that flare out. Opt for lighter and brighter colors for your bottoms to draw attention to your legs.
- Selecting the Right Necklines: Go for necklines that slim and elongate the upper body, like a deep and narrow scoop, U, or V-neck. Asymmetric styles are also effective in breaking up the chest area.
Bonus tip: Opt for shirts that emphasize the waist and flare from there to the hips. Choose darker colors for tops.
What to Avoid for an Inverted Triangle Body Shape
When dressing an inverted triangle body shape, it's important to avoid styles that add bulk or focus to the shoulders or bust area, such as:
- Avoiding Wide Necklines: Stay away from boat necklines or off-the-shoulder tops as they can broaden the appearance of your shoulders.
- Cautious with Sleeves: Avoid heavy detailing like puff sleeves that draw attention to the wide shoulders.
- Steering Clear of Certain Outerwear: Avoid cropped, double-breasted, or padded jackets that add extra bulk to the upper body.
Also, It's best to avoid wearing tight-fitting trousers or pants with a hemline that is too narrow, as this can accentuate the width of your upper body.
Celebrity Inspiration: Naomi Campbell
Naomi Campbell is a renowned supermodel with an inverted triangle body shape. And even though her fashion choices are generally bold, they exemplify how to use clothing to celebrate and enhance the natural features of the inverted triangle body shape.
Her wardrobe often includes outfits that soften her shoulder line while emphasizing her legs and waist, creating a well-balanced look. She frequently opts for flowing dresses, structured blazers, and wide-leg trousers, all of which flatter her figure.
Campbell's ability to mix tailored and fluid pieces offers a perfect template for those with a similar body shape to create stylish and harmonious outfits. By following her style cues, you can learn to dress in a way that balances your body.
Embracing your body shape is about more than just following fashion trends; it's about celebrating your unique silhouette and dressing in a way that boosts your confidence and style.
Whatever your body shape may be, understanding how to dress for your body shape can transform your wardrobe and your self-image. From choosing the right necklines and fabrics to balancing proportions and playing up your best features, every body shape has its own set of styling principles.
Remember, the key to successful styling lies in accentuating your assets and creating a harmonious silhouette that reflects your personal style. So, dress to impress (yourself) and let your confidence shine!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the best necklines for an apple body shape?
Apple body shapes should opt for V-necks or scoop necks to elongate the torso and draw attention upwards, away from the midsection.
2. Can inverted triangle body shapes wear skinny jeans?
It's better for inverted triangle shapes to avoid skinny jeans as they can accentuate the narrow lower body. Opt for flared or wide-leg styles to balance the silhouette.
3. Are there specific colors that work best for different body shapes
While there's no strict rule, dark colors can be slimming for fuller areas. Brighter colors or patterns can draw attention to your assets.
4. How important are accessories in dressing for my body shape
Accessories play a crucial role. For example, long necklaces can elongate an apple-shaped torso, while wide belts can emphasize an hourglass-shaped waist.
5. Can layering work for all body shapes?
Yes, layering can be beneficial for all body shapes, especially when done strategically to balance proportions and enhance your silhouette.
6. Can body shape change over time?
Yes, body shapes can change due to factors like weight fluctuations, pregnancy, and aging. It's important to reassess your body shape periodically.