Fashion Tips for Your Body Shape

Danielle Jennings
women with different body shapes

While it may be tempting to buy clothing for the figure you wish you had, the fact is that you should dress the body you have in the best way possible. Arguably, all women have an area on their body that they aren't too happy with, which is fine, but just remember that even your perceived flaws can be dressed to look pretty nice by choosing the right clothing for your body type. Fashion should be comfortable; if it's not, you won't feel as confident, and confidence is always the most important thing to wear.

Determine Your Body Type

Once you know what your designated body type is, dressing yourself is a lot easier -- and even fun -- because you know what to stay away from and what looks best. While there are a myriad of body type combinations, there are four main types that all women fall into in some way.

  • Apple: This body type is essentially rounded all over with thinner legs and arms. This body type also lacks a defined waist-line and a can alternate between a smaller or fuller bust area.
  • Pear: This shape is characterized by having a smaller upper body in comparison to your lower half. The waist area is defined and smaller than the hip and thigh area, while the upper body sports a small bust, arms and long neck.
  • Hourglass: Widely known as the ideal body type, hourglass figures are highlighted by a very small waist area in comparison to their hip/thigh region. The bust area can be both average or full size. Generally, this body type is curvy all over.
  • Rectangle: This is the body type that is commonly seen in athletes and runway models. Known as "the boyish figure", rectangle body types have slim hips, thighs and waist areas. The rear area lacks curves and the bust tends to be on the smaller side.

Fashion Tips for Apples

If you're an apple, the following tips can help you optimize your look.

Choose the Best Colors, Prints and Patterns for Apple Shapes

dark top and slimming jeans for an apple figure

Since this body type is rounded all over, you want to opt for colors that provide a significant slimming effect.

  • Select dark neutrals, like natural black hues, navy, chocolate brown, forest green, deep aubergine, and charcoal gray.
  • Try an all over color, such as a monochromatic look. It instantly slims, but you can certainly wear different colors at once as long as they don't cut off at the mid-section.
  • In addition, be sure to keep darker colors on the bottom when combining them with lighter/brighter colors.
  • Avoid overly busy prints or patterns because they can easily make you look like a mass of fabric.
  • Instead opt for subtle prints like horizontal stripes, small polka dots, hounds tooth and gingham.
  • Prints and patterns tend to complement fuller figures when placed on the lower half of the body, so take this into consideration as you select your clothing.

Wear Flattering Fabrics

The fabric that you choose for your body type is just as important as the clothing itself. If you select fabric that isn't flattering, it can draw attention to problem areas, make you look larger and provide a jumbled silhouette.

  • Steer clear of shiny, overly clingy fabrics that lack a generous amount of stretch, these would include: satin, spandex, chiffon and rayon.
  • Choose fabrics that have substance, lots of room, and skim your curves.
  • Matte jersey is one of the best fabrics, while cotton, wool blends and viscose also works wonders for this body type.
  • However, you may find many garments are made from a variety of fabrics, some you should wear and some you shouldn't -- in this case you must make the choice of what is the most complementary look for you.

Pick the Right Accessories

The most essential accessory that an apple-shaped girl needs is a belt.

  • Belts help to create the illusion of a waist-line, streamline the tummy area, and add overall dimension and definition.
  • Actually, wear anything that has a belt, whether top, jacket, dress, skirt or pants, whenever possible.
  • Long, chain-link necklaces are also a good accessory choice because they draw the eye downward, away from the rounded mid-section, creating the illusion of a longer torso.
  • The slim legs of an apple shape are the highlight, so feel free to wear eye-catching high heels that draw attention to this area of the body.

Fashion Tips for Pears

If you have a pear shape, you can highlight your best features using the following tips.

Draw attention to the upper half with a pear shape.

Create Balance With Color and Pattern

There is a large contrast between the top and lower halves of a pear-shaped figure, so take note of this when selecting colors, prints and patterns.

  • The small top half of a pear shape is ripe for the addition of colors from wide ends of the spectrum, so feel free to experiment.
  • However, the lower half is much more curvy, so it's best to go for darker shades to slim the rear, hip, and thigh area.
  • If you opt for one specific color all over, make sure it falls in the middle in terms of vibrancy.
  • Wear bold prints and patterns on the upper half of your pear shape, but choose smaller patters or solids that don't add bulk to your curvy lower half.
  • Avoid an all-over print because it draws attention to the larger areas and throws them off balance.

Pick the Best Fabrics for Pear Shapes

Form-fitting fabrics are flattering to a pear shape because they equally accentuate your petite upper body and your curvy lower half.

  • Matte jersey, cotton, polyester-blends and viscose are all good choices.
  • Avoid fabrics that are overly heavy like leather, wool, and chunky knits that add bulk.
  • If you do choose to wear these fabrics, keep them on the upper part of your body only because they make the lower half appear larger.

Accessorize Your Shape

Choose accessories that draw attention to your best features.

  • Celebrate your upper half and accessorize your clothing with scarves that draw attention to your neckline, while also elongating it.
  • Choose dramatic earrings that are wide or long in length, as well as lengthy necklaces to accentuate the top half of your body.
  • High heels are your best friend if you are a pear-shaped girl because they elongate your curvy legs and give them a more streamlined look.
  • Pointed toes are best, but round toes, platforms and chunky heels can work, too.
  • However, avoid heels with ankle-straps or those that come up on the ankle, depending on your leg size. Since most pear shapes have curvy legs, ankle boots, booties or heels with ankle-straps cut the leg line off and make them look bigger.

Fashion Tips for Hourglasses

If you're an hourglass, you can highlight your best features with careful choices.

Accent the waist of an hourglass figure.

Choose the Right Colors and Prints

Fortunately, hourglass bodies are very curvy and can wear most any color, so there really isn't much to avoid.

  • If you are a little more modest when it comes to your lower half, then you may want to steer clear of extremely light colors on the bottom half of your body.
  • Colors like white, ivory, cream, light pink, canary yellow and baby blue could easily make your lower body appear larger.
  • The choice to wear prints and patterns is pretty much the same as color; most look good on your figure because of its ideal proportions, but be mindful that busier patterns and prints will make the bottom half look larger.

Make Fashionable Fabric Choices

The killer curves of this body type should always be highlighted, so any fabric that is form-fitting is always flattering.

  • Spandex, matte jersey, leather and cotton are just a few of the fabrics that are sure to have your hourglass curves on full display.
  • Overly heavy fabrics can be a little overwhelming to your petite upper half, so wear with caution.
  • Wear chunky knits and bulky wool sparingly so you don't get lost in mounds of fabric.

Accessorize Your Hourglass Figures

Anything accentuating that small waist is an accessory you should always incorporate into your wardrobe.

  • Belts, sashes and ties in tops, dresses, pants or skirts are all flattering choices.
  • Both high heels and flats are flattering to your hourglass figure, however if your legs are a little more curvy, you may want to avoid shoes/boots that cut off at the ankle.
  • Also, if you are short in height, you flats should contain just a bit of a heel to provide an overall streamlined silhouette.

Fashion Tips for Rectangles

For this boyish figure, you can easily flatter with the right clothes.

Form fitting fabrics flatter a rectangle body shape.

Create Curves

This body type is all about creating curves.

  • Chooselight and bright colors. They naturally make your body look bigger because they reflect the light.
  • Dark hues work as well, and will outline your silhouette, but they will slim you down instead of providing the illusion of curves.
  • Prints and patterns also create the same effect as light/bright colors, so give your rectangle shape a curvier appearance and feel free to wear them big and bold.
  • Rectangle shapes can actually handle bold prints and patterns the best because they don't have curves to break up the silhouette.

Pick Form-Fitting Fabrics

Boxy, heavy fabrics like wool, leather, and chunky knits don't do much for a rectangle body shape because they don't hug the body, so the boyish appearance still remains.

  • Select stretchy fabrics like matte jersey, spandex, and cotton, as well as clingy ones like satin and silk. These skim the body and outline the curves.
  • Since rectangles need to create the illusion of a waistline and curvy hips, rear and thighs, the tighter the fabric the better, because it tricks the eye.

Select Accessories That Flatter Rectangle Shapes

Belts help to create the illusion of a defined waist.

  • Wear belts directly on the waist, slightly above, or low-slung on the hips to add needed mass and bulk to an otherwise boxy figure.
  • Chunky necklaces add bulk to the small bust, while long earrings open up the neckline.
  • As a rectangle shape, your shoe options are limitless because heels of all heights look great and flats are quite flattering as well. Even heels that cut off at the ankles can be flattering because of your slim leg and ankle area.

Dress to Impress

Experiment with fabrics, colors, and styles to come up with looks that are fresh and flattering, but don't obsess over having a 'perfect' body. When you accept your natural body shape, fashion tips can help you accentuate your unique beauty.

Fashion Tips for Your Body Shape