How to Dress for Your Body Shape
If you've ever had the experience of trying on a dress that looked great on the store mannequin but didn't flatter you at all, you've probably encountered the phenomenon of body type dressing. There's a reason certain silhouettes and fabrics look great on you and others simply don't do you justice. Knowing, and dressing for, your body type can help you look great all the time.
Dressing the Circle Body Type
If you typically gain weight near your waist but have slim arms and legs, you may be the circle body type. The key to a flattering look for this style is to keep things loose around your torso but show off those great arms. A maxi dress that hangs from an empire waistline and leaves your arms bare is a great choice for this shape. For chilly weather, pair your maxi dress with a slim-fitting, open cardigan or a loose shawl or wrap.
Tunic and Leggings for the Circle Shape
Another great look for the circle shape is tight leggings and a loose tunic. The tunic will skim over your middle, while the leggings will allow you to show off those sexy legs.
You also look great in the following styles and fabrics:
- Heavier knitwear and woven materials
- Low necklines
- Dresses cut on the bias
- Long jackets
Dressing the Triangle Body Shape
If your shoulders and bust are narrower than your hips, you may be the triangle body shape. Flattering your shape is all about adding volume to your shoulders and choosing cuts that skim over your hips.
This striped tunic has oversized sleeves that stand out from the body, adding the illusion of wider shoulders. The dark belt shows off the narrow waist, common in triangle body types, and the slim-fitting black skirt makes the hips appear narrower.
Best Dress for a Triangle Body Shape
Triangle body types actually have a lot of options when it comes to dresses. You'll want to continue adding volume to the sides of the shoulders, as in the pretty ruffled sleeves of this look. You can choose either a slim-fitting skirt or a full skirt with a narrow waist. A v-neck, such as in this dress, widens the shoulders.
In addition to this dress silhouette, look for clothing with these characteristics:
- Ruffles or details on the upper part of the dress or top
- Layers and scarves
- Cinched waistlines and belts
- Bright colors on top
Dressing the Inverted Triangle Body Shape
If your shoulders and bust are wider than your hips, you may be an inverted triangle shape. Lots of different styles look great on the beautiful shape.
One foolproof look is pairing a dark-colored, tight top with a full skirt. The fullness of the skirt adds volume to your hip area, giving the illusion of an hourglass shape. The dark color and tight fit of the top minimizes the width of the shoulders. For even more oomph, choose a top with cut-in sleeves or a lower neckline.
Great Dresses for the Inverted Triangle
A number of dress styles look beautiful on the inverted triangle shape. With your striking shoulders, you can give shape to almost any look. For the most flattering dress style, choose something with a dark top and lighter skirt, and look for an empire waist to give shape beneath the bustline.
Look for these cuts and fabrics as well:
- Flowing, drapy materials
- Minimal shoulder decoration
- Wide shoulder straps
- Strapless tops
Dressing the Rectangle Body Shape
If your body is straight and thin with little definition in the waist area, you may have a rectangle shape. It's important with this shape that you create a defined waist to keep your look feminine.
One great way to define the waist is with a wide, dark belt. You can wear the belt over any bright tunic or dress for instant girly appeal.
Slim Pants for the Rectangle Body Type
Skinny jeans, leggings, and cigarette pants were made for the rectangle body shape. Show off your long, thin legs with these tight looks. You can pair them with layered tops to add volume.
These are a few other characteristics to look for in your clothing:
- Higher necklines
- Jackets with defined waists
- Open backs
- Sheath dresses
Dressing the Hourglass Body Shape
If you have hips and shoulders that are about the same size and have a narrow, defined waist, you may be the curvy hourglass shape. This is the body shape many women strive for.
One of the very best necklines on an hourglass shape is the v-neck. This shape accentuates that proportions of your body, especially if you choose a tighter cut. Pair it with low-waited jeans, especially if they have a slight flare to the leg.
Show off that Hourglass Waist
Waist-defining dresses are ideal for the hourglass shape. Choose a dress with structured shoulder details to draw attention to that area of your body too.
Look for silhouettes with these characteristics:
- Wrap tops
- Simple blouses
- Layer v-necks
- Belted coats
Choose the Best Look for Your Shape
To find out your body type, take a look at yourself in front of the mirror. How wide are you shoulders compared to your hips? How narrow is your waist? Take an honest assessment and choose clothing styles accordingly. Playing up your assets and finding great clothes for any body type can make you feel stylish, beautiful, and confident.