Dressing for Your Shape

Where has the desire to dress well gone? It pains me to see the way many women dress themselves. They’ve got curves and hide them, or they’ve got great legs but cover them under long skirts or maxi dresses. And when did it become ok to ditch the jeans for leggings day-after-day? Ladies, please take my advice when I say, men want to see you put effort into yourself. And it doesn’t take much. I am not asking you to spend hours in front of the mirror perfecting the latest makeup trend or spend thousands on a new wardrobe. It doesn’t require designer tags or an expensive stylist to look pulled together and on-point. All it takes is knowing what shape your body is, finding pieces that compliment it, and having some self-pride. Despite what anyone tells you, first impressions are based on looks. You only get one chance to present your best self (always).

Not all bodies are created equally. And thankfully, because how boring of a world it would be if they were. Dressing for your shape is the key. But before you can dress for your shape, you must know which shape you are. Below are the four most common shapes many women’s bodies fall into and some basic suggestions for dressing for the shape.

  • Pear (triangle) – You consider yourself to have fuller hips and rear with narrow shoulders. Dressing for a Pear shape is all about drawing the attention upward. Think powerful tops and statement accessory pieces such as necklaces and earrings (but not both, please). The trick is to make the body appear long. A trendy haircut helps too!

  • Hourglass (no geometry reference available) – You are described as curvy with a well-defined waist. Your bust-to-hip ratio is just about equal. Dressing for an Hourglass shape requires accentuating your curves. You’ve got them, so flaunt them! Wear form fitting attire that defines that waist and hits in all the right places. No corset needed.

  • Apple (circle/round) – You consider yourself well-proportioned, but without a defined waist and tend to have broad shoulders. Dressing for an Apple shape is all about displaying those legs. You’ve got amazing legs (and/or arms) and they need to be shown. Think anything without a defined waist. These women should own at least one babydoll dress. They’re swingy and super short; perfect for those killer legs!  

  • Athletic (rectangle) – You are described as straight shaped; uniformed. Your shoulders-to-hip ratio is the same and your weight is evenly distributed. Dressing for an Athletic shape requires balance. The key is to keep the tops flowy and the bottoms skinny or the tops form-fitting and the bottoms oversized, but not together. An oversized top with skinny jeans is the perfect go-to choice.

Other factors to consider regarding your shape is your size. Are you petite? Typically, this is classified as being 5’3” and under. Are you tall? Being tall for a female is any height above 5’7”. What about plus sized? According to PLUS Model magazine, plus size is identified as sizes 18 and over. Getting to know what works best on your body all starts with understanding what shape and size your body truly is.

There will always be features that aren’t your favorite, but know that, accept it and dress appropriately for it. No one will ever know your secret if you don’t try to mask it under a muumuu. Additionally, don’t buy for the shape you desire to be or are working towards. Embrace the shape you are today and find styles that flatter your figure and highlight your best assets. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a stack of jeans in your closet labeled “for (or from) my skinny days.” Donate those to someone who will wear them now and buy yourself a pair (or two) that accentuate your rear as it is today. You don’t need to lose weight or change yourself; you just need to dress better for the body you have. Learn to work with it instead of against it. Improve your style = Boost your confidence!

Building your wardrobe and dressing yourself does not have to be frustrating, overwhelming, or a guessing game. This is a brief post on the basics, but there are many online resources available that guide you deeper into how to determine your body shape and dressing for it. Many provide instructions for taking measurements, show outfit options (including where to buy options), and give examples of real-life women who share the same body shape as you.

Next time don’t blame the outfit or the cupcake from yesterday, it simply wasn’t the right purchase for your body shape. And hopefully the tags are still attached, and it can be returned for something that is. You now know the basics of dressing yourself better and shopping can be fun again.

And don’t forget the shoes! A great pair makes the outfit (for all body shapes)!!

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