Most people know what looks good on them – either instinctively or from years of practice – but it doesn’t hurt to have an understanding of dressing for different body types. You never know it might take your style to the next level and give you some new hints and tips.
Whatever your height, weight and body fat content, there’re essentially five main body shapes: hourglass, pear, apple, rectangle and inverted triangle. Some style experts claim there’re up to 12 types of body shapes, but as data suggests many women identify their body type incorrectly, that might just be getting a bit too complicated!
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Hourglass figures tend to be curvy, with smaller waists. They tend to have a full bust and hips that are similarly proportioned, and shapely legs. This body shape looks great if they play to their curves and don’t try to hide them, and wear items of clothing that nip in at the waist. Their nemesis is baggy clothing that makes them look bigger than they are and doesn’t highlight their best attributes. Wrap dresses, pencil skirts, tops that tie at the back or jumpers with belts all are perfect for an hourglass shape. In celebrity terms, hourglass stars include Marilyn Monroe, Raquel Welch, Lynda Carter, Kelly Brook and Kate Winslet.
Pear ladies tend to be all booty with curvier hips thighs and bottoms, with a smaller bust, narrow shoulders and defined waist. These figures suit outfits that draw attention to the top half by using different textures, patterns, zip and other interesting features, and bold jewelry. A lot of pears like to minimize their bottom half and good ways of doing that are dark colors with minimal detail. A-line dresses also look great on a pear shape, as well as layers and nipped in waists. Celebrity pears include Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Shakira and Rihanna.
Apple shapes often have great legs and busts, fuller shoulders and a fuller middle. Apples look great when they highlight their cleavage, create a straight silhouette in one color or use lots of vertical lines. Ruched t-shirts, tailored jackets and dresses with a waistline just below the bust look lovely, as do patterned or asymmetrical tops. A-Lister apples include Catherine Zeta Jones, Angelina Jolie and Drew Barrymore.
Rectangle figures tend to have fewer curves, with flatter bottoms and smaller to medium breasts; waists are less defined and hips are a similar width to shoulders. The good news is that this is one of the easiest body types to dress, although if rectangles do gain a little weight it often tends to be round their midsection. Rectangles should show off their arms and legs, and tend to look amazing in skinny jeans. As a general rule, clothes that create curves really suit this body shape. Celebrities with this body type are Cameron Diaz and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Inverted triangles tend to have larger busts, proportionately narrower hips and thighs, and often slim legs. Adding more volume and focusing around your hip line works well, as do wide belts to create an illusion of a waist. Darker colors on your top half are a good idea too. Avoid styles that accentuate your top half, like puff sleeves and ruffles. Celebrity inverted triangles are Demi Moore, Rene Zellweger, Naomi Campbell and Pamela Anderson.
In reality, many women do fall between two body types – say a cross between a pear and a hourglass – so don’t worry too much if your body type doesn’t immediately stand out to you. Sometimes a combination of the two is just perfect.
What body type do you fall under?