How to: Dress for Your Body Type

“Does this dress make me look fat?”

This is the dreaded question you’ll hear women ask when they are out shopping at some point. Unfortunately, this is asked because most were never taught how to dress for their body type.

Mainstream fashion would have you think that “one size fits all” truly works, but the truth is that different body types, skin tones and hair types all require accommodation when it comes to style.

The models you see in fashion shows typically have column-type bodies; meaning that neither their shoulders nor their hips protrude outward. Because slender, column-types can easily don most clothing, many designers choose this body type as their go-to.

In reality, the majority of bodies do not fit this model. Adding to this is the issue that many people don’t know what body type they are – making dressing a difficult feat.

For those who are figure-challenged, below are some common types that are typically overlooked by designers.

The pear shape:

The pear body type is mainly characterized by wider hips. If you are pear-shaped and find yourself at odds with your figure, a word of advice is to dress your lower half in loose layers. A-line dresses and skirts do wonders if you’re trying to take the attention away from your broad hips. A-line shaped clothes literally mimic the letter “A” – they start out small around the top and flare out at the bottom.

The apple shape:

The apple shape is trademarked by a wider midsection and is often partnered with a large bust. With this body type, the goal is to take attention away from the natural waist area. One way to avoid drawing attention to this area is to wear clothing that drapes loosely around the waist and cinches it in. When using this look, try to avoid cinching in directly under the bust, which will only increase the visibility of your midsection. Position your belt or sash over the fullest part of your mid-section to achieve the ideal look for this shape.

The inverted triangle:

The inverted triangle is a look largely characterized by broad shoulders and a large bust. Dressing for this body type is fairly similar to the dressing for the pear-shaped body type. A-line works great with top heavy body types because it’s narrow where it needs to be. Empire waistlines also look great on this shape by shortening the appearance of the upper body and redistributing the attention downward.