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How to Dress for Your Body Type

By Lizbeth Perez

Body shape is all about proportion, and fashion is all about dressing those proportions to look their very best. If there is one thing that I learned over the years is just how important dressing for you body type really is. For years, I struggled with finding clothes that fit properly, and by years I really do mean most of my life. Well, I essentially do mean my entire life…


Hour Glass Shape 
I always seemed to focus on the trends instead of focusing on what worked with my body. And try as I might, it always seemed that whatever I really wanted to wear was something that I couldn’t wear because of my body type. I thought I could fight back and now, looking back at photos, I realize that was a battle I lost. Overall, I now realize that I spent too many years wearing ill-fitting clothing only because it in the fashion magazines or on trend: jeans that were too short, hemlines that accentuated my “problem areas” or did nothing to flatter my figure. 


Which Body Type Are You?
As a curvy girl, I now know that I’ll never be able to wear certain things. I know that I can’t wear boxier silhouettes because them make me look big all over and wearing a body-con dress or certain lengths, if not careful, can look almost vulgar or video vixenish on me. I realize now that my biggest mistake was the fact that I focused way too hard on the fact that I’m short or the numbers on the scale instead of focusing on shape. 


Body Types: rectangular, apple, hourglass, and pear (respectively) 
Eventually, when I started to look around I realized that plenty of my taller friends shared the same shape I did, only taller. The same way that some of my thinner friends had the same shape as some of my curvier friends. I realized, that even though each and everyone of us is unique, ultimately our body shapes can be narrowed down to a few general categories: pear, inverted triangle, rectangle, apple and hourglass.

Knowing your body shape is detrimental to finding which fashion trends you can embrace and which you should avoid to keep yourself looking your absolute best. When first trying to figure out your body type try not to focus so much about your weight but instead of the actual shape of your body. Stand in front of a mirror in your underwear and look at your body’s characteristics, don’t focus only on your trouble areas and instead look at the whole picture.  Remember, you may fall into one category or into a blend of two or more. And, once you’ve determined your body shape you can move on to the fun part: dressing in a way that will leave you both looking and feeling amazing.

To help you get started, I’ve compiled a list of the characteristics of the basic body types along with a few tips for each one that you can put to work for your advantage.
Pear body shape

(1) Pear body traits: 

Narrower shoulders and upper torso; weight gain can be seen in hips, legs, and thighs.
Full hips or thighs
A defined waist
Shoulders that are narrower than your hips
A small top half as well as bust


Pear Body Shape 
A. Your best assets: 
Shoulders, torso and flat stomach

B. Your fashion goals: 
Emphasize your waist and arms, add volume to your shoulders and upper body and minimize your hips.



C. Dos and don'ts:

DON'T wear clothing that draws attention to hips and thighs
DO a-line skirts
DO keep hems of pants, skirts and dresses wide to balance the hips.
DO experiment with light-colored tops and dark-colored bottoms
DO boatneck tops, square and cowl necklines.
DO strapless dresses show off arms and even out proportions.
DO styles with ruffles on top.
DO jackets that hit right above the waist.
DO opt for pointy-toed shoes or heels to elongate your legs.
Do short to medium length tops that fall above your hips with fun patterns
DO straight leg or boot cut jeans. No creases, pleats, pockets or patterns.
DO dark trousers make your legs look narrower and longer
DO bold necklaces and scarves that draw the eye up
DO jackets that finish either above or below the widest point of your hips and bottom
DO fitted styles around your waist, always accentuate your waistline
DO empire or wrap dresses
DO straight tapered knee length skirts
DON’T tops that fall on the widest part of your hips
DON’T details and patterns on your thigh and hip area and belts on your hips
DON’T low slung belts worn on the hips 
DON’T ankle straps, kitten heels, or round toe shoes shorten the leg and tend to make you look bulkier

(2) Inverted Triangle body shape

Inverted Triangle body traits: this body shape features a broad chest and wide shoulders which are large in proportion to a narrow waist and hips.


Inverted Triangle Body Shape 
A. Your best asset: 
Your legs

B. Your fashion goals: 
Accentuate your lower body while softening your shoulders and upper body.

C. Dos and don'ts
DO bright colors on bottom.
DO wide-leg pants.
DO full skirts.
DO tops that call attention to your waistline.
DO experiment with high-waisted styles.
DO look for clothes that create the illusion of a waist.
DON'T spaghetti-strap tops.
DON'T boatneck tops.

(3) Rectangle body shape

Rectangle body traits: 
Your shoulders, waist and hips are all about the same width
You have a small- medium bust
You are balanced and your waist is not defined
Slender rectangles have an athletic look about them.


Rectangle Body Shape 
A. Your best assets: 
Your arms and legs — and you don't have to minimize any body features.

B. Your fashion goals: Create curves and show off slender legs and arms.



C. Dos and don'ts
If your body is rectangle-shaped, then your main goal is to create curves where they don't necessarily exist.

DO scoop neck and sweetheart tops create curves.
DO tops that are boat neck or scooped neck
DO long belted jackets create a lean look.
DO tops with collars, ruffles and details flatter your chest.
DO a good bra that will make the most of what you have.
DO layer add more dimensions. 
DO tops and jackets that emphasize the waist
DO go for loose dresses with waist defining belts
DO skinny jeans 
DO consider slightly flared trousers as they will add more shape to your body
DO dresses with ruching. Cinches on sides are ideal.
DO have fun with colorful bottoms... feel free to experiment.
DON’T anything that’s boxy, shapeless or plane and straight

(4) Apple body shape

Apple body traits: 
Wider back and upper body
Medium to large bust
No defined waist and a bit of a tummy
Thinner legs and a flatter bottom
Most of your weight accumulates above the hips, which are narrow.
Your back, ribs and shoulders are broad, and you may feel wider than other body types.


Apple Body Shape
A. Your best asset: 
Those legs!


B. Your fashion goals: 
Elongate the torso, show off your legs and use fashion to create the illusion of a waist.




C. Dos and don'ts
DO monochromatic looks.
DO go for v-neck tops to create the illusion of a longer torso.
DO wear belts at the smallest part of your waist.
DO conceal tummy bulge by wearing empire tops and dresses.
DO boot cut and flared jeans create an even line from the shoulders down.
DO shorter skirts show off your legs and draw attention away from your midsection.
DO get measured for a properly fitted bra. Lifting the bust line is important and will help to start the waist definition.
DO create vertical lines and an illusion of a longer torso by wearing long necklaces, v-necks, embellished necklines, and shoulder details that draw the eye up.
DO conceal tummy bulge by wear tunics or empire cut tops and dresses that skim over your midsection.
DO A-line and knee length skirts
DO boot cut and flared pants 
DO belts at the smallest part of your waistline
DO wedge shoes
DON’T shapeless garments
DON’T bulky jackets and coats
DON’T tight clingy T-shirts
DON’T high necklines
DON’T high waisted pants
DON’T short boxy tops

(5) Hourglass body shape

Hourglass body traits: 
Your shoulders and hips are similar in proportion and set off by a tiny waist.


Hourglass Figure
A. Your best assets: Curves, curves, curves!

B. Your fashion goals: Show off your curves... without going overboard.

C. Dos and don'ts
DON'T hide your curves with baggy clothing.
DO wear a good bra and showcase your bust.
DO wear fitted dresses.
DO wear a belt at the waist to enhance your hourglass shape.
DO try wrap dresses.
DO go for high-waisted skirts to show off your hips.
DO pick thin, lightweight styles and fabrics.
DO wear skinny or straight leg jeans.
DO Opt for flat front boot cut trousers, preferably with some stretch
DO stick darker colors on top to make your chest appear smaller.
DO keep tops relatively simple, and smooth
DO tailored single breasted jackets with defined V-necklines.
Do flat-front, mid-rise, wide waist-band, boot-cut jeans 
Skinny or straight leg jeans can be a DO if you match them with A-line tunics, dresses and heels
DO belted coats with a V neck line. (think classic trench coat)
DON’T fussy styles and details that create additional volume around your bust, tummy, or thighs 
DON’T boxy jackets, or double breasted styles 

There you have it fashionistas--tips on how to dress for your body type. You do not have to be a celebrity with a professional personal stylist to look your best. Keep in mind the tips that I provided you. What is your body type and what do you think flatters you the most? 

Until next time... signing-off from Miami, xoxo.   





1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you may want to use another word besides "detrimental" in your article. It seems to be used incorrectly ;)

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