Everyone's bodies are unique (and beautiful!), and fashion should always be about feeling fabulous about how you look, feel, and who you are. You probably have tons of outfit inspirations on your Pinterest boards, and maybe you've tried some that don't work for you. Rather than chalking it up to being too big, small, short, tall, etc., learn how to dress according to your body type. Work with your body instead of against it.

Determining Your Body Type

First and foremost, you have to determine your body type before you can learn to work with it. Although there are various characteristics outside of the typical body types, let’s keep it simple and go through the standard female shapes:

  • Hourglass Figure
  • Apple or Round
  • Pear
  • Rectangle
  • Inverted Triangle

Whether you’re wondering which you are or already have a good guess, you can determine your body type with a few measurements. You’ll need a cloth measuring tape or a piece of yarn long enough to fit around the largest point of your body. Assess and write down each of these four different measurements before moving to the next section.


Measuring your shoulders can be relatively complex, so having someone help you is the best option. Start at the tip of one shoulder and wrap the measuring tape horizontally around your body until you get back to where you started.


Be sure to stand up straight, as you need to measure the fullest part of your bust. Begin at the fullest part of your chest and wrap the tape around your body under your arms. The tape shouldn't be too tight around your bust, but it should sit comfortably.


Don't slouch or suck in your stomach, as it will skew your measurement. Start at the slimmest part of your waist – usually above your belly button but below your ribcage – and wrap the tape around your midsection until you get back to where you began.


To get the most accurate measurement of your hips, you'll need to include the fullest part of your buttocks. Start at one hip and wrap the tape around your buttocks and other hip until you get back to the beginning. It's helpful to take this measurement in front of a mirror to ensure the tape stays level throughout.

Hourglass Figure

You most likely have a narrow, defined waist if you have an hourglass figure. Your bust and hips are about the same width, but your waist is distinctively smaller. In most cases, you can visually see the difference between your waist and the rest of your body, but you can measure to be sure. Your bust and hips will likely be within an inch or two of each other, and your waist will contrast between three and five inches.

How To Dress

You have a well-balanced figure, so your clothes should complement you. Your clothes should work to define your figure and show off your curves; as a result, form-fitting garments will look best on you. Make the most of it since not everyone has this shape.

What To Wear

The best options for the hourglass figure are dresses or skirts that cinch in the waist. Because you likely have a larger bust, you should opt for scoop or boat neck tops for a more modest look. In addition, peplum tops and empire waist dresses are great options because they accentuate your waistline.

What Not To Wear

Avoid high neck tops like turtlenecks, pants with inseam pockets, and loose-fitting tops and bottoms. These styles may take away from your beautiful figure and make you look boxy or frumpy. Embrace your feminine figure with clothes that highlight your shape.

Apple or Round

You fall under the apple category if your upper body is wider than the lower part of your body. You probably have broad shoulders and a bigger bust, and it might feel like your weight gathers around your midsection.

How To Dress

Since you carry most of your weight above your hips, your midsection may appear heavier, and you might not have a defined waistline. The best option is to draw attention away from your core and flaunt your strengths instead!

What To Wear

A-line or empire dresses are good options for the apple shape, and printed jackets will add a layer to shift the outfit's focus. Dark colors and monochrome looks are your best friends, and flared bottoms will help create balance.

What Not To Wear

Avoid form-fitting tops and dresses. Additionally, pairing skinny jeans with figure-hugging tops will make your figure more visible, creating an unbalanced look.


If your hips and thighs are visually bigger than your upper body, you fall into the pear category. You probably have narrow shoulders, a larger bust, and wide hips. Your weight gathers around your bottom half.

How To Dress

Luckily for you, it's very straightforward to dress with a pear-shaped body. Dress to accentuate your lower half or create a balance between your upper and lower halves.

What To Wear

Wearing A-line women's boutique skirts and dresses with patterns or ruffles at the top work to add definition to your upper body. In addition, skinny jeans with looser tops help balance you out and create an hourglass illusion.

What Not To Wear

You don't have to avoid much when you have a pear shape. However, avoid pairing form-fitting tops with loose bottoms unless you like the look.


You fall into the rectangle category if your shoulders and hips are approximately the same size and don’t have a defined waistline.

How To Dress

Your arms and legs are your most significant assets, and you should dress to enhance them! Think of your body like an hourglass figure without a defined waist.

What To Wear

A-line skirts with ruffled, layered tops will create definition and contrast to produce an hourglass illusion. Strapless, sleeveless, and sweetheart necklines are your best friends!

What Not To Wear

Avoid form-fitting tops with skinny jeans, as this ensemble will accentuate your lack of curves. Additionally, overarching dresses will consume your body and can make you look frumpy.

Inverted Triangle

You fall into the inverted triangle category if your shoulders are much wider than your hips. Additionally, you probably don't have much difference between your waist and hips.

How To Dress

Wearing straight-leg jeans or dresses with an inverted V look are the best options for your shape. Try to focus on creating balance by adding definition to your hips.

What To Wear

Pencil skirts and skinny jeans will look great on you, but avoid layering on your top half. Since V-neck lines create the illusion of narrower shoulders, a solid-colored version of this top is the perfect option and should be your go-to choice.

What Not To Wear

Since the goal is to draw the attention away from your shoulders, you should consider wearing prints or patterns on the bottom and keep it neutral on the top.

Although you can and should wear the styles you want, knowing how to dress according to your body type can help you highlight your most prominent assets. All body types are beautiful, and you should always be able to wear your clothes with confidence.

How To Dress According to Your Body Type

June 15, 2022 — Monica Spruiell