Dressing for Your Body

Dressing for Your Body Type 101

We women come in all different shapes and sizes and clothing is just as varied. When it comes to looking our best and feeling good about our body, our fashion choices make a big impact. Certain styles may exacerbate something we want to downplay while others smooth out our problem areas and make us look better and more proportioned. If you are lost when it comes to picking the right type of clothing for your body type, the following can help get you started in making the best choices for your wardrobe. When we look good, we feel good.

Dressing for Your Body

Vertical Body Type

Your vertical body type is the proportions of your upper and lower half.  Your vertical body type will chiefly help determine the best length for tops and bottoms.

Short Legs, Long Torso

If you have short legs and a long torso, you want to choose fashions that make your legs look longer and your upper body look shorter. Good choices include accessories, such as jewelry and scarves, that draw attention towards your shoulders and face, short and medium-length tops, tucked in shirts (avoid if you are heavy around the middle), layered tops, medium and light-colored shirts paired with dark bottoms, medium and wide belts, straight skirts, straight or boot-leg pants and medium to high heels. Avoid long tops (especially if you are short), skirts and pants with dropped waistbands, tight skirts or pants, tapered skirts or pants or cropped pants.

Long Legs, Short Torso

If you have long legs and a short torso, you want to create a more balanced look where your upper and lower body is better proportioned. Good style picks include anything that draws attention downward such as printed skirts and pants, light bottoms paired with darker tops, medium to long tops, untucked shirts, dresses and tops that flow at the waist, pants and skirts with narrow waistbands or no waistbands, straight skirts, flared skirts, low-rise pants, straight pants and flared pants. Avoid pin stripes, short tops, shirts and dresses with empire lines, wide belts, high-waistband skirts and pants, tapered skirts, and tapered pants.

Horizontal Body Type

Your horizontal body type is determined by the relationship between your chest, hips and waist. This will determine the best types of styles to wear.

Hourglass Figure

If you have an hourglass figure, your hips and bust are the same width and you have a narrow, well-defined waist. Items to focus on in your wardrobe include flowing fabrics, medium to low necklines, set-in sleeves, three-quarter length sleeves, dresses and tops that flow through the waist, A-line skirts and flared pants. Stay away from tapered skirts, tapered pants, big collars, stiff, bulky fabrics, high necklines and styles that draw attention to your shoulders.

Rectangle Figure

If you have a rectangle figure, your bust and hips are about equal width with little waist definition.

Good style choices include semi-fitted clothes, short sleeves and sleeveless shirts and dresses (provided you have firm upper arms), wrap dresses, dresses with a flowing waistline, straight pants, A-line shirts and gently flared pants. Steer clear of clingy fabrics, fitted clothes, low necklines, baggy clothes and narrow skirts.

Apple Shape

If you have an undefined waist, have a round appearance, are thicker around the middle and have wide hips, you have what is called an ‘’apple shape.’’

Flattering fashions include earrings and other accessories that draw the eyes upward towards your shoulders and face, shoulder pads, loose-fitting clothes, semi-fitted clothes, outfits with tops and bottoms in the same color, low necklines, untucked shirts, shirts and dresses with a flowing waistline, straight pants in flowing fabrics, straight skirts and slightly flared skirts. Keep away from clingy fabrics, fitted clothes, narrow pants and skirts, tapered pants and skirts, pleats, belts, large lapels, large-patterned fabrics and high necklines.

Pear Shape

If you are smaller up top, have a small, defined waist and fuller thighs and/or bottom, you have a pear shape.

Flattering fashions include anything that draws attention to your upper body, like jewelry or patterned tops, short-sleeved shirts, boot leg pants, straight pants, low rise pants, medium to high necklines, clothing that emphasizes your waist, and straight or slightly flared dresses and skirts. Avoid baggy clothing, stiff fabrics, anything that bulks up your hips, hems at hip-line, open pleats, tapered skirts and tapered pants.


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