Have you ever wondered why the same outfit looks completely different when worn by someone else? That’s because we all have different body shapes and sizes. Therefore, some clothes just “seem” to work better for others.
The key to looking great in any outfit is to understand how to dress for your body type. Understanding your body type will help you choose clothes that flatter and highlight your figure.
Every female body is unique. Therefore, I want you to work with your body, not against it. Remember, clothes are meant to fit you. Our bodies are meant to be celebrated in different ways.
It’s important to learn about the various body types out there. I hope this can help spread awareness about female body shapes and demand more variety in the fashion industry. In fact, brands are listening and extending their clothing size range.
In this post, I will explain the 5 main body types and help you determine which body type is yours. I will also demonstrate how to dress for your body type using proportions, which will tremendously improve your overall outfit.
In addition, I will include a “what is my body shape” quiz to help you determine you body shape.
Pin the image below so that you can reference this later too!
Disclosure: Vain Affair is reader-supported. When you buy through affiliate links on our website, we’ll make a small commission, without impacting your price. Thank you. Learn more.
Disclosure: Vain Affair is reader-supported. When you buy through affiliate links on our website, we’ll make a small commission, without impacting your price. Thank you. Learn more.
How Do I Know My Exact Body Shape?
Ok, so before we learn how to dress for your body type, let’s figure what your body type is!
Grab a flexible measuring tape (not a metal one) and strip down to your undergarments. Stand in front of a mirror or have someone help you measure.
We’re going to need 4 measurements. These numbers will help you determine your body shape. Let’s get started!
- Shoulders -You want to wrap the tape measure loosely around the broadest part of your shoulders, just above your shoulder blades. The tape measure may slip a bit, so it may be helpful if someone could help you out!
- Bust – Next, wrap the tape measure around the fullest part of your bust. You want to make sure the tape measure is snug against your chest, but not so tight that it’s restricting your bust area.
- Waist – You want to wrap the tape measure around your natural waist, which is the narrowest part of your waist. This is typically right above your belly button.
- Hips – Finally, you want to wrap the tape around the fullest part (around your hips & butt) just below your hip bones.
Here’s a helpful graphic I made to guide you:
These 4 measurements are crucial to helping you understand your body type based on measurements, instead of relying on the visual perception of your body shape.
Make sure to stick around for the “what is my body shape” quiz at the end to put everything you learned together.
What Are The 5 Body Types?
Now it’s time to reveal your body shape. Most women typically fall within one of these 5 body shapes: apple, pear, hourglass, rectangle, or inverted rectangle.
Therefore, knowing which one you belong to will help you dress for your body type and flatter your figure nicely.
After we go through the characteristics of each body type, I will include a “what is my body shape” quiz at the end.
Let’s get to it!
1. Apple Body Shape
Curvy bodies with a less defined waist are most likely an apple shape. This body type typically has a larger bust and their shoulders are broader than their hips. It’s also referred to as the round or circle body type.
Overall, this body shape has a heavier upper body compared to their lower body. The broad shoulders and bigger bust tends to give the appearance of more weight gathering in the midriff area.
How To Dress An Apple Body Shape
Those with an apple body shape tend to compensate for their broader upper bodies by buying oversized clothing to hide it. Don’t do it! It will mess up your proportions and create imbalance.
In order to dress for this body type, look for pieces that will highlight your best assets. In this case, it’s the shoulders, neckline, or bust. You’ll also want pieces that accentuate the parts that need more definition, which would be the waist.
✿ Tops For Apple Shapes ✿
- Peplum tops – These tops are constructed with a waist that flows outwards and helps hide unwanted curves near the waist. This is a great option for those with a less defined waist.
- Wrap tops – Wrap tops are designed to help define the waistline, but they’re loose enough, so they won’t accentuate unwanted curves.
- V-Neck tops – Showing off a little bit of the collarbone helps split up and divide a uniformly shaped upper half.
- Dolman sleeves – The airy and voluminous sleeves help increase the volume around your shoulders and arms.
MICHAEL MICHAEL KORS
Short Sleeve Wrap Top, Regular & Petite
Michael Michael Kors elevates the classic striped print of this top with a figure-flattering self-tie to cinch the waistline.
✿ Bottoms For Apple Shapes ✿
- Straight leg pants and jeans – This modern style is not as tight or form-fitting and leaves just the right amount of room. They really flatter apple shapes and help elongate the legs.
- Bootcut pants and jeans – The curved hem helps balance out a curvy silhouette.
- High waisted pants – These help solve two problems. It helps define the waist and draw the eye to the lower half at the same time!
Women’s High-Waist Straight Pants
This high-waist straight pants from MANGO will be an asset to your casual wardrobe.
✿ Dresses For Apple Shapes ✿
- Wrap dress – Like wrap tops, a wrap dress will help create a flattering waistline.
- Off-the-shoulder dress – Dresses that show off your collarbone and shoulders will naturally draw more attention to those lovely shoulders.
- Empire waist – These dresses have a built-in waistline that is higher than the natural waistline. It will make your waistline higher for a dramatic effect.
Calvin Klein: Solid Capelet Empire-Waist Sheath Dress
This dress has a classic empire waist and a sleek silhouette that will flatter your body shape.
2. Hourglass Body Shape
An hourglass body shape has balanced and nearly equal measurements in the shoulders and hips. They also have a well defined waist. It’s also likely that they have a large bust and bigger butt.
How To Dress A Hourglass Shape
When dressing an hourglass figure, you want to avoid anything that makes the body look “boxy.” This body shape has attractive curves, so highlight them!
Dress this body type with body-hugging and structured silhouettes. Also, play to your advantage by using your waist as a focal point. Direct attention to the waist by wearing clothes that cinch in the waist. This will really make your curves stand out.
Not sure if you’re an hourglass shape? Be sure to stick around to the end for the body shape quiz to find out.
✿ Tops For Hourglass Shapes ✿
- Keyhole tops – These tops add a subtle sexy detail and help draw the eye up, while also preventing you from showing too much skin (especially for those with a bigger bust).
- V-neck tops – A V-neck will direct attention toward the body’s defined midsection.
- Peplum top – Peplum are great because they mimic the defined waist in a hourglass shape.
Smocked Peplum Top
Whether it’s work time or down time, this peasant top from Alfani has you covered.
✿ Bottoms For Hourglass Shapes ✿
- Skinny jeans and stretchy pants – These close-fitting bottoms help follow and accentuate your curves.
- Flared jeans – Flared jeans have the perfect silhouette that helps balance curvy hips and thighs.
- High-waisted pants and jeans – The high waist defines and accentuates the waistline, which is perfect for hourglass shapes.
Free People: Penny Pull On Flare Jeans
These flared jeans will balance curvy hips and thighs. The elastic waistband also makes it super easy to wear and. comfortable.
✿ Dresses For Hourglass Shapes ✿
- Sheath dress – This fitted dress will highlight the curves, but also leave some room for comfort.
- Wrap dress – The wrap dress will accentuate the waist and is loose enough to be comfy too.
- Fit and flare dress – This classic dress silhouette will accentuate the waist and flow out from the hips to streamline the lower half.
Alfani Tank Fit & Flare Midi Dress Side
Pockets further the easy-breezy feel of this tank-inspired midi dress from Alfani.
3. Inverted Triangle Body Shape
An inverted triangle body shape has shoulders that are broader than the hips. The bust may be larger and the hips and waist area are narrower. This is also referred to as the athletic or wedge body shape.
How To Dress An Inverted Triangle Body Shape
When shopping for clothes, you want tops that highlight your neckline and hips. You also want clothes that enhance the volume near your hips to help create balance. Also, look for bottoms that add curves and volume to the bottom half.
You want to avoid adding too many patterns, ruffles, and layers to your top half. Let that be for your bottom half to help balance out the body shape and create proportion. The key is to keep the top half as minimal as possible, so that the broad upper half is balanced.
✿ Tops For Inverted Triangle Body Shapes ✿
- Scoop-neck tops – The scoop neck will help showcase your collarbone and make it the main focus of your upper half.
- Crew neck tops – Crew necks are great too if you want a top with more coverage.
- Peplum tops – Peplums creates the illusion of an hourglass figure by enhancing the waist area.
Short Sleeve Scoop Neck Top
This scoop neck top from Karen Scott is the classic T-shirt every wardrobe needs.
✿ Bottoms For Inverted Triangle Body Shapes ✿
- Cropped wide-leg pants and jeans – These bottoms are a game-changer for inverted triangle body shapes. The wide-leg creates a fuller legline and the shorter hemline draws the eye to your lower half.
- Boyfriend jeans – The baggier silhouette helps add curves around the hips and thighs.
- Pants with large prints – Large patterns and prints create the volume needed to fill out the thighs and hips.
STYLE & CO
Wide-Leg Cropped Jeans
Get a vintage look and feel with Style & Co’s cropped jeans, a wide-leg silhouette with subtle stretch for a sleek fit.
✿ Dresses For Inverted Triangle Body Shapes ✿
- A-line dresses – The triangle silhouette of the dress immediately balances out the inverted triangle body shape.
- Fit-and-flare dress – The fuller skirt will add volume to your hips, so that it will match your broader shoulders.
AND NOW THIS
Women’s Cotton Tie-Strap A-Line Dress
It has pockets! This breezy cotton A-line dress from And Now This also features cute tie shoulder straps.
4. Pear Body Shape
A pear body shape has hips and thighs that are broader than the shoulders and bust area. The waist is narrower and defined compared to the hips. This body shape is also commonly referred to as the triangle body shape.
Not sure if you’re a pear body shape? Be sure to stick around to the end for the body shape quiz to find out.
How To Dress A Pear Body Shape
Since a pear body silhouette has a broader bottom half, you want to define the top half to balance out the shape. Tops that accentuate your top half and define the waist are perfect choices for this body shape.
In order to dress for this body type, choose bottoms that flatter your curvier bottom half. Straight, high-waisted, and bootcut styles work really well for this body shape.
✿ Tops For Pear Body Shapes ✿
- Square-neck tops – Open necklines draw attention upwards towards your collarbone. V-neck tops will also do the same trick!
- Boat-neck tops – The horizontal neckline helps broaden the shoulders. Bonus points if you can one with voluminous puff sleeves that adds volume and draws attention to that area too!
- Cowl-neck tops – The extra draped fabric adds some volume and draws more attention to the upper half.
Women’s Square Neck Knit Top
This airy puckered slub knit top from CeCe features puff sleeves.
✿ Bottoms For Pear Body Shapes ✿
- Straight pants and jeans – Straight cuts are a comfier alternative to skinny jeans, while also highlighting a pear-shaped body’s curves.
- High-waisted pants and jeans – High waisted cuts will help elongate the legs and accentuate the waist for more balanced proportions.
- Bootcut pants and jeans – The flared hemline helps balance out broader hips and looks great with booties!
Levi’s: High-Waist Bootcut Jeans
The bootcut hemline and flattering high-waisted fit will help balance out broader hips and elongate the legs.
✿ Dresses For Pear Body Shapes ✿
- Off-the-shoulder dress – Showing off your shoulders will help direct attention to the upper body.
- Wrap dress – Wrap dresses have ties around the waist that work wonders for defining the waist. Get one with a V-neck to bring attention to your upper body.
- A-line dress – A-line dresses have voluminous skirts that fall away from the hipline, which helps streamline the lower body.
INC INTERNATIONAL CONCEPTS
Tie-Dyed Midi Dress
Capture trending style with this tie-dyed off-the-shoulder dress from INC International Concepts®.
5. Rectangle Body Shape
Rectangle body shapes have fairly uniform measurements and a straighter silhouette. You’re likely to wear the same size tops and bottoms and you don’t have a very defined waist. It’s also known as the banana or ruler body shape.
How To Dress A Rectangle Body Shape
Since rectangle body shapes lack curves, you want to help define and accentuate the curves that you have. The advantage of this body shape is that you have the flexibility to designate which assets you want to define.
If you want to appear curvier, pick tops that accentuate your upper body and give shape to the waist. Choosing the right bottoms depends on what type of top you wear.
If you are adding volume to the upper body, choose fitted pants and jeans for the lower half. In contrast, if you are adding volume to your lower half, make sure your top is fitted for a proportional look.
✿ Tops For Rectangle Body Shapes ✿
- Sweetheart-neckline tops – The heart-like or scalloped neckline helps add curves. Bonus points if you find a top that has a peplum bodice, which will accentuate the waist!
- V-neck tops – V-neck is a classic essential that helps highlight the collarbone and bring the eye upwards.
- Detailed collar – A detailed collar with raglan sleeves helps direct the attention upwards.
Women’s Flutter Short Sleeve V-Neck Top
A fun and trendy flutter sleeve top for any day.
✿ Bottoms For Rectangle Body Shapes ✿
- Straight leg pants and jeans – This modern cut is the better alternative to skinny jeans. Skinny jeans will only exaggerate a rectangle body shape.
- Wide-leg pants and jeans – The voluminous silhouette adds volume to the hips, thighs, and butt.
- Flare pants – The open hemline helps create curves and looks great with booties or pumps.
Classics Allure Pull-On Slim-Leg Pants
You can pull on these throw-on-and-go pants from Alfred Dunner any day of the week.
✿ Dresses For Rectangle Body Shapes ✿
- Belted dresses – Get a flowy dress that comes with a belt that cinches in the waist and creates the illusion of an hourglass figure.
- Puff sleeves – The dramatic puff sleeves add texture and brings volume to the upper body.
AND NOW THIS
Tiered Puff-Sleeve Mini Dress Romantic
Feminine with puff sleeves and fashioned in soft cotton, this mini dress by And Now This, looks just as good as it feels.
Universal Tips For All Body Shapes
The body shape is almost entirely dependent on bone structure and genetics. Exercise and a good diet may help change the body a bit, but bone structure plays a much larger part in the overall body shape.
Tip: Not sure what body shape you belong to? Be sure to stick around to the end for the body shape quiz to find out.
Your outfit should create balance in the shoulders, bust, waist, and hips. Depending on what body shape you are, you’ll want to direct attention to or accentuate certain parts of your body.
Focus on creating lines that guide the eyes to where you want it to go. The lines you create with the clothes you choose can help add curves, emphasize, or lengthen your best assets.
Finally, choose your colors carefully. Our eyes are attracted to patterns and light. Bright colors are easy attention grabbers compared to dark colors, such as black or navy.
Large patterns also help add volume to the body area. You’ll want to keep this in mind when creating proportions with your body shape.
Tips On How To Look Slimmer
- Wear shapewear to help smooth out bulges, especially for clothes that are skin-tight and sit close to the body. Shapewear also helps define and accentuate the waist, which helps balance out the proportions.
- Aim to look taller by elongating your body with long vertical lines and strategically wearing darker colors, such as black. Elongating your body will make you appear taller and slimmer at the same time.
- Long dusters and open front jackets are just some examples of pieces that add long vertical lines. Also, wearing vertical stripes will automatically create long visual lines that elongate the body. Darker colors have a naturally slimming effect, so strategically wear dark colors on areas that you want to slim down visually.
- High-waisted pants and jeans work well for nearly all body types. They automatically elongate your lower half and make you appear taller. Make sure the high-rise hits right above the belly button.
- Stand up straight and don’t slouch! This is a simple hack that will help your clothes sit better on your body and take advantage of your full height.
Tips On How To Slim Down The Broad Shoulders
- The waist is the key here. You want to wear clothes that cinch in the waist and add volume at the hips. This will help balance out the proportion of your hips to your shoulders. Peplum tops are great because they have a built-in waist that flows outward. Wrap tops will also help define the waist too.
- Wear open neckline tops, such as scoop necks and v-necks to draw attention away from the shoulders.
- Play around with color. Darker colors naturally slim down the body, so wear darker hues for the top and brighter colors for the bottoms to direct the attention downwards.
Tips On How To Slim Down The Thighs
- Draw attention to the upper-half of your body above your hips. Wear tops with an open neckline and show off the collarbone (think V-necks, square neck, and off-the-shoulder tops). This simple trick automatically draws attention upwards. Also, use brighter colors and embellished tops to your advantage.
- Choose pants and jeans that don’t cling to your body. Straight-cut bottoms are perfect because they are not tight enough to emphasize the thighs, but will still highlight the curves.
- Wear skirts or dresses with a voluminous skirt that falls away from the hip to help streamline the lower body.
- High-heels have a naturally elongating and slimming effect on the legs. Choose pointed-toe heels in your skin color to maximize the lengthening effect.
Dress Better With The Rule of Thirds (Golden Ratio Strategy)
No matter how cute your outfit looks, if your proportions are off, it can look unflattering. This is where the Rule of Thirds comes into play to help you dress for your body type.
Balanced 1:1 ratios can look boring and bland. In contrast, unbalanced proportions are pleasing to look at. This concept originated from architecture and is often referred to as the Golden Ratio strategy.
Essentially, the unbalanced ratio of ⅓ or ⅔ is the most aesthetically pleasing and interesting to look at. In fashion, this also applies to how you balance out your outfit using the Rule of Thirds.
The body can be divided into 3 parts. The top part starts from the shoulders to your waist. The second part starts from the waist to the knees. Finally, the last part begins from the knees and ends at the ankles.
Take a look at a few balanced outfits. I’ve marked and indicated how unbalanced ratios come into play for each outfit.
In the outfit below, the ⅓ is on the top and ⅔ is on the bottom. This can easily be achieved by tucking a top into a high-waisted bottoms.
Alternatively, you can have the ⅔ on the top portion and ⅓ at the bottom just like the image below. Achieve this type of proportion with knee-length dresses or long tunics.
Layering can affect proportions too depending on the color and contrast of your layers. For instance, if you layer a long coat over your outfit, the layers underneath usually will determine your proportion if they stand out more like the image above.
However, in the image below, the long coat covers the layers underneath, which create the 2/3 on the top and 1/3 on the bottom
The Rule of Thirds is a good guideline in creating visually interesting outfit proportions that works well for all body types. However, feel free to experiment and dress for your body type in any way you choose to!
Develop A Healthy Relationship With Clothes
It’s hard to dress for your body type when your relationship with clothes is bad. The first step in fostering a positive relationship is to celebrate your body shape by wearing clothes that flatter and highlight your assets.
Start with understanding your beautiful body and work your way up from there. I hope you’re following my tips above by figuring out what your body shape is and learning the basics on how to dress for your body type.
Moreover, stop comparing yourself to style icons, influencers, and celebrities! Think about who you follow on social media and how they make you feel about yourself. Does looking at their posts make you feel bad? Are you left feeling like you’re not beautiful or stylish enough?
This is a sign that you should probably stop following them. It’s bad for your mental wellness and a major obstacle in helping you develop a healthy relationship with your body and clothes. You should feel inspired and motivated, not depressed and unhappy.
Clothes should be an extension of who you are and your personality.
In addition, quit being dependent on clothes for your external identity. Yes, what you wear and how you present yourself is crucial in cultivating a good first impression, but never seek constant validation from it.
Clothes should be an extension of who you are and your personality. It shouldn’t be the only thing that gives you a sense of worth and speaks to your identity.
Instead, learn how to dress for your body type with clothes that will flatter your body. Focus on investing in quality basics and building a capsule wardrobe. This will help you create a good wardrobe foundation and resist the urge to follow trends or constantly buy new clothes.
Understanding what body type you belong to is the first step in creating that healthy relationship with clothes. Be sure to check out the body shape quiz at the end!
“What Is My Body Shape?” Quiz
Now that we’ve covered each of the 5 body types, it’s time to put that information together!
This body shape quiz for females will help you go through your body shape characteristics. Remember to have the 4 measurements in hand before you gob through this quiz!
The measurements will prevent any of your visual perception of your body shape to skew your quiz results.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Most Common Body Shape?
The most common body shape is the rectangle body type. According to Omni Calculator, this body type is common among 46% of women.
The rectangle body type has a waist that is less than 9 inches than their bust or hips area. They have fairly uniform measurements and a straighter silhouette. It’s also known as the banana or ruler body shape.
The second most common body type is the spoon or bottom heavy body types. This body type is closer to the pear body shape.
Their hips are 2 or more inches larger than their bust. The spoon or bottom heavy body types make up about 20% of women.
Finally, the third most common body type is the inverted triangle body type. An inverted triangle body shape has shoulders that are broader than the hips.
The bust may be larger and the hips and waist area are narrower. This is also referred to as the athletic or wedge body shape. About 14% of women have the inverted triangle body type.
If you’re unsure if you fall with in the common body type, be sure review the guide and body shape quiz above!
What Is The Rarest Female Body Type?
The rarest female body type is the hourglass body shape. It’s the least common body shape and is also considered the most balanced and sought after body type.
An hourglass body type has balanced and nearly equal measurements in the shoulders and hips, a defined waist, and likely a large bust and bigger butt.
According to Omni Calculator, there are only about 8% of women who have the hourglass body shape.
The hourglass body shape is considered the “perfect” size of a woman’s body because of the perfectly balanced bust and hips. Its symmetry and balance is considered scientifically beautiful.
However, you don’t need an hourglass body shape to look attractive! There are plenty of ways to dress in a way that would emphasize your curves and create better proportions.
Just check out my style tips above for all body shapes! Also, check out the body shape quiz to help you understand your body type.
What Celebrity Has The Most “Ideal” Female Body?
The celebrity that has the most “ideal” or sought after female body is Kelly Brook, an actress, model, and TV moderator.
According to a research study done by the University of Texas, Kelly Brook has the most “perfect” body. The study uncovered that the ideal 36-24-36 body measurements is not actually “ideal.”
Their scientists identified that the “ideal” body size for women is 38-24-35–without the help of surgery or enhancements.
Kelly Brook is gorgeous but, don’t let science or anyone tell you that you have to be a certain size to look beautiful.
The perfect body size does not really exist and what’s more important is to embrace the body type that you have!
I hope this guide and body shape quiz gives you the knowledge and confidence to celebrate your body shape. Fashion is a powerful weapon and it should empower YOU!
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read my disclaimer for more info.
You May Also Like To Read:
- How to Find Your Style In 4 Steps: Tips & Tricks That Work!
- Affordable Business Casual Clothes: Budget-Friendly Shops
- Best 8 Secondhand Stores Online & Shopping Tips
- Minimalist Clothing: Ultimate Fashion Guide
- 7 Ways To Perfect A Timeless Style | Style For A Lifetime
- How Many Clothes Should A Woman Have In Her Wardrobe? Tips!
- 10 Y2K Clothing Stores To Help You Achieve The Y2K Fashion Aesthetic
- Carat London Review – Is Their Jewelry High-Quality? Here’s My Thoughts.