How to Adapt Your Style to Your Body Shape

You see an amazing outfit in the window of a shop and go in, full of enthusiasm, but once you try it on you realize you look better in your pajamas. Does this sound familiar?

It happens to all of us.  

Women come in all shapes and sizes and if a dress doesn’t look as flattering on you as on the mannequin, it doesn’t mean you’re out of shape or proportion. You probably didn’t pick the right one for your body shape. 

With all the variety we see in fashion today there’s something for everyone. Instead of trying to mold yourself into the latest trend you could save yourself the tears and pick what suits you and makes you feel confident, not to mention comfortable. 

But do you know your body shape?

There are four categories designers go by:

The Pear Shaped Body Type

Do you look like Kim Kardashian? 

This pear shaped body is all about that bass. If your butt and thighs are noticeably bigger than the upper half of your body this is where you’re at. The key characteristics for this body shape are thick thighs, curvy hips and a full rear.  

The Hourglass Body Type

For this body type, the emphasis is on the waist and it’s very versatile when it comes to styles. The key characteristics are a well-defined waist and roughly even hip and thigh measurements. Think Marilyn Monroe.

The hour glass shape is the envy of all women, that’s why corsets, bustles and other “wasp waist” enhancing undergarments were so popular. 

The Apple Shaped Body Type

If most of your weight seems concentrated in your upper body, with broad shoulders, generous bust line but an under defined waistline, this could be your category. 

Most women will try to simply cover themselves up with loose clothes, although this isn’t the best strategy as it will simply make them look bigger. You just have to look at Drew Barrymore and Kate Winslet to see that you can make it work for you and there’s no need to hide your body. 

The Rectangular or Straight Shaped Body Type 

If you have more of a “boyish” look, with long legs and a long thin body, this might be you. The main features of this shape are similar widths for hip, waist and shoulders and less prominent curves. About a third of women fit into this category, including Natalie Portman and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Maybe staring at yourself in the mirror and comparing what you see to fruit and geometrical figures has left you feeling confused. In that case you can use a Body Shape Calculator to better estimate what your body shape is. Makes life easier. 

And now for the style tips!

What to Wear, What to Wear

Or whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles

Pear Shaped

You can either wear clothes that enhance your lower body or, if you want to look more like an hourglass, you can balance it with the use of belts or tops that add volume. Ruffled, patterned or loose tops, scarves, colorful necklaces can make your upper body look bigger and balance out the proportions. You can also opt for dark colors for your bottom half and bright tops.

If you want to enhance your shape, you can go for tight fitting tops and jeans without a lot of details, or you can try a tight fitting dress with a dropped or embellished neckline and flaunt you stuff just like you should. Word of caution: You might experience strange phenomena like men’s heads exploding or producing uncontrollable stuttering when trying to converse with them. 


You can pull almost anything off. If you want to emphasize your waist, dresses that are tight around the middle are your best bet. You can also use a belt and make any dress work. The world is your oyster. 

Another way of accentuating your waist is to wear slim fitting t-shirts or shirts and tuck them into some high-waist jeans or pants. 

Loose clothes  are not really the best choice for you since they’ll cover the curves and then what’s the point?

Stay away from unstructured bras that give your cleavage a droopy look as this will hide your waist and the idea is to highlight the proportion between bust, wait and hips. If you want to accentuate your cleavage, a V-neck top paired with a pencil skirt will create a strong effect.   

Apple Shaped

The main objective for your style is to visually slim down your waistline and shift focus to your bust line and legs. Empire waist dresses and tops can do wonders, so can A-line and wrap dresses. Anything that’s tight under the bust and flows downward will help you create the desired effect. You can also use an open jacket and form a slimming column over your midsection.

When choosing jeans go for a mid-rise, right across or slightly below your belly button and a heavier denim that helps create smoothness. Decorative back pocket stitches will also make your butt look bigger. 

Straight Shaped

You can check out what models wear for inspiration.  Whatever you feel is lacking in natural curves, you can make up for using the right clothes and accessories.  Tops that end above your hips, push up bras, peplum jackets will all make you look curvier.

You can also pinch in your waist with a belt and go for tops that add volume like ruffles or frills.

If you want to go for a lean look opt for high-waist jeans or pants and long jackets. 

Whatever you wear the key is to focus on your advantages. You’re bringing forth your best features, not just trying to hide perceived defects, that will just make you feel bad about yourself. You don’t need to look like anyone or anything, just be your best self.

So next time you go shopping focus on what works for you, not on what diets or fitness fads will make you fit into what you see on women made of plastic. 

Photo by Rebecca Matthews on Unsplash

Contributed posts are advertisements written by third parties who have paid Woman Around Town for publication.