I recently spoke for a Wellness Series at a local retail store where I live. The topic was dressing for your body type. I created a handout that I thought I would share with you. It’s a bit lengthy but hopefully you can just go to what your body type is and use that information to your benefit!
Cardinal Rules when dressing:
Balance is key to dressing proportionate to your body.
Dress for what your body type is NOW. Do not think shop for what is to come — weight loss or gain.
Get a proper bra fitting
Make your outfit pop, not scream, with a key piece that stands out – jewelry, bag, shoes, a print….
Find a tailor that is good and affordable.
Heavy on Top (Inverted Triangle):
You will want more structure in your clothing.
Jackets that have a high stance (button hits below the bustline) cinches at the smallest part of your bustline and gives you a higher curve to the torso.
Three button jackets are a large busted woman’s best friend. This will hold in the girls but still provide you with a narrower silhouette.
Pin-stripes and something that adds a visual interest are good choices for big-breasted women.
Jean jackets in a dark wash are also a good choice. A bit more boxier but downplays the chest.
Tops/blouses should be a V-neck or scoop neck, in order to elongate the neck and create space between your face and chest.
You will want to balance out the larger top with a streamlined look by adding volume (not bulk) to your lower half.
A-line skirt that hits at about the knee. Pencil skirts also work well, should hit at about the knee.
Wide Leg trouser jean is your friend! (Lighter wash if you want to distract from the chest area – create balance.
Petites – pointy toe shoes elongate the leg.
Triangle- or Pear-shaped
Number one thing women do is try to cover their tush. Not a great idea, you are shortening your legs.
Look for tops/jackets that have structure and give you a waistline, and sit above the hip. Also, use a lot of color up top to draw attention to your upper body. You can also take advantage of shirts with prominent collars to .
Skirts and pants should go straight down from your hip. A-line skirts in a soft drapy fabric are also a good way to create more balance.
A higher waisted slightly wide straight leg trouser with a belt creates a shorter torso and a longer leg line.
Jeans are important, dark wash – mid-rise trouser jean with a little stretch in it. (avoid boot-cut)
Layering with a structured jacket will balance both halves. Jacket should hit mid-hip.
Wear accessories that draw attention to your face
A little more in the Middle (Apple-Shaped):
skinny jeans might not be the best idea.
Structured top and bottoms with a bit of volume will help proportionate a midsection.
Empire waistlines are a great option. Dresses in particular
Jackets should hit no lower than the top of the hips.
Fit the bigger part of you first when shopping for slacks, jeans. these should sit on your natural waistline.
Shoulders should fit squarely on the edge of a jacket
Accentuate your waistline by wearing belts and tops that are more fitted.
Wrap tops are also a good choice.
Fitted jackets that also follow the line of your waist are very flattering.
If your taller, paneled, slightly trumpet-fared skirts are a good look for you.
Wrap dresses are also a great way to accentuate your figure. Make sure the tie is between the top of your rib cage and your natural waist.
Not Curvy (Boy-shaped):
Go for knitwear and clothes that cling closer to your body.
Look for European designers – they cater to smaller body types.
Dress in lighter colors to give more of a physical presence.
Cap sleeves are a nice way to add volume to your upper body frame.
Peplums are a great way alternative for you & in style!
Horizontal stripes will give you the appearance a broader frame.
Jeans with “whiskering” and bleaching will give you more emphasis in the hips.
Pockets on the breast area (as well as the behind) can give that area a bit more oomph.
Low-rise jeans give emphasis in the hips, tush and thighs.
Boy cut jeans are an ideal match for someone who is straight up and down. Adding a belt with some visual interest will also emphasize the waist.
Vests can also create a more hourglass silhouette.
Extra Curvy (Fuller Figure):
Stiff fabrics that have clean lines and flattering seaming.
One button jackets that cinch at the waist creates a V Shape at the top and the bottom of the jacket creates a narrowing effect.
Button front shirts with lycra will make you feel less constricted and the collar should lie flat (so you don’t lose your neck).
Boxy blazers/jackets that sit at the top of the hip will help elongate the leg (if you are shorter).
Straight Leg Jeans in a darker wash are a must!
Wearing a solid color on bottom and a textured bottom, you create a waistline. You can reverse this as well.
A straight skirt that does not narrow at the knee is flattering.
Always go for a flat-front trouser. Pleated pants are what is most commonly found in plus-sizes but it is worth it to make the extra effort to find the flat-front trouser.
Buy jackets that fit the largest part of you. That could mean the midsection but this is important. You can get the shoulders and/or sleeves tailored if they are too big. Also, make sure the armholes fit more closely to the torso.
- Printed shirts and dresses are a good idea, just make sure the size of the print matches your frame. If you are more petite, smaller prints are good, if you are taller, than large prints work.
- Pinstripes will create a slimmer silhouette.
Horizontal stripes are not a good idea for anyone large on top/middle.
Pointed-toe shoes will elongate the leg
Straps on shoes cut off the leg line, so if you have nice long legs, those shoes are ideal for you.
Rise of pants should sit right at crouch without pulling or creasing.
Layering is key to create an overall look.
Don’t be afraid to play with a pop of color in your accessories.
Accessories should be proportionate to your size – smaller frame, smaller bag.
If you have a long torso and shorter legs, Empire waist and higher waisted jeans are best for you.
Conversely if you have a short torso, low rise pants work well as do longer tops/tunics.
Play with patterns, colors, metallics, textures – in fashion attitude is everything