Being Fashion Conscious: Dressing For Your Body Shape

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Dear Diary,

While turning my apartment completely upside down yesterday to find a matching shoe to one that I had lost, I came across some pictures of myself from high school. I couldn’t help but cringe whenever I looked at what I was wearing. Obviously fashion has gone through quite a transition since then, but it wasn’t necessarily the fashion that bothered me. What stood out to me like a misplaced accessory was the fact that I was wearing the wrong cut of clothing in absolutely every picture! It became so apparent to me at that moment how important it is to always be fashion conscious and dressing for your body shape.

At this point in my life, I can walk into almost any store and know right away before trying something on if it is going to be a good fit for my body type or not. But back then, I was in a quandry about how in the world to dress for my body shape. Even though I have thinned out a bit since high school, I still consider myself to be an apple body shape, in that I carry my extra weight in my mid-section. In order to hide this, my family and friends often suggested that I should wear things oversized to hide the problem area. Now, considering everything I’ve learned about my body, and shopping, and fashion as a whole, I know differently.

Being Fashion Conscious: Dressing For Your Body Shape

So, I thought that it would be beneficial for my lovely readers if I explained the different body types and how to identify where you fit in, and then point out some key pieces that are more likely to work with your body shape to make sure that you always look fabulous!

First things first, this Body Shape Calculator will help you accurately figure out your shape based on your measurements. If you don’t already know your body shape, take a trip there, and then continue reading and evaluating! As we well know, 36-25-36 can look different on different women, so evaluate yourself on more than just measurements, taking into consideration how tall you are, where you curve and where you don’t, and how long or short your neck, limbs, arms, torso and limbs are. Note especially where you carry your weight. Normally, I recommend not going over our appearances with a nit-picking attitude, but for these purposes, we are going to do just that!

Just an FYI: Every stylist or fashion professional has different names for different body shapes, so I’m going to do my best to cover everything in the categories below.

Apple/Round- Apple gals are blessed with carrying their extra weight in their mid section and not having a truly defined waist. (Can you sense my sarcasm through the computer?) If this is your body shape, focus on showing off your assets, whether they be your legs, arms, or a great bust, and downplay the belly. Choosing longer length (careful to not get the words longer and oversized confused here) tops and shirts to give the illusion of a longer leaner torso. Also, lower cut shirts help draw attention away from the belly and bring it upwards. I don’t mean that you have to show off a large amount of cleavage, because adding a cute statement piece  will do the same thing! Avoid any shirts that are boxy or have a babydoll type fit. These will only make you look wider. And rounder, grrr.

Shopping Suggestions:

Pear/Triangle- Pear or triangle shapes tend to be a bit more bottom heavy (hips, butt, thighs) and actually describes a majority of women. For this body type it is so important to show off that flat mid-section that you are blessed with and draw attention to your ass-ets! Balance is really the most important word to keep in mind here. Wear things on top that balance out your bottom half by drawing attention upwards. Shirts with ruffled sleeves and embellishments or blazers with oversized lapels are great pieces to invest in. Its important to keep in mind that tighter fitting bottoms such as skinny jeans and pencil skirts are only going to draw attention to your bottom area, for better or for worse.

Shopping Suggestions:

Strawberry/Inverted Triangle-Strawberry or inverted triangle shaped Mamas are bigger on top, having broad shoulders and sometimes a big bust. Often the hips are slim along with the bottom. In order to help you not look top heavy, it’s important to wear pieces on the bottom that are fuller. Flowing skirts, wide leg trouser and denim, and bold bright colors on the bottom are a great way to go. On top, v-necks should be filling your closet because they counter your broad shoulders and add overall balance to your look. Stay away from anything that makes your shoulders look wider such as puffy sleeved tops, lots of ruffles, and most definitely, you must stay away from halter tops!

Shopping Suggestions:

Hourglass-Curvy is your name and sexy is your game! This body type has broader shoulders, a larger bottom and bust, with a teeny tiny waist. If you have this body type, it’s important to always look polished and wear things that fit you properly from head to toe. Baggy clothes are going to make you look heavy instead of curvy. Wrap dresses and waist cinching pieces are going to become the highlights of your wardrobe. And you can have a wardrobe of belts as well, since they really look good on you. Wide leg jeans and trousers on bottom are also a great way to balance everything out. It is just so important to remember to focus on fit with this body shape because things can get out of hand really fast if you’re not careful!

Shopping Suggestions:

Rectangle/Diamond- Rectangle and diamond body shapes are often defined together due to their similarities. Ladies who have a rectangle shape are typically straight up and down (no broad shoulders, no big hips, not a big bust, etc), while diamond is pretty much that same athletic build. For this body shape, accessories that cinch your waist can be your best friend. Stock up on great belts and even outerwear that brings in your middle section and creates the illusion of a tiny waist. Pieces such as sheath dresses or any dresses that are oversized are important to avoid (they wear you instead of you wearing them!). It is also key to stay away from really low rise pants, as they will only make you look longer. Jeans and pants with a higher waist are the way to go!  Unless of course, you are a true diamond, in which case you will know that the emphasis on your too large waist is not for you, and you can go for a more streamlined shape instead.

Shopping Suggestions:

Well my lovely Mamas, I hope that this post will help you the next time you are in a shopping quandary. Remember that you need to trust your own instincts about what you can or cannot wear, based on experience.  Don’t let trends sweep you into bad choices for your shape.  When in doubt, consult your BFF…or your MIRROR! Also keep in mind that finding an amazing tailor can help you indulge in pieces that you typically shouldn’t wear and transition them into something that shows off your best features. (Reference Alterations and Fit 101 for specific details)

I would love to hear what your favorite article of clothing or “go to” designer is for your body type…comment below! Now….if I could only find those pictures of me in high school that I was simply dying to share with you all….NOT!!

Fashionably Yours,

Allison

Comments

  1. Andrea Burkhart says:

    my pictures from high school are all like that too! i wore some horrible outfits but i think they were stylish at the time, sooo many jean skirts haha 🙂

  2. I think fashion is a lot like parenting. You do the best you can with the information available and the rest you learn along the way.

  3. Great recommendations, Allison! I too have cringe worthy photos from high school and even some from college. Eek. Large bow barrette, WHAT was I thinking?? I love this fit guide and also the reminder to visit a tailor since many items need a little TLC so we can look our best.

  4. Loved it…….great information that I have adhered to many times for my clients!

    Thanks

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