The Complete Guide to Dressing for Your Body Shape

As fashion editors, we likely know what looks good on you. Perhaps there’s a wrap dress that consistently makes you feel confident or you tend to gravitate towards wide-leg pants. However, we’re taking a more in-depth look at dressing for your body type, as it’s never a bad idea to look your best.

From deciding if you’re an hourglass shape, pear, banana, or apple (yes, fruits are very helpful here), there are plenty of different physiques that with just a little knowledge can look even better. That could be balancing out your proportions with a pair of flared jeans, or highlighting the most flattering part of your body with a cutout dress, there are some incredible ideas you might have never even thought of. One thing’s for sure, though: This guide will help you feel and look your best. Scroll down to see the specific styles that make your body type look its absolute best, from coats and tops to skirts and dresses.

Hourglass

If you’re curvy with a tiny waist, then you’ve got an hourglass shape. Your goal is to highlight your curves, not hide them, by emphasising your waist.

A belted jumper such as this one from The Row is the easiest way to play up your petite waist.

There’s a reason Kim Kardashian West has adopted a uniform of a crop top and a pencil skirt—it’s incredibly flattering.

A pencil skirt is perfect for those with a defined waist.

The V-neck is ultra-flattering to your bust, and the wrap detail highlights the curve between your waist and hips.

Apple

If you have a slim lower body and carry weight around your middle, you’ve got an apple shape. Your goal is to minimise your midsection by highlighting your shoulders and legs.

The waistband will hit at the smallest part of the torso and flare out over the stomach.

A shift dress lies just far enough away from the body to conceal any problem areas. Tailoring tip: Most women with apple figures have shapely legs, so get your dress hemmed to show them off.

Look for trousers that sit low on the hips.

Banana

If you’re not very curvy and your hips are around the same size as your waist, you’ve got a banana shape. Your goal is to highlight the thinnest part of your waist so your hips and bust appear larger and more proportional.

Shirts with a tie at your waist make it look smaller and shapelier.

Jackets that also cinch in at the bottom are ideal for your shape.

The small side cutout on this floral dress works to make you look curvier. The inward-pointing lines whittle your waist, making it look smaller in proportion to your bust and hips. Voilà, curves!

Tapered trousers will create the illusion of more proportionate hips.

Pear

If the widest part of your body is around your hips, you’ve got a pear shape. Your goal is to elongate and balance your figure by accentuating your top half.

Your bare shoulders will take the attention off your lower body, and the skirt shape is ideal for highlighting the smallest part of your waist and then generously flaring out to conceal wider hips.

A strong jacket gives a bit of structure to the shoulder area, which makes your bottom half appear smaller in comparison.

An A-line skirt highlights the smallest part of your waist and flares out over hips. The darker colour will also be more flattering. 

Flared styles provide a one-two punch: They draw eyes away from the hips, and the volume at the hem balances out your hips, making them seem perfectly proportioned. We like slim flares for the most modern feel.

Worked out which shape you are?

This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated by Elinor Block.