Thursday, 13 August 2015

Body Shape Style Guide





Following on from part one of how to determine your body shape, I thought it would be useful to provide a selection of styles and general information on what works for each body shape. Now, I appreciate each of us come in different shapes and sizes and not all of these items will necessarily be to everyones taste, but the main focus is grasping what to look for whilst buying clothes and how to show off your figure in the most flattering light.


The ‘Rectangle’ shape is slim, with hip and shoulder measurements in similar proportions with a little or undefined waist. The aim is to show your shape in the most flattering light and to create curves for a without highlighting the lack of waist, as well as focusing on creating the perfect balance between your upper, mid and lower sections. The rule is that when volume is added at the top, it must be added at the bottom, if not you run the risk of creating a strawberry or pear shape illusion. Single-breasted and structured jackets are the best way to create the illusion of curves to a small waist, as well as styles like wrap or belted tops, which create definition. Tulip & a-line skirts with a fuller style are ideal for creating to add inches below the waist. When it comes to choosing a dress, styles like skater, flare and empire including those that have a marked waistline are advisable, as again, they help to add curve. Bright colours, prints, ruffles and embellishment garments are perfect for the rectangle shape as they will help to add proportion. The rectangle figure provides a flexible choice of trousers, skinny jeans which are tight around your hips create curve and jeans with a slight flare will soften the frame.

Due to the rectangle figure usually lacking in the bust area, tops in styles such as v-necklines and deep scoop necks must be avoided because this will attract attention to the smaller bust. Again, much like the hourglass figure, baggy style clothes will make the figure look shapeless and boy-like.
The ‘Hourglass’ figure is naturally curvy and ideally proportioned, with this shape the aim is to create the wow factor and draw attention to the natural silhouette by finding styles that enhance the body shape. With the benefit of a proportionate body shape, there are many styles that work well with the Hourglass, for instance, dresses such as bodycon or structured styles will define the waist. V-neck, bustier and scoop neck tops will lengthen and draw attention to one of the best assets – the bust. Belted and wrap styles are perfect for the hourglass figure and its distinctive shape as the waist is the focal point. The best clothes and accessories for this body shape are the garments that accentuate the proportional figure, for instance, a belt which will highlight the great proportions. Those of you with an hourglass are lucky enough to be able to wear any style trousers or jeans, skinny jeans will emphasise your curves and a slight flared leg will balance your curves, so the choice is yours. 

Despite it being said to be a perfect body shape, there are syles to avoid, e.g. baggy clothing - especially jeans & smock tops. Boxy jackets and straight cut items will swamp the figure and draw attention to the wrong places, making the individual look bigger than they are. Too much detail is a no go, especially anything volume enhancing, such as tops or dresses with ruffles, frills and bows will create the impression of a top-heavy figure, this also applies to pleats around the hips and tummy, these will distract from the natural curvaceous figure.




With the ‘Pear’ shape, it’s all around the bottom and thighs. The hips thighs and backside are wider than shoulders and most typical pear shaped bodies have a small/ average bust and a slim waist. The aim is to flatter and create a proportionate illusion by highlighting the slim waistline and creating focus away from the problem areas. Tops and jackets with shoulder pads, detailing or embellishment draw attention upwards and create width above the waist, pussybow shirts are a good style. Full skirts and dresses which skim over the bottom heavy part will be most flattering, including a-line, wrap and skater. Any halter neck style, strapless and off the shoulder tops and dresses work well as they make the shoulders look wider and balance out the hips. Boot cut or wide leg trousers and jeans work best with the pear shape figure. Working with colour and using light on the top half and dark on the bottom half helps define the shape as required and vertical stripes help to slim.  

The specific styles to avoid when dressing this the pear body shape, are slim cut dress styles that cling to all the wrong places. Skinny jeans/ trousers will draw attention downward rather than focusing on the waist and accentuate the fullness of the hips. Shift or shirt style tops and dresses that are straight cut and hide the defined waist are best avoided. Horizontal stripes or prints are a definite no.




The ‘Strawberry’ is broad on top and likely to have great legs. The waist and hips are narrower than the upper body, e.g. big boobs or broad shoulders and any extra weight is carried around the tummy. The aim is to accentuate the lower body so it balances out and distracts from the broader top half. Tops or tees with a v-neckline lengthen the top half of the body by lifting and flattering the bust line. Wider strap tops with sporty or feminine detailing which allow for a supportive bra to be worn underneath work well for this figure as they enhance the bust. Single breasted and structured jackets work great for a Strawberry shape as the lapels create a longer torso and the natural shape of the jacket will nip in at the waist and providing it is the right length, it will also add volume around the hips. In terms of trousers, bootleg and wide leg are the best styles as they add curve around the hip area and create an equal balance between the top and bottom. A-line or peplum style skirts are the perfect way to creating width around the hips. Shoes and boots with medium or slim heel flatter shapely legs and work wonders to elongate the silhouette.

Steer clear of detailing up top and around the waist as this will draw unnecessary attention and add inches, which aren’t required for this specific body shape. Dresses and tops with halter neck, boat lines or strapless are a no go as they will broaden shoulders. Any item with a high neck is also best avoided with the Strawberry shape, as with this style, the upper body will be the main focus and this is exactly what you don’t want to draw attention to.


The ‘Apple’ is a top-heavy body shape with a full bust and a larger waist with a lack of definition, this figure is likely to benefit from lean lovely legs. The goal for a stylist is to create length in the torso and skim over the tummy and all attention should be focused downwards to show off the individuals legs. The best styles for Apple body shapes are straight shift dresses that skim over the tummy to avoid drawing attention to the full middle area, as well as tie waist dresses and jackets, both these styles will add definition to the waist and cover the stomach. V-neck and scoop neck tops work best to emphasise a great bust, again taking the eye line away from the stomach area and elongating the top half. Boot cut, straight or wide leg jeans will help balance out the width of the tummy and create more of a proportionate shape. An extra touch to create a defined waist would be to wear a waist thinner, this would create a smoother silhouette and make it is easier to style the problem areas.

The styles to avoid with this figure are tops with high necklines, excess detailing and off the shoulder, boat cut styles; these will make the shoulders broader. Dresses with a built in waistline or excessive fabric on the midsection will add volume and create focus towards the stomach area, which ideally is to be avoided. Steer clear of tight fitting and clingy style fabrics as these won’t flatter the figure.

Let me know how you get on and whether this post has helped you in any way, shape or form..




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