Much like the garments in a clothing store, people come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. And because fashion is all about expression and experimentation, you have so much freedom to use clothing to showcase the parts of yourself that make you unique.
For some people, however, it’s the consciousness of their unique bodies that hinders them from dressing their best. It’s not uncommon to see someone struggle with planning outfits for their frame, often limiting themselves to what they believe hides their perceived imperfections.
But regardless of whether you’re slim or voluptuous, the shape of your body should not cause you to miss out on the fun of dressing up. Strictly speaking, there are no limits to what you can wear, but there are recommendations for what will enhance your best features and what might obscure them. Knowing these dos and don’ts can help you put together outfits that best suit your body type.
Do Add Basics to Your Wardrobe
Basic tops and bottoms are core pieces that should not be absent from your closet. A simple tank top or a pair of tights can serve as foundational elements for your outfit, providing that sense of “groundedness” when you’re experimenting with clothes. Basics are timeless and easy to pair, which is why they should be the first thing you consider when planning outfits around your body type.
Tights, in particular, are great for highlighting your silhouette and adding length to your frame. Control-top tights also help you achieve a more well-defined waist, which is one of the keys to dressing with good proportions.
Do Have a Clear Idea of Your Body Shape
Body shapes lie on a spectrum, so you can’t just dress based on the extreme ends. The most common body types are:
Triangle or Pear Shape
You have a pear-shaped body if you have wide hips and thighs but a narrow upper half. If you have this body type, you should emphasize your top half by wearing wide necklines such as sweetheart or boat necklines. It would also be a good idea to wear bright-colored tops or prints to accentuate your upper body. Dark-colored bottoms, on the other hand, would help tone down your lower body.
You have this body type if you have a well-defined waist and evenly proportioned hips and shoulders. Your hips, thighs, and bust also tend to be fuller, which largely contributes to your curvy silhouette. For this body shape, you’ll want to highlight your waist. Avoid baggy or shapeless pieces that drown out your frame and give you a frumpy look. You can also opt to balance your bust area with your hips by avoiding high-neck tops such as turtlenecks and going for scoop or boat necklines. More “feminine” clothing such as sundresses, peplum tops, and miniskirts usually look great with this body type.
An apple-shaped body is one with a softer and curvier frame. You also have a less defined waist and slimmer legs, making your upper body a bit fuller than your lower body. There is a common tendency among people with this body type to wear oversized clothing to conceal or tone down the broader upper body, but there are other ways to dress if you have this body type.
For one, you can keep your look balanced by going for slim-fit pieces that define your waist and take the focus away from your midsection. Some good examples of clothing include structured garments, slim-cut jeans, shift dresses, and empire-waist pieces. Veer away from excessive fabric and details around your bust, hips, and midriff. Great ideas for bottoms include pencil skirts and straight-leg pants that accentuate your bottom half.
Inverted Triangle Shape
You have an inverted triangle type of body if your shoulders are broader than your hips. Your hip-to-waist ratio is also less defined, so your top half tends to be wider than your bottom. If you have this shape, it’s best to skip pieces that highlight your upper body: boat necklines, halter tops, large patterns, shawl collars, and big straps. Instead, you may also want to check out boyfriend jeans, which give a bit of volume from the waist down.
Those with a straight, less curvy frame are best described as “rectangle” shapes. The rectangle shape is self-explanatory: your hip and shoulder measurements are almost equal, and your weight is evenly distributed throughout your body. Your waist is neither small nor well-defined, and your body type is often described as “athletic.”
If you want your body to have more definition, you must create the illusion of a waist by wearing belts or belted tops. Your body type looks great with any type of pants, but mid-waist or mid-rise pants are best for bringing emphasis to your waist.
Don’t Keep Clothes that Don’t Fit
A lot of people tend to keep ill-fitting clothes, thinking that they can slim down or gain weight at a later time. While it’s natural for bodies to change shape eventually, it’s best to focus on the now and work with the body you already have. If it’s a size too big or too small, don’t force it. Remember, a cute top is not worth all that discomfort and self-consciousness at the end of the day.
Don’t Dress around Fashion Trends
While it’s relevant to keep track of trends and to wear the styles of the moment, you also need to consider how well they look with your body shape. For example, oversized tops, skirts, and jackets are all the rage nowadays but look less flattering on people with fuller frames. Following trends is fine, but knowing which trends perfectly suit your body can save you from spending money on clothes that aren’t for you.
Don’t Forget to Have Fun!
At its core, fashion is just playing dress-up. As such, it should be fun rather than frustrating. Contrary to a popular misconception, you don’t need to be skinny to be stylish. It is a myth that fashion is best reserved for people with a certain body type, and you have the right to own your looks even if you’re built a bit differently than others. It takes some time to perfect the art of dressing based on your frame, but it gets easier once you have a strong sense of what looks good on your body. People come in a glorious array of body types, and they should be celebrated by dressing in a way that brings out the best in them.