Finding the best clothes to suit your style is not just about size. We are all very aware that female bodies vary not just in size or height but also in overall shape. Clothes designers cater for our differences in terms of size from XXS to XXL style, but it is so often left to the individual to figure out what suits your body type best.
There are several easily identified body types and it is important to know which category you fit into. Why? Because we should all buy clothes to suit our own particular form. Knowing which types of garments suit which body shapes can make it much easier to look great in the clothes you buy. It is also important to note that body types often change with age too, partly as women put on weight in different places when our physiology, metabolism and level of activity varies across a lifetime. Many women confuse size with suitability. Just because a dress is available in your size, it may not flatter your body shape if it was not designed with you in mind.
Here are some tips to help you moderate the look for four of the common body types
BODY TYPE – Straight
• With a straight body shape aim to create the look of a narrower waist by using clothes which are designed to generate curves around hips and bust.
• Try layering clothes so that if you have a long top half you can use the layers to make your top look shorter
• Create a full look and roundness in the area of your extremities e.g. sleeve, leg line, neckline
• Wear high or low-waisted styles – broad shoulders; unfitted jackets, which slope to the waist; highlight your hips and bottom using pockets and pleats
• Avoid wearing figure-hugging or tight garments
• Stay away from longer straight fitted lines in dresses, pants and sleeves
• Avoid square-necked designs in garments such as tops and shift dresses
• Looser styles in jackets that hang from the shoulders
• Dropped waistlines and heavy textures
• Double breasted jackets are unlikely to suit your shape.
BODY TYPE – Pear
• Aim to have a balance between your top half and your lower by wearing clothes which give a broader look to your shoulders.
• With a slightly fuller bottom half, attract the eye by using layering on your top half to draw attention. Make use of pattern, colour and more detail on your top half, so making the hips and thighs appear narrower
• Make sure that the jackets and tops you wear end either above or below the widest point of your hips and bottom
• Use fitted styles around your waist so that you accentuate your waistline. This can be done with both fitted lines and wraps.
• Avoid tailored narrowing leg cuts with pleats or creases in your leg line, pinstripe suits, turn-ups in pants. Also avoid combat or cropped trousers or culottes
• Consider using details, patterns, and even pockets on your thigh and hip area to widen there and use belts on your hips for a narrow look
• Flared or ruffled sleeve lines, straight skirts or pencil skirts
• Shorter skirts or any other hemline can be combined with single or double vents jackets that finishes on your hips, thighs or any other full point of your leg.
• Make use of dropped waistlines or dropped panels ,sloping or narrow shoulder lines.
• Purse and bags that sit at hip level can be used to draw the eye outwards
BODY TYPE – Apple
• Keep details above the bust line and below the hip line – for everything in between keep it plain and simple
• Use clothes with a straight to slightly fitted line.
• Use soft fabric to avoid unnecessary bulk around the bosom, waist and abdomen
• Make sure you look around the shoulders is balanced from the front and side views
• Keep your silhouette fitted under bust and as well below your arms and along your waist
• Using splits at the waist will make a huge difference
• Any type of belt should be avoided regardless of size
• Shorter sleeves which finish at the level of the bust
• Shorter skirts which end above knee length
• Any details such as lapels, patterns or volume near bust, and high-waisted pants in the tummy or hip area
• Cardigans, jackets or tops that finish at your fullest points
• Excessive fabric in the mid section
• Gathered or tiered skirts
BODY TYPE – Inverted Triangle
• On your bottom half you need to wear clothes that make your hips look broader.
• Create the illusion of a waist with waist details such as a wider belt
• Keep details, fussy patterns or trim which could create volume to your lower half and make use of straighter clean lines on your top half
• Straight clothing lines are a natural extension to your body line
• Necklines that make you broader on top e.g. boat necks, big straps, halterneck tops, wide collars
• Styles that extend or accentuate shoulders e.g. details, volume, fuss on your shoulders such as puff sleeves, shoulder pads
• Patterns on top, scarves around your neck or shoulders
• Stiff fabrics on top and narrowing hemlines e.g. pencil skirts or skinny jeans
• Clutch bags
BODY TYPE – Square
• Wear clothes that have a narrow cut in the mid-section to create the illusion of a waist
• Create roundness around your extremities e.g. sleeve, leg line, neckline
• Keep your silhouette pain and simple
• Looser and unstructured jackets that gently shape the waist
• Details at the waist such as noticeable waistband; high-waisted trousers; belted jackets and coats at the front
• Straight head to toe lines such as combining a straight jacket worn with straight pants or a pencil skirt
• Double breasted coats and jackets; boxy pleats
• Clothes with too much fussy detail or drooping, cluttered features
BODY TYPE – Full Hourglass
• Wear shaped and fitted lines which follow your body line
• Wear a good supporting bra to lift the bust and show a more defined look to the waist
• Bring attention to your shoulder and neckline, wear designs that bring the eye to the centre by wearing wider and lower necklines
• Have clothes that are cut wider on the shoulder past the thickest part of the arms
• Straight shapes that hide your waist
• Avoid too much volume around your curvy areas
• Fussy styles and details that create additional volume around your bust, tummy, thighs e.g. dropped sleeve lines, pleats, high-waisted styles, hip pockets
• High necklines that cover up your cleavage and décolleté e.g. turtle neck
• Boxy jackets, or double breasted styles, narrowing leg lines or wide/short sleeves which finish near your bust