Dressing for Your Body Type by Katie

Monday, February 20, 2012
This is not a blog post about losing weight or disguising your extra pounds. I am not going to tell you how to lose ten pounds in ten minutes or how to reduce the size of your waist in minutes a day. This is a post about loving your body the way it is now, embracing the shape that you have, and working it to your advantage.

Over at my blog Hems for Her, I show everyday women how I dress. I have run the weight gamut from thin to thick and everything in between. When I got pregnant, I was in the best shape of my life. I had just lost 55 pounds; I was working out 4-5 times a week; I looked great and felt great. After the baby, my body was different. My boobs and belly were bigger; I had no time to work out. I started a stressful job, and the pounds piled on. However, I have grown to love and appreciate my new fuller figure.

The most important part of looking good and feeling good is confidence! That’s the first thing you should put on everyday! If you don’t believe you look good, then how do you expect anyone else to? Rock it and flaunt it! By identifying your body shape and learning what kind of clothing is most flattering, you will have the confidence to feel beautiful and stylish at any size!

First things first:  There’s no such thing as one size fits all! I am going to talk about the four most common body types, but they are not all encompassing; so if you don’t see “your body” among these shapes, don’t be discouraged. Pick the body type that most closely resembles yours and go with that!



What they look like:
  • Overall “round” shape
  • Weight appears all over upper body
  • No defined waist, some “love handles”
  • Larger waist and bust
  • Shapely legs
  • Defined shoulders

  • Balance larger upper half and slender legs
  • Define your waist
  • Show off great legs

  • A-line and asymetrical skirts
  • Body-skimming tunic-length shirts and sweaters
  • Structured jackets and blazers
  • Wide-leg jeans and pants
  • Empire and maxi dresses with lower neckline
  • V-neck and embellished neck tops



What they look like:
  • Small busts
  • Defined waists
  • Heavier hips and thighs (“bottom-heavy”)
  • Narrow shoulders, slim arms, defined waist

  • Balance slimmer upper body with heavy bottom and legs
  • Add width to shoulders and bust

  • Patterned tops
  • Knee-length skirts:  a-line or pencil
  • Wrap tops or dresses
  • Straight leg jeans and pants
  • Pretty details on tops:  ruffles, ruching, cowl neck, etc.



What they look like:
  • Boxy/rectangular shape
  • Very little definition, weight spread evenly between bust, waist, and hips
  • Bust and shoulders same width as hips
  • Small or medium bust
  • Slim legs and arms
  • Flat butt

  • Add the illusion of curves
  • Define waistline
  • Show off slim arms and legs

  • Flared/boot-cut jeans and pants
  • Tops with details:  ruffles, ruching, etc.
  • Pencil skirts or full skirts
  • Belts or belted tops and jackets
  • Dresses with structure:  full skirts, defined waists



What they look like:
  • Full bust and full hips
  • Clearly defined waist (at least 8" smaller than bust and hips)
  • May be top or bottom heavy
  • Weight evenly distributed between bust and hips

  • Considered “ideal” body shape, but very uncommon
  • Show off shape:  don’t hide it under baggy layers
  • Slim neck and chest area

  • Flared/boot-cut pants and jeans
  • V-neck and scoop neck tops (with camisole underneath if you are nervous about cleavage)
  • Halter-style dresses
  • Belted jackets and tops


  1. My shape is that I'm pretty thin, but I have a large chest, making it difficult to not look like a cartoon character is certain clothing. And it's important for me to look modest. One tough item is horizontal stripes on top, but I find ways around it, by layering. Have a look at this:


  2. Crinkle PhotographyFebruary 20, 2012 at 6:25 AM

    Thanks for the tips!

  3. I've never heard of the "banana" shape and that's what I am! I was always confused when I read about body types because I never felt like I was an "apple" "pear" or "hourglass" :) Great post!

  4. Very helpful- thank you!  I thought I was always an apple shape, but from the above article, looks like I fall under hourglass.

  5. These are excellent tips. There is no such thing as an "ideal" size!
    Keep in mind that accessorizing an outfit with tights can create a streamlined look, or add some color pop. Just have fun with it!


  6. I'm hourglass, honestly I've learned how to dress my body shape from experience! Most stores don't
    make clothing for hourglass ladies! Shirts that fit me in the bust are too big in the waist area! super
    A Modest Fashion Blog:

  7. Thank you for this - we all have our insecurities but fashion is too fun to let those insecurities get in the way of looking fabulous.  It's nice to get reaffirmations from others in the bloggersphere:)


  8. I don't know what I am?! I'm pretty petite,but I do have a bit of a belly. I want to know what looks good on me! (:

  9. I'm petite but curvy and I consider myself to be more of an apple. If you hold your weight in the belly mostly (I do!) then perhaps you're an apple. If you hold it in your booty (junk in the trunk!) then you might be a pear. 

  10. Rachel, I am like Laurel, all of my weight is in my gut! If you have a belly, you are going to be more apple-shaped.

  11. Hourglass!!! A large hourglass, but still. Pretty proportionate body.

  12. This was such a wonderful post. Thank you so much, Katie!!!!

  13. I'm pretty sure I'm somewhere in between pear and hour glass :P I loved this guest post!!

  14. I used to be a scrawny hourglass, but am more of an apple right now after 3 pregnancies... trying to get back in shape!

  15. Thank you! I'm glad I could be a positive voice out there!

  16. I know that eloquii ( the new line from The Limited-) has specific fits for "Curvy" (hourglass) ladies with fitted waists, but shirts are another thing!

  17. I do love tights! Definitely a wonderful accessory!

  18. I like your break down on body types.

  19. Its so important to dress in a way that flatters you figure; thanks for the breakdown.

  20. Wow, this blog really helped me decide on what to shop for next time I get to the mall! As an hourglass, I thought that shopping (especially for pants) was tormenting because nothing ever fit the way it was supposed to, but after reading this blog, I know exactly what to buy! Thank you!