Choosing the Right Look for Your Body Shape

by Emily McBride
(last updated February 9, 2015)

As you have probably already noticed, some people look better in certain types of clothes than others. For example, the dress that fits one woman may not look as nice on another—even if they are the same height and weight. This is due to differences in body shape. Although you may be the same height and weight as another person, you may find that he or she has either a wider waist or broader shoulders or some other different sized feature than you do. Different body shapes are often more noticeable with weight gain.

The most common body shapes are apple, pear, hourglass, or banana/ruler. The rule of thumb is to dress in a way that accentuates your best feature. Here are descriptions of the most common body shapes, as well as a few tips on how to dress for each one.

  • Apple. If you are apple shaped, your extra pounds accumulate around the waist. To look your best, you will want to avoid accentuating your waist. In order to do so, avoid wearing horizontal stripes or accessorizing belts on shirts or dresses (although it is okay to wear a belt to hold up your pants). Try to avoid wearing high-waisted skirts, as the line will draw the eye to the stomach.
  • Pear. If you are pear shaped, you have a small waist and upper body, and bigger hips and thighs. Try to emphasize your upper body and waist. Instead of tight skirts, wear a-line skirts instead. Wearing heels will help make your legs appear longer and slimmer.
  • Hourglass. The hourglass shape is the most ideal female body shape in Western culture. If your body is shaped like an hourglass, you will want to accentuate your tiny waist. Make sure that you wear fitted shirts and dresses, and wear belts to help draw attention to your middle.
  • Banana/Ruler. If you are banana shaped (straight up and down), you will want to try to give your body some curves. Avoid baggy clothes, and try to wear fitted clothes instead. Try wearing belts and layers, too. Stay away from vertical lines because they will accentuate your lack of curves.

Once you identify what shape your body is closest to, you can dress with that shape in mind. This will help you look the best that you can! Remember that, while you can control whether or not you are at a healthy body weight, you cannot always control exactly what shape your body takes to. Try to be happy with being at an ideal weight and dress accordingly!

Author Bio

Emily McBride

A senior majoring in English and editing at BYU, Emily hopes to enter the field of professional editing upon graduation. Emily has done humanitarian work in Africa and studied in London. She enjoys blogging, foreign films, and playing the piano. ...

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