Have you ever been frustrated to see a beautiful outfit, but when you tried it on, you hated how it looked on your body? Or tried to copy an outfit that we liked on someone else, only to encounter disappointing results?
This happens because we each have a unique body shape, and what looks good on one person may not look good on another.
There is a fashion concept that says there are five main body types: the rectangle (shoulders and hips proportional with almost no waist), the hourglass (shoulders and hips proportional with a well-defined waist), the triangle (the hip is wider than the shoulders), the inverted triangle (the shoulders are wider than the hips), and the oval (the waist extends beyond the hips and shoulders).
Each body shape has unique characteristics, so if a person with an oval shape wears the same clothing style as someone with a rectangular shape, the fit will be totally different.
The first step is to look in the mirror and notice which body shape most resembles yours. Go a step further and decide which parts of your body you like the most and which, if any, bother you. (Note: The point here isn’t to criticize yourself or judge your body. Look at yourself with love to understand how to make your outfits work in your favor.)
Now that you’ve identified your body shape, the next step is to understand which styles match your physical shape. After all, fashion has these categories to make things easier, but you have to feel free to make these decisions according to your personal taste, ok?
How to dress the rectangle body shape
The rectangle (the shape of most runway models) is very symmetrical with few curves. One of the ways to visually balance it is to wear designs with curves. To create these curves and define the waist, choose peplum tops, round or puffed sleeves, ruffled, flared, or A-line skirts. Opt for cinched blazers and trench coats.
How to dress the hourglass body shape
Since this body type is already proportionately balanced, most clothing styles suit it very well! However, be careful to not unbalance the body shape by overemphasizing one area over the other (for example, a straight maxi skirt with a puffed sleeve top, or a ruffled skirt with a simple, basic top).
Avoid overly tight designs and thin, clingy fabrics like jersey. Instead, opt for structured designs with thicker fabrics like cotton and linen for an elegant look. Choose pieces that value your waist, A-line skirts and dresses, and balanced combinations of pieces.
How to dress the triangle body shape
The triangle body has larger hips than shoulders and bust.
To balance hip and bust size, choose pieces that don’t emphasize the waist, which would add even more volume to the hips. Also avoid clothes that draw attention to the hips, such as voluminous skirts, or even blouses with flashy cuffs, as they are at the hip line and can draw attention to this area.
Instead, choose pieces that draw attention to the upper body, like wrap tops or different necklines. Wear vibrant colors and prints, and darker colors or vertical stripes in the lower part of the body.
How to dress the inverted triangle body shape
The inverted triangle has larger shoulders and/or bust than hips. In contrast to the triangle shape, avoid creating more volume in the bust and shoulder area and focus your attention on your waist and hips. Wear flared, pleated, ruffled, or “mermaid” skirts. Simple and solid colors on top, with prints and bright colors for the bottom pieces.
How to dress the oval body shape
This body shape has a wider waist than shoulders and hips. Emphasize the thighs and arms to create a waist about 4 inches below the bust. Look for clothes with vertical cuts, buttons (button-up shirts), V and U necklines, tops and blazers that reach the hips, ¾ sleeves, A-line dresses, and jackets that are cinched or tied at the waist. Avoid low-waist skirts.
Regardless of your body type, remember that clothes should make you more comfortable and confident, so if you have wide hips and like them, go ahead and wear print and bright colors in your skirts and dresses! Follow the tips that apply to other body shapes and see how they affect yours! Get to know yourself, your style, and only follow what suits your personal taste, personality, and lifestyle!
Examples of how different pieces can impact body shape:
Widen the hips (pleated, flared, A-line skirts)
Create/highlight the waist
Widen/highlight the shoulders (tops with puffed sleeves or details)
Elongate the body (horizontal lines, rows of buttons)