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The Best ways to Dress for your Body Type│The Basics

Quick disclaimer: While there are certain ways you can dress to flatter your figure, don’t feel that you can’t dress in any way other than your body type! Fashion can be a way to express yourself; therefore at the end of the day, wear what makes you happy regardless of if it follows the “fashion rules”! For those that are looking to see what clothing items work best for their figure/body type, this is a basic guide you can follow.

The Different Body Types

The body shape is reliant on your measurements in relation to your bust, waist, hips, and height. No one person looks the exact same, however, most people will fall into one of the following categories of body shapes:

  • Apple Shape: Broad Shoulders. Smaller/Narrow hips. A non-defined waistline. Larger Bust.
  • Rectangle/Athletic Shape: Shoulders and hip measurements are about the same. Little to no curves. Evenly distributed weight.
  • Hourglass/Curvy Shape: Bust & Hips similar in size. Well defined Waist.
  • Pear Shape: Larger Hips & Butt. Smaller Waist & Bust. Larger hips than shoulder ratio.
  • Keep in mind your height! Are you petite, regular, Tall?

To figure out your size, take measurements of your bust, waist, and your hips. Depending on those measurements, it will give you a rough idea as to which category you fall into.

In this post, I am going to break down each body type by beginning with the goals we are trying to achieve with our clothes to best flatter our body, then move onto the clothes that work best for that body type starting from the top and working our way down (I also give tips along the way!). Let’s start with the apple-shaped body.

The Apple Shape Body Type

There are so many great qualities about an apple shape! You’ve been blessed with great legs and arms, and an average to fuller bust!


  1. Add Vertical lines to the outfit through layers to create a lean silhouette
  2. Create the illusion of a well-defined waist
  3. Highlight your legs and bust
  4. Balance out the body to not look “top-heavy”

Now that our goals are in place, we can now move forward in figuring out what clothing items work best for an apple shape.

Clothes for the Apple Shape


  • Well-Fitted Bra (Need help finding the perfect well-fit bra? click here for more)
  • Anything V-Neck! V-neck T-shirts, long sleeves, etc.
  • Flowy Tunics
  • Tops/ Cardigans that stop at your hip


  1. Find a structured Fabric. Anything clingy such as thin cotton & Jersey can cling to parts you want to streamline. Fabrics such as linen, tweed, thicker cotton, and woven tops are great!
  2. If you’re looking for more coverage in your tops, go for sleeve lengths that are more fitted as they will help to balance your bust. Also, If you’re not comfortable with V-necks, go for a higher neckline in a darker colour such as black.
Clothes for Apply Body type
As an apple shape myself, here’s an example of a casual outfit I would wear: A babydoll top, 10″ High waisted ankle-length skinny jeans & open-toed shoes to create the illusion of leaner and longer legs.

Links to the clothes in this picture here & the bag here. Shoes: Old Navy. Watch: Fossil.


  • Spaghetti Straps
  • High or Round Necklines
  • Breast Pockets
  • Double-Breasted Jackets

Tip: Apple shapes have great arms, so you don’t have to follow these rules to a tee! If you want to wear spaghetti straps- go for it!


  • A-Line Coats
  • Knee-length Trench Coats
  • Single Breasted Jackets

Tip: The jacket should cut off at hip length/upper thigh


Typically it is said that Apple Shapes look best with a jean that is flared to some degree to help proportion out your body by creating volume at the bottom to even out the top half. However, in my opinion, I believe you can take your pick with any pant/Jean style!

A pant with a mid-high rise works great to help slim out the tummy. I also try and pick denim that is lighter to make my legs stand out, and I wear darker tops to trick the eye into focusing on the bottom half of the body.

Rule of thumb: If you are wearing a more fitted style such as skinny jeans or leggings, balance it out with a more flowy tunic (not too oversized). Ensure that the top is longer and not cropped!


  • Wrap Dresses
  • A-Line/Structured knee length Skirts
  • Low neckline/Strapless Maxi dress
  • Midi-Dresses
  • Cinched waist dresses
fitted knee length skirt for apple body type
An example of a structured skirt that stops at knee length. Great for tucking bodysuits into, and comes with pockets.
Purchased at JCREW *no longer sold

The Rectangle/Athletic Shape Body Type

If you’re a rectangle/athletic shape, you don’t need to fear! This body shape has some amazing features such as great shoulders and arms!

The rectangle shape can be described as someone “straight up or down”, with little to no curves. However, we are also including the athletic shape in this category, which is for the muscular women who may have a larger back, broad shoulders, and muscular legs.


  1. Accentuate your shoulders and arms
  2. Create the illusion of curves by defining the waist

Clothing for the Athletic Shape


  • Halter Neck
  • Strapless Anything!
  • Racerback
  • Scoop or Round neckline
Halternecks are very flattering for athletic body shapes!
Top from: Torrid


  • Boyfriend Blazers
  • Any outerwear looks great on Rectangle shapes! (Peacoats, bomber jackets, etc.)


  • Mid-Rise jeans
  • Jeggings/Jeans with stretch for the athletic shape
  • Straight Leg jeans
  • Bootcut/Flare jeans with heels

Tip: Boyfriend & cropped jeans can add more volume for those with muscular legs, as well as distressed & light wash jeans.


  • Strapless Dress
  • Jumpsuits
  • Halter dress
  • Any Skirt style will work
  • Dresses with stretch for broad shoulders
  • Pencil Skirts


  1. Add a heel to elongate the legs for those special occasions
  2. To create the illusion of a well-defined waist, tuck in your shirts into your skirts to help define the waist.

The Hourglass/Curvy Shape Body Type

The hourglass shape has great features, and it’s just a matter of enhancing those natural curves!


  1. Accentuate the waistline
  2. Find pieces that enhance your natural silhouette

Clothes for the Hourglass Shape


  • Wrap Tops
  • Peplum Tops
  • V-neck or Round Neck

Tip: Your key piece to remember is to find clothes that are form-fitting to show off your narrow waist.

Example of a tight wrap shirt that would go great with an hourglass figure
Top: Leith (Nordstrom)


  • Blazers
  • Trench coats
  • Anything tailored!

Tip: Avoid boxy styles that will drown your curves


  • High waisted Jeans
  • Mom-Jeans!
  • Leggings/Jeggings


  • Wrap Dress
  • Fit & Flare
  • Empire Dress
  • Jumpsuits

Tip: Avoid anything oversized & flowy with nothing to cinch in your waist. This will hide your natural silhouette!

An outfit for an hourglass: A tailored jacket, wrap long sleeve, dark high waisted jeans & small crossbody.

The Pear Shape Body Type

Yes, Girl! this shape is widely celebrated right now for having that booty!


  1. Elongate the body
  2. Highlight your waist, back, and neckline

Clothes for the Pear Shape


  • Cowl Necks
  • Scoop Necks
  • V-Neck
  • Off the should tops
  • One-shoulder tops
  • Bodysuits

Tip: Pear shapes can typically have smaller waists than other body types. Don’t be afraid to wear fitted tops and accentuate your waist!


  • Waist-length jackets
  • A-Line Jackets
  • Cropped Jackets


  • Dark Denim
  • Black Jeggings
  • Flare Jeans
  • Bootcut Jeans

Tip: Darker coloured bottoms can help to balance out the body. It is suggested to wear bootcut/flare bottoms for a slimming effect


  • Off the shoulder dress
  • A-Line skirts & Dresses
  • Spaghetti-Strapped/Sleeveless Dress
  • Wrap Dresses
  • Maxi Dresses
  • Jumpsuits
outfit for athletic body type
An example of tucking in a bodysuit into a pencil skirt. This can help to define the waist. The bodysuit has a rounded neckline to enhance those features!

Tip: If you can find a dress with a belt accessory, that’s even better! Accentuate your naturally small waist with a belt or a dress that cinches in at the waist.

In Conclusion

It’s fun to play around and see what clothing enhances our naturally great figures! At the end of the day, wear what makes you happy and comfortable… since they say a smile is the best thing you can wear! 🙂

Chelsea Proulx

Lifestyle Blog