Ladies: how to dress for your body type

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Ladies: how to dress for your body type

Every body is unique and there is a recommended style for each of these body types. We’ll be looking at the five most common body types and what are the best items of clothing to wear to accentuate that body type.

It’s not to say that your current style is wrong or that you cannot wear anything other than what’s recommended for your body type. It’s a guide for those who have never been confident in their clothing.


What is your body type?

The first thing you’ll need to figure out is what your body type is. You’ll need to measure your shoulders, bust, waist and hips. Below are the five common body types we’ll be looking at today. Please note that the term “heavier” used in the descriptions refer to body proportion and not weight.

  • Apple shape: An apple-shaped person generally has shoulders that are broader than their hips and a larger chest, making the top half of their body seem heavier than the bottom half. Apple shapes also tend to have full waists. The arms, legs and hips, however, are the slim parts of the body. Angelina Jolie, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Jennifer Hudson are examples of women with the apple-shaped body type.
  • Pear shape: Pear-shaped body types are opposite to apple-shaped in that their bottom half (hips, butt and thighs) are heavier than the top half. In measurement terms, your hips are wider than your shoulders and you have a fuller waist. Kim Kardashian is famous for her pear-shaped form, as are Beyoncé and Eva Longoria.
  • Rectangle shape: Rectangular-shaped bodies have their shoulders and hips in proportion to each other. If you’re rectangular, you don't necessarily have defining curves and your weight is evenly distributed throughout your body. Cameron Diaz is one celebrity with this body type.
  • Inverted triangle shape: Like the apple shape, the inverted triangle body type has broad shoulders, except more so than in an apple-shape. This is a common body type for athletes. Charlize Theron and Jessica Alba are inverted triangle-shaped celebrities you could look to for reference.
  • Hourglass shape: And, lastly, we have the hourglass body shape. This is when your top half is in proportion with your bottom half but you have a smaller waist area and, therefore, can proudly say you have curves. Celebrities with an hourglass figure include Jennifer Lopez, Scarlett Johansson and Rihanna.


For the apples

Apple-shaped bodies types should dress to accentuate the slimmer parts of their body (arms and legs). When it comes to tops, V-neck styles are what you want to show off your bust and flowy tunics and button-ups are also a great top-style option. When it comes to winter time, don't be afraid to layer with a jacket that sits right on the hip or upper thigh.

Dresses are another staple clothing item that should be in your wardrobe. Strapless, low-neck and shift dresses should be your top choices. And when it comes to slimming-illusions, prints, diagonal stripes and dark colours are what you’re looking for. And as for bottoms, you can pretty much wear what you like. For a perfect combination outfit, match a flowy top with fitted skinny jeans or leggings.


For the pears

Pear-shaped body types should dress to make the body look longer than it is. Scoop and cowl-neck tops are great options for this body type. Fitted tops are a great way to accentuate your narrow shoulders and waist and, lucky for you, you can pull it off with bright colours and bold patterns.

Princess-cut and waist-length jackets are best suited to pear body shapes as well as everything A-line. As for your bottoms, bootcut and flare pants or jeans should be your go-to items. A superpower “pears” have over most other body types is that they can get away with all the earrings, chunky statement necklaces and, to top it all off, wide-brimmed hats. Have fun ladies.


For the rectangles

The goal here is to create curves that aren’t there. This means that rectangle-shaped bodies should be wearing halter and racerback-style tops with a bomber jacket or flowy jacket. When it comes to bottoms, you’re going to want to complement whatever is happening at the top (flowy top with tight jeans, for example). But, generally, a structured pant and almost any skirt, will suit your body shape.


For the inverted triangles

When it comes to tops, inverted triangle body shapes do better with V-necks and simplicity. Keep the ruffles (if there need to be) in your skirt or bottom-wear. Tighter tops will flatter your shoulders and arms and pencil skirts and skinny jeans should be your everyday clothing items. Wrap-style clothing is also a great staple to have in this body type’s closet.


For the hourglasses

And the hourglasses. If this is your body type, your wardrobe rule is pretty simple: fitted. Fitted tops will highlight your tiny waist and embrace your curves. You won’t need to rely on clothing styles to balance your shoulder-to-hip ratio like the other body shapes do. Be careful of flowy dresses and rather, to be on the safe side, wear a waist belt so people know it’s there. And skinny jeans and leggings (fitted is the rule, remember) are all you’ll ever need in your closet to make you feel great about your hourglass figure.

You know what you’re comfortable with wearing, showing and accentuating. Now make a list of clothing stores in South Africa you want to visit, and get busy building that new wardrobe.

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