Monday, April 21, 2008

How To Dress For Body Type

Styling Rules are hardly generic! As a matter of fact, they should always be customized to the individual! Since everyone comes in different body size and shape, it's important to learn what to wear and what to avoid in order to best flatter our body type. Being compared to an object like an Hourglass or a Pear is not always Body Typesflattering, especially when carrying a few extra pounds that we are trying to lose. It can be hurtful to stand in front of a mirror and examine each flaw in order to determine our body type, but it is a necessary step.
Remember: no one has the "perfect" body!
I have met numerous women who are ready to reveal exactly what they don't like about their bodies, including models and celebrities!
It is extremely important to determine the body type - first and foremost- as it helps to visualize a certain shape; then, we choose what to wear to best suit our body type, to create the illusion of a well balanced figure.

"Fashion is architecture: it is a matter of proportions. "

Coco Chanel

The most important thing to analyze first is the body type we currently have (not the one we want): keep in mind that it has nothing to do with size, it's all about proportions.
All body types come in a mix of fuller and slimmer shapes. The most flattering body shape on a woman is the hourglass, so that is the ideal goal we should try to achieve through clothing, regardless of our current body type. It consists of: Larger shoulders, smaller well-defined waist and, a curvy bottom.
Let's determine firstly, the most common body types, then subdivide them (decide where you fit in best) and finally follow the simple styling steps to better balance the body type.


The LOLLIPOP body type: Big breasts, not too broad shoulders, short waist and long skinny legs.

The GOBLET body type: Heavy and square on the top, large breasts, a big tummy and broad back sitting on slender legs.


The SKITTLE body type: top half is long and slim and widens at the bottom with saddlebags and a big bum on short legs.

The BELL body type: petite woman with small shoulders and breasts and a large bottom and waist.

The PEAR body type: small at the top with small shoulders and breasts, tiny waist, big thighs (saddlebags), and the calves and ankles don't have much definition.


The APPLE body type: is all round; small shoulders, big breasts and waist, big hips and buttocks and no definition in the calves and ankles.

HourGlass body typeThe HOURGLASS body type: Big shoulders and breasts, small short waist, big hips (bottom half and top half are equal in size).

The VASE body type: It's a stretched Hourglass, more length and a flatter bottom.
The CELLO body type: broad shoulders, large breasts, very big buttocks, hips and thighs (bigger than the top).


The BRICK body type: it's a masculine shape, broad shoulders, flat buttocks, no waist line, straight up and down short legs.

The CONE body type: triangular shape, it's an athletic build with broad shoulders, little breast, no waist line, small hips and buttocks.

The COLUMN body type: very tall, statuesque build. No curves, the top half and bottom half are equal in size.


TOP Heavy body types:

Top heavy body typeGoal: Pick pieces that are shaped but not tight. Bring attention to the bottom half of the body.

Purchase a well fitting bra first -more than 85% of North American women (regardless of their body type or bust size) wear the wrong size bra! Most stores offer a fitting session and service for free. Get it right, it makes the world of a difference in how the clothes fit.

Don't wear tops with: ruffles or pastel shades, thin spaghetti straps, delicate camisole tops or complicated necklines. Avoid high neck lines, opt instead for wide v-neck halves, not in a bulky material. Dresses should have strategic gathers under the breast to direct all eyes to your waist. Skirts should be fitted at the top and flaring at the hemline (to balance the top and the bottom), a cute tulip skirt works here. Avoid high waisted "anythings" at all cost! Bell bottom trousers balance out the breasts so you look less top heavy. Shoes should be high and a medium to slim heel to complement the shapely legs. Structured jackets, with one or two buttons under the breast, work well for a bigger bust, make sure the jacket can be buttoned; if a size bigger is necessary, then bring the jacket to the tailor and get both sides (at the waist) taken in, so to achieve an hourglass shape!

Don't Wear: A lot of women who have larger busts try to camouflage it with boxy blazers. A blazer hides a double-D bust, but it makes a waist and the rest of the body look much bigger as well. Remember we are trying to achieve an hourglass body type (not a brick!).

Do Wear: A fitted, single-breasted fitted blazer, making sure it defines the waist but is roomy enough in the bust so that it doesn't pull. The overall effect is slimming and shape-defining.

BOTTOM Heavy body types:

Goal: bring attention to the top half of the body and away from problem areas.

Clingy skirts and tapered pants are a no-no as they highlight the hip, so trow them out of the closet; fuller leg trousers and flared skirts hide bulges. Wear any vertical pattern on the bottom half (to slim the appearance) even if it is in the seaming. Darker colors recede, so go dark on the bottom half of the body (no shiny fabrics) and wear lighter colors on top. To broaden shoulders and bring the attention up to the top half, wear big lapels, color and embellishment on the neckline, even a small shoulder pad will bring balance to a wider bottom.

Avoid side pockets, opt instead for a flat-front trouser. Super-slim jeans and pencil skirts are not a good choice. A defined waist, full skirt and strapless cut dress will bring all the focus to the smaller upper half. High-waisted, belted skirts draw attention to a slimmer waist line (hem it just above the knee), but wear them only if you have smaller breasts. Avoid Empire waist dresses that hide the waistline, choose instead a defined waist and an A-line skirt (wrap dress) to accentuate the upper half. Buy a full, pleated Knee-length skirt to conceal a wide hip. Full, wide-leg gauchos drape without clinging and are a fashionable choice. Avoid tapered cut pants that emphasize a wide middle area, try a boot-cut pant and jeans to create a straight, lean line. Pleats are dangerous and so are too-high waist lines on pants, a flat front trouser on a medium rise (1 inch below belly button) is more flattering on this body type.

A funnel shaped coat (buttons on the top half) is very flattering, also a coat with belt will bring attention to the waist, like a classy trench coat. In the summer wear a thigh-skimming Craftan over the bathing suit, it's a classy and fashionable way to cover up and balance a wider hip.

Cone heels on a dressy shoe will help balance out the bottom half of the body. Straight winter boots will look fashionable and also help cover shapeless calves and ankles. Don't do ankle straps, they brake the line of the leg.

Don't Wear: A straight button-dress that hugs the curves at the hips, making them appear larger, not to mention the pull on the buttons in curvy areas can draw unwanted attention.

Do Wear: A wrap dress to emphasize the smallest part of the body (the upper half), allowing the bottom to A-line over the rest, camouflaging large hips and thighs. A print, especially over a darker background is slimming and will diffuse the attention on the pattern, not on the curves.

"Highlight the positive and delete the negative." Donna Karan

TOP and BOTTOM Heavy body types:

Goal:Top and bottom heavy body type The secret is not to hide any part of the body, but to show it off, nobody looks good in a straight oversized tent dress. The clothes must be fitted (not tight) and curve hugging.

Wear V-neck fitted cardigans, scooped necks and pencil skirts. Skirts should be fastened on the side and flat-fronted, to avoid extra bulk. Sewn down paneling on the top half of a bottom-pleated skirt holds the tummy at the front and cuts the buttocks in half. Asymmetric pleats on a tulip skirt will lift and bring out the bottom. Wear jackets with a single button (which will emphasize the narrowest area of the body). Traditional jeans don't always work, so choose a tailored, wide legged denim trouser. Avoid tight, wide-cut pants, which can make the bottom look wider; a straighter leg style (full but not flared), that doesn't pull at the hips, is more flattering. Avoid pleats around the hips and belly (they add bulk) or anything high-waisted. Wear waist defining pieces and empire-waist dresses. A fitted trench with belt is great as a coat. Pick chiffon dresses, with a corset. As for shoes, avoid stilettos, curvy girls need curvy shoes! Choose a small, shaped wedge sandal, and a rounded or peep toe shoe.

No CURVES body types: No curves/Athletic body type

Goal: Create curves and an ideal hourglass shape.

Draping dresses with patterns will create curves in all the right places (size the pattern to the body- small frame= small pattern, and vice versa). Don't assume any bra with padding will work; it must fit so the seams and padding can't be seen (P.S. Avoid deep Vee shirts with padded bras). Never go bra-less under flimsy fabrics, no matter how small the breast, it's not classy.

A feminine chiffon dress will soften the shape. Halter tops create soft curves. Gathering and pleating on a shirt (at the sleeves and waist) creates curves. Skinny jeans will hug the skinny shapeless hips, giving them more definition. Choose delicate heels to highlight slim ankles. Accessorize, to keep you looking very stylish and feminine (use lace, beads and other feminine detailing). Invest in some cute waist-defining belts to wear over shirts, cardigans, coats, etc.

"Accentuate your best features and disguise what you are not so happy with. Choose outfits that fit and make you look comfortable rather than those that are up-to-the-minute."

Giorgio Armani

Now that you know what to wear, a few last minute tid-bits of advice: Practice the art of camouflage. A well known fashion truth: darker colors minimize, while lighter or shiny ones highlight. To play down a large chest, avoid wearing bright metallic tops. Have a thicker waist? A dark brown belt is better than a white one. Horizontal stripes make anything look wider. To look taller and leaner wear monocromatic tops and bottoms (match shoes to trousers for a longer leg line). To do color safely, accessorize!

Everyone needs a Tailor: it's unrealistic to expect every size 12 dress to fit every size 12 woman in the bust, waist and hips perfectly. That means find a reliable tailor so that the clothes fit your body. Good tailoring can make a cheaper item look expensive.
Styling Dos and Don'ts have nothing to do with size. These days, flattering choices abound for women of all shapes. Love your body, be stylish and confident, it shows that you appreciate and respect yourself.
Bigger on top: Scarlett Johansson, Salma Hayek, Lindsay Lohan, Carmen Electra, Nikki Blonsky.
Bigger on bottom: Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Shakira, Rihanna.
Hourglass: Jordin Sparks, Beyonce, Jessica Simpson, Halle Berry, Oprah Winfrey, America Ferrera, Tyra Banks.

Apple type: Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Osbourne, Mary J. Blige, Britney Spears.

No curves: Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett Smith, Hilary Duff, Pink, Keira Knightley.

For the best swimsuit to flatter your body type, read the latest article!

Be fabulous,


Personal beauty, fashion trends, style, glamour like celebrities.
(most)Body types by: TV style gurus Trinny Woodall and Susannahtype Constantine.
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beautybyella said...

I know how hard it is to dress for your body, when all you try to do is lose weight (read my weight loss article you'll relate); but trust me, it will boost your morale by looking your best, and it will also show the world that you carry yourself with your head up high! Be confident and fabulous ALL THE TIME!

Ella :)

RM said...

Great post! I'm actually doing something similar on my blog, although I'm just hitting the basics and not going into too many details.

Anonymous said...

Check the size and if it's comfortable to you and there will be no problem. :)