How to dress for your shape
by Steph Foy
Clothes are more than just pieces of fabric. They are a way of expressing our personality and our feelings. It's easy to fall prey to dressing for a trend rather than your personality. It's better to fall prey to at least dressing for your shape...
From voluptuous vixen to lean machine, we're all different, and we all suit different clothes. What suits your best friend may not necessarily suit you. It's important to understand the different body shape categories, so you know which one you fall into, and can start dressing in a way which flaunts your best assets.
The main body shapes are; apple, pear, strawberry and rhubarb. Whilst this may sound like a fruit bowl, these are the basic building blocks to dressing for your shape!
If you're an apple shape, you're the most rounded of all the body shapes. Your hot points are your slender yet shapely legs. You are also likely to be in possession of a voluptuous and completely natural chest which you will have for the rest of your days.
Apple figures tend to have quite chunky arms, but usually very slim wrists.
If you have an apple shaped figure you usually gain weight around your tummy, and you don't have much of waist.
That last bit might not sound so good, but there are many ways of creating a waist, for example:
Apple figures should wear V-Necks or wraparound tops, as they break up your torso, and make the most of your cleavage.
You can also wear pencil skirts to show off your shapely legs.
The apple shape should avoid wide leg jeans, as these make your legs look bigger, making you appear top AND bottom heavy. Instead, wear straight or boot-cut jeans, as these flatter the legs most.
To avoid the dreaded "muffin top", wear mid-rise or even high-rise jeans to give the illusion of a slimmer silhouette.
Most importantly, apple figures should avoid clingy tops, as they may ride up - or else choose clingy tops that are long in the torso.
Also avoid polo necks, as they make you look top heavy. You want to emphasise those curves, not add extra bulk.
If you are a pear shape, it basically means you carry your weight on the bottom part of your body, like your bum and thighs. This means you tend to have a smaller chest. You also have curvaceous hips. Your best parts are your tiny waist and slim arms. Because you're slimmer on top, you probably want to keep the attention focused on your upper body.
Pear shaped people look good in A line skirts, as they skim over hips. Another tip is to wear heels, as they lengthen and slim legs. Wedge heels also balance out thicker calves. It's also a good idea to invest in waisted belts, as they draw attention to your already slim waist, and create more of an hourglass shape.
It's also a good idea to wear eye catching earrings and necklaces, as they draw the attention up.
Pear shaped girls should avoid wide leg jeans, as these make your legs appear wider than they are. Your perfect jeans are bootleg jeans, which you can wear with boots underneath, which makes your legs appear longer and slimmer.
Pear shaped girls should not overload on short skirts, especially if you have chunkier calves. Instead, high waisted pencil skirts are very flattering, as they show off your waist.
You should also avoid smock dresses, as they completely hide your top half, and usually show off your legs, which may not be your most flattering. If you want to wear a floaty smock dress, wear with black leggings, as they will make your legs appear a little slimmer.
If you have a strawberry shaped figure, you probably have a wide back and wide shoulders. It is very important that you dress properly if you're a strawberry shape, as some clothes can make you look more masculine from the back - unless, of course, you want to look masculine from the back.
The main hot point of the strawberry figure is the full cleavage, which should be showed off with V-Necks or wide scooped necklines. As well as showing off your cleavage, these types of tops also soften your shoulders, balancing out your whole torso.
Strawberry shaped gals usually have slim legs, and these are showed off best with fitted skirts, or straight leg jeans. Ideally, team skirts and jeans with heels to lengthen your legs even more.
As a strawberry shape, you probably gain most weight around your tummy. This means that you don't have much of a waist. You may want to try wraparound dresses, as these accentuate your waist, giving you more of an hourglass shape. Also, wearing thick belts around the waist brings your tummy in, creating a more hourglass shape.
Strawberry shaped gals should avoid polo necks, as they make you look top heavy. Also, try to avoid heavy wool sweaters, as these add bulk to your tummy.
Also, make sure you have a properly fitted bra, as this can dramatically change the way clothes look on you. If you're not comfortable with having a bigger cleavage, try a minimiser bra, as this will make your chest appear smaller.
The rhubarb shape is very simple to explain. Just like a rhubarb - straight up, straight down. This can also be referred to as a rular figure, or a boyish figure. Very slim legs, long torso, and a relatively small chest.
Rhubarb shaped girls should go for short skirts or shorts, which show off slim legs. You can also go for skinny jeans, which will show off your nice long legs. As with the figures that have a wide waist, you can also benefit from a belt round your waist, as this will give the illusion of a waist. Because the rhubarb shape can get away with pretty much anything, you can wear jumpers with horizontal stripes, as they will flatter you, and make you look a little wider, but without adding bulk.
Rhubarb girls should avoid full skirts, especially the long kind, as they will drown you. Also, very baggy clothes will simply emphasise the lack of curves.
Push up bras can also come in very useful, as they will make your bust look bigger, evening you out a bit more.
The final figure I'll mention is the hourglass figure. Think Marilyn Monroe, or Dita Von Teese.
Hourglass figures have a full chest, small waist, rounded hips, and tend to carry weight on the legs.
If you have an hourglass figure, opt for sweetheart necklines, as they flatter your bust, and draw attention away from potentially chunky arms. Wear cropped jackets which nip in at the waist, as they emphasise your already small waist.
Don't be tempted to hide your curves under baggy clothes. You have the figure, so flaunt it!
Heels are your best friend, and will make legs appear slimmer and longer.
Your perfect jeans are, as with most figures, boot cut. The darker the colour, the slimmer the effect, so try black jeans teamed with heels, for that ultimate slim leg look.
See more Japanese, Vintage/Burlesque & Gothic DIY Style
Barbie thinks she's an hourglass. But - oh no! Could she really be a strawberry?