Created in partnership with estilistas

Understanding your body shape can have a massive impact on the way you get dressed every day. Suddenly realising that you could be dressing better for your shape shouldn’t be a reason to throw out all your clothes and start fresh, though! You can almost certainly style the clothes you have in a way that creates the right balance and enhances your best features.

Classically, there are five (sometimes more) body shapes that you have probably heard about. These body types are not a real representation of everyone but are massive generalisations that can provide some guidance to help you define certain aspects of your body.

Taking your measurements

Really, though, the first thing is to understand your numbers. If you don’t know them already or haven’t taken them recently, you’re going to need to take some measurements.

To measure yourself you will need a full-length mirror and a soft measuring tape, and you should be in your underwear or wearing very tight-fitted clothes. Even better if you can get someone to help.

  1. Shoulders: measure across the top of your shoulders from one end to the other.
  2. Bust: measure the fullest part of your bust, usually over the nipples. Keep the measuring tape parallel to the ground.
  3. Waist: locate the narrowest part of your waist, typically just above your belly button, and measure it.
  4. Hip measurement: measure the widest part of your hips, usually below the hip bones.

You should now have four numbers. With them, you can work out roughly what body shape your figure is closest to. Which one of these applies the most to you?

  • Hourglass: Your bust and hips are roughly the same width, and your waist is significantly narrower.
  • Pear (or Triangle): Your hips are wider than your bust, and you have a defined waist.
  • Apple (or Round): Your bust is larger than your hips, and you may carry some weight in your midsection.
  • Rectangle (or Straight): Your bust, waist, and hips are fairly similar in width, with minimal waist definition.
  • Inverted Triangle: Your bust is wider than your hips, and you may have broad shoulders.

Ok, so now you know which shape your figure is closest to… now what? How does this help you?

  • Knowing your measurements and keeping them up to date will make clothes shopping easier, especially online.
  • You understand your body better.
  • It can help you find ways to create the right balance in your outfits, by accentuating some parts and de-emphasising others.
  • Ultimately, it can boost your confidence by dressing in a way that makes you comfortable while looking great.

I’m not going to tell you what you should or shouldn’t wear. You can easily ask Google for ‘how to dress for X body shape’ and you will get thousands of totally valid ideas. In my opinion, these are all a bit restrictive.

We all like these simple categorisations because they’re shortcuts that can make our lives easier, especially when there’s a lot of choice. But I think it’s quite limiting if we were to all follow some set of rules for our body type. It clouds our creativity.

I would much prefer that you love your body and celebrate your individuality, rather than trying to fathom and conform to the dos and do-nots of a gaggle of disagreeing fashionistas.

So, instead of more confusing suggestions, I am going to give you just four easy tips that will help you create stylish outfits that will boost your confidence regardless of your body shape.

Balance your silhouette

When creating an outfit, try not to think about ‘hiding’ this or that. Instead, focus on balancing your silhouette. If you carry more weight in certain areas of your body, rather than hiding it by wearing oversized clothing, choose a well-fitted piece, but show some skin! The right amount of exposed skin can work wonders to create a balanced silhouette, like showing a bit of cleavage or even rolling your sleeves up.


Playing with the proportions of your outfit is also key. So, if you are wearing an oversized top, you might want to wear a fitted bottom, or the other way around. If you are wearing oversized everything, you might want to show off a bit of leg, arms or neckline to avoid looking like a walking duvet.

Draw lines

Creating vertical lines with open blazers/cardigans/shirts, or even actual printed lines, will guide the eye in a continuous up-and-down motion creating a streamlined appearance, which is helpful for people with short torsos, or wider proportions along their midsection, as it ‘stretches’ you.

Waist knot

Styling tips for body shape

There is a reason why stylists are obsessed with the waist. A little tuck, a little skin, a belt; every variation can create a whole new look.

No matter your body shape, creating a waistlineor drawing the eye to it, will emphasise the natural curves of your body. This can have the effect of ‘distracting’ viewers from other parts of your figure, without hiding anything.

It’s also a very easy way to add a new twist to an existing outfit.

Every body is unique, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. So, try not to let body shape guidance become hard and fast rules for what to wear. Experiment with different styles and clothing choices. Find what makes you feel most confident, comfortable and overall makes you feel you!

Keep these four simple tips in mind and I’m confident that you’ll be looking and feeling great whatever shape you are.

I genuinely believe everyone is unique and that truly personal style requires a real, personal stylist. I want to give you the confidence through clothes to be the best you can be in any setting and without costing the earth. For a more personalised service, come and book a Free Consultation with me today.

You may also like...