Choosing the right dress for your body shape is hard but these tips should help. Body shapes mainly refer to the parts of the body where women deposit fats.

row of dresses of all colours on a rail

What does body shape mean?

Apple-shaped women store fat in their upper body such as the chest and shoulders. Pear-shaped women store fat in their hips and thighs.

Hourglass-shaped women store fat in their chest, hips and butt. Banana-shaped women distribute fat on all parts of the body, especially the middle.

Unfortunately, these changes are biologically predisposed depending on our body structures and hormones. There’s little we can do to change that fact but, luckily there are plenty of ways to dress your body according to your body shape.

Dresses for Apple-shaped bodies

Halter cuts and sleeveless dresses look very flattering on your broad shoulders. But if you opt to wear sleeved tops, make sure the armhole stops along the widest part of the chest and not any further.

By doing this, your shoulders will appear as a straight vertical section along with your arms which has a slimming effect because they are differentiated from the torso.

Dresses with low-cut necklines such as scoop necks and V-necks minimize coverage along your upper body.

Empire-cut dresses with plunging necklines beautifully highlight your decolletage while giving enough support for your chest.

Strapless dresses are also very flattering as long as it has adequate support such as in bustier dresses.

Structured skirts work best for narrow hips since it gives them the shape that it needs to complement the upper body.

Avoid flimsy materials for skirts and choose bottoms with eye-catching details along the hips such as bulky side pockets or horizontal patterns.

Textured skirts such as those with ruching, layering, pleating, rosettes and other details look very feminine on apple bodies without appearing too puffy.

a doctor holding an apple in one hand and a pear in the other

Dresses for Pear-shaped bodies

Frilly frocks and other dresses that are fuller on top can be pulled off quite easily by pear-shaped women.

Since most of your bulk can be found along your hips, wearing dresses that have plenty of material on top balances your lower body with your torso.

You can get away with puffy sleeves, high collars, cowl necklines and other detailed tops.

Off-shoulder dresses are a great way for pear-shaped women to show off their shoulders without compromising their overall body proportion.

Always try to emphasize the widest part of your upper body by wearing dresses that encompass the shoulders such as cap-sleeve dresses.

Wearing dresses with light-coloured tops or those with horizontal details along the upper body also helps in expanding your delicate torso.

Dresses with dark-coloured bottoms can instantly slim down your hips especially if it’s made with flimsy materials that cling beautifully to your curves. A-line dresses which are narrow on top and flared at the bottom are a great style for pear-shaped women.

Dresses for Banana-shaped bodies

Sleeveless or strapless dresses with tasteful details on the chest and hips can help to enhance your curves and show off your shoulders at the same time. Halter cuts can create the illusion of an hourglass shape if paired with a mermaid-style bottom.

Corset and bustier dresses can add more shape to your figure because of their structured features. Cinched waists can help add curves to your middle especially if your belt has a darker colour than your dress.

Detailed skirts especially those with layers, rosettes and other designs add more weight along your hips. You can also emphasize the widest part of the hip by using details such as side pockets, horizontal pleating or ruching to balance your hips with your broad shoulders.

Dresses for an Hourglass figure

Dresses with a uniform colour or pattern such as sheath dresses help in keeping your upper and lower body proportions balanced. Hourglass women have very narrow waists and full curves which need plenty of support.

Dresses with wide waistbands or those worn with sturdy, non-slim belts make your shapely assets less overpowering than your tiny waist.

Hourglass women can get away with flimsy dresses but it’s important to choose a body-skimming fit that’s neither too tight nor too loose.

Fluid dresses such as empire cuts made of chiffon, silk and other soft fabrics hug your body in all the right places but make sure to wear adequate support for your figure.

Simple cuts and styles already do justice to hourglass figures thus dresses with too many accents can tend to be overwhelming.

Extra embellishments are best placed on delicate features such as the waist, neck, legs and shoulders avoiding areas such as the chest, hips and butt which are already predominant features.

five smiling ladies all in white matching bras and knickers

Dresses for Petite figures

Tube and sheath dresses with monochromatic styles can elongate your body because of the continuity of the colours.

Petites can come in any of the body shapes mentioned above so aside from choosing body-type-appropriate clothes, you should also choose one-colour dresses with vertical details.

Avoid wearing horizontal details such as belts. But if you opt to wear accent pieces, choose small and slim accessories like skinny belts with narrow buckles.

Maximize the longest lines possible on the curves of the chest, waist and hips with form-hugging styles like halter-necklines with mermaid-cut skirts.

Halter cuts add more height along the torso by adding a shapely coverage along the upper chest and neckline making it a better choice than sleeveless and strapless cuts.

Empire-cut dresses that are gathered below the bust blur the outlines of your figure from the waist down leaving more room for interpretation.

Pleated bottoms and gathered waists also create vertical lines that lengthen your silhouette. Complete your look by wearing heels that cover only the toes leaving the instep bare to make your legs appear longer.

Tall women’s dress styles

Colour block dresses in horizontal cuts section off extremely long features such as the torso and limbs. Tall body shapes can also be any of the basic body shapes so it’s important to apply those concepts along with these other tips.

Women with this figure can get away with fancier dress styles just like models on a catwalk, so you really need not worry if you belong to this body type.

Straight-cut dresses and tunics are more flattering on tall women of any body type. Wearing horizontal patterns or accessories like belts can limit the visual continuity of your figure.

This can also be achieved by wearing dresses with different fits at the top and bottom such as banded tunic dresses or by wearing dresses made of different materials.

Tube dresses with knee-length skirts are great for minimizing length since it cuts both your upper and lower body’s appearance in half.

It’s best to choose moderate-length dresses that cover about half of your entire length instead of dresses that either cover too little or too much of your tall figure.

Pairing your dress with shoes that offer plenty of coverage such as boots and cutouts is a chic way of toning down those long legs.

Every woman has a unique body shape. Ultimately, it is up to each of us to know which clothes best fit our own body and personality as well. All it takes is a good eye for detail and a better knowledge of yourself and your body.

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Just Average Jen Shopping Guides

My guides to help you spend your money wisely on whatever you need for your happy healthy lifestyle.

About Author

Hi, I’m Jen Mellor; I live in Nottingham, UK. and use my knowledge and experience in weight loss and confidence to help you become your own cheerleader and best friend. I am usually seen wearing colourful leggings and love to wear bright colours. Wear what you love, and be proud of your style and choices!

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