Be honest, do you know your actual body shape and how to dress to make the most of it? For most people the answer is usually a no but body shape plays a huge part on how good an item of clothing looks on you. Whether an everyday fashion item or a more formal outfit, getting the fit and cut right is essential if you want to look your very best. Remember, it’s all about getting the right proportioned look for your body shape!

Here’s our guide on dressing for your body shape:


Men’s body shapes tend to fit into five standard categories:


Defined by having broad shoulders and narrow hips, an inverted triangle is one of the easier male body shapes to dress. To balance broad shoulders out, use detailing or a more wide legged trousers to even out your heavier top half. Go for fitted or tapered shirts so they don’t hang off you like boxy tents and never opt for padded shoulders. Double-breasted suit jackets should be avoided too.


If you’re a rectangle, your chest, hips, and shoulders are of a similar width. To create the illusion of broader shoulders, opt for a suit with a wider or more padded shoulder and choose lighter colour fabrics. Layering is good for rectangle shapes as it will also add bulk to the shoulder area and give your torso a more defined shape. When it comes to trousers, opt for a slimmer trouser shape to help you to look less rectangular.


Wider hips and narrow shoulders? You’re a triangle. You’re bulkier around your stomach and slimmer at your chest and shoulders. To dress for this body shape, you want to use many of the same tricks we covered under the rectangle section to make your shoulders appear bulkier than they are. Clothes must be well fitted, but not too tight. Ill-fitting clothes on a triangle body shape will only emphasise the bulk around your stomach.


Oval shapes tend to have a larger stomach and their body appears round. If this is you, try to direct attention away from the stomach with your clothes, moving the focus towards the shoulder and chest area. V-necks and vertical stripes will help create this illusion and are a must for slimming down the torso. Avoid bulking up your top half with too many layers and put away patterned shirts. Low-rise trousers that sit around the hips rather than the waist are also a consideration for oval shapes.


The trapezoid is extremely similar to the inverted triangle, with a moderate width waist rather than a narrow waist. This body shape is the easiest of all to dress for, and provided your clothes fit you well, you can get away with wearing pretty much whatever you want – so feel free to experiment with your favourite colours and patterns.


Women also tend to fit into five broad body shape categories:


If you’ve got a full bust with a small waist and rounded bottom and hips then you’ve got an hourglass shape. Hourglass shapes should try to bring attention to their shoulder and neckline and emphasize their waists. Tops and dresses with a V neck work well as do wrap dresses, bias cut shift dresses and flip skirts. Anything belted such as cardigans, dresses and coats will also help to enhance the waist.


As with men’s shapes, if you have a rectangular body shape your chest, hips, and shoulders will be of a similar width. Rectangular body shapes need to create the illusion of a waist so should opt for lower, wider necklines and tops that drape under the bust. Low-waisted trousers that flow in the leg line and shapely skirts are also good for adding shape. All clothing with straight lines from top to toe should be avoided.


Apple shapes tend to have a slim lower body and a fuller shape around their middle. The key to dressing well for apple shapes is to try to minimise the midsection by highlighting the legs. Clothing that is detailed or adds volume to the bust, tummy or hip area should be avoided. Dress designs that take attention away from the tummy such as A-line or shift dresses work well for apple shapes as do flat fronted, wide leg, trousers.


If you are smaller on top and have full hips or thighs you are a classic pear shape. To make the most of your assets you should accentuate your top half to balance it with your fuller bottom half. Create visual interest up top by layering and wearing tops that have pattern and colour.


Again, as with men’s body types, if you are an inverted triangle shape you will have broad shoulders and narrow hips and little definition between the waist and hips. Inverted triangles should try to divert attention from their top half and accentuate the shape of their hips. Opt for skirts, trousers and dresses that create volume to the lower half of the body and avoid necklines that accentuate the shoulders such as bardot or boat necks.

Personal Shopping

If you are serious about looking good and want to know more about dressing for your body shape why not make an appointment with our personal styling team.

Call 0113 2008775 or 0207 701 0595 to find out more.

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