Body Shapes
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Wearing the Style

Body Shapes – How to use Clothes to your advantage

Body Shapes

Have you ever wondered what to wear looking at your body shape? I personally have moments of uncertainty after buying an item of clothing. When it comes to looking good its not your size or shape but its the fit of your cloths that matters. It’s not about wearing the latest fashion trends, but it should be about choosing that suit you, and that you feel comfortable in. Body shape tends to influence what people wear.

To use Clothes to your advantage, you first need to know your basic body shape, and understanding the type of clothes that will accentuate your good features. You can then choose clothes, and dress in a way that suits you. By following some simple guidelines, you will not only be comfortable, but will feel

more confident about your look.

To determine your basic body shape, take a look at the chart below. These are the most common body shapes.  Check to see which one most closely matches yours. 

Body Shapes

Apple Shape (Triangle Downwards)

An apple is used to describe a person who has broader shoulders and bust than they do hips.

That is “top heavy” meaning you have a wide torso, broad shoulders and a full bust, waist and upper back. Ladies with an apple shape tend to have thinner arms, legs and hips.

To dress an apple shaped body, draw attention away from your middle. To distract people from your middle, direct attention elsewhere or create more definition on your waistline.

It is best to avoid the following.

-Low cut shorts or pants.

-High cut Shirts.

-Tops below or above your middle

-Thick belts, as these will draw attention to your middle.

-Outfits with a different pattern in the belly area.

-Clingy Shirts or dresses are also a no no.

-For Indo-Western dresses, avoid wearing heavy embroidery and too many layers and frills.

-Avoid wearing salwar with tighter cuffs, which will make you look fuller.

Ladies with an apple shaped body generally have a great bust, and great pair of legs. Showing off your bust will emphasise your most amazing feature, and will draw attention away from your middle. Try the following ideas.

-Wear V necks, plunging necklines or A line dresses to lengthen your body.

-Wear shirts or dresses that flow from under your bust expanding at the waist. 

-Show off your legs with a pair of short shorts.

-Try high heels to lengthen your body and balance our your bottom half.

-To define your figure ,wear a shirt or dress that you can tie at the waist.

-Wear a long flowing top that falls below your bottom or tops with flare or cuff sleeves.

-Tops with shoulder details like sequins or flowers will work well.

-Wear plaza suits or patiala salwar (which has a heavier bottom), giving you a balanced look.

-Go for a masakali dress instead of an anarkali, and avoid heavy fitted kurtis. Also try a short jacket to style gowns.  

Dress for Apple ShapeTops for Apple shapesIndian dresses for Apple shapes

Pear Shape (Triangle Upwards)

Ladies with a pear body shape have  hip a measurement greater than their bust measurement.

Pear shape bodies come in all weights and heights. To be classified as pear shape, your body’s biggest measurement will be the hips followed by the rib cage and chest, then the waist. The pear shape is often confused with the hourglass figure, because they are quite similar. 

 To draw attention away from your hips:

-Avoid tops that are too long or too short.

-Avoid wearing skinny trousers/jeans (although high waist jeans/trousers will look great, as will a boot cut flare. This as this will make your legs look long and lean).

-Avoid cargo pants, funky pockets or embroidery on pants.

-Avoid dresses that are tight and stick to your hips.

Those with pear shaped bodies should wear clothes that minimise the hip and thigh area, and wear designs that will draw attention to the upper part of the body. Another area to focus on is below the knees, to draw attention outward and lengthen that central area.

-As you are mainly trying to draw attention upwards, wear shirts that have a dressed up neckline, or wider neck holes dropping over your shoulders (off shoulders).

-Or you can wear loose tops such as Ponchos or baby doll tops.

-Draw attention to the upper half of your body by choosing, slim, fitted tops, button down shirts and cardigans

-Wear statement accessories to draw attention to the top half of your body.

-If you are bold, wear bright colour shoes which will draw attention away from unflattering regions of your body.

-For Indo-Western wear, try straight cut chudidaar suits, or A line salwar kamiz.

-Choose Indian wear that highlights your shoulders, upper torso and slim waist.

 Dress for Pear ShapeMia Net Evening Dress Indian Wear for Pear Shape

Hourglass Shape (Triangles Opposing, Facing Inwards)

A woman  with an hourglass body shape has hip and bust measurements that are more or less equal, with a narrow waist measurement. 

The typical characteristics of hourglass are a defined bust, same size top and bottom, neat hips, and a curved bottom.

Generally this body shape is easy to dress, with the key being to wear fitted styles that show off your body’s shape. However, there are some things to avoid.

-Avoid wearing loose tops with loose bottoms, as this will do nothing for your shape.

-Avoid High necklines

-Try not to wear low rise jeans

-Avoid overly embellished dresses and skirts, empire cut dresses and tops.

-Avoid wearing straight or boxy tunics and tops.

With an hourglass shape, you can be very flexible in what your wear. The choice is yours, but a good choice is to opt for fitted styles.

-Wrap tops, waistcoats, layering and crossover tops will highlight your shape and waist.

-Any style dresses, either shaped or belted, short or long will work.

-You can wear straight, A line, pencil skirt, dropped waist line or biased skirts, pleated, waistbands and full skirts, All will work so long as they have waist definition.

-Any type of trousers or jeans will work whether they are long, short, skinny, wide, pleated waist, with or without turn ups etc.

-Wear belts to accentuate the waist.

-With Indian wear there are almost no limits for an hourglass body shape, but it’s best to avoid overly clingy or baggy styles if you want to make the most of your body shape.

 Net Embroidered GownRadhani Velvet MaxiIndian Wear for Hour Glass s

Straight or Banana Shape ( Rectangular)

A woman with a rectangular shaped body has waist measurement that is less than 9 inches smaller than the hip or bust measurement. Approximately a third of all women fall into this shape category. The rectangular body shape is evenly proportioned, but the waist is not as defined. Ladies with this body shape may have wide shoulders and chunky calves.

With this body shape, it’s best to avoid the following styles.

-Cropped tops that elongate the torso

-High waisted pants.

-Straight line garments from heat to toe

Instead focus on wearing shapely garments. These help to create a waist line, giving a slimmer and more curvaceous look.

-Wear tops with cross over, v-neck, cowl neck, square neck or rounded neck. Any of these necklines would be a great choice.

-Raglan (cape sleeves) tops that are slightly smaller than your regular size, will skim your upper body and create instant shape.

-Shirts with extra darts or pleating at the back will create more upper body width, preventing pulling at the front buttons.

-A high waist definition in a dress will work to make your waist look smaller.

-Most pants and jeans work well with rectangular shape. Slim, straight, bootleg or wide leg all work well.

-Tailored jackets work well, and leaving your jacket open gives your top the chance to create slimming, vertical colour block for a great look.

-Have fun with belts to create curves.

-For Indio-Western, go for Kurtis and tunics with a longer flare. An Anrkali with emperor line and v neck will work well. Go for full length with ample flare, with a waistline in gathers or pleats, and match this with crop-top style tops.

pastedGraphic.png  Bela Jute Embroidered DressIndian wear for rectangular body shape

I hope the above will help you determine your body shape, and give you some confidence when deciding what styles to wear. However, do remember that everyone is different ,and you do not have to stick to the guidelines to dress well. My suggestion is to at least try to understand your body shape, and then use this knowledge to help you choose your clothes. The result should be that you look good and feel confident in your outfit.

Rita