How to Dress for Your Body Type: A Guide

Different body types need to be highlighted differently. Look your best this summer and learn how to dress for your body type with our guide.

Plus-sized and skinny clothing makes up over $21 billion of the $128 billion woman’s clothing market. That market is expected to grow past $60 billion by 2023. That means more clothing options for more women everywhere.

But, that still leaves a lot of women confused as to how to shop for clothes that fit. Learning how to dress for your body type is the key to avoid clothing that half-way fits. A dress for one curvy woman may not fit for another. 

Before putting yourself through the return shuffle, read our guide on dressing for body shapes beyond the letters or numbers.

How to Dress for Your Body Type

Body types are determined by your shape, not your weight or your height. The overall shape of your body is what will help you decide what fits best for you. This allows you to get a more accurate decision than relying only on dress size.

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First, you need to find a cloth measuring tape. This is not to adhere to what sizes are listed on the tags. It’s just to calculate your shape.


Get someone to help you with these measurements. Shoulders are difficult to measure on your own, but it is possible. Take your tape and wrap it from shoulder tip to shoulder tip, around the collarbone. 

If you don’t have another helping hand, try standing next to a wall and pressing the end of the tape to the wall while you wrap around.


Same premise here as the shoulder measurement. Make sure your back is straight and you’re doing this topless. Hold the tape end under an armpit, parallel to your bust. 

Carefully, wrap the tape around without pressing too hard against your breasts. 


Next, still standing straight, place the end of the measuring tape on your belly button. Don’t suck in your stomach, wrap the tape around evenly. Make sure you’re not riding up or slacking down in the back. 

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Some women take two measurements of their waist for different top fits.


Lastly, the hips qualify as your butt. But, this is another flexible measurement, as some women have really wide hips and no butt. This is something you’ll need to determine after taking measurements. 

Pin the end of the tape measure onto the corner of your hip or middle of the butt. Wrap it all the way around and check your tape slack in the mirror.

After you have all of these measurements, it’s time to learn your shape(s).

Rectangle Body Type

If all of your measurements are within an inch or two of each other, you’d sit in this category. This means you have a great canvas that you can shape into what you like. Depending on how tight or loose each section of clothing, you can accentuate the curves you like.

Strappy tops and cleavage windows make for great bust accentuation. Form-fitting bottoms and pencil-style skirts enhance the bottom. Don’t forget about the wonders of summer dresses that hug hips and butts.

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Triangle Body Types

Women who are triangles should not focus on becoming hourglasses. Triangle shapes are either top-heavy or bottom-heavy figures with slim waists. Many triangle women opt for plastic surgery to “fix” their proportions.

The truth is, there are so many better clothing options that can do this. Enhance what you already have with v-necks, leggings, flare dresses, and layered styles. Take advantage of sleeveless dresses and skirts with high cuts.

Pear Body Type

The pear-shape is similar to triangle-shaped types. The lack of a skinny waist should not deter you from rocking similar style dresses. This will come with confidence in your own body.

Jeans, leggings, and skirts do wonders on pear bodies. Pair your fantastic bottoms with jackets, vests, and crop tops. Balance the top and lower halves and don’t be afraid to show off a little belly.  

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Contrary to popular opinion, hourglass types aren’t the perfect shape. Hourglass figures can come across as vanilla if you don’t know how to dress for your body type. Start off with the goal to accentuate your curves.

The more that you mix and match articles of clothing, the more likely your figure is obscured. Wrap dresses, mini-skirts, and crop tops do well with hourglass figures. Summer dresses, onesies, and flare dresses can get lost in translation.

Wear that t-shirt and jeans combo, but tie-off the t-shirt to spice things up. Belts for dresses and shorts are strong accessories for hourglasses. 

Apple Body Type

The Venus of Willendorf is the goddess of fertility. Her apple body type has been an inspiration everywhere for body positivity. Women who have wide waists and smaller top and bottom struggle with store outfits.

Only recently have plus-sized catalogs started to open up to apple body lines. The key when shopping for clothes for apple types is to show off the legs and shoulders. This may sound odd at first, but it works by making the eyes flow over the body.

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Rules for All Shapes

Now that you are familiar with different shapes and how to enhance your features, we have some closing tips. Learn how to dress for your body type, not to squeeze into others. If you’re not comfortable in your own clothes, it’s not worth “fitting” into it.

Harness the power of solids and stripes. Patterned clothes are second only to dark colors for obscuring shape. Lines can enhance shapes. Use these correctly and you can create brand new proportions.

Lastly, don’t rely too much on shapewear. Reserve this only for smoothing out your shape, not squeezing it. They’re not corsets and they often move around too much to hold things in place.

If you’re interested in learning more about body types or want to suggest a topic for us to cover, contact us here.

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