Getting It Right: How to Dress for Your Shape

AS WE ALL KNOW, NO TWO BODIES ARE THE SAME AND WHAT WE MUST ALL ACCEPT IS THERE’S NO PERFECT SHAPE TO BE.

It’s easy to get bogged down in thinking the grass is greener – ‘if only my legs were longer/my waist was slimmer/my curves more noticeable.’ But the one thing you can guarantee is, the person with your dream body shape is facing challenges of their own.

The truth is, we all have parts we’d prefer were different, but, importantly, we all have assets too and you can dress to accentuate those.

Identifying your body shape is a useful starting point to helping in your quest for styles that make less of the parts you’re less proud of and more of your assets. What’s important to remember though is there are no rights and wrongs. Wearing well-fitting clothes that make you feel great and wearing them with confidence is always going to be more important than following an inflexible set of rules.

SO WHAT SHAPE ARE YOU? 

HERE’S ROB’S DEFINITIVE BODY SHAPE GUIDE:

BODY SHAPES

 

PEAR SHAPE

If you consider the lower part of your body to be wider than your top half you’re probably a pear shape. You may have a well-defined waist but be broader around the hips and bottom. Your top half and bust are likely to be daintier and your shoulders narrower.

Things to consider if you are a pear shape:

  • Drawing attention up to the shoulders with detailing or wide necklines that reveal your clavicle will work well for you.
  • Accessories that do this will work too. The chunky necklace is your friend.
  • On the bottom half, a flared or bootleg cut trouser or jean will balance you. But…
  • When you’re feeling confident in yourself and your shape, a slim cut trouser can wonderfully accentuate your fuller bottom. Don’t be afraid of those curves!
  • Brighter, bolder prints on your top half will draw the eye up, whilst darker shades on the trouser area may help play your lower body down.
  • A-line skirts will skim over your bottom and give the feeling of a narrower waist.
ROB’S PICKS FOR YOU…

JOSEPH RIBKOFF DIAMANTE DRESS

This Joseph Ribkoff dress has so many lovely features for a pear shape. The detailing at the neck draws the eye up and the waist is high to accentuate that line. Meanwhile, the chiffon scarf detailing cuts through the hip and bottom area creating the illusion of a slim column. Some Joseph Ribkoff pieces have the additional benefit of specially built in panels to help shape the figure.

 

WRAP COAT

 

This longer line coat will even out your shape and pull attention further down the leg. Dresses of this length will also be good on you. This wrap style has the added bonus of a belt to allow you to nip in your silhouette around the waist and skim over your bottom area.

 

HOURGLASS

You are the classic curvy lady with shape in both your bust and hips and a defined waist too. If you’re this body shape your bust and hips likely have similar measurements.

Things to consider if you are an hourglass shape:

  • Seek to emphasise your waist and celebrate your curves
  • A v-neck is very flattering for your bust. Consider how low you’re comfortable for it to be – it depends on how much you want on show!
  • Wrap style dresses and coats will accentuate your waist whilst skimming over your curves
  • Avoid boxy style tops that cut off and hide the waist
  • A one piece, figure-hugging dress is great for this body shape. Don’t hide those curves under baggy clothes!
  • High waists will be good on you
  • High, round necks and bulky knits on your top half may not be your most flattering look
  • Belts and detail around the waist will accentuate it
ROB’S PICKS FOR YOU…

ZURII COAT

A beautiful coat like this Ted Baker one is perfect on a hourglass shape. The belt accentuates your waist whilst the collar line is great on you to celebrate your curves.

 

 

JOSEPH RIBKOFF FLORAL DRESS

 

 

The hourglass-shaped lady should not be afraid of celebrating those curves and wearing something figure-hugging to show them off. The v-neckline of this Joseph Ribkoff dress works well for you and the evenly distributed colour works with the natural balance of your body shape.

 

APPLE

You are generally well proportioned but may feel you don’t have a defined waist or that you carry more weight around your middle. Your shoulders may be slightly broader than your hips. If you are an apple shape, you will likely feel at your best when your legs, calves, shoulders and arms are highlighted.

Things to consider if you are an apple shape:

  • Lots of apple shapes have great, shapely legs. Be brave and show them off!
  • Styles that do not accentuate and structure the waist are likely to show you off to your best, don’t be scared to wear shift styles.
  • A-line and empire line silhouettes, both tops and dresses in more relaxed fabrics that skim your body will work on you.
  • If you love your arms, sleeveless tops and capped sleeves will really showcase them!
  • Narrow leg trousers can look fantastic and extend those pins!
  • V-necks will elongate your torso
  • Wearing a shorter jacket with a dress will give the impression of a more defined waist

 

ROB’S PICKS FOR YOU…

The clever colour panels on this Armani Exchange top are great for slimming down the column area. With the addition of shoulder detailing that draws the eye up, it has lots of great features for an apple-shaped lady.

 

 

 

 

This dress has all the features to show you off at your best, with a skimming style that is not structured around the waist. There’s opportunity to show off those arms if they’re a feature you feel more confident in or an opportunity to team up with a long line patterned cardigan if not. The cut out detailing and embellishment at the neck creates an opportunity for interest there and to draw the eye up, whilst you can also opt to display those legs.

 

RECTANGULAR BODY SHAPE

You have a less curvy body type and are a bit more straight up and down. It’s likely your shoulder and hip measurements are similar and you may feel your waist is not well defined.

Things to consider if you have a rectangular body shape:

  • If you have lean arms and legs, celebrate them and show them off
  • Detailing at the waist such as a tie or cinching can help define it
  • Layering will add more dimensions to your body
  • Clever colour panels can help create the illusion of more curves
  • Tapered trousers, especially when matched with detailing at the neck, will give a  feeling of more shape
  • You can wear colour and pattern top or bottom – have fun with it!
ROB’S PICKS FOR YOU…

JOSEPH RIBKOFF MESH SLEEVE DRESS

This dress is a perfect example of how colour and pattern can be used to cheat your way to a more shapely appearance. This Joseph Ribkoff design creates the illusion of a cinched in waist and perfectly balanced top and bottom half.

 

JOSEPH ROBKOFF RUFFLED TOP

 

 

 

This sophisticated ruffles on this Joseph Ribkoff top draw the eye across the neckline and shoulders and add width to this area. You can get away with being bold on your bottom half so team this with a bright coloured trouser to add shape and interest.

 

TOP TIP FOR ALL BODY SHAPES…

 

Remember, guidelines on the styles that generally suit your shape are a great way to gain your confidence and give you a strong starting point. But don’t be ruled and governed by them. Wear what you feel good in and your confidence will shine out from all the right places!

“WHAT’S MY STYLE IS NOT YOUR STYLE, AND I DON’T SEE HOW YOU CAN DEFINE IT. IT’S SOMETHING THAT EXPRESSES WHO YOU ARE IN YOUR OWN WAY.” 

-IRIS APFEL