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Episode 87: How to Determine and Dress for Your Body Shape

Episode 87: How to Determine and Dress for Your Body Shape

In this episode of Beyond the Business Suit, we're talking body shapes. Lately I have been doing a lot of work with clients on their image strategies, developing their fall/winter wardrobes and creating their capsule collections for the season. But before I start building out any of these for clients, I need to understand one thing: their body shape. Let's face it, every thing doesn't look good on every body. And this is not based on how much you weigh, but rather how your body weight is distributed. That's why there could be two women with the exact same height and weight who can try on the same dress and one could look amazing and the other could look hideous.

There are various names and designations for body shapes. But when I talk about them, I typically think of five main shapes: rectangle, apple, pear, inverted triangle and hourglass. Today I'm talking about these and help you understand which may be yours and some of the silhouettes that could be most flattering on your body.

Discussed on this episode:

  • The five main body shapes
  • How to determine your body shape
  • What pieces and silhouettes you should wear


Details from the episode:

1) Rectangle

First, there is the rectangle. Rectangle shapes have very little difference between the measurements in their chest, waist and hips. They also have little definition at their waistline and tend to have straight hips and narrow shoulders.

If you are a rectangle body shape and have given birth, it's possible that you could have had an hourglass body shape before having children. The good thing about having a rectangle body shapes is that you can wear a lot of pieces that many other body shapes cannot. Some of the silhouettes that are flattering to your body shape are sheath dresses, dresses that have paneling to create shape, A-line dresses and skirts, wrap dresses, cargo pants, peplums, and pieces that add volume to your top or bottom, but not both at the same time.

2) Apple

If you carry most of your weight in your chest and midsection and have smaller legs, you are likely an apple. This is one of the most common body shapes for women in their 30s and up since women are more likely to have an apple body shape after childbirth. If you're an apple body shape, you'll want to show off your legs and let your collarbone breathe. 

Some of the garments and silhouettes you will want to have in your wardrobe include structured jackets, pieces with lower necklines (without being too low), open cardigans or blazers, straight cut, wide leg and boot cut pants and A-line dresses or skirts. You'll also want to wear brighter colors and patterns on your bottom and darker colors on top to bring balance to your shape.

3) Pear

If you carry most of your weight in your hips, thighs and bottom with a smaller chest and narrow shoulders, you are likely a pear shape. You will want to show off your small waist and create more fullness at the top to balance your bottom half.

Some pieces and silhouettes you will want to have in your closet are fit and flare and A-line dresses/skirts, structured jackets, belted jackets, blazers and coats that hit above or below the widest part of your bottom/hips, wrap tops and dresses, wide necklines like scoop and wide V-necks and statement necklaces.

4) Inverted Triangle

You may have the inverted triangle body shape if you carry your weight in the top half of your body and have little definition between your waist and hips. It's similar to the apple, though they end up having broader shoulders than apples. When you have an inverted triangle body shape, you'll want to bring balance to your bottom half.

Some pieces and silhouettes you will want include A-line and full skirts/dresses, straight leg, bootcut or wide legged pants, light, bright or patterned bottoms, dresses with detailing at the hip and shift dresses.

5) Hourglass

Finally, there is the hourglass shape. You are likely an hourglass if you have a smaller waist and you carry your weight in your hips and thighs and chest. Since this is the most feminine of the body shapes, this is the one that is preferred, and you will find many stylists creating an illusion of an hourglass body shape, regardless of the body shape of their client.

If you have an hourglass body shape you will want to accentuate your small waistline by wearing items that come in at the waist. Some options are belted shirts and jackets, wrap dresses and shirts and peplums. You should be mindful of how your chest and bottom are looking in clothes. Your body shape is naturally sexy, so it is important to wear clothing that is not too revealing or tight at work.  

Are you interested in getting deeper into this? Contact me to learn more about my one-on-one services and my Power Presence program.


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