How Do You Dress Your Body Type?

Your body type can play a big role in how you dress and what clothing items you purchase.  Many times when you try on an item and it does not look right it is because that item is not appropriate for your body type. 

So how do you know your body type?  Check out my blog post Determining Your Body Type.  Here I breakdown the five shapes and how to use your measurements to determine which type you are.

Now that you know which shape you are, let’s breakdown how to dress.


The pro of the Rectangle shape is you are consistently proportioned.  The con is you do not have much figure definition. 

Your goal is to define your waist.  Choose items that draw focus to your middle.  Belts, corsets, pants with exaggerated waistbands, coats with ties, peplum tops, and waist accents like color pops or cutouts are all your best friend. 

Try items with an exaggerated V-neck.  The point of the V will direct line of sight down thus highlighting your waist.  This can also be accomplished with jewelry.  Long necklaces will accomplish the same effect if open necklines are not your comfort level. Avoid items that are boxy and will only accentuate a straight torso.


The pro of the Pear is that you have beautiful waist definition.  The con is it can get lost by having smaller shoulders. 

Your goal is to play up your shoulders and draw the eye up away from your hips.  Chose items that feature shoulder pads, ruffles, accents, or puffs.  Waist definition is also helpful.  Steer towards items like belts and ties that further cinch in the waist. 

Interesting collars will also help draw the eye up to the décolletage area and balance out your hips. Avoid skinny pants and jeans that will make your hips stand out more. 

Stick to straight leg or flare styles.  Also, avoid off the shoulder styles that will make your upper body appear smaller.


The pro of the Apple shape is that the chest and the shoulders are broader which allows for playing up femineity.  Also, your hips tend to be smaller and legs slimmer.  The con is the waistline can appear heavier and less defined. 

Chose items that elongate the torso like v-style necklines and long necklaces. 

Items that add volume around the hips will balance you out and create definition around the waist.  Look for wide leg pants and flared skirts.  Stay away from items that will but your mid-section on display such as body conscious dresses.  Also, avoid skinny leg pants.  They will accentuate the smallness of the hips.

Inverted Triangle

The Inverted Triangle is similar to the Apple shape; however, the waist is smaller and more defined. 

The pros are your hips and waist are small.  This shape is often referred to as the “most athletic” of the shapes.  The con is because the shoulders are so much broader than the bottom half finding clothing that fits properly can be a challenge.

Play up the bottom half.  Skinny pants play well with the inverted triangle as does straight sheath style dresses.  Like with the Apple shape focus on putting volume on the bottom but never on the top to balance out your silhouette.  Keep patterns to the bottom half of your body.  The top does not need the extra attention.


The pro of the Hourglass shape is that figure definition is built right in.  The con is that having bigger hips and chest regions can make you appear heavier than you actually are. 

Chose items that play up your natural curves.  Body conscious dresses, high waisted pants, and tapered blazers are your go to pieces.  Tailoring is very important.  Make sure the fit is correct in the chest and hips so you appear proportionate and not heavy. 

Avoid items that are overly flowy and hide your waist.  Boxy items should also be used sparingly.

I hope this helps get you started on dressing best for your body type.  As always follow Alexander Personal Image Styling on Instagram @alexanderpersonalimagestyling for more tips and tricks on your personal brand journey.  If you would like more subjective help I would love to connect.  Schedule a free one on one consultation with me.