How To Dress For Different Body Types
Just as clothes come in many different designs, people also come in various shapes and sizes. Everyone’s body is unique to themselves, and clothes can look different depending on the wearer. You might be familiar with the concept of dressing for your body type, but aren’t sure where to start.
Fear not, we’ve got you covered! Read on to find out about the various different body types, and how to dress to flatter each body type.
While there are many body type calculators available on the internet, not all of us will have our latest measurements on hand. However, because everyone’s body is unique, body shapes should only be taken as a rough gauge, and not an exact science. Even if you don’t have exact measurements, just by standing in front of a full-length mirror and observing your body, you should be able to have an idea of what body type you might be.
As the name implies, a rectangle-shaped body is one with little to no curves. This means that your shoulders, waist and hips are roughly the same width, forming a straight line down your torso. While this may sound less than ideal, if you have this body type, then you will be able to wear almost any type of clothes! Many runway models have a rectangle body shape, and clothes are often designed according to this shape.
However, there are definitely certain types of clothing that can give the wearer the illusion of curves, for those rectangle-shaped ladies who would rather hide their lack of curves.
Tops that cinch at the waist are great for rectangle-shaped ladies. These tops might have more fabric at the shoulders, or flare outwards towards the hips, but either way, it will definitely help to define your waist.
Hide Cutting Button Shirt in White, retailing at SGD86.90 at StyleupK
A-line dresses are usually tucked in slightly at the waist, while the outward flare of the skirt helps to break the straightness of the rectangle shape.
Heart Club Ribbon Dress in Navy, retailing at SGD95.90 at StyleupK
An apple-shaped body is similar to the rectangle, but with rounder edges. While the bust and hips of someone who is apple-shaped usually have similar width, they also tend to be fuller. There is a common misconception that all apple-shaped bodies are on the heavier end, but there are plenty of petite apple-shaped ladies as well! If you’re on the slimmer side, it may be difficult to determine if you have an apple-shaped body, but another characteristic of apple-shaped ladies is that they are also likely to gain weight easily in the midsection.
The key to dressing an apple-shaped body is to add some structure, as well as drawing attention from the heavier midsection.
The structured shoulders of blazers can help to offset the roundness of the apple shape, and also makes the shoulders look wider, making the waist look smaller in comparison.
Near & Dear Dorothy Summer Jacket, retailing at SGD219 at StyleupK
Apple-shaped ladies tend to have slim, or even athletic, legs, making them look great in mini dresses that show off their shapely legs.
Heart Club Chiffon Dress in Black, retailing at SGD95.90 at StyleupK
The most distinguishable characteristic of an inverted triangle body shape is their wide shoulders. If your shoulders are noticeably wider than both your shoulders and waist, then you are most likely an inverted triangle. Because of the wide shoulders, the inverted triangle body shape tends to be top-heavy, and the key to dressing for this body type is to draw attention away from the shoulders, or to add volume to the lower body.
Super crop tops
As opposed to regular crop tops, super crop tops are shorter and thus show more skin. By showing more skin (especially in the midriff area), people are less likely to notice the broadness of your shoulders.
Hide Tube Crop Top Cardigan in Wine, retailing at SGD45.90 at StyleupK, comes with a short-sleeved cardigan top as an outer layer, so you don’t have to be self-conscious about showing too much skin
Pleated skirts are a type of A-line skirt, and the flare of the skirt helps to give the illusion of a wider bottom half. The pleats also help to add extra volume—while looking super cute!
Heartclub Jersey Pleats Skirt in Black, retailing at SGD69.90 at StyleupK
Pear shapes are the reverse of the inverted triangle, with narrower shoulders and wider hips. However, it is not uncommon for pear-shaped ladies to have a full chest and defined waist. Their waist also tends to be long, creating the illusion of a longer and slimmer upper torso, which also can emphasise their bottom-heaviness.
While the pear shape has become a more popular body shape in recent years, not all pear-shaped ladies can have the body proportions of Instagram models. If you are pear-shaped, you may have felt insecure about how prominent your hips and thighs are. However, there are definitely styling tricks that can help you offset the bottom-heaviness and accentuate your other assets instead!
Square neck tops
The angular neckline of square neck tops helps to extend the neckline and create the illusion of wider shoulders, thus helping to balance out the wide hips that are characteristic of a pear shape.
The frills on the neckline and the slightly puffy sleeves of the Heart Club Square Frill Blouse Top in Yellow, retailing at SGD69.90 at StyleupK, also helps to add volume to the shoulders
Mini skirts that end mid-thigh draw attention to your hips and thighs, which is not ideal for someone who does not want to accentuate their hips. Pear-shaped women look better in maxi skirts, as the silhouette of a long skirt will help to direct the gaze away from the hips.
Heartclub Belt Long Skirt in Black, retailing at SGD99.50 at StyleupK
If your shoulders and hips are roughly equal in width, but you have a defined waist that is noticeably smaller than the rest of your torso, then congratulations, you are most likely an hourglass! While hourglass figures have long been lauded as the most desirable body type, the hourglass body shape also comes with its own set of problems.
As opposed to a rectangle-shaped woman who can wear almost any clothes, hourglass women tend to have trouble finding clothes that fit well. Additionally, if their waist—which is the smallest part of their body—is not emphasised, there is a risk of hourglass figures looking larger than they actually are.
Simplicity is key when it comes to casual dressing for hourglass figures. Because their body shape is already considered an ideal, the only goal of their styling is to accentuate these assets.
Simple, fitted dresses look great on hourglass figures, showing off their small waists without adding too much volume to their shoulders or hips.
Hide Lettuce Edge Line Dress in Sky Blue, retailing at SGD56.50 at StyleupK
While it may be tricky to find bottoms that fit their waist snugly without being too tight on the hips, high-waisted bottoms look great on hourglass figures, as it draws attention to their waist.
Hide Pintuck Pants in Indi Blue, retailing at SGD72.90 at StyleupK
Beyond body types
While these styling tips are intended to help you learn how to dress in a way to flatter your body type, they are not absolute rules that cannot be broken. Someone who has a rectangle shaped torso doesn’t necessarily have to create the illusion of a defined waist, and someone who is pear shaped can also wear tight-fit mini skirts even if it draws attention to their hips and thighs.
Fashion is about expressing yourself and having fun with it, and nothing should stop you from wearing clothes that you like, even if it goes against certain style tips. And these days, defying mainstream fashion rules has also become something of a trend, and this can be seen in the rise in popularity of streetwear. The loose-fit silhouette that is common in Korean fashion also rejects the notion that each body type has to dress a certain way, and Korean youths of all shapes and sizes can be seen rocking oversized t-shirts and baggy pants.
Styling tips for different body types can be useful if you’re self-conscious about certain aspects of your body, or if you just want to learn more about your body and what looks good on you. However, it should be kept in mind that these are not hard and fast rules that cannot be broken.
Fashion is all about experimentation and innovation, and these styling tips should not hold you back from dressing in the clothes you like. At the end of the day, all you truly need is the confidence to pull your clothes off! Styling tips can help you find that confidence, but if you already have enough of it to begin with, then you’re most likely a bold fashionista who is always up for trying something new!
Shop for clothes you feel confident in at StyleupK today! StyleupK is an online Korean fashion platform that ships worldwide. Free shipping to Singapore and Malaysia.