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Dressing for your body type

Knowing your body type, the styles that flatter it and the fashion trends that don’t work for you make all the difference when dressing for your shape. With determining your body type comes embracing your curves, wearing clothes that accentuate your best features and loving your body that much more. Bring down those walls and spend some time in front of the mirror evaluating your features (not criticizing them). In the end, your body type could be your new best friend.

Women come in all different shapes and sizes, but these can be narrowed down to these five general categories. Keep in mind that you might be a mix; not every woman falls into a single category.

Apple body shape

Body traits: The upper body is larger than the lower, hips are slim, and chest is on the larger side. Shoulders tend to be broad. Weight gain usually occurs above the waist in the mid sections and in the rear.

Your secret weapon: Those legs!

Your goals: Elongate the torso, show off your legs and downplay mid-section weight and shoulder width.

If you have an apple-shaped body like Jennifer Hudson:

DON’T bring attention to your waist.

DO go for v-neck tops. They create the illusion of a longer torso.

DO look for v-neck wrap-style tops with cinching on the sides.

DO wear belts at the smallest part of your waist.

DO conceal tummy bulge by wearing empire tops and dresses.

DON’T wear oversized empire tops.

DO wear low-rise jeans and pants in a straight leg. They are chic and stylish for most shapes.

DO wear shorter skirts to show off your legs. This takes attention away from and disguises the midsection.

Pear body shape

Body traits: The lower body is larger than the upper, hip width exceeds shoulder width, and hips and butt are rounded with a defined waist. The chest and belly are fairly flat.

Your secret weapon: Shoulders, torso and flat stomach

Your goals: Show off arms, add shape to your upper body and down play wide hips to heighten upper body features.

If your body is pear-shaped like Kim Kardashian’s:

DON’T wear clothing that draws attention to hips and thighs.

DO look for boat neck tops, square and cowl necklines.

DO wear strapless dresses. They show off arms and even out proportions.

DO try styles with ruffles on top. This also evens out proportions.

DO experiment with light-colored tops and dark-colored bottoms for contrast.

DO wear jackets that hit right above the waist.

DO rock a pair of straightleg jeans.

DO try a-line skirts, which camouflage wider hips.

Hourglass body shape

Body traits: The upper and lower body have similar proportions, while the waist remains narrow. Any extra weight in the hourglass figure usually lies in the hips, thighs and chest area.

Your secret weapon: Curves, curves and more curves.

Your goals: Find a middle ground between baggy, drab clothing and overly sexy clothing. Show off your curves, balance the weight of your curves, complement your curves… did we mention your curves?

If your body is hourglass-shaped like Beyonce’s:

DON’T hide your curves.

DO wear fitted dresses.

DO wear a belt at the waist to enhance your hourglass shape.

DON’T wear baggy clothing.

DO try wrap dresses.

DO go for high-waisted skirts to show off your hips.

DO pick thin, lightweight styles and fabrics.

DO wear skinny or straightleg jeans.

Rectangle body shape

Body traits: The waist, hip and shoulder widths are similar to each other, usually on the slim side. Extra weight in the rectangle shape tends to hang out in the stomach and back regions. Some rectangles have smaller breasts, but this is not always true.

Your secret weapon: Your arms and legs. Because you don’t need to minimize any body features, you have more freedom than the other body shapes to experiment with different trends and styles.

Your goals: Create curves, show off slender legs and arms

If your body is rectangle-shaped like Natalie Portman’s:

DO wear scoop neck and sweetheart tops. It helps create curves.

DON’T go braless.

DO wear long jackets to create a lean look.

DO wear skinny, low-rise jeans.

DO wear tops with collars, ruffles and details to flatter your chest.

DON’T wear overwhelming styles.

DO layer! It gives your rectangle figure more dimensions.

DO wear dresses with ruching. Cinches on sides are ideal.

Wedge body shape

Body traits: Also known as the inverted triangle, this body shape features a broad upper body, large chest and wide shoulders. The waist and hips are smaller in proportion to upper body features.

Your secret weapon: Your legs

Your goals: Accentuate your lower body, and distract from broad shoulders and possibly boyish upper body.

If you have a wedge (or inverted triangle) body like Audrina Patridge’s:

DO wear full skirts.

DO wear tops that call attention to your waistline.

DON’T wear spaghetti-strap tops.

DO experiment with high-waisted styles.

DON’T wear boat neckline tops.

DO wear wideleg pants, which even out body proportions.

DON’T be afraid to bring attention to your waist. It draws the attention downward.

DO wear bright colors on bottom.

Style solutions for swimsuit shopping

Larger tummies:

(Apple shapes)

Look for suits with control panels and gathering in the midsection. Also, look for tops that are a little looser and longer.

Bigger busts:

(Apple, hourglass & wedge shapes)

Shop for wider straps, high or square neck lines, and suits that have adequate coverage in the underarm area.

Wider hips:

(Pear & hourglass shapes)

Pair dark, solid bottoms with bright, patterned tops.

Larger thighs & a bigger booty:

(Apple shapes, hourglass shapes, pear shapes)

Also pair dark swim bottoms with bright, patterend swim tops to draw attention upward. Swim dresses provide more coverage.

(Adpated from

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