How to Dress for your Body Type and Shape

Shopping for clothes and choosing what to wear shouldn’t be a stressful situation. Getting dressed should be fun! An opportunity to express yourself, wear your favorite pieces, and, ultimately, feel great. Of course, we know this is easier said than done. When it comes to fashion, there are so many different options to choose from. And even though we all like to get inspiration from social media sites like Pinterest, Tik Tok, and Instagram, or look at magazines and websites to get a better idea of what to wear, recreating looks ourselves can be a bit tricky, especially when we all have such different body types. 

With this in mind, we put together a short guide that will help you navigate the eternal question of how to dress for your body type and shape. Now, one very important clarification before you keep reading. Don’t think of these as a set of strict rules meant to limit what you can and cannot wear according to your body type. This isn’t about getting things right or wrong. At Especia, we believe every single body is beautiful, and everyone deserves to have fun with fashion! Instead, consider this article a starting point, a set of guidelines to begin building your dream closet and ultimately look and feel your best. 

Generally speaking, there are five categories that can help us get an idea of how to make the most of our body types and shapes. These are (i) inverted triangle, (ii) rectangle or athletic, (iii) triangle or pear, (iv) apple or round, and (v) hourglass. Below, we’ll explain how you can determine which form is similar to your own, though there’s no need to worry if you don’t feel fully represented by just one body type. Remember, this is simply a starting point, a series of useful tricks to consider when seeking to create a balanced outfit. Though, overall, the most important thing is that you end up finding pieces that make you feel fabulous, no matter the body type you identify with. 

Inverted Triangle 

As its name suggests, the inverted triangle body type is similar to a V shape. Women who identify with this body type usually have broader shoulders, narrow hips, and not much of a defined waistline. 

If you’re looking to bring some balance to your silhouette, wearing garments that add volume to the bottom half of your body is a great idea when it comes to this body shape. Skirts and dresses in an A-line shape, with ruffles or eye-catching prints, are a fabulous idea, and wide-leg or boyfriend jeans will also look especially fantastic. When considering blouse options, don’t be afraid to show some skin! U-necks and V-necks look beautiful on you, and you can never go wrong with an asymmetric top that flaunts your stunning shoulders. 

Rectangle or Athletic 

This body type is defined by a consistent symmetry between your shoulders and hips. Usually, someone who identifies with this shape will wear a similar size in their tops and bottoms, and their waistline, shoulders, and hips follow a rather straight vertical line, hence the name: rectangle. Also known as an athletic body type, this shape is common amongst athletes and not those who are more on the curvy side. 

When it comes to rectangle body shape outfits, one trick you may want to try if you’re looking to bring more attention to your waistline is to use garments that look great with a belt, such as midi dresses and mid-rise pants or jeans. In general, athletic body types want to think about creating balanced outfits. If you feel like wearing a statement top, bring in a pair of neutral pants or skinny jeans, while if you’re opting for a show-stopping floral skirt or a pair of wide-leg pants, strapless pieces and halter necklines are also gorgeous options for athletic body types. 

Pear or Regular Triangle 

If you’ve ever been told you have a pear or triangle body type, this means the lower half of your body, that is your thighs, hips, and rear, are usually wider than your top half (chest and shoulders). A simple way to identify if this body type aligns with your own shape is if your bust is much narrower than your waist. 

Here are some tips on how to dress a pear-shaped body. If you’re looking to add balance to your silhouette, consider having some fun by wearing tops with stunning prints, bright colors, or any other eye-catching characteristic (think: ruffles and puffed sleeves) that places the focus of your outfit on the upper half of your body. If you’re looking for the perfect floral dress, you’ll look fantastic in maxi silhouettes, and adding a pair of heels to a tea-length or midi dress will always be a great idea. 

Apple or Round 

An apple or round body shape is sort of the opposite of a pear shape. This means your upper body (chest and shoulders) is broader than your lower body and, more specifically, your hips. If this sounds like you and your waistline is not particularly well-defined, you will probably fall into this category. 

When coming up with apple body shape outfits, the options seem endless! Apple or round body shapes look amazing in many different garments. V-necks work particularly well on this body type. Flowy tops or other relaxed garments such as tunics and kimonos can also look pretty fantastic. Many sorts of dresses can look incredible too. Try creating an instantly chic outfit with a fabulous wrap dress! As for pants, don’t be afraid to wear slim-fitting silhouettes on the bottom. Or pair your favorite skinny jeans with a flowy top, and you’ll have the perfect outfit in no time. 


If your hips and shoulders are similar in size, and your waist is especially well-defined, you will probably feel an affinity towards an hourglass body type. Another way to know if this type makes sense for you is if you would describe yourself as curvy. 

Hourglass body types are lucky in that they have so many different styles and options to choose from when it comes to looking and feeling their best. Further accentuating their already-defined waist is always a terrific idea, and this can be done by wearing a fabulous crop top or the perfect set. They can also pull off any kind of dress, and for those who feel comfortable in skin-tight garments, curve-hugging skirts are a wonderful option. Pro tip: hourglass body types can instantly add flair to their outfits by accessorizing with a cool belt! 

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