Dress Your Body Type: Fashion Hacks To Flatter Your Figure

Lisa Burton

When it comes to fashion, there aren’t many of us out there that appreciate the power of a well put-together look, who haven’t had our confidence knocked upon discovering that the dress we fell in love with on the mannequin, looks nothing like we imagined when we try it on ourselves. But what if you can’t even try it on before you buy it – how do you stop yourself experiencing that same disappointment at home? We’re here to uncover the fashion hacks designed to flatter your figure and show you exactly how you can dress your body type for maximum confidence.

The ways in which we work, communicate and socialise have all changed dramatically this year, and so has the way we’ve had to shop. With the high streets locked down for a large proportion of the year, online sales have soared – and the ways in which we make decisions about what clothes we should and shouldn’t invest in, have had to change. Changing rooms have become no-go zones… so how can you now avoid that moment of despair when the outfit you thought would look fabulous online, doesn’t measure up to expectations in real life?

Well, measuring up is the answer! Dresses, shirts, skirts, and trousers all come in so many different cuts, fits and styles… sometimes clothes shopping online can become overwhelming. But it needn’t be – because there’s an easy way to determine the perfect clothing for you. The answer is in discovering your body type, and investing in the right clothes to help you maximise your gorgeousness.

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What Is My Body Type?

The 5 body types illustrated

Your body type is simply another term used to describe your silhouette. The more research you do into this online, the more body types you’ll discover, but most figures can typically be broadly recognised as one of the following:

  • Apple
  • Pear
  • Inverted Triangle
  • Rectangle
  • Hourglass

It’s important to highlight that whether you are short, tall, slim, curvy, etc. does not determine your body type, so please don’t fall into the trap of thinking all tall people can get away with the same look, or all petite people are better off following the same set of fashion rules! Rather, the measurements of your body parts, in proportion to one another, determine your body type, and are the best way to  decide which fashion would flatter you most.


This body type describes those of us who have a heavier upper body in comparison to the lower part of the body. Think broad shoulders combined with a bust that is bigger than the hips, atop slimmer legs, giving the impression that the weight gathers at the midsection.


This is quite simply the opposite of the apple; a bottom-heavy body shape with wider measurements at the hips and thighs, combined with narrower shoulders and a smaller waist. If you feel that your legs are the widest, fullest part of your figure, you probably fall into this category.


This is an incredibly common body type for women, with almost half falling into this category. If your waist measures roughly the same width as your hips and bust, it’s a sure-fire indicator that you should be dressing to this body type.  Whereas apple and pear body shapes are usually easy to determine by looking in the mirror, this one is best confirmed by taking these three measurements.

Inverted Triangle:

This is an athletic-looking body shape with shoulders that are broader than the hips, and little to no waist definition. If you imagine the shape of a ‘V’, this body type typically follows this outline, with narrow hips atop slim legs.


Despite what the media may portray, this is actually the least common of all the female body types, and is determined by hip and bust measurements that are more or less equal to one another, with a narrower, significantly define waist.

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How Should I Dress My Body Type?

Woman in bright spring wear


Top to flatter apple body type

If you identify as having an apple body type, the key points to remember are that you want to put together outfits that will draw attention from your midriff, and highlight other areas. Tops or dresses with plunging or v-shaped necklines will help to elongate your torso, whilst dresses and skirts that show off your legs are great. Outfits with detailing at the bust or neck, or dresses with a decorative hem are perfect for drawing attention away from the middle third of your body. Printed dresses and patterned or detailed jackets are also great ways to use layering to shift focus. If donning trousers, avoid a straight cut and instead opt for a flared shape to help balance out broad shoulders. Avoid skinny jeans or trousers, and figure hugging dresses designed to nip in at the waist.


Top to flatter pear body type

Because this body shape is defined by wider hips and narrower shoulders, the key to dressing it is in striking a balance between the two. Printed, patterned or ruffled tops that add definition to the upper body are a great choice for pear types. You could also consider pairing baggier tops with tight skinny trousers, to help create an hourglass figure illusion – but remember to avoid doing this in reverse with tight-fitting tops and loose-fitting bottoms.


Outfit to flatter straight body type

This is similar to the hourglass figure but without the defined waistline, so focus on enhancing your arms and legs, as showing these off will flatter your slim profile.

Look for dresses that may help to add that definition to your bottom half, as well as tops with sweetheart necklines, ruffles, frills or layers to help add drama and weight to your upper half. A-line skirts and dresses belted at the waist will help add the illusion of definition at your midriff, and shapewear can be a great investment to help add or define curves.

Inverted Triangle:

Printed skirt to flatter inverted triangle figure

Because the shoulders are broader than the hips in the inverted triangle body shape, it’s important to remember that any extra layering or detailing need not be added to the upper body, but concentrated at the hips. Plain colour V-neck tops are a great way to create an illusion of narrower shoulders, and bold prints and patterns are better utilised in skirts and trousers, to help bring balance. Avoid wide or straight necklines, as well as tight-fitting trousers and narrow hemlines.


Belted dress to flatter hourglass body type

The key to dressing an hourglass figure, is defining those curves, and avoiding anything baggy or ‘boxy’. Tailored clothing is usually the best approach, and remembering to use your waist as a focal point when putting together an outfit.

Avoid shapeless or draping garments that will accentuate your chest but hide your mid-section, and instead opt to pinch in at the waist with a belt.

Group of smiling well-dressed women

Remember that no matter what body shape you possess, you are gorgeous! Whilst these fashion hacks are a great way to help you feel more confident when it comes to investing in your wardrobe, the true test of whether a garment is for you or not, is whether you feel happy, and comfortable in it. We are all unique, and it stands to reason that you might not fit perfectly into one of these five categories – and that’s fine! Check out the tips and tricks featured for each attribute, and combine them to create a perfect look that’s right for you.

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Looking for more fashion advice? Explore the rest of our fashion must-reads right here.

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