How to dress your body type

Wondering how to dress your body type? Or what your body type is? This post will shed light on all of this.

Image by pikisuperstar on Freepik

Ahh, there are those baggy, ill-fitting clothes you always wear, in an attempt to hide the part of your body that you don’t like. They feel like the invisibility cloak from the Harry Potter books. You think, no can see your (booty, stomach, bust, etc.) once these clothes are in place.

You look in the mirror and realize the circus tent you’ve put on has got to go. But you’re late for your first meeting of the day, so you head out the door. Uncomfortable and self-conscious all day, you can’t wait to get home to put on your sweats and sit on the couch where no one can see you. 

Sound familiar? 

What if instead you hopped out of bed, knew exactly what to wear, and put on an outfit that highlighted your best features. Looked in the mirror once dressed and said, “nailed it.”

You then go on to slay every meeting you attend. Receive compliments from all the girls at the office on your look. And, you come home feeling invigorated and proud of all that you accomplished.

Sounds better, doesn’t it? Your clothes affect how you show up in the world. When you like the way you look, your mood improves, and you are often more confident, and productive. You run at a higher vibration and everyone feels it, especially you. 

This is attainable, but you need to understand how to dress your body type. I can help.

What determines your body type?

Your body type is based on where you carry your weight (bust/shoulders, stomach, hips/booty), and which part of your body is bigger than the others. Once you have identified this, you simply need to balance out or fill up the other parts of your body with clothing so that you look proportional. The goal is to have everything below and above the waist appear to be the same size and to define a waistline. An hourglass shape.

It’s that simple.

What are the different body types in fashion? 

There are 5 main body types

These are the definitions of body types. You may have characteristics from two of these, one being more dominant. That is the one you should focus on when dressing. 

  • Straight: No curves, no natural waist, or hips. Very straight up and down. 
  • Carry Weight on the Bottom: You carry your weight below your waist, larger hips, thighs, and/or booty.
  • Proportional: Your top and bottom are the about same sizes and you have a very defined waistline that is smaller than your hips and bust. 
  • Carry Weight on Top: You carry your weight above your waist. Either in your bust, or you have broad shoulders
  • Carry Weight in the Middle: Your stomach is larger than your hips and/or bust. This is a rare body type, but a lot of people identify with this one as the stomach can be a trouble area for many.

The guidelines for how to dress your body type

Now that you’ve identified your body type, how do you dress it? Below are my suggestions for creating a proportional body shape, no matter what type you have. These are not set in stone, but a place to start. Remember the key is to have your top and bottom in close proportion to one another. 

I’ve included celebrities who have each of the body types. The reason is, you can Google their names and see loads of photos of the way they dress. They are often dressed by a professional stylist, and are advised as to what looks best on their shape. You don’t have to like their style, just take note of what and how they wear their clothes. They are an excellent cheat sheet for how to dress your body type.

Straight— you have no curves or defined waist. Your top priority is creating a waist and curves for yourself. Celebrities who also have this body type are Natalie Portman, Nicole Kidman, and Taylor Swift. 

Natalie Portman in a one shoulder dress that gathers at the waist. Nicole Kidman in a sheath dress. Taylor swift wearing a v-neck details coming in to create a waist is a great example of how to dress a rectangle body type.

What to Wear:

  • Belts
  • Pencil Skirt
  • Wrap Dress
  • Skinny Pants
  • Tailored Clothing
  • Low Necklines
  • Boxy Tops
  • Strapless Dresses or Tops

What to avoid:

  • Oversized clothing

Carry Weight on the Bottom—you are looking to balance things out by adding volume up top. You want to draw the eye up above your waist. Celebrities who share this body shape are Kristen Davis and Kate Winslet. 

Kristen Davis in an emerald green silk blouse, black pants and embellished belt. Bring the attention above the waist. Kate Winslet in a blue short dress.

What to Wear:

  • Fit and Flare Dresses
  • Off the Shoulder Tops
  • Structured Jackets
  • A-line Skirts and Dresses
  • Bold Necklaces
  • Dark Pants

What to Avoid:

  • Bold Patterned Skirts and Pants
  • Tunics
  • Tight Dresses

Proportional—Your curves above your waist are a similar size to the curves below your waist. This is often called an hourglass shape. You want to highlight your curves, not cover them up. Celebrities who have this body type are Beyonce, Sofia Vergera and Jennifer Lopez.

Beyonce in an orange dress, Sofia in a white top and pants, JLo in a red sundress. All examples of how to properly dress your body type.

What to Wear:

  • Tailored Blazers and Jackets
  • Pencil Skirts
  • Wrap Dresses
  • V-Necks
  • High Rise Pants

What to Avoid:

  • Mini Skirts
  • Tent Dresses
  • Pockets at the Hips

Carry Weight on Top–You have broad shoulders or a larger bust. You want to highlight below your waist, filling it out to equal your bust. Demi Moore and Christina Hendricks are celebrities with this body type. 

Demi Moore and Christine Hendricks are a great celebrity example of how to dress your body type of weight up top. Demi in a white skirt and jacket, Christina in a polka dot dress with a full skirt.

What to Wear:

  • Dark Solid Color Tops
  • V-Necks
  • Cowl Necks
  • Bold Patterned Bottoms
  • Wide Leg Trousers
  • Trouser Jeans
  • Wrap Dresses

What to Avoid:

  • Crew Neck Tops
  • Printed Tops
  • Spaghetti Straps
  • Boxy Tops
  • Skinny Jeans
  • Tight Skirts
  • Cropped Jackets

Carry Weight in the middle—Many women think they are this body type, when in fact this is the rarest of them all. This is when there is not much distinction between your stomach, bust, and hips. You should focus on highlighting your shoulders and legs. Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, and Amy Schumer fall into this body type. You’re in excellent (and hilarious) company. 

How to dress your weight in the middle body type with celebrity  examples. Oprah, Mindy Kaling and Amy Schumer

What to Wear:

  • V-Neck Tops
  • Wrap Dresses
  • Fit and Flare Dresses
  • A-Line Skirts
  • Wide Leg Trousers
  • Flowy Tops
  • Shift Dress

What to Avoid:

  • Tight-fitting tops
  • Leggings
  • Skinny Jeans
  • Baggy Clothing
  • Ruffles

What if I’m not sure what my body type is? 

If you’re unsure which body type you are, grab a soft tape measure and measure your hips, waist, and chest at the largest part of each body part. Write down those numbers and head to this website and enter your measurements. This will calculate and then identify your body type. You can then follow the guidelines above to dress with more confidence each day based on your body type.

If there is something that you love to wear, but it’s on the avoid list for your body type, do not be discouraged. Give some of these other suggestions on what to wear a try. See how it looks and makes you feel. If you still love the forbidden item and it makes you feel good, wear it but in a modified way based on your new knowledge. This is all about feeling confident in your clothes so that you can show up as the best version of yourself each day. 

Hopefully you feel a bit more sure of how to dress for your body type. 

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MEET KIM

Kimberly-7

I teach women to dress with more confidence and joy. By understanding a few style concepts, how to dress your body type and how to curate a capsule wardrobe everyone can leave the house feeling great.

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