How to Dress for Your Body Shape
Looking great isn't always about the clothes you wear. It's also about having the confidence to feel comfortable in your skin. Finding clothes that flatter your figure is an excellent way to start building confidence!
At Dressbarn, we believe you should wear whatever makes you feel beautiful and confident, but where do you start? Understanding how clothes fit you best can help you create a wardrobe with pieces that flatter your figure and make you feel fabulous.
We created this guide to help you find your body shape and the clothes and accessories to help you dress with confidence.
How to Find Your Body Shape
The first step to dressing with confidence is discovering how to find your body shape.
If you’ve ever wondered "what's my body shape?", the easiest way to find it is to take four specific body measurements. Taking measurements, rather than relying on traditional women’s clothing sizes, is the most accurate way to determine how clothes will work with your body.
To calculate your body shape, all you need is a tape measure – the kind designed for sewing is best. Shed your layers of clothing down to your undergarments and get measuring (enlist a helper to make it easier!). When you’re ready, take these four measurements:
- Shoulders: Measure around your shoulders at the broadest part above your shoulder blades.
- Bust: Measure the fullest point of your bust. If you usually wear a bra, take this measurement with your bra on.
- Waist: Your natural waist is different from where your pants or skirts usually sit. Measure the narrowest part, usually just above your belly button.
- Hips: Measure the fullest part of your hips. This will be below your hip bone and around your butt.
Body Shape Quiz
Once you've taken the four measurements above, you can simply input them into a free body shape calculator, like this one, to get an understanding of where your body shape falls on the spectrum. Or you can take our quick body shape quiz below! Answer four simple questions to get an idea of which of the six main body types you are.
Keep in mind that you might be a mix of two or more body shapes, which is completely normal (and beautiful!).
We created this guide to give you a general idea of your body shape and the looks that work well for it – but at the end of the day, you should dress however makes you feel your best. While each body is unique, there are some common traits we'll explore below.
The 6 Main Body Shapes
There’s no one-size-fits-all body shape. And when it comes to bodies, everybody is beautiful. While our bodies do come in various shapes and size, there are six general body shapes we’ll dive into in this guide:
- Inverted triangle
Each body shape looks different in different styles. Once you take our body shape quiz, building a wardrobe can be much less stressful and overwhelming. Whether you want to accentuate your neckline, give the illusion of curves, or downplay a specific feature, we’ll discuss how.
Again, beauty and confidence go hand in hand. The body shape quiz can give you a starting point to love what you're wearing, but don’t be afraid to break the “rules”.
Rectangle Body Shape
Rectangles typically aren’t curvy and have similar shoulder and hip measurements. Rectangles tend to have a straight figure without a flair to and from the waist. This body shape is sometimes associated with athletic builds, but rectangle bodies can come in many sizes.
Pear Body Shape
One of the most common shapes for women's bodies is the pear, sometimes referred to as triangle shaped. If you’re a pear, then your hips and butt are likely fuller than your shoulders and bust. Like all body shapes, triangles can be tall or short, but the hallmark is a fuller bottom half.
Inverted Triangle Body Shape
Inverted triangles also have a fruit-based descriptor, sometimes being referred to as apple-shaped. If you’re an inverted triangle, then your shoulders are likely broader than your hips. Inverted triangles can have larger or smaller busts, but the primary hallmark of this body shape is in the shoulders.
Hourglass Body Shape
You might be most familiar with the hourglass shape as popular culture has turned it into an iconic form. The hourglass shape has a thinner waist, with the hip and bust measurements about the same. It's also common to have a fuller butt or thighs.
Spoon Body Shape
Spoons tend to have narrow shoulders and a small bust with a well-defined waistline and fuller hips and butt. Spoons tend to carry most of their weight in the butt, hips, and thighs and are slimmer on top than pears.
Diamond Body Shape
The diamond body shape typically has a fuller waist and narrow shoulders and hips, while the bust and butt aren't full. Diamonds typically also have smaller, thinner limbs and can be tall or short.
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5 Universal Style Tips for All Body Shapes
Some style tips are universal, no matter what body shape you are. Here are five universal style tips we love:
1. Choose the Right Undergarments
Great outfits start with great undergarments. Make sure that your undergarments fit well and aren’t too small or too big. The right undergarments will provide support and help ensure your clothing lays the right way on your body.
2. Master the Art of Balance
No matter what body shape you are, dressing well is all about creating balance. By creating balance, we mean balancing your top half and bottom half. For example, if you hold more weight on the bottom half of your body, you can offset this by adding volume to your top with a jacket with a structured shoulder or a bouse with an interesting collar.
3. Draw the Eye
You can (and should!) use lines strategically to draw the eye to the parts of your body that you want to accentuate. For example, narrow stripes, which are slimming and draw the eye upward. By using lines, you can create the illusion of curves, lengthen your body, draw attention to your best features, and more.
4. Consider Color
There is nothing quite like a little black dress or a classic navy blazer, but don’t be afraid to consider color. The eye is drawn to bright colors and patterns, so balance out your high-quality basics with pops of color or a fun print here and there.
5. Have fun!
Creating a wardrobe that you love doesn’t happen overnight. Allow yourself to play around with trends and experiment with styles you’re interested in (even if you don’t think they’ll “work” for your body shape). Fashion is all about trial and error and – of course – having fun.