We are each uniquely created, and shaped differently. This is true for our inward self as well as our outward appearance. Each curve and straight line has individual aesthetic value. It is so easy to look in the mirror and wish for a line instead of a curve or a rounded edge instead of a slope. It is the way we think that needs to change. Health and embracing the way we are made should be our goal. With that as our path, learning how to dress best for our curves or straight lines is a tool that will help us to walk through life with confidence as a visual gift to the world around us.
Throughout the decades many body-type labels have been assigned, but we like to keep it simple and classic. The four categories that we will define are: Apple, Pear, Hourglass, and Rectangular. You may fall into one category, or be a combination of the shapes. You can apply these principles to yourself with the aim of balancing proportions. With each body type there are garments that compliment and those that should be avoided. Do not be tempted to clutter your closet (and therefore mind and life) with items that do not suit you as an individual, only embrace what suits you best! Let’s start with some “Do’s” and “Dont’s” for each type…
Don’t: Do not use stiff fabrics, high necklines, large collars, tapered skirts or pants. You do not want to add bulk to the upper body, and avoid pleats and gathers along the bottom because it will add volume.
Do: You want to emphasize the lower part of your body. Focus on feminine, subtle curved necklines. Balance the top with flare or wide leg pants and A-line skirts. Dolman sleeves can work to minimize the bust. Empire and baby-doll dresses work to cover the wider section of the torso, however one must be careful not to look like a tent. Let the hemline hit just above the knee to keep a slim silhouette. To create a waistline choose dresses that have a distinct natural waist out of fabrics that flow away from the body. Use your ability to wear shorter hemlines (not too short, remember balance) and fun colors to draw attention to your lower half.
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Don’t: Do not wear clingy or tapered bottoms. Overly structured dresses can cause the lower half of the body to become enlarged, so focus on softening. Tank tops and tube tops can make the upper half look proportionally smaller, use thicker straps and more details instead.
Do: You want to accentuate and balance the upper body. Choose to emphasize your neckline with fun collars, accessories, and bolder colors on your upper half. Wearing A-line skirts as well as flowing fabrics in more neutral and darker colors will slim the bottom half. Allow yourself to work with your natural waistline as opposed to trying low-rise anything. This will often through off your proportions and many suffer from uncomfortable pouching along our sides. Dresses should be fitted at top and flowing on the bottom. Feel free to wear sweaters and jackets that balance the bottom. See some examples here:
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Don’t: You do not want to throw your body out of balance. With more natural curves stay away from boxy tops and dresses that make a false rectangular shape, you will end up looking like a box. Oversized clothing or layers without structure creates too much bulk.
Do: Work with your best assets, use garments that accentuate the waist and keep the top and bottom in balance. Wrap tops, pencil skirts, straight leg pants, and dresses that have a distinct waist work best.
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Don’t: Do not use overly structured fabrics because it will create hard lines. Depending on the shape of your upper body, stay away from enlarging your shoulder and chest with high necklines, large collars, and sleeves. Anything that has no lines, whether through seam lines, texture, or pattern will make you look too linear. Create visual interest through sectioning your body with pattern and separate garments. Wrap tops only work if you have a bust; if not, sweetheart necklines and ruched busts work best.
Do: Work to create curves through adding a natural waistline with top and dress choices. Work with your more athletic shape by wearing shift dresses, tunics and straight cut pants. You have the freedom to wear lower cut pants and skirts, however pay attention to the proportions between your torso. You always want to work to elongate your legs. Use softer fabrics and curved or wide necklines to create smooth lines. Use horizontal stripes and have fun with bulkier sweater knits because you can make this work with your shape.
1. zara.com 2.hm.com 3. us.allsaints.com 4. and 5. jcrew.com
Photo Credit: myhomespunthreads.blogspot.com