How to Dress for Your Body Type

The Fruit Cocktail of Silhouettes

Graphic of women's bodies in all different shapes and sizes. Image: DressBarn

If you have a full wardrobe yet nothing to wear, don't blame it on your body!

Knowing how to dress for your body type and shape makes shopping and selecting an outfit that little bit easier. Whether you're an apple or a pear, understanding your body shape will allow you to dress the body you have and create a look that’s right for you! 

Gen Woo’s comprehensive guide to the fruit cocktail of body shapes will help you to dress your body type and play up your favourite features with the styles you have (or should have) in your closet.

What is my body shape?

There are several ways to define your body shape, and while we may all be familiar with the fruit box of body types, our bodies are all different shapes and sizes. The problem with defining your body type is that it doesn't take into consideration any other body proportions, let alone someone's height. Are your shoulders wider than your hips? Do you have enviable long legs? Are you blessed with a narrow waist?

Apple body shape? Pear body shape? Graphic using fruit as a visual shorthand to describe women's body types. Image: FashionActivation

Apples & Pears: The fruity female form 

Using fruit to describe body types has long been seen by some as a visual shorthand, a way to describe the shape in a less technical or scientific way. And while you may have heard of the apple or the pear, you may be less familiar with the strawberry or the rhubarb.

Apple Body Shape

You know you have an apple body shape if you have a larger bust than your hips, a less defined waist, round shoulders and slimmer legs and arms. You may put on weight first in the upper body section, then the rest. 

When dressing an apple body shape, you want to highlight your best features, usually the bust and/or leg, to help take attention away from the midsection. V-neck tops and dresses will flatter an apple body shape, but avoid halter-necks and shoulder-baring tops. A-line fits and floaty tunics will flatter the figure but steer clear of clingy materials.  

Pear Body Shape

You have a triangle or pear body shape if you have large hips and a tiny bust. You have broad hips, and your waist section can look beautiful if you dress up the right way.

When dressing a pear body shape, the goal is to create balance by adding more emphasis to your top half and de-emphasising your lower half to create a more balanced silhouette. Wear dresses and skirts at knee length to help elongate the line of your legs, and select tops with volume and fuller sleeves to help balance out the proportions. 

Hourglass Body Shape

Although not a fruit, the hourglass body shape is one of the most recognised. Characterised by hip and bust measurements nearly equal in size, an hourglass figure is balanced naturally with a defined waist. The key to dressing this body shape is to follow its natural silhouette by proportionally dressing the top and bottom of the body while accentuating the waist. 

You should accentuate the waist with belts or nipped garments, but avoid unbalancing the body frame and making it appear either top or bottom-heavy. Whilst wrap dressing can be flattering, Steer clear of straight cuts and boxy styles that hide the waist.

Strawberry Body Shape

If you have broad shoulders, small hips, and slender legs, you have a strawberry body shape, also known as an inverted triangle-shaped body. Though you do not have a well-defined waist, your upper body is voluminous and should be accentuated to draw attention away from the waist.

V-neck cuts and accessories are a go-to, drawing the eyes up using your cleavage to your advantage. Peplum tops, skater dresses and fit-to-flare skirts are also great style options, with the flared shape helping to balance your figure and even out your silhouette. You should avoid square-shaped, structured blazers or jackets that are short in length, as these may give the illusion of an even broader upper body. Instead, choose a waterfall jacket, with the style offering a much softer look, guiding the eyes down and away from your top half. 

Banana Body Shape

Finally, you are said to have a banana body shape if your waist is barely narrower than your bust or hips. Also known as the rectangle body shape, approximately one-third of women fall into this category. 

For a banana shape, it is all about fit. You do not want to wear clothing that is too baggy, swamping your frame, or anything too tight and figure-hugging to emphasise your straight silhouette. Shift dresses and A-line dresses that subtly flare from the waist down will offer a long, slender look. But to create the illusion of more defined curves, peplum styles are a must-have, as well as everyone’s favourite—the wrap dress. A banana body shape may also select a halter-neck, one asymmetric style or off-the-shoulder designs to balance the frame and make the shoulders appear broader. 

But when it comes to determining your body shape, women are no longer just apples and pears. The modern-day female form has evolved into a whole fruit cocktail of silhouettes, including the double cherry with a curvy bust and hips with a tiny waist and boyish rhubarbs with slim hips and small busts.

What clothes suit my shape?

When dressing for your body type, it is all about balance. If you have broader shoulders, you want to create the illusion of wider hips. A-line skirts, fit and flare dresses, and flared trousers, such as our wide-leg palazzo pants, will add width to the lower body, creating balance with the shoulders. 

A bigger tummy is something we all fret about. While it can be a challenging area to balance, the key is to distract from the stomach and draw the eyes up. There are all the obvious choices, like push-up bras and Spanx-style knickers. However, our wrap maxi dress and floral smock top offer a flattering fit with a skimming silhouette, avoiding the stress of breathing in your extremely tight shapewear. Our luxe angel sleeve dress should also be considered, with the delicate flutter sleeves drawing attention away from areas where you feel less confident.

Confidence dressing! Two women having fun modelling Gen Woo's Retro Physcedliia collection. Image: GenWoo

Confidence Dressing

And if the above still has you wanting more, there are a few non-negotiables when dressing for your shape and feeling great. Confidence—if you have it, you can make anything look good. Rather than thinking about what you don't like about your body, think about what you do like. Ensure these body parts are accentuated, highlighted, and on show. Despite what the fashion mags say, not every trend is for everybody. Trends come and go, but just because it's 'on trend' doesn't mean it's the right trend for you. 

As Gen Woo, we’re an independent fashion brand that cares deeply for our customers. We aim to help you find the best fit for every piece of clothing available. We cater to both the Western and Asian markets, covering all body types with ladies sizing ranging from a European 6 to 16. To ensure you are shopping for your correct size, visit our Size Guide for detailed information on selecting the best size based on corresponding body shapes and measurements. 

To be part of our story, sign up for our newsletter now to access exclusive deals and more. And remember: you look your best when the fit and style are just right!


Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published

True friends are always together in spirit

L.M Montgomery