Body Shape and Dress

Top 12 Ways to Know Your Body Shape and Dress Confidently

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Have you ever been pining after a dress only to feel disappointed when it arrives and just doesn’t look right on you? Do you feel like your clothes never fit you quite right?

If either of these statements resonates with you, it’s probably time for a bit of body-shape soul-searching.

When we’re paging through fashion magazines or scrolling through Instagram, it’s easy to forget that fashion is, at its core, about feeling great in your own skin. No matter your body shape, there are ways that you can accentuate your best features, create balance in your silhouette, and walk around feeling like a million bucks every day.

In this post, we will look at the top twelve ways you can know your body shape and use that knowledge to increase your confidence!

1. Discover Your Best Features

One easy way to identify the best clothes for your shape is to identify which features of your body you want to highlight through your outfits.

Your Best Features

We all have those special things that make us feel great about ourselves. It could be a slim waist, strong arms, toned legs, a graceful neckline, or that radiant smile. When you wear clothes that play up your strongest features, it’s an instant confidence booster.

2. Identify Your Basic Shape

Identifying your basic body shape is a fundamental step in understanding your unique physique and being able to dress as confidently as possible. Your body shape serves as the canvas on which you craft your style, and knowing it empowers you to make fashion choices that accentuate your strengths and create a harmonious look. 

While every woman’s body is unique, some body shape patterns can help you get a better sense of the most flattering outfits for your shape.

Identify Your Shape

Here are some of the most commonly referenced body shapes and some examples of outfits that tend to look great on them:

  • Hourglass: Balanced proportions with a defined waist, with bust and hips of roughly the same width. Outfit Ideas: Emphasize your waist with belts and fitted styles. A-line dresses and high-waisted skirts can showcase your hourglass figure. Wrap dresses are also great for highlighting your curves.
  • Pear (triangle): Narrower shoulders and a smaller bust with wider hips and thighs. Outfit Ideas: Draw attention upward with boat necklines or statement tops. A-line skirts and wide-leg pants can help balance your silhouette. Dark-colored bottoms can be slimming.
  • Apple (round): Broad shoulders and bust, with a less defined waist and a tendency to carry weight in the midsection. Outfit Ideas: Highlight your legs with skirts or dresses that fall just above or below the knee. V-neck tops can elongate your upper body, and empire waistlines can create the illusion of a defined waist.
  • Rectangle: Even proportions throughout, with a less defined waist. Flattering Outfits: Create curves by opting for peplum tops, belted dresses, and clothing that cinches at the waist. Dresses and tops with ruffles, patterns, or textured fabrics can add dimension.
  • Inverted triangle (v-shape): Broad shoulders and a fuller bust with narrower hips and thighs. Outfit Ideas: Balance your proportions by wearing A-line skirts, dresses, and wide-leg pants. Tops with details around the hips can add volume to your lower body.

3. Paying Attention to Where You Have Fit Issues

Paying attention to where you encounter fit issues will help you understand your unique body and choose outfits with greater confidence. Fit issues can reveal valuable insights about your particular physique, and addressing them is the first step toward curating a wardrobe that makes you feel comfortable and self-assured.

Fit issues can pinpoint specific areas where your clothing doesn’t sit quite right. It might be too tight around the hips, too loose at the waist, or too snug in the shoulders. Recognizing these areas provides valuable information about your body shape.

Fit Issues

Clothing that fits well feels comfortable and allows you to move with ease. When your clothes accommodate your body shape, you’re more at ease and can navigate your daily activities confidently. Furthermore, figuring out which styles of clothes fit you best will help make shopping in the future a breeze.

4. Focus on Finding Balance

In this context, balance refers to creating a harmonious silhouette by visually equalizing your proportions. Whether you have an hourglass, pear, apple, rectangle, or inverted triangle body shape, striving for balance can help you highlight your best features and create a look that boosts your self-confidence.

Every body shape has unique proportions, and the goal is to create the illusion of balanced proportions. For example, if you have a pear shape with narrower shoulders and wider hips, choosing clothing that adds volume or detail to your upper body can balance your figure.

Beyond that, balance in your clothing choices ensures that no single part of your body looks disproportionately larger or smaller. This visual harmony helps you look and feel more confident and put together.

Balancing your body shape involves selecting clothing that emphasizes or de-emphasizes certain areas. For example, a belt at the waist can create a cinched effect, highlighting your hourglass shape, while an A-line skirt can add volume to your lower body, creating balance for a pear shape.

5. Take Your Height Into Account

Beyond your body shape, you’ll also want to think about how your height impacts the way clothes look and feel on you. Height plays a crucial role in how clothing fits and complements your overall appearance– it can significantly influence how you present yourself and your style. 

For starters, taller individuals tend to have longer limbs and torsos, while shorter individuals have shorter proportions. Understanding this balance allows you to select clothing that creates harmony between your height and body shape.

Clothing choices can create lines that elongate or break up the body. For taller individuals, you can use these lines to add structure and definition to your silhouette. Vertical lines can help create the illusion of added height for shorter individuals.

Height

It’s also important that the length of pants, skirts, and dresses complement your height. Taller ladies may struggle to find long enough items, while shorter women may need to shorten garments. 

Of course, height is only one factor when it comes to putting together a look that makes you feel confident. By looking at your body shape and height, though, you can start to assemble a system for picking clothes that always make you look and feel amazing.

6. Use Lines and Silhouettes to Draw the Eye

By strategically employing lines, patterns, and clothing silhouettes, you can enhance your best features, create a killer look, and boost your self-confidence. 

Lines and patterns in clothing naturally draw the eye. By placing these lines strategically, you can guide attention to areas of your body that you want to highlight. You can also use lines and silhouettes to help create the illusion of balanced proportions. For example, if you have an apple shape with a less defined waist, you can use a belted dress to visually cinch your waist, creating the appearance of an hourglass figure.

Conversely, you can use lines and silhouettes to minimize areas that you may be less confident about. Dark, solid colors, for instance, can have a slimming effect and divert attention away from specific body parts.

Lines and Silhouettes

Vertical lines in clothing, such as button-down shirts, zippers, or seams, can elongate your body, making you appear taller and more slender. When used thoughtfully and carefully, horizontal lines can add curves and volume to your body. They can be especially useful for individuals with a rectangular body shape who want to create the illusion of curves.

7. Use Color and Print to Your Advantage

Your choices in terms of colors and patterns can significantly impact how you look and feel in your clothing. Colors and prints can draw attention to or away from specific areas of your body. For instance, wearing a bold print or bright color on an area you want to highlight can create emphasis, while using dark or neutral colors can reduce the focus on areas you’re less confident about.

Patterns can create optical illusions that alter the perception of your body shape. As I mentioned earlier, vertical stripes can elongate your body, while horizontal stripes can add width. Understanding these effects allows you to strategically manipulate your silhouette.

Color and Print

Prints and patterns can even be used to camouflage or distract from areas you may not want to spotlight. For example, an all-over print can provide a unified look that makes it challenging to identify specific areas.

Of course, colors and patterns are also a fantastic way to showcase your personality and style. You can experiment with different combinations to reflect your individuality.

8. Pay Attention to Fabric and Texture

The choice of fabric and texture in your clothing can significantly impact how it compliments your figure, not to mention how good you feel about how you look.

Firstly, fabric and texture are fundamental to how comfortable you feel in your clothing. When your clothes are made from materials that feel good against your skin, you’re more likely to feel at ease and confident throughout the day.

Fabric and Texture

Beyond that, fabric and texture can be used to either camouflage certain areas or enhance specific features of your body. For instance, textured fabrics can add volume to an area you want to emphasize, while smooth, matte fabrics can create a sleek and understated look.

9. Find Fashion Role Models

Another great tactic when trying to understand the best way to dress for your body shape is to find your fashion role models.

Once you identify models, actresses, public figures, or anyone else, for that matter, who has great style and shares a similar body shape, you can start taking notes on how to improve your own wardrobe.

Fashion Role Model

Observing role models’ fashion choices helps you learn which styles and silhouettes work best for different body shapes. Furthermore, seeing individuals with similar body shapes rocking their fashion choices can boost your self-confidence. It reassures you that you, too, can look and feel amazing in your clothing.

Remember– you don’t have to spend a million bucks to dress like your fashion role models. Take a look at our tips on how to look expensive to help you emulate your style icons without going into debt!

10. Experiment With Necklines

It’s actually amazing how much changing your neckline can change your look. Necklines play a crucial role in framing your face and drawing attention to specific areas of your upper body. By trying different necklines, you can highlight your best features and create a look that suits your body shape.

Different necklines can create visual balance for your body shape. For example, if you have an inverted triangle shape with broader shoulders, a V-neck or scoop neck can add width to your lower body, creating a more balanced appearance.

Experiment with Necklines

You can also use certain necklines to showcase or conceal specific areas. For instance, a boat neckline can draw attention to your collarbones, while a high neckline can provide more coverage.

11. Let Your Personality Shine Through

Your clothing is a canvas for expressing your individuality, and embracing your unique personality is key to achieving a self-assured and authentic style!

Dressing in a way that aligns with your personality allows you to be true to yourself. Authenticity is the cornerstone of self-confidence because it empowers you to be comfortable in your own skin. When you wear clothes that resonate with your personality, you’re ensuring that you’ll feel comfortable and confident all day. When your clothing reflects your true self, you naturally exude poise and self-assurance.

Personality

To let your personality shine through in your style, consider what styles, colors, and patterns resonate with you. Do you lean toward classic, bohemian, minimalist, or eclectic looks? Your preferences are a reflection of your personality and inclinations, helping you define your own personal style.

12. Exude Confidence Through Your Posture

How you carry yourself plays a significant role in how your clothing looks and how you feel. You can highlight your best features and radiate self-assuredness by maintaining good posture.

Good posture ensures that your clothing fits properly. It prevents the fabric from bunching, sagging, or pulling, making you feel uncomfortable and much less confident. Confident posture also helps create an ideal canvas for your clothing to drape and contour to your body shape. Standing tall and maintaining proper alignment makes your clothing look more flattering.

Exude Confidence

Another reason to stand up straight is that maintaining good posture is a simple yet effective way to boost your self-confidence. When you stand with poise, you’ll naturally feel like you’re on top of the world.

Not sure what your personal style is? Make sure you check out our guide to dressing your own style!

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Hi, I'm Cassie! My husband and I have a full house with three furbabies, and when I'm not spending time with them, I'm loving all things fashion, travel, and romanticizing life's little moments. I'm also a self-described book nerd, and am always on the hunt for my newest read.