Dressing Your Body Type Part III: Hourglass, Inverted Triangle and Rectangle

It’s time for Part III of my four part series on Dressing Your Body Type. In this blog, I will cover the Hourglass, Inverted Triangle and Rectangle shapes. Let’s dive in.

Hourglass Shape: Defined by delicate bones, a large bust, a small waist and curved hips with shapely legs

Key Figure Balancing Actions: Draw attention to your waist and emphasize your curves!

Ways to do this:

  1. Draw attention to your waist by using waist bands and belts. Your body type was made for cropped tops and mid rise pants.
  2. Soft and flowy fabrics are your friend, as they will show off your curves. Wrap styles are particularly flattering on you, whether it is a wrap skirt or dress.
  3. If you have a very large bust or a round and protruding rear, be careful not to cinch your waist too tight, as it will emphasize this.
  4. Oversized styles just hide all of your assets. Shoot for semi-fitted styles that either define your waist or hint at your waist.
  5. Choose medium sized handbags that hit at your waist.
  6. As this body type usually has fine bones, you should choose delicate jewelry and low profile shoes

Best styles to choose from: Anything semi-fitted will flatter your curves. Tailored jackets and short skirts will look lovely on your as will wrap styles, as already mentioned. Choose styles that can be belted to show off your waist. Wearing your blouse knotted and cropped with jeans will show your slim waist and hips. Avoid loose fitting and boxy styles.

Inverted Triangle: Defined by broad shoulders, a medium to large bust, a defined waist that is medium width, narrow hips, long legs.

Key Figure Balancing Actions: Your legs and hips are your best feature, so draw attention to this part of your body. You are broad shouldered, so you will want to balance this part of your body out with your smaller lower half. Draw attention away from your shoulders and upper body.

Ways to do this:

  1. Because of your pretty legs, skirts and short dresses will be a great choice for you. Because of your slim hips, you will look nice in straight or a-line styles. You will also look nice in slacks, jeans, and leggings.
  2. Wearing loose and non-tailored or semi-tailored tops will be your best bet to minimize your upper torso. Avoid structured shoulders or anything with shoulder pads, as it will add extra girth to your shoulders. For this same reason, avoid necklines that draw attention to your shoulders like boat necks.
  3. Styles that have loose sleeves like kimono, raglan, and dropped will give you extra room in the bust. V necks will optically slim your upper torso, the deeper the better.
  4. Minimize your upper body by using dark and neutral colors on top and play up your strengths by wearing color on the bottom.
  5. You will want to choose better quality, heavier fabrics for your top that have a good drape and do not cling.
  6. Choose low waisted styles and low slung belts that fall at your hip instead of your waist.
  7. Wear handbags so they sit at your slim hips. Avoid shoulder bags.

Best Styles To Choose From: Tie belts will be your friend because you can tie them at your hips instead of your waist. Any bottom that has a mid-rise instead of a regular rise will be more flattering on you. Flared skirts and dresses will help balance your shoulders. A loose fitting knit top tucked into a mid rise skirt would be very flattering. Wearing a scarf horizontally will help give the optical illusion of elongating your torso. Slimmed legged bottoms with loose fitting tops are also a great look for you. This body type can also do palazzo pants well when they are paired with a top that goes past the hips.

Straight/Rectangle: Defined by a “square” shape where the upper and lower torso are the same width, a medium sized bust, a wide rib cage, a thick waist, a flattened rear, and slender legs.

Key Figure Balancing Actions: Draw attention away from your rib cage and waist. Draw attention to your legs.

Ways to do this:

  1. Avoid skirts that add girth with style details like gathered or tiered. Instead choose sleek skirts in any style from short to long, tailored to a-line.
  2. Tailored slacks and mid rise bottoms will flatter you without bringing attention to your waist.
  3. Wear longer tops with slim bottoms to draw attention to your strengths. You can tuck in a top, but make sure you pair a jacket over the top to avoid drawing attention to your waist.
  4. A monochromatic (all one color) or keeping your jacket and pant the same color and adding a punch of color in the middle will be the most slimming.
  5. Tops should not be clingy. Choose flowy, medium to heavy weight fabrics that drape well.
  6. Use v necks to vertically slim your torso.
  7. This figure type is often short waisted so you will want to avoid cutting your body off at your waist or it will emphasize this. Make sure your demarcation of color or style happens below the waist.

Best Styles To Choose From: Non tailored shirt dress (buttons up the front with a collar). Longer jacket that fits loose over a short skirt. Loose shift style dress. Loose fitting safari jacket that hits mid to low hip with slim legged pants. Styles that have a dropped waist. Avoid empire waists. Tunic dresses.

Watch my live video on these three body types for examples of what to wear. You can watch here tonight at 6 p.m. MST. The first blog post in the series was called Dressing Your Body Type: The Fundamentals and the second was Dressing Your Body Type: Pear, Diamond and Round. You can see the videos for this series on my YouTube page here.

Dressing Your Body Type Part II: Pear, Diamond and Round

In The Fine Art of Dressing, by Margaux Tartarotti, the author uses a rather creative way to talk about dressing your body type by comparing the most common shapes to classic masters. For example, she calls the pear shaped figure a Modigliani because of the artist’s propensity toward drawing portraits of women with narrow shoulders and full hips, butt and thighs. I love her approach because it underscores how the prevailing view of beauty has changed over the centuries and continues to change. Just consider the modern trend of implants to create a larger, lifted and rounder buttocks. Having just come from Las Vegas, I can tell you that bodycon, short for body-confidence, is a true trend. Figure hugging and curve showing dresses were everywhere. Our different shapes and sizes are what makes us uniquely beautiful.

In this blog post, the second in my Dressing Your Body Type Series, I will cover the first thee of six body styles and talk about ways to work with that figure type for the most flattering looks. This is not about covering up what one might see as a deficit, but instead it is about balancing out your figure in the most advantageous way. If you missed Part I: The Fundamentals, take a moment to read that now. You can also watch my video on this topic on my YouTube page. Watch that here: https://youtu.be/U_yiCAkyHdg

Pear Shaped: Defined by a small neck; narrow, sloped shoulders; a small bust; a defined waist; and full hips and thighs

Key Figure Balancing Actions: Draw attention to the upper part of your body with color and style. Add width to your shoulders with shoulder pads to even out the shoulder/hip ratio. Accent without cinching your waist. Draw attention away from your hips and thighs.

Ways to do this:

  1. Make sure your bottoms do not fit too close to your hips and thighs and choose pencil skirts that get slimmer toward your calves to avoid looking like a box. Choose either firm, lined and tailored fabrics or soft and flowy fabrics with a nice drape, avoiding lightweight or inexpensive fabrics.
  2. Wear shoulder pads and choose tailored tops that use darts to point toward a waist without clinging to it. Avoid cinching the waist because it will only emphasize your bottom curves. Have your tops hit below the hip line if you are tall and at or above the hip bone if you are shorter.
  3. Choose darker, neutral colors for your bottom.
  4. Choose wider necklines like boatnecks and Cowel necklines that can be worn over the shoulder to give the illusion of broader shoulders and draw attention away from sloping shoulders. Avoid drop shoulders.
  5. Avoid large tote handbags or crossbody bags that hang right at the widest part of your body. Choose instead a shoulder bag that sits higher up on your frame.
  6. Use accessories and colors that will draw the eye to your slender neck and face.

Best styles to choose from: empire waist dresses and tops; 3/4 length jackets or tops with a short, tapered skirt; tops that hit at your hipbone; cinched waist under a 3/4 or long vest.

Here are some other examples of good styles from our Boho Chic Collection. Notice the empire waist top on the right with the full bodice to allow room for a fuller hip paired up with a narrow bottom. In the middle is a good example of a 3/4 length cardigan. A good idea for this look would be to belt the tee underneath to “hint” at your waist without cinching it. On the left is a good example of a longer, maxi style jacket in a draped fabric with a top that falls at the low hip, paired up with a narrow bottom.

Diamond Shape: Defined by slim shoulders, small bust, thick waist, full hips and thighs

Key Figure Balancing Actions: Focus attention on your torso, above your waist. Balance your shoulder and hip ratio. Draw attention away from your lower body.

Key Action Steps:

  1. Elastic waists are your friend. Choose tapered cuts that narrow toward your lower leg to avoid a boxy look. Avoid maxi lengths. Avoid wide bottoms like palazzo pants.
  2. Wear shoulder pads. Choose tops that are fitted over your bust but then flare out starting at the middle of your rib cage, giving you the extra room you need for your waist.
  3. Jacket hemlines should hit below the broadest part of your hips. Be sure they don’t pull across this area
  4. Wear dark or neutral bottoms
  5. Accent your slim torso with colors that flatter your skin tone. If you aren’t sure what are your best colors, watch my video series on Determining Your Best Color Palate
  6. Avoid stiff fabrics and opt for softer fabrics with a nice drape and also avoid bottom details that add girth like pockets that stand out
  7. Choose neckline details like boatnecks and Cowl necks to balance your shoulders and your hips
  8. Avoid handbags that sit at your hips and choose shoulder bags instead.

Best styles to choose from: Empire waist dresses; longer tops with narrow bottoms; trapezoid dresses; long, layered vests; and jackets with narrow bottoms.

Here are some good styles from our Sympli Spring 2023 Collection. On the left, our Pleat Hem Tank Dress is a great example of a dress that hints at a waist without cinching and also narrows at the bottom. The look in the middle is a longer, tunic length top that falls well below the widest part of a Diamond Shaped body with narrow but flowy pants. On the right, we have again chosen a tunic length top and a legging to accentuate narrow legs. We also love the fabric in our Sympli line, as it is the perfect weighted travel knit that drapes rather than clings. We also like these small handbags from HOBO for this body type as well.

Round Shape: Defined by a fuller neck, larger bust, wide rib cage, rounded back, larger tummy, and narrow hips leading into slender legs.

Key Figure Balancing Actions: Use Part I: The Fundamentals to make your neck look slimmer and longer. Draw attention away from your round middle. Bring balance to your upper and lower torso. Draw attention to your slender legs.

Key Action Steps:

  1. Focus on straight skirts as opposed to full skirts to draw attention to your lower hips and legs, and choose pants that have a straight or narrow leg.
  2. Choose fabrics that drape rather than those that are stiff or clingy. Avoid fitted tops. Your jackets should be long enough to cover your round middle and stop just at the top of where your hips and legs narrow.
  3. Choose shapes like dolman, raglan, and kimono sleeves that will give you extra room for your arms and bust. Over blouses are a great choice too.
  4. Draw attention to your lower body with color and prints and downplay your upper body with neutrals and darker colors.
  5. Larger busted women should wear larger prints to help balance your figure. If you want to wear a brighter color for your top, just downplay it with a neutral jacket.
  6. Use the optical illusion of the diagonal line that we discussed in Part I to visually slim and elongate your neckline
  7. Choose a handbag that hangs at your lower hip. Avoid shoulder bags and backpacks that will add extra girth to your torso
  8. No belts for this figure type and make sure accessories create a vertical and not horizontal line (long scarves and necklaces). Don’t let scarves or necklaces hit right at the fullest part of your bust.

Best Styles To Choose From: Tunics and narrow skirts, especially those that show off your legs; longer tops with Bermuda shorts or slim cropped pants; flowy jackets over monochromatic outfits.

Below are some good styles from our Spring 2023 Sympli Collection. On the left, is a great longer jacket paired over a tunic length, sleeveless top. The monochromatic tops help minimize the upper torso and the pants narrow at the bottom to emphasize a slender leg. In the middle, the flowy jacket is paired over a tunic length top and matched to a narrow bottom to accentuate the legs. On the right, the eye is drawn to the lighter colored bottom and the cropped length that shows off the legs while the longer jacket and top draw attention away from the upper torso.

To join me in a live discussion of this topic with examples from my store of styles that work with each body type, watch my Wednesday Wardrobing Live Video tonight at 6 p.m. You will need to ask to join our VIP Facebook Group to watch live so do it a little before the video start time. If that time doesn’t work for you, you can catch the video on my YouTube Page.

Happy Dressing Your Body Type!!

Dressing Your Body Type Part One: The Fundamentals

April came in with a bang here in Wyoming. We had a record breaking snow storm to top off our record breaking winter!! With 27 inches of snow on the ground and piled up in the middle of the streets, it is hard to think about Spring and Summer, but I know in just a few days the sun will be shining again.

Dressing your body type is important year round, but I think we give it more credence in the summer months when more of our bodies are exposed. Winter allows us to hide, after all, sweaters are just blankets you wear to work. But when the summer months come, hiding in our clothing is not an option. So, for this month’s Wednesday Wardrobing Videos and Blog Posts, I am going to do a four part Dressing Your Body Type series. You can watch my live videos in our Facebook VIP Group at 6 p.m. MST. I will post this blog first, so it will give you a chance to read the blog and then watch the video. If you miss the live video, you can also check it out on my YouTube page.

Part I: April 5th at 6 p.m.: The Fundamentals

Part II: April 12th at 6 p.m.: Pear, Diamond and Round

Part III: April 19th at 6 p.m.: Hourglass, Inverted Triangle, and Straight/Rectangle

Part IV: April 26th at 6 p.m.: Dealing With Problem Areas

Tonight, we will be talking about the fundamentals of color value, optical illusions and fabrics and how they relate to making the most slimming clothing choices.

The first of these is Color Value. If you watched my March Wednesday Wardrobing Series on Determining Your Color Palate or followed my blog posts, you will know that value refers to the lightness or darkness of a color When you are considering value in determining your best color palate, you consider your skin tone, hair tone and eye color. Value can be simplified into light and dark or looked at more completely as on a scale from one to five, with one being the lightest and five being the darkest. When you are considering value in clothing, you are focused on the lightness or darkness of a clothing item. This is important because lighter values will draw your attention while darker values will recede. Thus, when you are dressing your body, you want to put lighter color values on parts you want to draw attention to and darker color values on parts you want to draw less attention to.

Second, we need to consider Visual Illusions.

Vertical Lines: As you have probably been told, vertical lines tend to lengthen. They are best for a shorter figure or to slim a wider figure. This truth has been misunderstood by many to lead them to always avoid horizontal stripes. That is a shame because regularly spaced horizontal lines that are narrow also have a slimming effect. What you want to avoid are large, thick horizontal stripes.

Diagonal Lines. The steeper a diagonal line is, the more slimming it will be. A deep v neckline, then, will be more slimming than a shallow v neck. Also, a deeper curved crew neck will be more slimming than a shallow curve.

Horizontal Divisions. You have probably heard that monochromatic outfits (all the same color) are the most slimming for any body type. When you start combining colors, there are few concepts to consider. Uneven horizontal divisions are more slimming than a horizontal division in the middle. Thus, it is more slimming to divide your body with an empire waist or wear a long jacket over a mini skirt,than it is to divide your body at the waist, placing one color on top and one on the bottom.

Background Colors: If you place a light white dot on a black circle and compare it to a black dot on a white circle, you will notice that the darker dot will recede and look smaller than the white dot. This is important when considering prints. A dark background with a light print will draw more attention and seem bigger than a light background with a dark print.

Third, we need to consider Fabric Textures.

Fabric is everything when you are looking for a flattering fit. The weight and drape of the fabric is what will make or break the shape of a garment on your body. Light fabrics tend to show your figure flaws, while heavy fabrics do a better job of draping instead of clinging. Also important is the stiffness of a fabric. Softer fabrics will lay against the body while stiffer fabrics will stand out from the body. The stiffer fabrics tend to add extra visual weight. Some things to consider in choosing fabrics:

  1. You get what you pay for. Better quality fabrics hold their shape longer.
  2. When you layer two different fabrics with two different weights, put the heavier fabric on top
  3. You can jazz up a monochromatic outfit by combining textures: smooth and rough, matte and shiny
  4. Shiny fabrics will add weight
  5. Loose looks work best with a draped fabric while tailored styles work better with thicker fabric
  6. If going for an oversized trend, choose soft and drapy fabrics over heavy fabrics.
  7. Accentuate your curves and hide your budges.

These concepts will build the foundation of the rest of our discussions about dressing your body type! See you next Wednesday at 6 p.m. MST.