When it comes to fashion, it’s all about trends that are ever-changing and evolving. That’s what makes dressing up so much fun because it means you can play around with different styles and shapes to best express yourself. But it’s not always easy to know what style or trend would best suit your body type.
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Our body shapes are all unique and beautiful, which means that there are no fixed rules on what will work on which body type, but there are some guidelines that you can follow to build a wardrobe that would best suit you.
Why is it important to dress according to your body type?
As we said, there are no rules when it comes to dressing up. As long as you feel comfortable and confident, there’s no one who can tell you what you should or should not wear. But if you’re someone who is still figuring out their style persona, basic guidelines can help a lot. These guidelines can help you understand your body better and figure out which style you gravitate more towards. You can use these tips as a foundation to build your own style.
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How to determine your body type using measurements?
The first thing to consider when figuring out your most flattering style is your body shape. The best way to find out your body shape is by taking your body measurements. Don’t worry! You don’t need to spend hours contorting your body in weird shapes around a measuring tape to figure these digits out. All you need are four basic measurements: shoulder, bust, waist, and hips. Once you have these four measurements, you’d be able to get a clearer picture of what body type your unique frame falls under. So go find your measuring tape and get started!
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You can take your shoulder measurements by loosely wrapping the measuring tape around the tops of your shoulders where they are at their broadest point, right above your shoulder blades.
Take this measurement by wrapping the measuring tape around the fullest part of your bust. Be careful not to hold it so tightly that it compresses your chest. Make sure to hold it just snug enough that it stays in place around your bust. You can measure this over your bra as well, especially if you typically wear one.
Your natural waist is different from where the waistband of your pants usually rests, so taking this measurement can be a little confusing. What you need to keep in mind is to measure around the narrowest part of your waist. This is usually just above the belly button.
Just as you did with your shoulders and bust, you need to look for the fullest point around your hips. Usually this point is right below your hip bones, so you can wrap the measuring tape around here.
Mistakes to avoid while taking your measurements
- Make sure you have a good quality measuring tape that has clear markings and is flexible too.
- The most accurate measurements will be recorded if you’re standing perfectly straight. This is why it’s best to have another set of hands around to help you take your body measurements.
- Don’t wear heavy or extremely loose clothing while taking your body measurements. Make sure to take these over thin and correct fitting garments.
- To avoid any mistakes, take these measurements twice just to be sure.
- Make sure the measuring tape is completely parallel to the ground while you’re taking the measurements.
What are the different body types?
Now that you have all the important measurements in place, you can figure out your body shape. While there are a number of different and unique body shapes, most people largely fall under these four categories: pear, apple, hourglass, or rectangle.
This is not to say that there can’t be different variations of shapes and body types that don’t clearly fall under any of these categories. But broadly, these categories encompass most body shapes. We’re not just shapes or fruits, these names and categories are just so that these are universally comprehensible.
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You may be a pear or triangle body type if…
Your waist is wider than your bust.
Your hips are generally fuller.
Your shoulders are narrower as compared to your hips.
You may be an apple or round body type if…
Your body is generally well-proportioned.
Your shoulders are broader than your hips.
You don’t have a well-defined waistline.
You may have an hourglass shaped body if…
Your waist is well-defined.
Your bust and hip measurements are roughly even.
Your shape is generally curvy.
You are a rectangle or athletic shaped body type if…
Your shoulders and hip measurements are nearly the same.
Your waist is not well-defined, but straight.
Your four measurements are nearly uniform, distributing your weight evenly throughout your frame.
How to style yourself according to different body types
Each body is unique and beautiful. If you’ve found yourself unable to fit into any of the above mentioned categories, that’s alright. These guidelines are meant to be used as a starting point to build your understanding about what works specifically for you and help you find your own, individualistic style. Having said that, let’s find out the best ways to style yourself according to these body types.
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Here are three general tips you should follow, regardless of your body type:
- Use your outfit to balance out your shoulders, bust, waist, and hips.
- Make sure to use the lines of your outfit in a way that the eye travels where you want it to go. This can help you create an illusion of curves or length.
- Don’t be afraid to play with colours and patterns. They are a great way of bringing out the best in your body and help you feel more confident.
How to dress up a pear-shaped frame?
You will notice marked differences in your beautiful frame if you decided to lean into elongating it using different styling elements. Statement tops that highlight your waist, back, or neckline are something you should always have as staples in your wardrobe as they would highlight your best features and help you feel more confident on the days you don’t. You should also experiment with different colours and patterns to find out what best suits you. You should go for plunging V-necks, cowl necks, or bell sleeves. An expert-aproved styling tip would be to have structure around your shoulders to give them more definition and create an illusion of width. This will highlight your narrow waist beautifully.
What to avoid
While your styling choices should be based on your personal preferences and not what an arbitrary rule book suggests, there are a few styling choices you can make (or rather NOT make) that could enhance your look without any effort. Dresses in thick fabrics as well as dresses that have a dropped waist can make your look seem sloppy and not as put-together as you would hope for. Any straight cut silhouette would hide your waist and not do any favours for your beautiful frame nor the dress.
How to dress up an apple-shaped frame?
When it comes to styling your apple-shaped body, the best way to do it is by playing up your bust, legs, or your arms, tastefully of course. Silhouettes that don’t rely on a traditionally structured waistline are your best pieces. Breezy A-line silhouettes, flowy tunics, relaxed button-ups, and wide V-necks work best for your shape. Embellishments and details around the neckline are a great way to draw the eye upwards and away from the torso. Choose tops that end below your hipline to elongate the figure. You can also play around with layering to discover new and exciting ways to use your existing wardrobe staples.
What to avoid
If you’re looking for a sharp, well-styled look, you should skip high and narrow necklines that hide your chest and give the illusion of narrower shoulders. Don’t go for bottoms that have pleating or ruching on the front as they might add bulk to your midsection and make the look appear unflattering.
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How to dress up an hourglass frame?
One of the things you can keep in mind while styling an outfit for your hourglass frame is that you can play around with ways to define your waist. You should embrace and highlight your beautiful curves in the best way possible and you can do so by opting for form-fitting jersey knits, wrap tops, peplum silhouettes, and scoop or sweetheart necklines. You can also opt for statement belts that would highlight your waist. Short, cropped jackets that stop just above your hips are a great way to accentuate your curves.
What to avoid
Straight cuts and boxy silhouettes that hide your waist do no justice to your stunning shape. Don’t go for big ruffles or embellishments around the neckline, unless you’re planning to balance it out with similar statement pieces around the waist area. Low-rise jeans should also be skipped as they tend to make your legs look shorter.
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How to dress up a rectangular frame?
Balance is the key to pulling off an ace look for you. You can use your outfit to create illusions of varying shapes since your measurements are nearly uniform throughout your body. For instance, if you’re going for an oversized top, then you should keep the bottom skinny or well-fitted and vice versa. You can easily carry halter necklines, strapless silhouettes, flowy outerwear, and flared or bootcut-style trousers.
What to avoid
Avoid styles that require you to tuck the top into your bottoms, as it could remove any definition around the waist, instead opt for pulling in the waist by using a belt. Straight or square-shaped necklines highlight the angular nature of your frame, so if you’re looking for a different look, then you should give those a miss.
Dos and Don’ts of dressing according to your body type
While these specific guidelines are important to note and follow if you’re looking for some assistance in finding your true style, there are some general rules you can remember when you’re setting out to build your dream wardrobe.
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Invest in staples
Now that you have an idea of what can and cannot work for your specific body type, work towards fashion staples that are evergreen and would always remain on-trend, like a classic black dress or a pair of denim jeans that best work for you.
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While the lure of sales and discounts is very real, you must stop and evaluate the stuff you already have in your closet before indulging in a shopping spree. Buy what you need and avoid items that might look attractive because of their slashed prices but would never actually be worn by you in the future.
Feel confident in your body
The most essential way to dress well is to be confident and comfortable in what you’re wearing. Regardless of your body type, you need to be able to pull off whatever you want to wear. Even if you religiously follow the aforementioned guidelines, you would still need that innate sense of confidence to carry any look like the star that you are.
You don’t need formal education in fashion to know and understand what style works best for you. But a little research or being up to date with new trends and knowledge of labels will expose you to a wider set of options that would help you when it comes to discovering your true style.
Fashion labels and designers who champion body positivity
Over the past few years, fashion brands and labels have realised the importance of celebrating all body types and have reflected that in their collections and campaigns. Take inspiration from these brands and learn to appreciate your unique and beautiful body just the way it is. Established designers like Versace and Chanel have also included plus-sized models for their runway showcases. When it comes to dressing for your body type, these brands and designers will help you figure out how you can push the boundaries of style set by society and express yourself the way you want with fashion.
The size-inclusive activewear brand has attempted to tackle most issues a lot of women face when they set out to buy workout clothes for themselves—not finding their size. Their solution? Comfortable fits and attractive colours that has amassed them a loyal customer base.
The iconic designer uses full-bodied models for his campaigns without any retouching, showing the world there is beauty in all shapes and sizes.
The designer-turned-actress is a vocal champion of breaking stereotypes and pushing boundaries. Gupta backs up her activism by including models of diverse sizes in her campaigns and runway showcases.
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For the first time in its history, Fendi brought onboard models of different shapes and sizes to model their Fall 2020 collection.
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