Did you know that looking good at the office has as much to do with dressing according to your size and body shape as it does with actually wearing appropriate clothes? You probably didn’t, and that’s why we’re here today. You see, most of you ladies don’t know that an outfit that isn’t tailored to suit your body type will never look flattering on you. It’s not just about going into a store and picking out something you think looks good.

Now, before you go ahead and pick out clothes that will fit you best and be flattering to your figure, you first have to understand your body frame. Your body frame is a blend of genetics and bone structure, so while it’s possible for your measurements to change over time, your fundamental body shape probably won’t. That’s one thing you need to keep in mind.

Today, we will be looking at the four basic body types recognized across the world for women.


Admittedly, the names are a bit silly. But they are really useful for what we’re trying to do here today – learning to recognize your body type.

The Apple-Shaped Body:

The apple-shaped (or oval) body is unique to full-figured women. Your body is apple-shaped if your upper body is noticeably larger than your lower body. There’s a tendency to gain weight in your stomach, and upper body, and your waist, which is the largest part of your frame, is undefined. Most apple-shaped ladies will have a full face, and a shorter neck, but your legs are slender and so is probably your best feature.

Style Tips

What you want to do is make your mid-section less prominent and create a more defined waist. To achieve this, you need clothes that add curves and fullness to your lower body and blouses/shirts that taper to a waist. Your gorgeous legs allow you play with skirt lengths, but remember to never go too short, unless you’re trying to look too top-heavy.

When shopping for tops, you should consider tops that will narrow your upper body while creating a more defined waist, like tops with nipped/belted waists, V or U necks, wrap tops and jackets, tops with vertical details, and tops that flare at the hip.

Bottoms for apple-shaped females should maximize your lower half. Look out for pants with full/wide legs, mid-rise waists with wide waistbands, details like whiskering, embellished pockets and flap pockets, full, tiered, flared or bubble skirts, and cargo or safari pants with pronounced hip and rear pockets.

The Pear-Shaped Body

This just happens to be the most common female body shape. It’s true. Even I have it. Right from when I was much younger, I’ve always had well-pronounced hips, and not-so-noticeable bust (it runs in my family). You know you have a pear-shaped body if your hips are considerably larger than your bust, and your waist is nicely defined. Also, your neck is what some might refer to as “elegant” and balances on shoulders as slim as your arms. When pear-shaped ladies gain any weight, it first goes to your hips, then moves to your tummy, and then any leftover weight travels to your upper body. Needless to say, your waist s your greatest asset and should be flaunted duly.

Style Tips

Your fashion goal as a pear-shaped female is to place emphasis on the top half of your body to create an illusion of volume, accentuate your waist, and take attention away from your lower body. Pull it off and you could create a balanced, hourglass appearance.

When shopping, look out for tops that will help balance your lower half while emphasizing your defined waist, like off-shoulder, boat-neck tops, wide V or U necks, tops with structured shoulders, princess or flutter sleeves, bright colors and bold patterns, tops with embellishments around the bust and shoulders, and tops with nipped or fitted waists.

Bottoms, if you want, should minimize the lower half of your body. However, there are some pear-shaped females who really don’t mind the hippy look. If you want to achieve a proportionate, balanced look, then look for lightly gathered skirts that skim your body without adding volume, pants that fall straight from the widest part of your hip, and A-Line skirts. Make sure you stick to darker colors, clean lines and simple stitching, and avoid details like whiskering and embellished pockets.

The Hourglass-Shaped Body

Yes, every female would love to be told she has an hourglass figure. Unfortunately, not everyone can cut it. Do you? Well, only if your bust and hips are proportionate and you have a perfectly defined waist. Females with the hourglass figure have slightly rounded shoulders that align with their hips, and an obvious waist that curves out to their hips. Also, the length of their upper bodies is proportionate to their shapely legs.

Style Tips

If you have an hourglass figure, you want to dress the top and bottom of your body proportionately while emphasizing your waist.  Consider wide belts over shirts and dresses, and you can create an even more curvaceous appearance by adding some volume to you lower and upper body. The key is to maintain balance and proportion.

You want to invest in tops that will accentuate your waist and maintain the balanced look of your figure, like belted tops, wrap-style tops, tailored shirts and jackets, form-fitting tops, and tops with banding or nipping at the waist.

Hourglass-shaped women can get away with any kind of bottoms. It’s almost ridiculous. All you have to do is pair it with the right top. You should consider boot cut & straight leg pants, skirts that show off your great legs, high-waisted pants and pencil skirts, skinny jeans and pants, and cargos or flap pocket jeans paired with a balanced top.

The Rectangle Shaped Body

Quite a number of women today have this body frame, sometimes referred to as ‘straight’. Fret not. It’s not so bad. It just means your hips and bust are balanced, and your waist isn’t much defined. Ladies who are straight-figured have a flat bottom, tend to gain weight in their torso, before their thighs and arms, and have shapely legs. It may seem like you don’t have much to work with, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Style Tips

What you want to do is enhance your waist while dressing the top and bottom of your body proportionately. Try wearing form fitting clothing, and wide dark belts to define your waist.

Your best options for tops are those that will add curves to your upper half and create a more defined waist. Invest in tops with nipped or belted waists, tops with structured shoulders, princess or flutter sleeves, and embellishments around the bust and shoulders, off- shoulder, boat-neck tops, wide V or U necks, and tops that are full, rushed or flowing around the bust.

Bottoms for straight-figured women should add curves to your lower half while creating an hourglass effect. To achieve this you will need pants with full or moderately flared legs, full, tiered or bubble skirts, and cargo or safari pants with pronounced hip and rear pockets. Invest in bottoms with mid to low-rise waists with wide waistbands and details such as whiskering, embellished pockets & flap pockets.