Dressing for Your Shape – Hourglass Shape

A hourglass figure has well defined bust and hips which are balanced and aligned, being of the same size. The waist is also defined and in most cases the bottom is well rounded. This gives a well proportioned figure with killer curves. The upper body is proportionate in length to shapely legs. There may be weight gathered on the tummy so this will give some of the characteristics of the apple shape. Hourglass-body-shape-bella-naija-march-2016

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Dressing for Your Shape – Apple Shape

An apple shaped body tends to have a fuller middle with slim thighs and shapely upper legs. With fuller boobs, thinner hips and a flatter rear than most and that protruding tummy !

The main characteristics of an apple shaped body is a wide torso, broad shoulders, average to fuller bust, a flat bottom, an undefined waist with thinner arms and legs. You don’t have to have a large tummy to be apple shaped but that your extra weight gathers around the waist area.apple-body-shape (1)

The goal is balance – to make your torso look longer and your shoulders and waist appear slimmer and draw attention away from your tummy up to your face and top and all those other assets ! So you need to create the illusion of a waist, highlight your cleavage and create vertical lines. Wear clothes that add curves and fullness to your lower body and taper your top half helps achieve this balanced look.

Avoid big tops and jackets, shapeless garments that don’t show any waist or don’t use vertical layers. Bulky trousers with lots of pockets, high necklines and clingy tops are also unflattering.


Showing off your bust will not only emphaise one of your fab features but will also draw attention from your waist. So V necks, plunging necklines, strapless, scoop, or tops with narrow bodices.White Stuff Dusky Blue Paint Pot Print long Line Tunic

The tops should fall lower than your hip bone or long and flowing ending below the bottom. You can also wear tops that have feature sleeves that draw attention to your arms – embroidery, slits, flares but not puffy or full sleeves  – also pretty shoulder details such as sequins.

Tops with rouching around the middle give definition to the waist as do wrap around tops which are fitted but not tight. Especially in dark and small patterned fabrics – if you really want a large pattern then choose darker colours around the waist with pattern along the top drawing the eyes. Avoid bold patterns, large checks, and light colours above your waist.

Define your waist with a peplum top, fitted at the waist and flared at the hips.Or a wrap tops works well.

Cinch with a narrow belt but avoid wide belts which bring attention.

A cami or tank top with a matching jacket looks good.

Avoid halter neck tops, very high necklines, decorated neckline, off the shoulder cut or boat neck – these will make your shoulders look broader and draw attention to your chest. Keep away from clingy fabrics but choose textured or woven fabrics.


The right jacket should fit your shoulders perfectly so choose the size for your shoulders and not your middle. Wear a single breasted jacket without too much detail but structured so it creates curves in chest and hip area but minimises the waist

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Belted jackets are flattering but longer length. Crop jackets are also a great way of defining your waist.

Also try open cardigans or waistcoats or a duster coat which ends above the knee ( with a slim belt inside ).

Avoid excess fabric over the bust and around the tummy to trim the waistline to a minimum.


Fuller skirts look good as they fill out the hips and create balance as do pencil or straight skirts with peplum which give a smaller looking waist. Bias cut skirts, A-line and full circle skirts also flatter the figure and define.

Marks & Spencer Classic Navy Blue Print Flippy Skirt

Chiffons and silks make great skirts for Apples and try bold colours and patterns.

Knee length structured pencil skirts also show off your slim hips and great legs.

Find skirts with flat fronts, especially ones which clasp on the side and zippers at the side or back. Don’t be afraid to show off those great pins.

Avoid skirts which are perfectly straight and too tight. Also pockets, pleats and gathers near the waist because this will add inches to your waist.

Choose trousers and jeans which are tailoted and either straight or flared, again to keep balance. Wear pants with back pockets to create definition to your flatter bottom and balance out the waist.

M&5 BLACK Single Zip Pocket Straight Leg Trousers

Make sure they have a flat front and with a rise that is lower than your natural waistline avoiding tucks and button up jeans as they add bulk in the wrong area. Luckily you can choose from any colour – lighter shades look great.

Avoid skinny jeans, leggings and too tight material because this down plays your legs making them look smaller and  consequently enlarging your waistline. Avoid zips and bulky detail at the front.


There are a variety of dresses that can flatter the apple shape, go for for a dress that has a A-line which draws attention from the mid section.

Marks & Spencer PinkGrey Empire Fit & Flare Dress with

Or make the most of colour blocking with dark colour down the middle and lighter colour down each side.

When choosing the right dress go for drop waist which hit somewhere around the hipbone or empire waist dresses which skim the waist. Ideal are those with a good fit but not tight around the waistline.

Marks & Spencer Collection Ivory & Striped Shirt Dress with Belt Orig Price £39 ddd_clipped_rev_1

Draw attention to your bust with V necklines but not heavy adornment – you have a great bust already so don’t detract. Use the shape of dresses to create curves in the right places and disguise your fuller tummy.

Marks & Spencer Per Una Purple & Black Floral Skater Sleeveless Dress Orig Price £55

Choose fabrics which skim and not cling – flowing silks and soft cottons tailored in simple designs which give a soft silhouette.

Avoid dresses with built in waistline or are different colour on top and bottom or around the waistline. Halter necks and puffy sleeves should also be avoided. Stay away from skin tight and clingy fabrics.


With an apple-shaped body you need to create balance on your lower body by wearing shoes which emphaise your legs. Wear platform shoes, wedges, calf length boots, ballet flats, clogs and strappy sandals.

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Avoid kitten heels, buckle boots, Uggs or any shoes that will make your feet look too big – this in turn makes your legs look smaller and so waist bigger.


Larger breasts mean a well- fitted bra is essential for correct lift and support. Perfect for hugging in the tummy and control of any wobbly bits are wonder knickers and control pants.

M&5 FUCHSIA Jacquard Lace High Rise Midi Knickers


The ideal swimsuit will have a plain top which reduces the visual impact of the bust area and a patterned lower half which balances out the figure. Wider straps and unpadded inner bust with stomach support.

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Bikinis can be bought as separates allowing you to use design, pattern and colour to create the perfect bikini.


Dressing for your Shape – Pear Shape

The pear body shape is the most common female body shape with hips wider than shoulders. Pear shaped bodies typically have smaller busts and defined waists but depending on overall proportions bustier pears can be an hourglass figure. Curvy hips, sturdy thighs and a full rear are also key characteristics.


The main goal is to draw attention to the torso , away from the hips and thighs and there are lots of tricks to keep proportions more equal.

The style challenges include finding clothes which fit a smaller waist but a wider hips.


Show off your collarbone – play up this attractive part of the body to draw attention to the neck and face area and away from bottom half.

Choose wider necklines like bateau, squared, scoop or cowl necks. Bust enhancing necklines like sweetheart necks draw attention to the bust, making it look fuller.

Strapless tops and dresses can also make your shoulders look wider.

Wear strong shoulder shape with clean lines especially in jackets

Patterns, bold colours or light colours  – pear shapes look great with patterned tops paired with dark denim on the bottom



Pay attention to the fit which may be difficult to evaluate. Tops are best tight around the waist. If choosing a loose top wear a longer length which skims the hips extending the torso and hiding the widest part of the hips. In general the fit should aim to be to highlight your waist and shoulders.


Layer tops because bulking up with layers adds substance which evens out the body’s proportions. Use layers of tank tops, blouses and cardigans to create visual interest. Use a thin belt to cinch back a smaller waist if necessary.



Embellished tops are a great asset for creating interest on the top half. Shirts that have adornment near the neck elongate the shoulder and neckline – beading, bows and collars can be large or small as they all accomplish the task of drawing the eye up. A scarf can also be worn to the same effect.


Wide sleeves add volume to arms giving a more balanced look so keep an eye out for bell and kimono sleeves. Rolled or tagged back sleeves also help.


Trousers and skirts which are flat fronted or softly pleated will emphasize a smaller waistline.

Avoid short, tight skirts which highlight problematic areas along hips and thighs. Skirts should hit the knee or ankle as they draw the eye to the end point rather than lingering on problem areas. Ruffles or beading along the bottom hem add to this effect without adding bulk to the hips.


Keep hems wide.

Avoid clingy fabrics like Lycra which will define any lumps and bumps.

Choose trousers in grey, black, dark green, brown or navy give a visually slimming effect as the eye tends to skim over dark colours. Easy to match up with tops as well.


Straight leg or flared mid – rise dark wash jeans work best on pear shapes as they create volume all the way down. Trousers or jeans should have equal or wider width on calf and ankle area to draw attention away from mid-section.Skinny jeans accentuate wide hips especially in light colours.


Avoid details at the hip or rear of trousers and skirts, even seams and pockets. Beading, embroidery, buttons, gemstones, sequins all draw the eye to least flattering area. For this reason also avoid glitsy belts. Also keep away from cargo pants.


The right dress can accomplish all requirements – draw the eye up the torso while creating a tight waistline and covering up midsection.

Look for dresses that are A-line or have a tulip skirt and avoid those that are tight. Banding around the waist and covered up shoulders are flattering. Wrap dresses are good for curves as they skim without adding bulk.

Marks & Spencer Per Una Plum & Navy Floral Skater Sleeveless Dress Orig Price £55.jpeg

Dresses with some kind of embellishment at the top – ruffles, pattern or luxurious texture – will add volume to the bust.

Strapless dresses are ideal or choose a halter neck which is fitted on the top to show off the waist. Dresses with spaghetti straps will give shoulders a broader appearance and help balance out the outline.


Keep hems wide.

Dark colours on the bottom are the best bet with light colours on top.


Statement necklaces which are bold and bright and hang low draw the eye to the upper half making the bust look fuller. A collar style necklace adds width to the neck and shoulder which again highlights the upper body.


Bold earrings also have the same effect of drawing the eye up the body, chandelier or dangly ones are the best.


Throw on a scarf to add volume and dimension to the upper half preventing focus on lower half. Try a variety of scarves in different ways to see what looks best – circle scarves without tails prevent the eye from travelling down.


Pointed shoes elongate the legs and make your hips look more proportional. High heels are a good choice as they sculpt the muscles of the leg. Bold and bright shoes have the same effect as a large necklace drawing attention to a smaller part of the body.



Wear the correct undergarments – the right padded or push up bra can transform the upper body and accentuate a smaller waist. Look for a natural style which can be worn under casual and dress clothes.

A lightly padded plunge or balcony bra helps enhance natural cleavage while balancing proportions.



Dark well fitted bottoms flatter a curvy bottom and boy shorts minimise large hips.

Shapewear can help with a smooth outline especially if it has side panels and extra support in the rear.


Tops are best in bold, colourful patterns with halter neck tankini tops, bottoms in matching plain dark colours.