Women’s bodies are generally grouped into five main categories.
This comprehensive list will help you figure out what works for you—and what to avoid.
1. Circle/Apple: Wider mid-section with narrower hip and chest area; thinner arms and legs.
- Draw attention away from the middle of the body and toward slimmer areas
- Focus on shoulders, chest, arms, and legs
- Enhance the waistline
- Tops: solid colors, low necklines (wrap and v-neck styles), billowy silhouettes (empire waist and A-line)
- Skirts: flared, A-line, prints/patterns
- Pants: prints/patterns; flared, wide-leg or boot-cut styles; back pockets (add volume)
- Dresses: tunic, shift and wrap styles
- Sweaters/Jackets: open cardigans, structured silhouettes, busy patterns
- Shoes/Accessories: high heels, statement necklaces or earrings
Avoid: high necklines; halter, boat-neck, and off-the-shoulder styles; cinched, defined, or built-in waistlines; clingy fabrics; high-rise pants; belts
2. Triangle/Pear: Shoulders and torso are narrower than hips.
- Draw attention away from the lower half, and highlight upper body
- Focus on shoulder, chest, and neck area
- Accentuate small waistline
- Tops: light colors; bright, bold colors; prints/patterns; fitted silhouettes; bustier, sweetheart, and embellished necklines; cowl- or boat-neck, scoop, square and strapless styles (help to add width); sleeves with volume
- Pants: dark colors; flared, boot-cut, or straight styles; vertical patterns (like a thin pinstripe); draped fabrics; looser fit; slight flare or wide-leg styles; simple waistbands
- Skirts: flared, full-circle, and A-line silhouettes; large pleats
- Dresses: details and volume on top; nipped waistline; empire cut; low or plunging necklines; billowy sleeves
- Sweaters/Jackets: short styles (a few inches above hipline), tailored, shoulder pads, large collars
- Shoes/Accessories: heels, wedges, statement necklaces or earrings, scarves
Avoid: Skinny pants, tapering, curve-hugging skirts, big pockets on lower body, stiff fabrics
3. Inverted Triangle: Broad shoulders and large bust with narrower hips and only slightly defined waistline.
- Draw attention to the lower half of the body
- Narrow the upper body
- Focus on the legs
- Tops: dark colors, v-neck and wrap styles, minimal detail
- Pants: light colors; bright, bold colors; prints/patterns; texture; volume; flare-leg for balance; tapered for volume
- Skirts: light colors; bright, bold colors; prints/patterns; texture; volume; shorter lengths; flared or A-line styles
- Dresses: wrap, sheath with pegged skirt, detailing on hips like pockets or ruffles
- Sweaters/Jackets: small lapel, collarless, or single-button styles; details like patch pockets that fall below the natural waistline
- Shoes/Accessories: knee-high boots, thicker heels or wedges, handbags that rest at the hip
Avoid: full sleeves; boatneck and halter styles; shoulder embellishment; big lapels; double-breasted styles; shoulder pads; pencil skirts; skinny jeans; tapered trousers; cropped jackets; platform shoes; scarves
4. Rectangle/Straight: Evenly proportioned with minimal width difference between hips and shoulders and an undefined waistline.
- Draw attention to the shoulders and hips
- Define the waistline
- Create the illusion of curves for a more feminine shape
- Tops: cinched or nipped waist; boat-neck, bustier, off-the-shoulder, sweetheart, and wider v-neck and scoop-neck styles; fuller sleeves; ruffles
- Pants: flare-leg, boot-cut or high-waisted silhouettes; skinny or slim-leg denim; mid to low-rise; drawstring styles; back pockets
- Skirts: flared, A-line, tulip, ruffled or pencil styles; print/patterns; shorter lengths; wide waistbands
- Dresses: belted or built-in waistline, empire waist, full skirts
- Sweaters/Jackets: belted or nipped waist, structured shoulders, tailored, flared, hip lengths
- Shoes/Accessories: belts, statement earrings, chunky necklaces, stiletto and kitten heels, bright scarves
Avoid: shapeless waistlines, vertical details at waist, straight sheath dresses, tight dresses, bellbottom pants, very full skirts, slouchy jackets, dropped-waist styles
5. Hourglass: Equal hip and bust measurements with a clearly defined waistline.
- Draw attention to body’s natural curves
- Focus on small waistline
- Accentuate curves
- Tops: peplum, square necklines, vertical stripes
- Pants: high-waisted; wide-legged trousers; flared, wide-leg, or boot-cut styles; darker denim washes; stretch denim
- Skirts: pencil and A-line silhouettes; high-waisted or knee-length styles
- Dresses: fitted; belted; strapless or off-the-shoulder; wrap styles
- Sweaters/Jackets: fitted cardigans; single-breasted; structured shoulders; tailored; cropped; belted
- Shoes/Accessories: high-heeled pumps and peep-toe; belts
Avoid: too much structure; stiff fabrics; high necklines; bulky details on top; detailing near hips or rear; drop-waists; heavily beaded or embellished dresses; slouchy denim; shapeless styles; flouncy silhouettes; hip belts