Nowadays online shopping has become a true necessity and we have learned over the last three months of staying at home during coronavirus that selecting the right clothing pieces is an art to be mastered. Especially when choosing your essential clothing items. As practical and convenient as shopping online may be, it can also generate a roller coaster of emotions and make us face unnecessary disappointment. Why, you wonder?
Because the items you visually fell in love with when browsing your favourite retailer’s e-commerce website were simply not for your body type. Most of us are oblivious of the ‘body type basics’ which is why our expectations of sizing and fit aren’t met by our purchase. Well, the Gaggler is here to reassure you that all is not lost, you can master online shopping and you can love your purchases when they arrive.
As part of our online shopping series, in this post, we are going to share some precious advice on how to dress for your body type. This way, the process of choosing and adding things to your shopping cart will be easy and, dare we say, delightful. But you need to follow these tips when making your final selections in what you add to your shopping cart. Ready?
The Basics on Shopping for Your Body Type
Being knowledgeable about your body type is a powerful tool. By applying the ‘body type basics’ you can dress your body in a way that creates visual balance and opportunities for accessories to optimize not only the fit but the impact of your outfits. Styling your outfits not only makes you look good; it also makes you feel great and boosts you with the confidence to take on the world and knock ‘em dead. There is power in fashion.
Some basic concepts we need to consider when dressing our body type are:
- Your body type has nothing to do with your size. ‘Body type basics’ are all about the proportions between your bust, waist and hips. It’s the playing up and down of your proportions that is going to help create a more balanced visual of your shape.
- Bright colours, busy patterns and details such as pockets and ruffles tend to emphasize and maximize the appearance of things, while dark colours tend to minimize it.
- Focus on your strengths and accentuate your features. This helps make the process much more enjoyable and rewarding. You have unique assets, it’s what you do with your assets that matters.
How to determine your body shape and how to style
Your silhouette is your body type. Traditionally, there are four body types. But, we aren’t much for following tradition so we’ve added a fifth body type especially for our petite gals out there (we won’t forget you!). There are a few tips specifically for petite women that can be beneficial.
Let’s begin by exploring your vitals first because these are important to better understand your body type.
STEP 1: Measure
Use a cloth measuring tape to get precise measurements. If you only have a metal measuring tape at home you can certainly use that but we find the cloth tape easier to use. Your measure tape should be neither too tight or loose; it should be snug to a point where you think it will slip (but it won’t) and this gives you the most accurate number. Start with your bust and move down your body with your measurements.
Here you need to measure the fullest part of your bust. It’s essential you stand straight before you do this. Place one end of the tape at the fullest part and wrap it around from under your shoulders and bring it back to where you started. Here you want to ensure you don’t have too tight a grip so the tape should just graze your chest to get the right measurement.
Standing as straight as you can, without slouching your stomach or pulling it in, start at the slimmest part of your waist above your belly button, and below the rib cage, this is your natural waistline. Wrap the tape around your stomach and bring it back to where you first started.
Here you need to measure the circumference of the fullest part of your buttocks to get the measure of your hips. Start from one side of the hip and take it around the rear towards the other hip. Bring it back to the starting point. You are best standing in front of a mirror when doing this so you know the tape is leveled throughout.
This measurement is taken from a different place than the one above. Here you need to place the tap on the upper swell of the hip over your pelvic bone. This is not the widest point as you are taking the measurement at the top of the hip curve.
Once you have all your measurements, feed it into the Body Shape Calculator provided below to determine your body type.
STEP 2: Watch to learn all the tips you need
Our lovely Debora Sulca shares all her top styling tips you need to dress your body type to its best in this video.
WATCH THE VIDEO: ONLINE SHOPPING FOR YOUR BODY TYPE
STEP 3: Apply our styling tips to select the right products for you
This body shape has little to no definition on the waistline and tends to hold most of the weight around the bust and torso while showing thinner hips, legs, and arms. People with this body type usually have broad shoulders, bigger bust line, and that’s why it feels like the weight gathers around the midriff.
Celebrities with this body shape include Drew Barrymore, Kate Winslet, Jessica Simpson, and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
How to Dress the Apple Shape
When dressing an apple-shaped body type, life couldn’t be sweeter! As an apple or inverted triangle shape, you look your best when playing up your full bust, amazing legs, and/or arms. In general, silhouettes that don’t rely on a traditionally structured waistline are your hardest working pieces.
Your power pieces include:
- Breezy A-line silhouettes
- Flowy tunics
- Relaxed, boyfriend button-ups
- V-neck anything
If you are looking for more structure, select a substantial fabric such as raw silk, linen, tweed and thicker cotton that will streamline your look from your bust through your hips. We suggest avoiding jersey as it’s a thin fabric.
If you have been working those push-ups hard at the gym and want to show off your sculpted arms, go strapless or sleeveless with your tops. If covering up makes you more comfortable, go for a fitted sleeve to balance your full bust and midsection. If you are quite curvy, lengthen your neck with a deep (or shallow, if you are feeling a bit modest) V-neck or scoop neckline.
Strapless styles look great on you if you have an apple-shaped body type. Other flattering styles include maxi dresses with a lower neckline and wrap dresses. If you are looking to show off your legs, do go for a mini dress. If not, then a knee-length shift and sheath style will look great on you! If you are a curvy apple, A-line styles are great. And when in doubt, diagonal stripes and darker colors are always slimming.
With jackets, where your jacket hem hits your body will make all the difference – irrespective of which body type you are. Vests or jackets that hit at the hip or upper thigh work best on apple shape body types. A-line coats or straight, knee-length trench styles (minus the belt) or ponchos will be very flattering for your body type.
With trousers, take your pick! On your apple shape, skinny jeans and leggings will look great, especially when paired with a breezy tunic, oversized sweater, or roomy button-down shirt. If you want to elongate your silhouette, opt for flares with heels. If you have long legs, try bootcut or flared pants with flats. Remember, the hem should either come to the top of your heel or all the way to the ground, not in-between.
You can pretty much pull off any trouser fit…classic, cropped, ankle. As a general rule of thumb, if your top is very oversized, you’ll want to select a more structured or slim-fit trouser to balance your overall look.
Celebrities with this body shape include Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, and Cynthia Nixon.
How to Dress the Pear Shape
Yes, the fruit analogy continues! The name of this dress-up game is playing with proportions that elongate your body. Pear shapes look fabulous in statement tops that draw the eye upward and highlight the waist, back, or neckline.
When it comes to fun tops, the world is your oyster. If you love bright colors and bold patterns or enjoy mixing patterns, you’re in luck. Your power pieces are:
- Plunging V-necks
- Cowl necks
- Scoop necks
For better definition, the more fitted or structured the top, the better definition you can achieve around your narrow shoulders and draw attention to your narrow waist. If you are on the curvy side, this is even more true, make sure to show it off!
As a pear-shaped body type, you will face no shortage of dress options! What suits your fancy? Plunging and embellished necklines, open backs, statement sleeves, and belted styles will all play up your more slender upper body. A-line styles will also look fantastic on you. Any hemline that hits right below the knee will lengthen your frame and slim hips and thighs. Maxi styles work well too with the added bonus of being super comfy!
A-line and princess cuts, waist-length jackets, and any piece of outerwear that hits mid-thigh, are most flattering on pear-shaped body types. You can also indulge in boxy coats, but as a good rule of thumb, you’ll want to go for a cropped style to emphasize your waist.
Since the best tops for your pear-shaped body are printed, patterned and in bold shapes, it’s a good idea to select subtle and dark colours if you want to go with a trousers. Bootcut and flare denim styles are great go-to’s that balance proportions. Remember, to let the hemlines graze the floor and pair with heels if you are looking to make heads turn. For those on the petite side, bootcut and classic trouser fits serve to elongate your silhouette.
A lean, well-balanced figure with little to no waist definition. Your torso is straight down to the waist and hips. An elongated silhouette, opposite to the curvy type. This is a fairly straightforward body type.
Celebrities with this body shape include supermodels such as Kate Moss, Gisele Bundchen, Megan Markle and actors like Nicole Kidman and Gwyneth Paltrow.
How to Dress the Rectangle Shape
The key to dressing a rectangular or athletic shape is to balance your broad upper half by accentuating your legs and other curves. It’s all about remembering this easy rule of thumb: keep the volume on top or bottom. If you go for a breezy top, keep the bottom skinny or structured. With a more form-fitting top, pick a loose or oversized bottom.
An athletic body shape looks its best when the focus is on drawing attention to your muscular arms, defined shoulders, and showing off your waist. Your power pieces are:
- Halter styles
- Racerback styles
- Scoop & round necklines
- Strapless anything!
As with all body types, there are variations to the main shape. If you are curvy and athletic, play up your shoulders, your collarbone, and/or your arms. If you’d rather downplay your shoulders or lengthen your neck, choose a narrow neckline like a crew, cowl, or v-neck. If you want to add an illusion of curve to your waistline, select tops that can be tucked in; belted tops also help create the perception of a more slender waist and fuller hips. If you have a fuller bust, opt for styles with statement collars of embellished necklines. Pieces with a high neck and an open back (halter anyone?) are super flattering on you.
You are in luck….because you can literally wear any dress style you set your heart’s desire on. It’s all about figuring out which feature you want to play up. Love your legs? Hike up that hemline. To play up your bust, choose strapless (with a great push-up bra, of course) or plunging necklines. To minimize anywhere, stick with darker colors, vertical stripes, or A-line styles. To create more of a waistline, grab a thin belt.
With your athletic body shape, you will find that peacoats, dusters, bomber jackets, and flowy outerwear look best on you! Try a fitted, structured style if you have a slender silhouette. If you’re looking to create more shape around your waist, opt for cropped or elastic waist styles to help accentuate your waistline. A-line cuts and hems that hit at your hip or just below your knee, do wonders to minimize your waist.
Here we have a simple rule of thumb: pick the trouser style that best complements the shape of your top. If you’ve gone oversized up top, grab a skinny jean or structured trouser style, to create balance. Want to create the illusion of more height? Put on floor-grazing flares or bootcut styles with heels that are both slimming and elongating. If you’re on the petite style, you can balance your frame with flowy and wide-leg styles, gathered waists, and even cargos. If your torso is on the long side, you might want to pick a mid-rise jean. High-waisted trousers could be a little tricky though for your body shape as your midsection is straight. If you find a style with stretch, you could make it work.
The most proportional body type. Extremely feminine with an equally broad bust and hip line, well-defined waist and well-defined curves. You know when you’re an hourglass body. Yours is a body to die for, so flaunt it and in the right way.
Celebrities with this body type include Sofia Vergara, Scarlett Johansson, Salma Hayek, and Kim Kardashian
How to Dress the Hourglass Shape
If you are an hourglass body shape, then you know you have amazing curves – and it’s time to embrace all of it in form-fitting silhouettes and pieces that hit you in all the right places. With an hourglass form, you need to focus on two aspects: defining your waist and showing off your lovely feminine shape.
We have a mantra for you that will make dressing up every day so much easier. Fitted, fitted, fitted! It’s all about celebrating your waist and highlighting your neckline. Your power pieces include:
- Form-fitting jersey knits
- Wrap tops
- Peplum blouses
- Tailored tops with ample room in the chest
- V-necks, round necks or boat necks
You have the ideal shape to pull off structured, more tailored silhouettes. The beauty of it all is that your curves are already well balanced in a most feminine form. Whether you go for the most basic pieces (like casual tees) or more structured button-up shirts, all should be fitted to show off your narrow waist.
We are having a Marilyn Monroe moment with this one. Your hourglass figure was made for dresses, particularly wrap dress or fit & flare styles. These shapes will naturally enhance your best features. Be cautious of dress styles that are overly flowy, they can add quite a bit of volume in all the wrong places. If you are in love with a loose-fitting dress style, simply add a belt to make it right for you.
You’ll need jackets that show off your waist! Classic trenches, fitted blazers, cropped silhouettes, and bomber jackets with elastic waistbands will look stunning on you. However, do be cautious of boxy styles. We don’t think they will do your natural curves justice as a silhouette that draws the eye to the most narrow part of your frame will show off your best assets.
To accentuate your narrow midsection, opt for high-waisted, floor-grazing flared trousers and your favorite dancing heels. Stretchy skinny jeans and leggings are perfect to show off all your curves. Fitted jumpsuits can also be a great alternative and look incredible on you. Remember to go for styles that flatter your waist and avoid extra details such as large pockets that can add unnecessary bulk to your silhouette.
This is our addition to the traditional four body types as there are specific aspects of styling petite frames that women need to be mindful of. Women who fall into this category are those who are shorter than 160cms. You can be a combination of the different body types already mentioned and also have a petite size.
Celebrities in this category include Eva Longoria, Victoria Beckham, Vanessa Hudgens, and Reese Witherspoon. Your goal is to lengthen your body and make yourself appear taller.
As a petite body shape, you will want to avoid wearing oversized pieces, large accessories, or long maxi dresses or skirts. The idea here is to elongate your frame and not have it be swallowed up by too much fabric. You do want to opt for pieces that draw attention to your waist whenever possible. Playing with colour can be useful as well – monochromatic looks help to trick the eye and make you appear taller.
Being self-aware and most importantly informed about your body type can solve a lot of your shopping nightmares, particularly online. By embracing the uniqueness of your body shape, working with your individual assets, and more than anything understand that there are outfits that are meant for all of us, we just need to know how and where to look!