Dressing For Your Body Shape

So many clothes, yet nothing to wear. You throw another ill-fitting garment to the ground and gaze around you at your bedroom floor, littered with clothes that are either:

  • Impossible to pair with anything else in your wardrobe;
  • Ill-fitting, making you think: “Ugh” instead of “Yeah!”
  • Dated!

Sound familiar? 

What if, this year, we focused on shopping more consciously; choosing well-fitting pieces that suit our bodies (more on this in a minute) and instead, build a wardrobe full of practical basics, fun everyday outfits and, most importantly, clothes that flatter your body shape and make you feel good about yourself!?

Being tall myself for example, I tend to avoid rompers/playsuits and ANYTHING mini (hello camel toe!) The things I focus on instead include: patterns/colour, maxi styles, statement accessories and waist cinching belts. Why? Because I’ve learnt that vibrant colours and busy patterns attract attention to that particular part of my body that I like (legs, say), waist cinching belts create more of an hourglass figure for me and, wearing separates (T shirt with a maxi skirt for example) helps to soften my height.


Generally speaking, most women can fit into one of the following generic body shapes:

That is, ‘generally speaking’. This is NOT taking into consideration your overall proportions or height which is why it is not a definitive approach - but for beginners who are just starting out on their journey of ‘what to wear’ and ‘what not to wear’ it is a helpful starting point!


Typically, gals with an hourglass figure have a narrow waist - smaller than their hips and bust. Think Scarlett Johansson and Sofia Vergara types. 

Bohemian style dress for hourglass figure body shape available at Bonitaz

WEAR: Pencil skirts work great on you - the high waisted style will accentuate your curves and draw you in at your smallest area. As does wrap style dresses, fitted jackets/blazers and mid or high-rise pants.



The pear-shaped woman is blessed with booooty. Your hips are your widest part of your body and you often have slim waists e.g. Rihanna and Beyonce. What you are aiming to do is give the illusion that your shoulders are in fact as wide as your hips - making you look more in proportion. 

Bohemian style dress for pear figure body shape available at Bonitaz

WEAR: A-line skirts are most flattering on you (& almost every body shape, really). It is a skirt that is fitted at the hips and gradually widens down towards the hem, mimicking the shape of the letter ‘A’. They draw you in at the waist, highlighting your tiny tum and skims over your hips, which helps to balance out your top half from your bottom half. Other styles to keep in mind are: patterned and brightly coloured tops, V-shape and ‘boat’ necklines, halter dresses, halter tops and anything with a ruffle or shoulder detail up top. Darker block colours worn on your bottom half (skirts/pants/maxis) will minimise your hips and legs.



Inverted triangles carry their weight up top. You have wide shoulders and can appear to look ‘top-heavy’ naturally so what you’re aiming to do is wear pieces that make your hips appear wider so as to better balance out your figure and make you look more in proportion. See celebrities Demi Moore and Angelina Jolie below.

how to dress inverted triangle body shape at Bonitaz

WEAR: A-line and asymmetric style skirts will do this for you. So will ‘fit and flare’ dresses, pleated skirts, wide-legged pants or jumpsuits, peplum style tops and wearing lighter colours on your lower body.


Those with a wirey frame, usually described as “boyish” or “straight up and down” are athletic / rectangle shape. Cameron Diaz is well known for her athletic physique.

Bohemian style dress for athletic figure body shape available at Bonitaz

WEAR: You look great in almost everything but to create the illusion of more curves you should go for clothing that creates some dimension. Baggy shirts & oversized sweaters, harem style pants, peplum style tops with a gathered waist or tops with some fluttery sleeves or shoulder detail. The A-line skirt will add some bulk to your narrow hips, as will anything with a paper bag waist or a statement oversized belt. 


Apple babes tend to have slim/long legs and carry weight mostly around their middle. You can also be big-busted. You want to emphasise your strongest points (legs and chest) while keeping your figure looking well balanced. Oprah is a well known apple body shape and looks amazing, see below.

Clothing for your apple body shape

WEAR: A-line skirts and high waisted, peplum type skirts are great because the waistband sits high on the smallest part of your tummy and flares out over your torso. When choosing a skirt or dress length, aim for something that falls just above your knees (no shorter) otherwise it can create a top heavy effect. Belts that help bring in your waistline, anything with a plunging V neck and wrap-style dresses are fab too! Wide legged pants and maxi skirts are also your friend - they balance your figure out. Patterned (or vertically striped) bottoms draw attention to your lovely legs and add length.

Nomad Skirt available at Bonitaz to suit Apple Body Shape


It is very hard to categorise the petite figure but you will generally tend to have a shorter torso, shorter arms and narrower shoulders than a standard dress size. You might find that clothes need to be adjusted to better fit you - jeans hemmed higher, button holes adjusted or sleeves too long etc. Kylie Minogue & Jada Pinkett Smith spring to mind for this type!

petite body type examples Kylie Minogue & Jada Pinkett Smith

WEAR: The thing is, that you could be a petite hourglass figure - in which the above *hourglass* suggestions apply - as well as petite. Or, you could be petite with a short torso and long legs - in which case you want to draw the eye down to give the illusion of a longer torso. Tops with vertical stripes will do this, as will wearing mid-rise pants (not high waisted), untucked shirts and the shift dress! I could go on and on with all the different petite body types but we hope this has helped you somewhat.


If you remember nothing else, remember this: clothes should never finish at your widest part. For example, if you have bigger calves, ensure your cropped pants don’t finish on the calf. Don’t push a skirt waistband down to sit on your hips, and for larger upper arms, your sleeves shouldn’t end at the widest part there.


Keep in mind that darker colours like black and navy blue tend to minimise things or give the illusion of being smaller. Brighter colours, ruffles and even pockets (in certain areas) tend to maximise things. Patterns also add more visual weight and draw your eye to a particular area ;)

We hope you found this guide helpful, let us know what you’d like to learn more about!

Written By Rebecca Achelles
Boho Fashion Influencer

*Sources for this article were gathered from several online articles: 40plusstyle.com, insideoutstyleblog.com, whowhatwear.com and styledbysally.com.au

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