Dressing for Your Body Type

Dressing for Your Body Type

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Women have the most eclectic, outrageous and widest variety of fashion options, but that makes it all the more difficult to wade through and find the best outfits for your particular body type. From your height to  your best angles and favorite curves, no two are women are shaped the same.

According to Janet Behmer and Shirley Pierce, authors of the Web site Dressmenow, there are five different female body types:


  1. Wide on the Bottom – Venus de Milo
  2. Wide on the Top – Cleopatra
  3. Hourglass – Eve
  4. Slender – Diana
  5. Wide from Top to Bottom – Catherine the Great

Even with all the clothing options we have, it still gets rather frustrating trying to find that perfect workfit, socialfit and datefit, these are all different aspects of our life we have to look great for. Whether you want to admit it or not, first impressions mean a lot and most first impressions are based on appearance alone. If your pants are too tight and show off every little lump or your breasts are bursting out of your shirt, you are not going to be taken seriously.

A tight, black cocktail dress may look fabulous on a woman with a modest hourglass figure, but it won’t be particularly flattering on a woman who has a small top and wide bottom. The key to dressing to impress is accentuating your best assets. That doesn’t mean flaunting your chest every chance you get. However, it does mean that if you have a small waist and a larger bottom, wear a dress that hugs in at the waist and flows out at the hips. 0208GIBBERMAN.gif

If your problem is large shoulders or a big chest, the best way to camouflage them is to get the focus of the outfit away from them. A little cleavage is usually acceptable, but keep the girls in their place. A large belt around a cute top that flows away from your body will even out the proportions of your body and force others to look straight up and down.

 It has been perceived for centuries that women with hourglass figures have the perfect body type. But you heard it here first: There is no perfect body type. All women have some difficulty finding clothes. We’ve all been at the mall, seen an amazing pair of pants on a mannequin, but not able to find the perfect fit on you after hours of trying on all the sizes. Women with hourglass figures are no different. They have to be careful when it comes to clothing, especially pants because they tend to have wide hips and slender legs. Finding a pair of pants with the right waist and leg size is incredibly difficult. It takes a lot of effort and many hours in the dressing room and maybe even time with a tailor to make your pants look good.

Women with hourglass figures may be perceived as the perfect body type, but we’ve all seen a slender women walk by and wished we had her body. Skinny jeans, tight tanks, perfect A-line dresses and pencil skirts – slender women can generally pull off all these fashions pretty well. But they050508NEWBEGINNINGS.jpg don’t have it that easy, either. If you have a slender body type, you had better have a tailor on speed dial. Dress pants, dresses and tops are usually very difficult to find that lay perfectly on a slender body. Unless you won the body lottery or had some kind of enhancement, most women with slender bodies don’t have a very big chest and a many cute tops require a little something to fill them out. Just remember if you have a slender frame, you don’t want to look like a noodle draped in cloth, make sure your clothes don’t stick to every part of your body. Free flowing tops help add dimension and make it look like you have some curves. Large belts around the waist help accentuate your hips and break up your body. High-waisted pants will definitely look phenomenal paired with a collared, tucked-in top.

 Full-figured women may find dressing particularly hard. Trying those skinny jeans and tank tops won’t work like they do on the slender women and pants and tops don’t always fit like they should. Giving up is the easiest option – but don’t do it! Most women try wearing baggy pants or long sweat shirts or tops to cover their top and bottom. This is the exact opposite of what you want to do. Wearing baggy clothing only makes you look bigger than you really are and it never looks flattering. Investing in a tailor is a good idea for you as well. You may have bought a pair0408OAKLEY.gif of pants that fits your waist amazingly, but are too long or wide in the legs. In that case, you will have to have a tailor take the legs in and shorten them.

Making sure your body looks in proportion is the most important key of dressing well. For example, if you have wide hips and a wide top, make sure to wear a flowing top and don’t squeeze yourself into the tightest pair of jeans you can find.

 Comfort is important and possible while wearing a head-turning outfit. People who say dressing up is uncomfortable are probably wearing the wrong size.  Dressing for your body type is difficult for every woman, but as long as you have patience, understanding of how to proportion out your body and a good tailor, you’ll find yourself dressing well – no matter what the trend du jour.



Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography
Location: Gateway Quarter
Model: Oksana Wagner

Makeup Artistry: Jocelyn Sparks, Zoë Custom Cosmetics