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How to dress for your body shape

Catherine Conelly is a graduate from Arizona State where she earned a degree in creative writing and now works as Senior Editor at SheKnows. She helps oversee the beauty, love and health family of sites. Follow her on Twitter to keep up ...

Find fashion that flatters

Fashion is all about dressing your body. If you know your body shape — and every woman should — then you will be able to find clothes that fit and flatter.

Celebrities with different body types

Determine and embrace your body type

Body shape is all about proportion, and fashion is all about dressing those proportions to look their very best.

When you think about body types, don't focus on height and weight... focus on shape. A slender gal can have the same body shape as a curvy gal, just as a short woman can have the same body shape as her taller friend.

Each of us is unique — and our bodies are, too! Nevertheless, our body shapes are generally narrowed down to five general categories: pear, wedge, rectangle, apple and hourglass. You might fall into one category, or you might be a blend of two or more categories.

Once you've determined your body shape, you can begin to consider which fashion trends to embrace and which to avoid. Spend some time in front of the mirror and do a fair and honest assessment of your body. Then put these fashion tips to work for you!

1

Pear body shape

Pear body shape

Pear-shaped celebrities: Kim Kardashian, Eva Mendes, Jennifer Love-Hewitt, Katherine Heigl

  • Pear body traits: Your lower body is wider than your upper body — in other words, your hips are wider than your shoulders. Your bottom is rounded and your waist is well-defined.
  • Your best assets: Shoulders, torso and flat stomach
  • Your fashion goals: Emphasize your waist and arms, add volume to your shoulders and upper body and minimize your hips.

Kim Kardashian has a pear shaped body type

Dos and don'ts

If your body is pear-shaped like Kim Kardashian's, then you want to minimize your lower half and focus attention upward.

  • DON'T wear clothing that draws attention to hips and thighs, such as cargo pants or print skirts.
  • DO try a-line skirts, which camouflage wider hips.
  • DO keep hems of pants, skirts and dresses wide to balance the hips.
  • DO experiment with light-colored tops and dark-colored bottoms for contrast.
  • DO look for boat neck tops, square and cowl necklines.
  • DO wear strapless dresses to show off arms and even out proportions.
  • DO try styles with ruffles on top.
  • DO wear jackets that hit right above the waist.
  • DO opt for pointy-toed shoes to elongate your legs.
2

Wedge body type

Wedge or inverted triangle body shape

Wedge-shaped celebs: Naomi Campbell, Demi Moore, Renee Zellweger, Teri Hatcher

  • Wedge body traits: Also known as the inverted triangle, this body shape features a broad chest and wide shoulders which are large in proportion to a narrow waist and hips.
  • Your best asset: Your legs
  • Your fashion goals: Accentuate your lower body while softening your shoulders and upper body.

Audrina Patridge has a wedge body shape; also called inverted triangle body type

Dos and don'ts

If you have a wedge body like Audrina Patridge's, then you want to draw attention downward to the narrower parts of your body, such as your waist and hips.

  • DO wear bright colors on bottom.
  • DO wear wide-leg pants.
  • DO wear full skirts.
  • DON'T wear spaghetti-strap tops.
  • DON'T wear boat neckline tops.
  • DO wear tops that call attention to your waistline.
  • DO experiment with high-waisted styles.
  • DO look for clothes that create the illusion of a waist.
3

Rectangle body shape

Rectangle body shape

Rectangle-shaped celebs: Natalie Portman, Cameron Diaz, Kate Hudson, Hilary Swank

  • Rectangle body traits: The waist, hip and shoulder widths are similar and are usually on the slim side. Slender rectangles have an athletic look about them.
  • Your best assets: Your arms and legs — and you don't have to minimize any body features.
  • Your fashion goals: Create curves and show off slender legs and arms.

Natalie Portman has a rectangle shaped body type

Dos and don'ts

If your body is rectangle-shaped like Natalie Portman's, then you want to create curves where they don't necessarily exist.

  • DO wear scoop neck and sweetheart tops to create curves.
  • DO wear long jackets to create a lean look.
  • DO wear tops with collars, ruffles and details to flatter your chest.
  • DO wear a good bra that will make the most of what you have.
  • DON'T wear overwhelming styles.
  • DO layer to add more dimensions.
  • DO wear dresses with ruching. Cinches on sides are ideal.
  • DO have fun with colorful bottoms... feel free to experiment.
4

Apple body shape

Apple body shape

Apple-shaped celebs: Drew Barrymore, Queen Latifah, Eva Longoria, Jennifer Hudson

  • Apple body traits: Most of your weight accumulates above the hips, which are narrow. Your back, ribs and shoulders are broad, and you may feel wider than other body types.
  • Your best asset: Those legs!
  • Your fashion goals: Elongate the torso, show off your legs and use fashion to create the illusion of a waist.

Jennifer Hudson has an apple shaped body type

Dos and don'ts

If you have an apple-shaped body like Jennifer Hudson's, then you want to elongate your midsection and create the illusion of a smaller waist.

  • DO go for monochromatic looks.
  • DO go for v-neck tops to create the illusion of a longer torso.
  • DO wear a bra that offers good lift and support.
  • DO wear belts at the smallest part of your waist.
  • DO conceal tummy bulge by wearing empire tops and dresses.
  • DO wear boot cut and flared jeans to create an even line from the shoulders down.
  • DO wear shorter skirts to show off your legs and draw attention away from your midsection.
5

Hourglass body type

Hour glass body shape

Hourglass-shaped celebs: Beyonce, Salma Hayek, Scarlett Johansson, Halle Berry, Vanessa Minnillo

  • Hourglass body traits: Your shoulders and hips are similar in proportion and set off by a tiny waist.
  • Your best assets: Curves, curves, curves!
  • Your fashion goals: Show off your curves... without going overboard.

Dos and don'ts

Beyonce Knowles has an hourglass shaped body type

If your body is hourglass-shaped like Beyonce's, then you're a lucky girl! Your shape is all about tastefully showing off those curves: not too baggy, not too tight.

  • DON'T hide your curves with baggy clothing.
  • DO wear a good bra and showcase your bust.
  • DO wear fitted dresses.
  • DO wear a belt at the waist to enhance your hourglass shape.
  • DO try wrap dresses.
  • DO go for high-waisted skirts to show off your hips.
  • DO pick thin, lightweight styles and fabrics.
  • DO wear skinny or straight leg jeans.

More fashion

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Can all body types wear leggings?
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Photo credits: WENN.com
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