Knowing your Body Shape is the Key to Looking Good

by Tessa W. Adachi

Contrary to what many clothing manufacturers seem to believe, not all women are the same shape. Knowing your shape and dressing for it is one of the keys to looking and feeling great. Anyone can look good, no matter what their shape, if they know how to dress for it. Fortunately, some manufacturers have begun to recognize this fact and are making clothes to suit more than one shape. Here are the four basic shapes, and how to tell which group you belong to.

The Straight or Banana Shaped Body

This shape sees little difference between the bust, hips and waist measurements. Clothing tends to fit perfectly in one area of the body but the other areas will either be too loosely or tightly clad. To draw attention to the upper half of your body Empire Gowns are good and can be extremely flattering. To prevent a rectangular or boxy look, use patterns and detailing to break up your body shape.

Pear (also called the spoon or bell shapes)

Pear, bell or spoon shaped bodies are usually larger on the bottom half and have a smaller bust. Slim shaped skirts and tight fitting jeans are not the best type of clothing for this kind of body. Dresses with fitted bodices and full skirts look good and draw attention away from the lower areas of the body and embellishments on the top half will emphasize the bust line. To make the best of this body shape hip and thigh hugging garments really should be avoided.

The Apple Shaped Body

Women with apple shaped bodies tend to have large rib cages and thicker waists. Their bust measurements can be large or small but their hips are usually narrower and they regularly accumulate weight in the areas of the chest, arms, abdomen and shoulder first. Compared to the rest of their bodies their legs are usually slender. Apple shaped women should avoid garments drawing attention to the neckline and shoulder areas, as these only highlight their broad upper body. A fuller styled skirt will help to provide an overall balanced appearance.


Hourglass shaped women are thought of as lucky by many, but they have just as many problems finding off the rack clothes that fit because of their comparatively broad hips and chests. Few clothes that fit in these regions have a small enough waist. Many clothes that fit elsewhere are tight in the hips and bust. Try to find clothes that accentuate your waist, and be willing to have them altered if you need to. Sometimes, moving a button can make a shirt fit better. Avoid a lot of heavy decoration, because it can make you look a lot heavier.

Looking good is important and you can do this easily when you know and understand your body shape. When you are aware that you look good, you will also feel good too and your confidence will go from strength to strength. Put the tips above into practice and clothes shopping will no longer be a nightmare.

A quick search online will turn up many retailers offering clothes that are made to fit different shapes, both locally and abroad. See what you can find and say goodbye to badly fitting fashions.

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