Learn How To Dress For Your Body Shape

The British Model Alliance understands that everyone is different. Learn about the various types of body shapes and find out the best ways to accentuate your unique features.

In general, there are a few basic body shape types. While not limited to, these include an inverted triangle, triangle/pear, hourglass, Figure 8 and oval/apple. The characteristics of each shape are as follows:

Inverted Triangle :

-Wide shoulders

-Narrow hips


-Narrow shoulders

-Proportionately wide waist and hips


-Proportionate shoulders and hips

-Narrow waist

Rectangle/Figure 8:

-Proportioned hips and shoulders

-Rounded tummy

-Gain weight proportionately


-Narrow shoulders

-Skinny legs

-Rounded stomach 

Inverted Triangle

For an inverted triangle, the British Model Alliance suggests wearing clothing which creates balance between the upper and lower body. As your shoulders are wider shoulders and chest are wider than your hips and legs, try wearing simple or solid colours on top while experimenting with patterns and detail on your lower half. In doing so, your upper body will look smaller while your lower body will look broader. This creates the illusion of a more proportionate body shape.

Tops with v-necks and square necklines work well with your body shape. For the inverted triangle, garments with straight clothing lines excel in flattering your figure as they create a natural extension to your body line. Furthermore, experiment further with wider belts to bring attention away from the upper part of your body.


Similarly to the inverted triangle, dressing for triangle/pear shapes means choosing clothing that helps make your body appear proportionate. However, opposite to an inverted triangle, triangle/pears should draw attention away from their lower half and accentuate their upper half. This can be done through layering, accessorising with dramatic necklaces or wearing patterned or vibrant coloured-tops.

Additionally, the idea is to draw attention away from your lower half. To do this, keep your trousers and skirts more muted than what you choose to wear on top. It’s recommended to avoid wearing mini skirts or similar hemlines that end at your hips, thighs or any fuller parts of your lower half.


Dressing with an hourglass figure is much easier than with other body shapes. This comes down to the fact that your body is quite proportionate so many styles suit your shape. As a result, the hourglass body shape is often seen as an ideal one to have. However, one important style factor to remember is avoiding clothing that makes you look boxy and takes away from your curvy and well-proportioned figure.

To achieve an extremely flattering look, British Model Alliance recommends those with hourglass shapes to wear garments which draw attention to the waist. This can be done with wrap dresses or voluminous skirts. Accessorising through the use of a dark-coloured belt can always help accentuate your thin waist.

Rectangle/Figure 8

The rectangle/figure 8 is an extremely common body shape for women to have. Much of this has to do with weight gain, especially as women age. Putting on weight in your midsection makes the proportions between your waist and chest and waist and hips less noticeable. However, as this body shape is extremely common, weight gain or not, British Model Alliance are extremely knowledgeable in how to appropriately dress someone with a rectangle/figure 8 shape.

Experiment with different ways to ‘break up’ your figure. This creates the illusion of a contrast between your waist and the upper and lower parts of your body. You can opt for layers or bring attention to parts of your body through ruffles, prints or vibrant colours. To give your chest more shape, try a push-up bra to lift and create a more curvy shape.


The main style guideline for anyone with an oval/apple body shape is to wear clothing garments that help define your waist. This will give the illusion of a proportionate body shape and may even make you look as if you’ve lost weight. An option is to try a structured garment as they easily hide extra weight – especially around the mid-section. You can also add volume to your hips with circle skirts or those with prints.

For accessories, British Model Alliance suggest dark-coloured, wide belts. However, if you have a heavier mid-section, it’s best to choose a belt made from a stretchy material. Furthermore, shape wear is always a smart choice to help create a more proportionate figure and trim your waist.

Most of all, the British Model Alliance encourages individuals to wear what makes them feel most comfortable, despite body shape, height or weight. In fashion, there are no rules, and that’s the beauty of it. So whatever you choose to wear, just be sure it makes you feel beautiful.

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