How to Dress for Your Body Type

As a photographer, I have spent a lot of time learning how to take the most flattering photos possible of any body type. This knowledge has come to me through years of studying techniques and experience. 

Every woman is beautiful and deserves to have her beauty captured in stunning photographs. However, there are specific steps any woman can take to make sure she is showing off her most beautiful features as well. One important step in showing off your natural beauty is to dress for your body type.

What are the different body types?

The first step to ensuring you’re selecting clothing most flattering for you is to, of course, know what your body type is. 

There are many ways of referring to the various body shapes. The most common way to do it is to determine if you are a

Inverted triangle


Pear (sometimes called triangle or spoon)

Rectangle (sometimes called ruler or banana)

Apple (sometimes called cone or downwards triangle)

It’s possible to split these main categories in subcategories to further define your body shape, but for our purposes, we’ll keep it simple. 

Here are the characteristics of each body type:

Characteristics of the pear:

Pear shaped women have hips that are wider than the shoulder. Fat tends to accumulate on their hips and buttocks. 

Characteristics of the hourglass:

Hourglass women have well defined (narrow) waists. They also have hips and busts which tend to be almost the same and quite big. 

Characteristics of the inverted rectangle are:

These women have shoulders that are wider than the hips. Their bust tends to be proportionally large and their hips are small. 

Characteristics of the rectangle are:

Rectangles have no defined waist. Their hips usually have a similar width as the shoulders, and do not have a lot of curves. Their bust tends to be small or average. 

Characteristics of the apple:

Apples have no defined waist. Their weight tends to form on the stomach and their bust size is average. 

How do I determine my body type?

To determine your body type, you may need someone to help you to get accurate measurements. Re-measure yourself after weight changes and from time to time as you age as this often changes your shape. 

Bust – measure the fullest part of your bust. Hold the tape measure tight, but not so tight that you forcibly push down  your bust. 

Shoulders – measure from the top of the shoulder all the way around to the other. 

Hips – start at one hip, wrap the tape measure all the way around to the widest part.

Waist – measure around the smallest part of your waist. For most, this is usually above your belly button.

What type of clothes are best for my body type?

The best clothing for an hourglass 

Many envy the hourglass. Its proportionality makes it extremely versatile. Form-fitting dresses are a great choice for ladies with an hourglass figure as they really show off those gorgeous curves. An hourglass-shaped body also pairs well with belts to accentuate the waist. Dresses with plunging necklines also draw attention to the bust line. 

The best clothing for a pear

A-line dresses are a great fit for these body types. A-lines slim the hips and highlight the waist in a flattering way. You can also wear dresses with a flared bottom if you wish to draw more attention to your lower body.

The best clothing for an inverted triangle

Dresses made with material that stretches help prevent an inverted triangle from having to struggle with trying to fit into something too tight up top and not tight enough at the waist. Dresses with cinched waists and a pegged skirt help create balance between the shoulders and hips and draws the eye to a well-defined waistline.

The best clothing for an apple

Dresses with V-necks make your torso look longer and balance the look of a wider torso. An empire cut also cinches the waist while creating the illusion of an outward curve at the hip. Any dress with a tie or belt around the waist helps to further define your waistline, so avoid dresses that drape or flow too much.

The best clothing for a rectangle

Seek out waist-defining pieces such as waist belts, cinched jackets or color blocking pieces that  break up the rectangle.

Have fun with your shape and add volume to your upper and lower body by wearing shoulder building details like puff sleeves or oversized one-shoulder tops and a flared skirt or wide-leg jeans which accentuates the curves.

We all have beautiful features to show off! When you’re ready to show off your lovely figure in photographs, contact me to schedule your session:

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