How to dress for your body shape

Picture of Alyce Cowell

Which body shape are you? Pear? Inverted triangle? Column? No idea? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.  Figuring out your body shape can be a tricky task, but it can be a helpful guide to help choose clothing that suits you, whether you fit into one of the shapes neatly, or you’re a mix of a few!

What many women don’t realise is body shape is about proportions (your true shoulder line, waistline and hipline). Even if you put on weight around your middle, on your thighs, or as you age, your body shape doesn’t really change. Win!


1. Take off your clothes and stand in front of the mirror in your underwear (if you’re already shaking, feel free to wear a singlet and leggings!)

2. Identify these three key areas:

  • Your true shoulder line is where your bra strap sits, right on top of those ball-like bones.
  • Your true waist line is the slimmest part around your middle, whether it’s under your bust or near your belly button.
  • Your true hip line is NOT your hip bones, it’s the widest part of your thigh.

3. Put a finger on your true shoulder line, and another on your true hip line – which is wider?

4. Add your waist into the mix – is it a lot smaller than the other two? Is it the same width? Or is it wider?


You’re an APPLE if your waist is wider than your shoulders and hips, but you have slim legs.

You’re a RECTANGLE if your shoulder, hips and waist are an even width, which means your waist isn’t obvious, but your legs usually make up for it!

You’re a PEAR if you hold weight around your lower tummy, bum, hips and thighs. This means your top half – shoulders, arms and top section of your belly – are quite narrow and you have a small bust. Your legs tend to slim from the knees down.

You’re an INVERTED TRIANGLE if your back and shoulders are broad, and they are wider than your waist and hips. Your bust is ample and you usually have killer pins too!

You’re an HOURGLASS if your shoulder line and hip line are an even width, with a tiny waist. You have a great bust and bum, and you’re all about the curves so work them!


HOURGLASS: Just one of the great choices for you is a wrap dress or top that supports you while showing off your best assets. Pictured: Gorman Palm Wrap Dress $269, David Lawrence Calypso Wrap Dress $74.25, Trenery Wrap Stripe Dress $179.



PEAR: A short printed blazer will accentuate the slimmest point around your waist and draw the eye away from your bottom half. Pictured: City Chic Coloured Drapey Blazer Jacket $89.95Marcs Stripe Ottoman Cropped Jacket $259, Sass & Bide The Leader $290.



APPLE: Don’t hide in baggy bootleg jeans – this Jeanswest pair is made specifically for apple’s tummy and curves. Pictured: City Chic Apple Skinny Jeans $99.95, Jeanswest Tummy Trimmer Jeans $69.99, Blue Illusion Isabelle Jean $109.95.



INVERTED TRIANGLE: Bring attention to your legs and add volume to your narrow hips with an A-line, brightly coloured skirt. Pictured: Diana Ferrari Shineade Skirt $83.97, Marcs Graphic Leaf Skirt $139, Gorman Kate Kosek Diamond Print Skirt $199.



RECTANGLE: You can rock the trend of summer like no other! The playsuit will show off your athletic figure and highlight your waist. Pictured: Ally Fashion Tropical Wrap Front Playsuit $39.99, Ally Fashion Fluro Floral Playsuit $29.99Sheike Capricorn Playsuit $129.95.