How to dress for your body shape

Picture of Alyce Cowell

As a stylist, I meet a lot of women from Hurstville to Helensvale who all ask me the same question – ‘What body shape am I?’

The conversation typically goes something like this:

Woman: What body shape am I?
Alyce: What body shape do you think you are?
Woman: I don’t have one/Whatever shape a refrigerator is/Well, when I was 20 I was an hourglass…
Alyce: …You’re still an hourglass

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


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. Point out your 3 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 2? 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!


best clothing for body shapes

HOURGLASS: Your best choice is a wrap dress or top that supports you while showing off your best assets. (Sheike Meredith Dress $119.95)

PEAR: A short printed blazer will point out your slimmest point around the waist and draw the eye away from your bottom half. (Sass & Bide The Leader Blazer $450)

APPLE: Don’t hide behind baggy bootleg jeans – this Jeanswest pair is made specifically for apple’s tummy and curves. (Jeanswest Lainey Hip Hugger Slim Straight Jeans $89.99)

INVERTED TRIANGLE: Bring the attention to your legs and add volume to your narrow hips with an A-line, brightly coloured skirt. (Oxford Karine Ponti Panel Flare Skirt $74.50)

RECTANGLE: You rock the pant of the moment like no other! Wear the drop crotch low and slouchy and show off your athletic figure. (Glue Store Finders Keepers Daybreak Drop Crotch Pants $139.95)


*Feature image via