Dress Your Body Shape

Fashion changes, but dressing for your body shape is always in style. In this era of body positivity, it's especially important to love the shape you’re in – and the curves (or lack thereof!) that come with it!


The shoulder and hip are in line with each other without much curve at the waist or hip.

The Rectangle silhouette is defined by:

  • Equal shoulder, bust and hip measurements
  • Not much of a waist (if any) and lack curves
  • Straight up and down silhouette
  • Often lean and tall, also described as the 'athletic' body shape

The Recipe for Balance - Dressing the Rectangle

The Sweet Spot

  • Quite often the objective for the Rectangle is to create a little bit of curve.
  • Pleated pants, belted trousers, flared and straight pieces all create curves in the right places.
  • Angular shapes and rounded cuts are good for giving the Rectangle figure the little extra shape to avoid looking too straight up and down.
  • This shape can well afford extra details over the bust such as full cowl necklines, big dramatic statement necklaces, neck scarves, multi layered opera pearls, etc.
  • The Rectangle is the one shape that looks absolutely great in the "Boyfriend look".
  • Try scoop necks or a bateau line, a sweetheart or fancy detailed collars that pull the eye upward. 
  • Rectangles can pull off flared skirts and fitted bodices, belted shirtwaist dresses, puffy, fluffy feminine looks and swingy, full skirts.
  • Layer just about anything with a long, swingy and romantic duster coat, a trench or puffer jacket.
  • Big, bold statement earrings frame the face, while fabulous necklaces add interest to the neckline and bust. Belts are also a go-to: they create a neat waist and gorgeous silhouette. For petite rectangles, booties in a neutral tone and a heel add length and elegance.
  • A colourful scarf, long necklace, or legging can help to add fluidity to a boxy or shapeless look. 


The Apple is the only shape that one is not born with, but rather is the shape that we can morph into post-menopause and with hormone and lifestyle changes.  

The Apple silhouette is defined by:

  • A slanted shoulder line and a fullness at the back of the neck - termed as the Dowager's hump 
  • A rounded tummy which starts right below the bust and rounds out right above the hip
  • A large bust - generally speaking
  • A defined leg line 

The Recipe for Balance - Dressing the Apple

The Sweet Spot

  • This shape does very well with tops that accentuate shoulders, the neckline and bust.
  • Looking for the apple of your eye? Longer jackets or jackets with longer lapels completely transform by adding structure and shape.
  • High-waisted or belted pants lengthen and accentuate the legs.
  • Apples can carry off statement jewelry with pizzazz and leg-lengthening nude shoes with aplomb.


  • Broadening and adding structure to the shoulder line can be achieved by adding a small shoulder pad to subtly square out the upper body.
  • Define the bust line. Hunt for a supportive bra to achieve this and distinguish the bust line from the tummy.
  • Work with darker colours and tones to minimize the tummy.
  • Maximize the leg line with full length, straight and/or slim pant cuts. Work with prints if you would like and seek out higher rise or pull on pants to fit across a wider mid section. By doing so, you bring in the rounded tummy and make the leg line stand out to even the body's proportions.
  • Dolman sleeves, v-neck tops that expose the collar bone and any other blouse with a peplum-type waist are wonderful choices.
  • An empire cut brings the waist in, as does a wrap dress, which drapes beautifully and adds interest with the v-neck.
  • For something a little more dramatic, the apple can try a high-lo hem or bias cut dress that drapes but doesn’t cling.


Call it Pear shape, call it a Triangle... whatever you use to describe this lushly curvaceous figure doesn’t matter nearly as much as bringing out its best attributes!

The Pear silhouette is defined by:

  • Hips that are wider than the shoulder line
  • A flat tummy
  • Narrow shoulders
  • A petite bosom
  • A fuller booty
  • A long torso

The Recipe for Balance - Dressing the Pear

The Sweet Spot

  • Pear shapes look great in tailored-fitting jeans.
  • They bring a whole new level of feminine to dainty tops with their trim bosom and sleek shoulders.
  • They breathe life into bold colours and wild patterned tops like no other shape.
  • Dresses with bateau necklines, dramatic sleeves and belted styles play up all the positives in this figure type – even maxi styles lengthen and elongate.


  • The name of the game is to balance and elongate. Boost the impact with tops that can be gorgeously patterned and coloured to draw the eye upward.
  • Higher necklines or plunging v-necks, cowl necks and bell-sleeves in more structured or fitted tops add great definition.
  • Pear shaped women tend to have little waists (the envy of their sisters), so choose wide belts, A-line shapes and jersey or stretchy fabrics to hug in all the right places.
  • To create balance with those big, bold coloured tops and sweaters, the Pear could wear boot cuts and flares.
  • Darker colours, piping down the middle of the leg, vertical details and flat pockets to create the illusion of length.
  • Go wild with short statement necklaces that accent the neckline or long jewelry and accessories that add a vertical line to the silhouette. These will help elongate the body and bring the eye up and down. 


Petite or Tall, The Hourglass has it all. The hourglass shape is curvy and voluptuous. From early clay sacred feminine figurines to Old Hollywood, the hourglass shape has been held up as the ideal female figure.

The Hourglass silhouette is defined by:

  • Hips and shoulders of equal width and in proportion to each other.
  • A defined, nipped-in waist (about 8 to 10 inches smaller than her bustline).
  • Larger bust and bottom. 

The Recipe for Balance - Dressing the Hourglass

The Sweet Spot

  • Curvy hourglass types can choose what to focus on: their bust, their waist or their legs.
  • This body type can wear belts to showcase their bust-to-waist ratio.
  • Looking for structure? The hourglass does very well in fitted, structured tops and jackets


  • Start at the top and open the neckline - doing so minimizes a full bustline.
  • When choosing tops or dresses, seek cuts that softly hug your curves and flow away from the tummy area. 
  • Vertical details - like buttons, striking zippers or any dominant lines - bring the eye up and down, helping to shape or enhance the shape of the hourglass.
  • Choose wraparound tops or those with peplums, even a tailored shirt with a nipped in waist. The same goes for dresses: wrap or crossover dresses with a deep V-neck and swingy skirt are both sexy and feminine. A fitted bodice and flared or A-line skirt also defines the waist.
  • A well-chosen jacket adds immeasurably to the hourglass figure’s wardrobe, especially a cropped piece that lands just at the waist. Soft, belted jackets are another good option, together with a moto jacket, in fabric or leather.
  • High-waisted jeans or trousers define the waist while flared or wide-legged options create proportion top to bottom.
  •  Pointed shoes in neutral tones length the leg, whether they’re flats or heels.
  • Choose jewelry pieces that create a vertical line without adding bulk.

Inverted Triangle 

The Inverted Triangle shape says what it is. Many Inverted Triangle figures fit a larger size top and smaller sized bottom. Their wider shoulders and narrow hips mean they can (and should) wear dresses and skirts with a little extra flair at the bottom hem that flare. 

The Inverted Triangle silhouette is defined by:

  • Shoulders as the widest part of the body 
  • A bigger bust
  • Narrow hips and waist 
  • Slim legs 

The Recipe for Balance - Dressing the Inverted Triangle

The Sweet Spot

  • Inverted Triangles can get away with dramatic wide-leg pants and boyfriend jeans that create an X-shape, their very own version of the hourglass.
  • Be ready to swoon in delight when the Inverted Triangle creates balance with an A-line dress or skirt.


  • Look to open the neckline when possible. This will balance out the shoulder line. For added depth, pop your collar and undo the first few buttons on a dress shirt to expose some neck.
  • When shopping for the right tanks and t-shirts, look for a longer style and  strong vertical lines. Adding length with longer tunic styles will visually minimize a broad shoulder.
  • Look for an A-line or Empire waist style dress that falls at the knee or below.
  • Your legs are the slimmest part of the body, so feel free to add prints or a pop of colour to make your pant stand out. Ankle length straight cuts, or wider crops can help balance out the Inverted Triangle silhouette.
  • Fuller leg lines and boyfriend jeans are absolutely go-to choices for this shape. Microprints and colourful, bold prints add interest and volume, too.
  • Tops that have a built-in waist (think something with a peplum that flares over the hips), a V-neck that creates a long neckline to draw the eye down and a crew neck are all great options. 

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  • chiaraandcoaustralia

    Absolutely love this insightful information on dressing in accordance to physique shapes! It’s fresh to see such precise recommendation that celebrates individuality and helps readers embody their special silhouettes. The visible aids and styling recommendations supplied make it so an awful lot less complicated to navigate trend selections confidently. Thank you for empowering us to experience splendid in our very own skin!"

  • Mair Cove

    Like the suggestions for dressing the rectangle

  • Suzette Linger

    I’m new to Shepherd’s Fashion but I’m enjoying all the information and helpful hints! Much appreciated!

  • Wendy

    I find your videos so inspirational.
    I am 5’4", and an inverted triangle. I have a long torso, and I wear a C- cup bra, so my bust line is not as large as many inverted triangles.
    I follow many of your tips, and find them to be most helpful.
    I am delighted to have found your site.
    Fond regards
    Wendy from sunny South Africa

  • Nancy

    Love watching you videos! I’ve learned so much but still have difficulty figuring out what will look good on my 4’11” plus size body. I think that although I would love to offer with the tank or v-neck tee top, I think it maybe too long. I would love if you would address fitting a less thank 5’ tall lady. I am a visual person and it would be most helpful. Thank you!

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