SHOPPING: HOW TO DRESS YOUR SHAPE WHEN YOU’RE PLUS SIZE (PART I)

Hey curvy girls all over the world,
I get tons of questions about how to dress for your body type. Dressing for your shape takes patience and a lot of trying on clothes. Most people think they are limited when it comes to dressing for your body type but that’s simply just not true. Identifying and understanding  your shape is about knowing what works for the largest and smallest parts of your body. Think of shape identification as a guideline to your best looks.


The most common shapes in women are apple, pear, hourglass, and a rectangle. There are other shapes and fruits that can be used to define your body type but lets just stick with the most common. Depending on your height and weight you can be a blend of two shapes. This is why trying on clothes when shopping is important. Most apple shaped women have large chests but there are some apple shaped women with small breasts and high waists which can blend in with the pear shape.

To help make shopping a little more fun and less strenuous I’ve decided to to do a mini shop your shape post . I’ve listed the most common characteristics of each of the most common shapes, your style goal, what to buy, and because I am a visual learner, I also added some notable celebs who have your shape in common.

*Key Point to KnowOnce again, let me say that you can be a blend of two shapes so it’s not always set in stone that your are 100% an apple shape or a pear shape but the goal is to get you to see what works for body based on the shape characteristics. Got it?!




Okay, lets go:

Apple-The most common characteristics of an apple shape are slim legs, large chest, and you carry most of your weight in your tummy and top half of your body.

Note: Some apple shapes are also referred to as diamond or oval shapes.

Style Goal- For most apple shapes creating or defining a waist is key. Since you carry most of your weight in your upper body it’s important to try and create an illusion of an hourglass shape with your clothes. Show off your narrow hips and slim legs, while drawing attention away from your full tummy. Just take a look at Amber Riley, she has created an hourglass figure by placing a belt at the smallest part of her waist which is under her breast.

What to Buy– Pencil skirts that hit knee length and above the knee, skinny and straight leg jeans, wrap dresses, single breasted jackets that are hip length, ruching, printed bottoms, drop waist tops, A-line cuts, and v-necks.Since apple shapes have slim legs shorts work well for your body type. You also want to look for structured and tailored pieces. *Belts are your best friend for creating and defining a waist.

Featured Items: City Chic Skater Dress , Evans Contrast Blouse, Avenue One Button Blazer, Evans V-Neck Sweater,  New Look Full Skirt, Forever21 Skinny jeans

Celebrity’s with your shape- Amber Riley, Jessica Simpson,  Jill Scott

 

Pear- The common characteristic of a pear shape is wide hips, thick thighs and legs, small defined waist, and narrow shoulders. Pear shapes are considered to be the most common on women today.Note: Some pear shapes can also look like they’re bordering hourglass.

 

Plus Size Model: Fluvia Lacerda, Photo Credit: Madison Plus

 

Style Goal– If you’re a pear your focus is going to be on balancing out your upper body with your lower half. Often pear shapes have a hard time finding bottoms that fit their ample hips and small waist so a tailor should be on your speed dial.

What to Buy– Flared bottoms, printed & detailed  tops, Flat front pants, highwaisted, A-line cuts, long jackets and blazers,  bootcut jeans, belts will aid you in showcasing your small waist.

Featured Items: Dorothy Perkins Dress, H&M blouse, Dorothy Perkins Peplum Top, Mod Cloth Full Skirt, Old Navy Pants

Celebrity’s with your shape-Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, Michelle Obama, Tyra Banks

Hourglass– This is probably the most coveted shaped of them all due to a well balanced proportionate body. Think Jessica Rabbit. Common characteristics of an hourglass are large chest, defined waist, and round full bottom. 

 

Style Goal-  Hourglass shapes much like the apple tend to have a large chest. Your goal is to find clothes that  fit and flatter your curves. Hourglass shapes also tend to look great in classic cuts and styles.

What to Buy– Hourglass figures can honestly wear just about everything under the sun with the exception of billowy loose tops and dresses. Your figure can get lost in it if you don’t choose the right piece. Your best styles are classic silhouettes like a shift dress, pencil skirts, and peplum. Clothes should be more structured and on the tailored side.




Featured Items: Dorothy Perkins Lace dress, Dorothy Perkins Peplum Dress, Eshakti Wrap shirt, Tailored Pencil Skirt , Cotton sateen contrast blazer , Dorothy Perkins Peplum Top, Eloquii Jeans.

Celebrity’s with your shape-Christina Hendricks, Salma Hayek, Scarlett Johanson

 

Rectangle- The main characteristics of a rectangle shape are an undefined waist, same size bust and hips. Women with rectangular shapes can look a little boxy and boyish.

Queen Latifah is a full rectangle

 

Style Goal-To find clothes that create a curvier shape.

 

What to Buy-Since the rectangle shape is proportionate you can go for bold prints, ruffled tops, asymmetrical cuts like tulip skirts, tiered styles, heavy knits, peplum, and wide leg pants/jeans

Featured Items: Dorothy Perkins Peplum Houndstooth Dress, Eshakti Blouse, Calvin Klein Jacket, Target Pleated skirt, LYS Pants

Celebrity’s with your shape– Whitney Thompson, queen Latifah

That’s it for today. Check back tomorrow to read our contributor Kawana’s advice on shopping and dressing your plus size shop.

Don’t forget to tell us what you think.

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13 Stylish Comments on SHOPPING: HOW TO DRESS YOUR SHAPE WHEN YOU’RE PLUS SIZE (PART I)

  1. Anonymous
    September 27, 2012 at 5:20 pm (4 years ago)

    Where’s that purple skater dress from in the apple section?

    Reply
    • Kristen
      January 9, 2016 at 11:12 am (1 year ago)

      looks like Torrid.com

      Reply
  2. Naturally Nae
    September 27, 2012 at 5:24 pm (4 years ago)

    Great post! I’m really still learning what clothes look best for my body type. I feel as though I’m a combination of Apple and Hourglass. Because I’m tall, almost six feet and carry most of my weight from the hip up but I do cut in at the waist giving me the hour glass shape. I really appreciate this post, it helps A LOT!

    Reply
  3. Reina T.
    September 27, 2012 at 9:30 pm (4 years ago)

    Great Post! Where can I find the structured blazer in the hourglass post?!

    Reply
  4. PGRDresses
    September 28, 2012 at 9:22 am (4 years ago)

    Great article. One of the better ones I have seen on the topic of styling for plus size women. Thanks!

    Reply
  5. Krystal Midega
    May 3, 2013 at 8:22 am (4 years ago)

    very good article there! very informative!

    Reply
  6. Koli
    July 12, 2013 at 6:49 pm (4 years ago)

    Great guide! I also learned a lot from the book the Science of Sexy, VERY helpful in delving into more detail with the topic you started. Thanks!

    Reply
  7. TL THOMPSON
    October 12, 2016 at 10:24 am (5 months ago)

    Is there a guide for women who are Bo – legged, knock-kneed, straight-legged or tremendously big-footed? Or is “how to dress” by upper body shape only?

    Reply
  8. Anna
    December 31, 2016 at 2:32 am (3 months ago)

    No…according to you…I am an apple…big boobs, great legs but your model has my boobs w/way off legs…I get the “define a waist ” thing but tell me how to accentuate what I have….how can I get that from your model who doesn’t exemplify what you are describing

    Reply
    • alissa
      December 31, 2016 at 11:43 am (3 months ago)

      Hi Anna,
      Your comment sounds very aggressive. NOt sure why. Actually, the model we chose as an apple shape very much falls in that category. If you can see by the photo, her outfit is styled in a way that gives her more of a shapely figure. I didn’t make up the requirements for the apple shape. The details I listed for an apple shape are FACTS. If you don’t agree with the person I chose to exemplify the apple shape, BY ALL MEANS, please google and find another site that you feel helps you more.

      Reply
  9. Karine
    January 13, 2017 at 9:25 am (2 months ago)

    Hi, great article. I still find myself with issues figuring out what would look good on me. I’m like a mix of apple and rectangle; small bust, big waist and hips the same size as waist and bust (44, 46, 45) with most weight in front of my waist (makes me look pregnant). Everything I find that would fit my waist is WAY TOO BIG at the bust section. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  10. Ashton
    February 20, 2017 at 2:15 am (1 month ago)

    I’m a plus size pear shaped woman and I do a lot of videos on plus size fashion on my YouTube channel. I find this article very helpful and I give it a big thumbs up. If anyone is interested in my channel, my channel name is FashionMeCurvy.

    Reply

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