How to Create the Perfect Wardrobe – Part 2 All About Body Shape

So once you know which are the right colours for you the next step in creating a perfect capsule wardrobe is understanding your body shape and how to dress it. This has nothing to do with weight; if you are slim you can still be curvy and if you are larger you may not have curves. There is an argument that says we shouldn’t be dictated to about how we dress our shape because we are going along with the idea that there is one perfect body shape and it’s not ours. However, if you have confidence in your body shape and are happy to break the “rules” then that’s great. But what I see with most of my clients is that they all have something they have a hang up about, whether that be their “large” hips, mummy tummy or non-existent bust (their words not mine!) so learning how to emphasise the positive and detract from what you don’t like will help you to gain confidence in the way you look.

The first key step in learning about your body shape is to determine whether you have curves or not and whether you are super curvy or have neater curves. This is so important in getting shapes and fabrics right for your body. I use the example of wrapping a gift. If you want to wrap a beach ball you wouldn’t use stiff brown paper because it wouldn’t sit smoothly, you would end up with sharp points of paper sticking out. Equally if you want to wrap a box you wouldn’t use a piece of silky chiffon, it would stretch over the corners and wouldn’t give you nice sharp corner.


Look at yourself in a full length mirror and determine whether the edge of your shoulders are in a straight line down to the edge of your hips and whether you have definite waist indentation. If your waist is considerably smaller than your hips and you have a full bust you are super curvy. If your waist is smaller than your hips but not a great deal and your bras are a cup size bigger than a C you are curvy. If you have very little waist indentation, a small bust and a flat bottom you are straight.

what to wear for your body shape

Body shapes are usually categorised into 5 main types:

Pear – you have curves, including a small waist but your hip width is wider than your shoulder width. You will often find that if a skirt fits on the hips it is too big on the waist.

Column – the straight body shape regardless of size. Your shoulders are in line with your hips, you have little waist definition and a neat, flat bottom.

Apple – sometimes called round, you have no waist definition, rounded shoulders and often great legs.

Hourglass – can be super curvy or curvy, your shoulders and hips are in line and you have a defined waist. The super curvy hourglass has a much smaller waist than her hips and a rounded bottom, the curvy hourglass has a neater bottom and hips and a less dramatic difference in waist and hip measurement.

Strawberry – sometimes called inverted triangle. Your shoulders are wider than your hips and are straight and squared, you have little definition in your waist and flat hips and bottom. You will often take a larger size on your top half to accommodate your shoulders.

If you still have trouble in determining your body shape why not order the Style Club Booklets? You provide a photo and I will tell you your body shape, tips on how to dress it and examples of outfits you can wear (I also tell you your dominant colouring so that you can follow the colour information that’s right for you).

Tips for dressing your body shape


  • Focus attention and detail on the top half of your body
  • Make sure your tops and jackets don’t finish on your widest point
  • Choose A-line skirts and dresses and bootcut, straight leg or wide leg trousers
  • Use horizontal stripes on your top half – like a breton top, but not on your bottom half
  • Use layering and heavier weight fabrics or textures on your top half only
  • Use more fluid fabrics on your bottom half

How to dress your shapeColumn:

  • Show off your slim hips and bottom – jeans look great on you
  • Choose straight lines in your clothing shape and in detailing
  • Wear single and double breasted jackets, trench coats, biker and denim jackets
  • Choose shift dresses, coat dresses and A-line, straight or narrow pleated skirts
  • Avoid frills, full skirts and bulky textures
  • Choose crisp fabrics for tops for example a fitted cotton shirt

How to dress your body shapeApple:

  • Choose simple, straight lines in fluid fabrics that skim the body
  • Wear kaftans, loose shirts and tunic style tops with slim trousers to show off your legs
  • Choose tunic, A-line and looser shift style dresses, pencil skirts work in soft jersey fabrics
  • Avoid stiff fabrics, details on your tummy area, and sharp, angular details
  • Cardigan style and deconstructed jackets are your best options and swing style coats without belts
  • Look for soft cottons, linen, jersey and silks and silk blends

How to dress your body shapeHourglass

  • Show off your curves in shaped jackets and trousers rather than anything loose or baggy which will add lbs
  • Jackets with single button fastening and a curved hem emphasises your feminine curves
  • Choose dresses and jackets with waist definition, or add a belt
  • Wrap dresses and tops in softer fabrics over your bust work well
  • Avoid anything too boxy, stiff or layered and heavyweight fabrics and texture that make you look bigger
  • You can choose pretty much any trouser shape, but make sure they are shaped

How to dress your body shapeStrawberry

  • Focus attention on your hips and bottom in tailored trousers, jeans and combat styles
  • Choose straight clothing lines with minimum details at the shoulder – avoid drop shoulders
  • Choose stiffer fabrics and straight lines and straight or A-line skirts
  • You can wear crisper shapes and tailoring in your jackets which can be single or double breasted
  • For tops choose sleeveless camisoles and shell tops and avoid any frills or wide necklines
  • Avoid stripes on your top half as they will add width to your shoulders

How to dress your body shape

So there you have it, a few key tips for deciding on your body shape and then how to dress it. Next time we will be looking at how your personality comes in to what you wear.

If you would like a capsule wardrobe created for you the online capsule wardrobe service takes into consideration your colouring, body shape, personality and lifestyle. You will receive a booklet containing pictures of all the pieces, a Lookbook of more than 30 outfits and all the links to buy, saving you hours of time and effort.

If you have questions or comments leave them in the comments box below.

Click the images below for where to buy the pieces shown: