The Complete Guide: How to Dress for Your Body Shape

Dressing well is the goal for many of us and sometimes, finding that ideal fit can be a challenge in itself. Here’s the ultimate guide to dressing for your body shape with a little help from Alterations Boutique

Let’s be honest with ourselves; we all like a good outfit. Whether it’s that dress you’ve had your eye on for a while that was just a little out of your price range, or that perfect suit that’s ideal for your upcoming conference at work, your end goal is to look the part and to feel great in what you wear, and sometimes, nothing can prevent you from indulging once in a while!

It’s difficult to know what suits our body shapes, but with a little help from Alterations Boutique, leading suit and dress alterations specialists in the UK, we bring you the complete guide to dressing for your body shape!

First things first…get measured

You might think you know your average size when you walk into a clothing store. You’ve always bought a size 12, so that’s what you tend to go for when you reach the rails. Sound familiar? We all do it. It’s a comfort zone. Sometimes, we get it right, but others, we end up with clothing that doesn’t flatter our shapes or with some downright baggy jeans that look a little sloppy. Not the look we want to go for!

The beauty of getting measured beforehand means you know your exact measurements, eliminating the need to return those items that didn’t quite fit the way you expected them to.

Getting measured is the first thing we need to do before we can get that perfect fit we’ve craved for so long. You can do this yourself using a tape measure, but this can prove very difficult when you’re on your own. How can you get accurate results when you’re struggling to reach your shoulders?!

You can get the help from a friend, but the way to get the most accurate results is to seek the help of a professional. A professional tailor or seamstress will know the right ways to get your measurements spot on, and they’ll be much more accurate than if you did them yourself. You may also find that you’ve not being buying the most fitting clothes for your body shape all this time! Never fear; tailors know their stuff.

What’s your body shape?

We’ve all heard of body shapes like pear, apple or hourglass. However, when you look in the mirror, it’s not always simple to see any of these shapes staring back at you. It can be a difficult task to decipher! Your body type is your structure and understanding this structure can help you choose the right outfits and styles of clothing that will suit you best. It all comes down to body proportions. Let’s clear them up:

  • Apple body shape: a heavier upper body than lower body, broader shoulders and bigger bust.
  • Hourglass body shape: a balanced shape with the top and bottom part of the body in proportion with a smaller waist.
  • Pear body shape: a larger lower body than upper body.
  • Rectangle body shape: a well-balanced shape from top to toe.


When you’ve determined your shape, you can find so many different clothing styles that will flatter you. Whether you’re short or tall, skinny or curvy, it’s important to realise that everyone is beautiful, and everyone can look their best once they know how to dress for their shape.

Apple shapes

As apple body shapes have a larger upper body than lower, taking the attention away from this works well. Focussing the attention towards your legs and flaunting them a little more is perfectly fine for those apples or wearing upper body clothing with a v neckline to create a longer, more defined torso. Patterned dresses and flowy tops can also really flatter this shape.

Hourglass shapes

Beautiful hourglass shapes would suit clothing that matches their body; well balanced! Your clothing should flow well on the right curves. Belts work well at the waist, bringing in any loose material and showing off your body shape. Women with this figure can get away with tighter clothing and can pretty much look good wearing anything, but don’t drown yourself in material and hide your shape.

Pear shapes

This body shape can be styled into an hourglass shape if done carefully. All you need to do is create a balance to match your larger bottom half. Through the use of patterned or textured tops, you can create a bigger look on top, giving you that balanced look a lot of women crave! Skinny jeans with a loose top is also a great look for a pear shape.


Rectangle shapes

Rectangles should focus on enhancing the arms and legs, as these are a rectangle shapes biggest asset. You can opt for sleeveless dresses, long jackets and shorter skirts to highlight those best bits. Avoid larger overarching dresses so your shape doesn’t get swallowed up with material.

Clothing stores today have become better and more accommodating of different styles. They now appreciate that all women are different shapes and sizes and that looking good and beautiful in your skin is possible for anyone! More clothing stores these days are beginning to have specific sections for different body types, such as Petite or Tall, to try and accommodate more people. Who knows how things will progress in the future.

Do you know your body shape? How do you find and shop for the right clothing for your type?

This post was in collaboration with Alterations Boutique, leading tailors and alterations specialists for suits and dresses. For more information about their services or to get in contact, visit their website:

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1 Comment

  1. September 14, 2018 / 10:48 am

    Thanks for these tips!
    I got myself measured and it’s made so much difference with my clothing choices.

    Debs @

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